Tuesday, 23 November 2010

An introduction to UK Small Press Comics

I've noticed that I'm getting more visitors from the USA following my exciting adventures there in September. So I thought that I'd put up some links to some other UK comics people, who you may not know about yet. The comics scene is really vibrant in the UK and Ireland and there's lots of great stuff happening. Here are some places to check out online and some folks I recommend:

*Malcy Duff : I've reviewed many of Malcys comics for Comics International magazine, but really there's no way to explain them, you just need to experience them for yourself.
*Paperjam comics is a Northeast based collective and includes work by :  Gary ,  PaulDanielBen
*Gary Northfield : Does a lot of stuff for kids after he created the very popular Derek the Sheep for the Beano. His earlier small press work has some wonderful comic timing and energetic drawings.
*Spleenal : Cartoony artwork with a very adult theme.
*Richard J Smith : Saturday morning cartoontastic
*We Are Words + Pictures , a London based collective, they make the wonderful Paper Science  :  Includes work by Tom Humberstone, and Phillipa Rice (who does 'My cardboard life', which is AWESOME!)
*Paul Rainey : 'Book of Lists' and 'There's No Time Like the Present' are great.
*I had the good fortune to meet the very talented WJC at the Thought Bubble event last year as we'd both been featured in New British Comics (which is a Polish / British anthology).
*Garen Ewing , such beautiful artwork!!
*Terry Wiley is a much respected small press veteran, his work is currently featured in the Girly comic (And I once got a cameo in the background of his Miffy comic!)
*Kristyna Baczynski  , I just love her artwork and her lovely subtle use of colour.
*Accent UK , UK Anthologies based around a theme.
*Unico comics , a local (North East!) publisher
*Patrick Brown ,  a Northern Irish creator whose ambitious work is based on an ancient Irish epic.
*Phil Barrett makes some great indie comics!
*Atomic Diner, Irish publisher.
*Find out what's happening and what's new at bugpowder (and let me know if you have news because I write for it!)
*And buy small press comics online at smallzone

I'm sure I've forgotten lots of great people and there's tons I haven't even discovered yet, so feel free to leave more links in the comments section!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Onwards and upwards

Okay, so I still have an entire moleskin to fill up for the Arthouse co-op sketchbook project. If you have any dreams you'd like to share let me know, so I can use them for the sketchbook project! Thanks to everyone who has already supplied dreams, I'll start drawing them this week.
I'm going to give my website an overhaul over the next few months and add up some video content as well as some new work and some online comics. If you've got any suggestions or comments about my site (http://www.lomoore.com/), now would be a really good time to tell me!
There's also an exhibition coming up in January in Sunderland, if you're on the P.R.E.S.S. mailing list you will have heard about this, if you'd like to contribute just contact askpressATgmailDOTcom.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

un-Wellcome, un-Trustworthy


When you apply for a grant you expect that there's a good chance you'll receive a letter telling you that you were unsuccessful. What you don't expect is an email attachment attacking your artwork.

I applied to the Wellcome Trust in the hopes of securing a small grant to help fund a graphic novel based on my Monstrum series. The idea was to work with a science consultant, I'd also hire a professional typographer and pay for a proper print run. The book would have been my main focus for 2011 and would have included a lot of outreach programmes, a residency and public engagement workshops as part of the project.

The feedback I received told me that they had found my idea original, it fit their criteria, they were confident that I had plenty of experience and could demonstrate an ability to deliver on similar projects. They were happy with the public engagement and the science content of the project. They also told me that they were impressed with my budget and project structure.

"There will be tangible, high quality output in a short space of time. It has the capacity to engage a  wide range of audiences."

The reason I didn't get the grant was because one of the assessors decided they did not like my style of artwork. It was clearly a case of personal taste, as there was plenty of evidence that other people, including actual critics, had enjoyed my work. They then used the feedback form to critique my artwork in a nasty way. They also tried to justify this by writing patronising accounts of how they believed comics should be made.
For example:

"...unimaginatively coloured illustrations with a non-compelling narrative....Colouring is a sophisticated art that can add meaning and emotion to a work."

They clearly hadn't even read the supporting proposal properly and they overlooked some of the most important points of the project! I was really surprised and offended by the response, but the Wellcome Trust have not allowed me to lodge a complaint. I can't resubmit the project either. I have spoken informally to other people who have had dealings with the grants procedure and they tell me this is not an uncommon occurrence. Normally I wouldn't mention something like this on my blog, but since they've ignored my requests to complain in an official capacity, I'll just have to air my grievances online. By not allowing feedback from applicants it ensures that assessors will continued to get paid to ignorantly slate projects, and no-one will even check on what they're doing. How can you trust that your application will be dealt with in a professional manner?
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