1st. Mar, 2012 | 10:30 am
music: trail AGAIN
I've got loads of books for sale at thewebsite.
24th. May, 2010 | 09:08 am
music: Pavement - Mellow Jazz Docent
Hey, so I've been nominated for an Eagle Award for Best British Black and White Comic for my Chloe Noonan series. That's pretty cool, right?
Would you like to see me and Chloe win? If so then click here and vote! It's all up to you. Just make sure to fill the entire form in otherwise you'll be accuse of vote stuffing and we don't want that, do we? No, we wants to win!
Thanks also to those who voted me in nominations, I kinda want to hug all of you.
14th. May, 2010 | 12:14 pm
music: Sad Day For Puppets
I've got a jumbled mind and my body has an unhealthy dose of jetlag where it can't work out what time it's supposed to be or when it wants food and sleep and it's sorta confusing the two. This is thanks to me and Anna (and a slew of other UK comickers for that matter) swandered off to Toronto for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Or TCAF, to me and you.
I went to TCAF last year at the very last minute and sat awkwardly at the Oni Press table between two mega heroes of mine Scott Chantler and Ross Campbell with another guy I kinda like, Bryan O'Malley, at the other end. Although I exhibited I didn't feel like an exhibitor as I guess I spent more time shopping and walking around the con than I did actually sat at the table. Regardless of which I wanted to come back to Toronto for another round at TCAF and this time properly exhibit, with all my minis, bags and merch and this time bloody sit still.
This year has been a bumpy ride for conventions for me. The first convention of the year was the annual UK Web and Mini Comix Thing in Mile End. A reliable show that brings in a good amount of money for me and this year was no different, in fact it was my best year ever, although oddly enough I sold less comics than the year before. I think I only did well because I have new tote bags on sale and sold them to my core audience. The Thing felt very quiet even with the tube being out of order until lunch time and there was an air of exparation amongst exhibitors that the organiser's hostile email fiasco of the week prior and had perhaps dampened people's enthusiasm for the event. That and the common complaints of exhibitors having to man the"tuck shop" and sell 80p cans of Coke for an hour and no advertising whatsoever, perhaps has started to grate a little.
The second show I attended was the UniCon event at the University of Hertfordshire and in terms of sales, it was the worst convention I've ever attended. I can't fault the promotion of the event or the orginisation because it seems they spread the word and the staff were very professional but something went wrong on the day where a group of alternative comic folks were greeted by 10 year olds in Ben 10 t-shirts. And I say greeted, I actually mean ignored by 10 year olds in Ben 10 t-shirts. I sold 7 comics, if that.
The thing with British shows is that there's very few that I actually want to attend nowadays. Previous trips to Bristol and Birmingham have been expensive and without much reward as they're catering for a mainstream, diehard comic audience who are very happy to pay £12 a day just to get into the venue. For exhibitors, it's so hard to even break even with the table prices (£110 for a table at Birmginahm, kids) and the travelling and the hotel and the food and the etc etc. I know I've griped about those types of shows before and I've just given up going to them as I come back making a loss and still armed with my stock. Shows like the MCM Expo are good and I do alright but never amazing and I question whether or not people are sick of seeing me there and am starting to think of only doing one of the two MCM events. Thought Bubble is probably my favourite UK show to do and last year's show was perfect. I used to attend zine shows but, man, people were just passing my stuff by because it was either too polished (I know, right?) or too cartoony. "Too cartoony" man, I'm damned if I do and damned I don't, sometimes.
So, TCAF was a huge deal for me as I've been deflated by conventions and yeah, starting to question if this cartooning lark was going anywhere. I've felt my work hasn't been meeting it's potential at all recently and finding it hard to keep going. It's felt like I've been banging on a door to a room where there's no one in it. Or if there is someone in it, they don't really care if I'm outside or not.
(TCAF floor photo taken by Christopher Butcher and politley yoinked from his Flickr, hey you should check it out)
TCAF, of course, was pretty. fucking. amazing.
Let's talk about what makes TCAF so much better than every other convention I've ever attended.
1. It's free to get in for the public.
When someone throws down £12 to get in, that's the price of a graphic novel or at least 4 comics. That's part of someone's spending money and that is money that should be going to the exhibitors. Not only that but by keeping the event free it also encourages people just off the street to come in and check it out. We saw loads of families come in just to see what was going on. This leads nicely into...
2. It's in a public building, in a central location which everyone is familar with.
The Toronto Reference Library is pretty well known in Toronto, it's on all the maps, in all the guidebooks, it's a 2 minute walk from the subway station and it's on a main street in downtown Toronto. It's disheartening when you arrive for a convention and find out the venue is out of town and yeah you can walk it, but it'll take 30-45 minutes, so you get a cab as you have no idea where you're going and then you have to find the place and you get to the venue and you have to queue up to get in and you know what, I wouldn't want to do that and I love comics, I can't imagine what local people who are just curious would think. Holding a convention? It needs to be IN town not outside or at least a place that's recongisable.
3. The event is curated.
Unlike other shows, you can apply to TCAF but that doesn't mean you'll get to exhibit. It's not a first come, first served sorta deal. This works because the work on show is of a certain level. Essentially, there's no students sitting behind a table eating Quavers for 8 hours trying to sell NINJA CAKES #1. I feel really honoured about being selected to show at TCAF and judging by the quality of the work around me...man, I have a lot of work to do. Even though a lot of the books were mini comics and "small press" they were of a professional quality that you would be hard to find in many "mainstream" books. Essentially, they kicked my arse.
4. The volunteers.
You have no idea how hard it is exhibiting sometimes. Sure we have friends to cover tables and stuff, but they're busy too, they're working too. What if we're running out of change? What if we're thirsty? What if we're on a panel and we don't really want to leave our table behind? Step forward the purple TCAF army! These lovely humans will gladly watch your table for an hour while you sit on a panel, or fetch you a glass of water, or help you get change, or pass around bin bags or help with whatever they can. And they'll do it with a smile and they'll do it because they genuinely seem to want to help out and to be there. The only other UK show that does something similar is the MCM Expo and you have no idea how nice it is.
It was fucking busy as hell on Saturday. Jesus at one point we couldn't get around at all. Why was it busy? Well maybe it had something to do with all the adverts we saw for it in the local listings magazines and the two biggest magazines had cover stories on Daniel Clowes and the Kenk graphic novel and, yup, both features mentioned TCAF and had adverts litterered throughout. Volunteers were flyering the event outside on the day still trying to drum up support. If you want new people to attend your event then you gotta think locally and go to places where the non-comic fans are aswell as the fanboys and girls.
6. The parties/events
There is so much happening outside of the convention it's almost too much! This party here, this party there, this talk here, this talk there, workshops, panels, karaoke (shudder) TCAF does seem like a massive party at times, like a huge celebration for the comic medium and it's creators. The organisers also keep you up to date and tell you what's going on with information on how to get there.
Me and table mate Adam Cadwell. Nice teapot arm there.
I can't really think of anything wrong with TCAF as such, I think some people were grumbling that maybe the Webcomic pavillion wasn't as busy as the main arena, but when I went in there Questionable Content had a line for his table and he wasn't even signing or anything, he was just there selling books but he was so popular a line was formed. I heard the same about ol' Kate Beaton, too. The publisher room was a treat, too and I picked up some awesome stuff from Koyama Press. Everywhere seemed busy and happy! People happy at a comic show? No way!?
Happy as Larry, Adam Cadwell behind our table on the Sunday.
In terms of how well I did at TCAF, well, I sold out of every comic that I brought with me. Which has never happened! So thank you to those who may be reading this and brought a copy. In hindsight I shoulda brought more, but I took the amount I usually sell at conventions recently with the viewpoint of "Hey I'm British and new, why would anyone wanna buy my books?" but turns out they did. Sure it was expensive to get to Canada, but the fact that I got rid of all my comics made the trip worthwhile (and hey, it was our holiday too)
I was also real lucky to be on a panel at TCAF called the Perils of Autobiography. Moderated by Greg Means (the man behind one of my favourite anthologies Paper Cutter and the Clutch autobio series) it was a fun hour of me, Adam Cadwel, Erika Moen, Tory Woollcott, and Adam Bourret all chatting about how we approach autobiography and the pitfalls we often find about it. The room was packed and people seemed to enjoy it, but I guess it's hard to really gage from the other side of the table. There were several moments of Bromance between me and the Cadwell. Sigh.
Also, Erika Moen might just be one of my favourite comickers in the world. She's super nice and easy going and I kinda wanted to take her home with us.
I kinda feel a little lost in the UK comic scene and feel more at home in the North America scene. I like UK comics, don't get me wrong and I think there's a lot more great work coming out recently (hello Solipisistic Pop!) but still I don't know where my art sits in terms of the bigger picture. I think I'm over thinking it a littler and there was a great quote that Adam told me about from Seth at the Doug Wright Awards.
"Do your work for yourself–don’t think about what others want you to do. There’s no point in doing the work if it isn’t done the way you believe it should be done. Don’t strive to be a professional–think of yourself as an artist.” (yoinked from Inkstuds)
So TCAF kinda made helpe me off the proverbial comic ledge. Thank you to Christopher Butcher and Peter Birkemoe for organising the event. You have no idea how much of a good job you're doing.
26th. Apr, 2010 | 11:30 am
So, those fine folks at We Are Words + Pictures have put together a FREE COLOUR NEWSPRINT COMIC for this Saturday's FREE COMIC BOOK DAY event. I have submitted a never before printed Polar Opposite strip and it's one of my faves. Because of the quick turn around the paper seems to be only available from London’s Orbital Comics, but if you check the WAW+P site come Saturday then you'll be able to download a free PDF under the Creative Commons act which means, hey, you can distribute and print a copy on your own for free. As long as you don't charge anyway *stink eye*
Anyway, here's a panel from the strip...y'know I've really missed drawing these guys and I'm kinda itching to do something new with them.
Also coming this week is the second issue of the British comic anthology Solipsistic Pop and I have a brand new six page Chloe Noonan comic strip in it along with another Polar Opposites strip in the newspaper supplement. You should see this book, guys., the photos don't do the book justice. Hands down it's the best print job my work has ever received and I know you guys are book lovers so the following is important, the smell is spot. on.
Anyway, here's the first page from the new Chloe story. Even the JPG can't show the full awesomeness of the blue tone colour.
I love this anthology and I'm really pleased to be included in it. Honoured, even. It's a very important book for the UK indie comic scene and all I can say is, if you were ever curious as to what's out there but didn't know where to start, well this is where you begin. There's a wealth of talent in there such as Adam Cadwell, Stephen Collins, Lizz Lunney, and one of my favourite new comic artists, Luke Pearson.
If you live in London then there is a party on Wednesday night to celebrate the launch of the issue. I should be there, work permitting. Here, have a flyer!
29th. Mar, 2010 | 12:48 pm
music: The Ramones - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend | Powered by Last.fm
Three months between updates? Poor show! How is everyone? I've been better, I guess but that's not really important (well, to me it is, but you guys are probably like "whatever")
Guess I'm just checking in to tell you what's been going on recently (if you read that as "pimping my shit" then you're not wrong...)
I'm going to have a story in Boom!'s CBGB anthology. 14 pages (!) written by Kieron Gillen (Phonogram, Thor) and in full colour. I'm so stupidly excited about it, hey I get to draw The Ramones and get paid for it! Plus a fugging Jaime Hernandez cover! Suhweet. There's more info about it here.
I've been really busy drawing Ellerbisms (obv) and a short Chloe Noonan story for the UK anthology Solipistic Pop. I've been secretly chuffed with the way my art's developing at the moment - I'm going through the stage of binning pages and starting fresh if they don't look so hot. Seems like I'm finally starting to look really hard at the quality of my work. Still a ways to go, of course.
Here's a panel from the Sol Pop strip. Who are "those girls?" Find out in April.
I've also been busy getting some merch together. I might do some t-shirts but they're kinda hard to get right. Like, you want it to be a *design* as opposed to an advert. I'm finding the balance quite hard, but I reckon I'll get there in the end.
Here's the Ellerbisms Tote Bag. Now you can carry around your second hand books and old receipts in a bag that has my face on it. Click the image to enlarge and see artwork detail.
I also made a Chloe Noonan poster.
If you like these then you can buy them from here.
Oh and I'm going to the following conventions, so if you're around you should come along and be super enthusiastic!
Unicon, University of Hertfordshire, Havilland Campus: 24 April 2010
Toronto Comic Arts Festival: 8-9 May 2010
MCM Expo, London: 29-30 May 2010
Thought Bubble, Leeds: 20 November 2010
18th. Jan, 2010 | 09:11 am
music: firstname.lastname@example.org - Jason T Miles | Powered by Last.fm
By Andrew James
By Will Kirkby
By Adam Cadwell
If anyone wants to draw a picture of Chloe or one of the other fine characters then feel free and drop me a line (marclrb at gmail.com) I registered chloenoonan.com the other day and want to start putting Fun Stuff up there.
28th. Dec, 2009 | 10:21 pm
Franklin & Gob
Chloe & Molly
Ms Marvel, Spidey, Wolvie and Hulk
Would you like an A5 drawing of a character or a real life person you totally love in my style? Prices start from £15 and you can email me at marclrb at gmail.com to set things up.
25th. Nov, 2009 | 01:15 am
You can now buy the second issue of CHLOE NOONAN: MONSTER HUNTER (preview here) and my new badge set ELLERBADGES (see above) from my webstore. Y'know, if you want (you should!)
19th. Nov, 2009 | 11:17 pm
music: Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline) | Powered by Last.fm
I'll be at the Thought Bubble comic festival this Saturday in Leeds. I'll be sharing a table with Adam Cadwell as always and I'll have my brand new comic Chloe Noonan #2 on sale.
Here's a preview of said issue!
( Click for moreCollapse )
This will hopefully go on sale online on Monday after the show, so check back then if you fancy buying a copy.
It's been a while Livejournal, how are you all?
2nd. Oct, 2009 | 11:28 am
Hey, so my web comic Ellerbism reaches #200 on Monday, which is kinda exciting, right? To celebrate this “milestone” I’m looking to you, fellow arty types, friends, fans, to submit some content to make the week something to remember. What do I mean by content? Well it needs to be Ellerbisms related, but I’m thinking fan art, Ellerbism spoofs, your own strips influenced or similar to Ellerbisms, little essays, photos, whatever, that sorta thing.
If you want to submit something (anything) then send me a lovely e-mail (marclrb at gmail.com) and hopefully if I get enough I can have content on the site everyday for a week.
22nd. Sep, 2009 | 12:34 pm
Spider Jerusalem from the comic Transmetropolitan
Guybrush and LeChuck from the game Monkey Island
Andrew and pals
Richard Fell, from the comic Fell
Would you like an A5 drawing of a character or a real life person you totally love in my style? Prices start from £10 and you can email me at marclrb at gmail.com to set things up.