Friday, 23 April 2010

Magma Books

Earlier in the week i went to talk to the people at magma books about how they select their stock and what sells etc. More market research than pushing my product. They were really nice and had a look at oil slick, and were actually really positive (i think) about it. They said that they normally take about 50 copies of something and that they take 45% of the self price. Things that would improve oil slick's chances of being stocked/selling well were.

-Some kind of packaging to protect the product from getting bashed around too much. maybe a cardboard band or a decorated envelope, thins also make it seem abit more of a high end product rather than just a newspaper, alternatively, a thicker cover.

-some colour apparently drastically improves a product's chance of selling, the lady said she liked it fine without and that even some coloured paper would help. pointed at le gun as an example of this.

-smaller format = less shelf space = easier to stock

We also talked about pricing and profitablility, and how considering the amount of units concerned, profit wasn't really worth worrying about. Unless I sold it for a tenner I wouldn't make enough money to support a modest chewing gum habit. Also if compared to other magazines, books etc. value for money dictates that it cannot cost more than about £4 max.

So better to aim for covering the costs and seeing in as an exercise in self promotion. at least until i can produce a higher gloss product. I've left them with a sample copy for the boss to have a look at and filled out a "stock proposition form" or some such. I think it's unlikely to be taken on, but i believe them when they said the artwork was good enough to be stocked, so the next step is to try and make a more commercially feasable product, and to talk to more shops.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Newspaper Arrived!

it's arrived and looks wicked, it's hard to get mega exited about images i've been looking at for weeks but the print quality is fine and the images are placed as they should be. I'm aware though that its not bulkiest publication and to charge any profitable amount of money for it (each copy costs £1.80, this goes down to £1 a copy at 500 copies and eventually get down to 30p for 5000 copies.) isn't really possible.

Previously I had identified following application for the zine

-distribution in comic book/arty shops
-sale online
-use as portfolio

These are all still possible but i'll have to decide if it's more useful to try and sell them and understand that process a little better, or save them for promotional use. I love the idea of self publishing but I think if I'm going to produce a standalone product that represents any kind of value for money (from a readers perspective, rather than as an artifact) I'll need some outside help from other writers and artists. below are some examples of some finnish newprint comics and also the Mc Sweenie's (american publishing house) quarterly concern, last year a newspaper version was released as an example of how they could be better, complete with broadsheet comics section.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Ron Rege jnr

He's great, really fresh and clean but still exiting to look at

poster and printed

The centrefold poster was causing me problems until the final minute. I had an A3 version which i was ok, with but when blown up to actual size (slightly larger than A2) it looked clumsy and rushed. spent most of the night before the print deadline redesigning it and thankfully I'm pleased with it now (bottom image). Just finalized the order for 50 copies. Did a trial run of full size prints on the plotter first and realized that the backgrounds were far from white so had to play with levels for a while to avoid a difference in tone between the images and the borders.

Friday, 9 April 2010

james jean

used to make comics now make work for galleries, amazing mysterious single frame narratives

Mushroom story & THE FOREST

Here's most of the final strip for the zine, based on Lizzie's mushroom story it's a sort of abstract fable, loaded with visual symbolism, the mushrooms look like the moon they're in love with, and at the end the mushroom pile falls on to the women's backs turning them into sort of tortoise creatures who can no longer look up and see the moon. Strange and great to draw.

Below are some photographs by Ansel Adams, Christel Lebas and Oshihiko Ueda that helped me think about the forest in this story.

Monday, 5 April 2010

more things like this

At christmas i got a copy of More Things Like This, a book featuring artists using text and imagery in a symbiotic way with neither functioning alone. I love the single frame narratives or situations in here people like David Shrigley and Raymond Pettibon that I know and others completely new to me. I think the extra dimensions you can add to picture with text is amazing, instead of explaining an image you can open up an additional range of potential meanings. For my centre spread rather than making a single bold image I'm having 2 captioned images that function as a very simple/open narrative. cause it's just a picture a page it's a different/refreshing dynamic from the rest of the zine and could act as a poster.

here are some pictures from the royal art lodge,

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

James Victore

beautiful inky black illustrations, and lovely letterforms

centre poster

I have for some time been trying to work out what the centrefold poster will be. I'd been playing around with the idea of a dark on dark poster to emphasize the theme of the zine, after my recent typograhy experiments the font used here seems a bit rubbish but i think the idea is still sound; the "brand" + dark + slightly hallucinogenic/unsettling.

the other option for the poster is a simple, biiig, line drawing probably of the old woman from the animation I'm making for Lizzie's story. I think this will have to be drawn full scale without much planning, as to copy a really tight sketch that big will only ever be disappointing.

cover text

here's more or less the completed "generals" page, i was conerned the scanned in text would be a poor match but as it was scanned at 600 dpi i think it's ok.

and here's the probable cover text, joel suggested that i look at old commercial typography, as well as saul bass titles to get the right high impact tone for the title. This is a font called Motor from the 1930's. To me it seems to evoke an obsolete idea of speed and industry.


I've spent a while browsing old typeface encyclopedias and found some fantastic fonts However most aren't available online without spending $69.99 or similar. Instead I've scanned pages from the books, and cut and pasted type on photoshop, and actually i think the results have a lovely handmade feel. This one is Monotype Bodoni Ultra Bold.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


tried cutting and pasting type from the vorticist manifesto but it looks like a crap indie band's logo

more nice typography

here a nearly completed page in urgent need of better type. the layout's ok but the typeface itself is too friendly for the gothic tone of the zine.

vorticist manifesto

this aggressive and explosive manifesto written by the vorticists uses a bold and degraded typeface, and an anarchic, expressive layout to put a rant on to paper in a spectacular way. I'd like to use type like this throughout Oil Slick. However it's difficult get the analogue messyness right using digital design.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

beautiful jagged silhouettes by Sall Bass. I'm looking at old titles and corporate logo/ industrial design to try and get the right feel for my cover text.

Friday, 19 March 2010


first attempt at mapping out how the projection for me and lizzie's collaboration will work, remembering how to use after effects etc.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Oil Slick

I think I've arrived on OIL SLICK as a probable title for the zine. I decided on it at the same time as the (rough) image above, and i think/hope they work in tandem to create an eerie/macabre tone as well as referencing my inky black drawings. Names are hard and most people won't read the connotations I'm imposing on this one, but i like it...

Monday, 8 March 2010

vania zouravliov

Fever Ray album sleeve

Fever Ray has an incredibly strong visual identity utilizing folklore, fashion and all sorts. a really good example of something that references traditional imagery yet still seems fresh and contemporary.

dummess drawin



Friday, 5 March 2010


working a3 to get thinking about how the format will work

collaboration continued

two images informed by Lizzie's Mushroom story


Newpaper printing service

This service has opened up in the last couple of weeks, as I'm now thinking in terms of making a A3 format newspaper, this seems like pretty good timing!