Hello friends and strangers. You will be pleased to know that I recently achieved my fully evolved, ideal self, my fully realised form, the epitome of my existence, my pinnacle of being, I have found my spirit animal and it is the dead-pan selfie in a paper crown.
Ironically, this has been a year where I have actually felt quite a lot of emotions. More than the average year certainly.
Not that I'm saying I have been living in a frozen husk of largely muted and suppressed emotions honed by a combination of positivity, privilege and progesterone.
It's not so unusual now for us to express surprise when our technology presents us with a highlights reel of the last 12 months, and somehow the smiling faces in the photos don't reflect the turmoil we remember. Though the algorithms are new, I think it was probably ever thus. We're far from the first generation to live through interesting times, or under governments we wouldn't trust to carve up a turkey, let alone a continent. All times are end times. And beginning times.
2018 began with me writing the beginning of Biscuits.
Longer ago than a year, in fact two and a half years ago, I made a deal with myself. I signed up with a supply teaching agency and I decided I would stop using so much of my time chasing short term gains and small scale illustration commissions and try to make something. I gave myself until Summer 2018 to get a book deal, or be in a position to self publish a graphic novel. In those two years a bunch of stuff happened beyond my control that meant I didn't have as much time or mental space for that project as I had projected. Family stuff. Emotions. Life getting in the way type of stuff. That's ok. I didn't give up. Competition deadlines helped.
The Laydeez deadline was in January. And they specified that it had to be the beginning of a graphic work in progress. The beginning. Biscuits is an overlapping and fragmented narrative, so I hadn't made myself think about the beginning and what it could be. But to enter the Laydeez prize I had to. So that was important. Then the Myriad deadline was in February and they wanted 15-30 pages. So I did the first 30 pages.
I already blogged a fair amount about what happened after that. I signed the book contract in August, and Biscuits (assorted) should be coming your way in twoish years. I now have a script written of 230ish pages, and 130ish pages still to draw.
Life might still get in the way some. Maybe even world events will. But this is happening.
Some other things that I did in 2018 include but are not limited to:
I made a snow-cat.
My first attempt at hourly comic day and you can see my whole 24 hour comic here.
I got to do lots of cool drawing for my friends Andrew and Susanna's wedding in Scotland, it was a wildlife theme for the invites and stationary and stuff and I even got to do animals for the beer pumps and menus and a fox on a box.
It was a really really beautiful wedding. Also, just a few weeks ago it was featured in the times, so now I can finally say that my tits have been in the paper.
I was so lucky to be part of such a lovely event. Hooray for Friends.
We went to see They Might Be Giants at the Barbican. It was amazing.
I got to help Andy out on the Broken Frontier table at ELCAF this year, and did this sketch of the Broken Frontier panel discussion.
In other BF related life content, as well as writing a few bits and bobs for the site, I also got to design the cover for this years Broken Frontier Yearbook
This Clara and Hana one page story is in the inside too.
If you want to see everyone else's awesome work for the yearbook you can buy one here.
I also did a number of illustrations for the UCL alumni magazine Portico this year, including this one depicting an overworked teacher. There may be a very small amount of exaggeration for comic effect in the amount of paperwork here. Only slight tho.
As well as my talk at London Laydeez do Comics in May which I blogged about here. I also made two public appearances doing a talking and a powerpoints at two big comic art festivals this year, in my capacity as Myriad winner.
Here I am on the Laydeez panel "Prolific" at Thought Bubble in Leeds in really excellent company with Kate Brown, Priya Kuriyan, Katriona Chapman and Louise Crosby.
Thought Bubble was especially good this year. Everyone said so.
A month later I was off again this time to Kendal (where the mint cake comes from) for LICAF. (all self respecting comic festivals are acronyms. Except Thought Bubble, but you can call it T.Bubs to make yourself feel better)
I got to hang out a lot with the amazing Sabba Khan, my fellow Myriad shortlistee and book contractee. You should check out her work you will not regret it. And with our estimable editor Corinne Pearlman. The theme of our talks was on the importance of locality in comics, which was awesome to talk about, but slightly awkward that both me and Sabba are making comics about London, when the festival was in the Lake District. Luckily the third speaker was more local - the talented and lovely Owen Michael Johnson
Also this year I got to see Adriene, of Yoga with fame at a giant yoga cult event at Ally Pally with Wallis and Danny.
And speaking of Wallis I also had the honour of helping her put up her exhibition in collaboratoin with Double Jab gym to celebrate her awesome residency there and the comic she made about it.
I've still been doing bits and pieces of the usual too
Here's a purple heron
Here's a facebook portrait of the amazing Katy Wagget, you should check out her photography too.
Here's an Australian themed name commission.
These two continue to be the loves of my life and I am very blessed to have them.
If you want to know what my favourite comics are that I read this year I wrote about them for The Quietus here.
I also went to Devon, and Brighton, and Rye, and probably some other places and did loads of other stuff with lovely family and friends. But this post is already way too long.
So I am going to wish you all a very merry happy new year.