Thought Bubble 2017 runs 18th – 24th September!


Huw “Lem” Davies Minterview by thoughtbubblefestival

Hey guys! Things are really cooking here at Thought Bubble towers –  it’s just over three weeks until the opening of this year’s Festival and all hands are on deck to make this year our best ever. And apparently nautically themed. Who knew?! To tide you over on those agonising last few moments before 2010’s events finally arrive we’ve got a new minterview for you!

This week we had a lovely old natter with Huw “Lem” Davies, creator of the brilliant Bunny, who is part of the greatest team ever known – the Friends of Thought Bubble!

To start off, do you think you could give us an idea of how you first got into sequential art?

I was interested in comics in general reasonably early I think. Of course the Dandy and Beano featured, alongside a dusty old hard-backed annual of Hotspur comics from the 70s that’s particularly dear to my heart. The Hotspur was especially interesting because it felt much more grown up, a bit darker, more rounded. And it had pictures of passenger jets that looked like Concorde flying through thunderstorms, which obviously the Dandy didn’t. I am sure that informed some part of my comic-drawing brain.

The longer I try and work out what actually made me think “Yes, I would like to draw comics”, the less certain about it I get. I know I used to draw primitive “comics” when I was 10 or so, but I can’t remember why. I think I just assumed that reading comics were fun, and drawing was fun, and obviously if I combined the two it would be double plus fun. And, what do you know, I was right in that assumption.

It was certainly more fun that whatever you’re supposed to do on long caravan holidays anyway.

Was there a discernible transition from making comics for fun to seriously producing them? Is it still double plus fun to do?

Not really, I think it just gradually happened over time by doing things which were a little more serious. They’re still double plus fun to do, else I think I would have given up ages ago.

Do you still read comics as well as produce them? Any favourites?

Oh yes, both online and off thanks to the local library carrying quite a broad selection of trades.

Stopping short of listing a whole lot of books that I’ve liked, I’ll just single out Northlanders Vol 1 by Brian Wood & Davide Gianfelice. It’s a great blend of beautiful art, great storytelling and it feels like a bit of a history lesson as well. I feel that Brian researches things properly and it makes the work stand out.

Is there any work, not necessarily in the medium of comics, that you consider an influence on your own?

Music is a big deal to me when making things, comics especially. I think it helps me concentrate and focus on the visual language I’m trying to use. Gosh, that sounds awfully pompous and Arty. But it’s all about getting into the right head-space, the right mood inside and kicking all the brain machinery into gear to make things work.

You’re appearing at this year’s Thought Bubble, what will you be bringing to the convention?

If everything goes according to plan I will be bringing little Bunny mini-comics covering the first three chapters of The Continuing Voyages, Bunny book collections, random mini-comics and hand-made Bunny figurines and soft toy mascots! Maybe some posters and stickers? And perhaps a little something unusual to go along with them, a game of intrigue and chance perhaps? Keep an eye out for a watermelon.

What was it that prompted you to select (the admittedly adorable) Bunnies as your signature characters?

I think they were a meme, way back when. How it happened I’m not actually too sure.

Was the production of accompanying Bunny collectibles something you’d always had in mind, or did it stem from a desire to branch out and make something a bit different?

I think it comes down to really enjoying making things. I enjoy working out how items come together, how to refine the process, how to make them look just as I want them to. Problem-solving, essentially.

Do you enjoy attending events like Thought Bubble?

I love Thought Bubble and conventions/shows in general because they’re fun and they’re work, and it’s so rare that you get to combine them. It’s great to meet existing readers, introduce some new ones to the rather confusing world of Bunny, getting to see old friends and catching up with comic-creating colleagues.

The only bad part is there is never, ever enough time. Sometimes it’s hard to leave the table and walk around a bit as a pedestrian and see the immense creative sea that stretches as far as the eye can see (or at least until the end of the hall). I generally leave feeling inspired… and very tired.

The
UK small press scene does seem to be growing ever more rapidly, have there been any noticeable changes to the community since you started?

To be honest I haven’t been involved at all in the UK small press scene at all until recently. I only did one UK convention and I was more involved in the US webcomic scene, so I’m really only just discovering just what’s out there on my doorstep so to speak. It’s all terribly exciting!

Finally – thought bubbles or caption boxes?

I have to admit to being fond to both. I require a lawyer to comment further.

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Mad props to Lem for talking to us, if you want to talk to him too then come along to the convention next month!

In other comics news we’re super excited that Solipsistic Pop – the biannual and best UK comics anthology ever – is launching volume three on November 12th at The Black Heart in Camden.

Volume 3 comprises an 80 page comic extravaganza for the discerning sequential art fan, featuring 30 original and exclusive stories from 26 of the finest comic artists living in the UK. Every imaginative, inventive and inspiring graphic tale within Solipsistic Pop 3 is uniquely tailored to be accessible to readers of all ages. An alternative comics primer for adults and children alike. Each anthology Includes a free Solipsistic Pop pencil for readers to create their own comic! Plus! An A3 poster & set of stickers designed by Philippa Rice.

There’s limited print-run of 500 copies, so be sure to nab one for yourself, and if you can’t make it to the launch party then it’ll be getting an official unveiling for the general public at Thought Bubble, where you’ll be able to meet most of the contributors too. Get them to sign it!

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Finally, it’s the MCM Expo this weekend, running from 29th – 31st October at the Excel centre in London, we’re going to be there with our friends from Travelling Man, and we’re bringing copies of our lovely brochure with us, including the full 2010 festival programme! Come say hi if you’re popping along, and if you see us at the after-party maybe we’ll let slip some super secret Thought Bubble 2011 news. Mystery, intrigue, comics! YAY!

– Clark

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Friends of Thought Bubble: The Uncanny Blog-Men by thoughtbubblefestival

Hello! Has it been a week already? Well, as promised, here’s a new profile for the Small Press and Independent Friends of Thought Bubble (or Masters of the Friendiverse) portfolio, and also some information on a fantabulous new anthology which you should all check out. Would you like to know more? If so – simply read on, Macduff.

This week we’re extremely happy to be dusting off, and rolling out, the red carpet for Huw “Lem” Davies, a Leeds local whose lunatic tales of leporidaen life are lovely! Just take a look at the gallery (below), and I’m sure you’ll agree. If not, then there is simply no helping you.

Lem is a twenty-something, Leeds-dwelling graduate in Fine Arts with an
emphasis on sculptures that go beep. Somehow this has translated
reasonably well to the science of creating comics.

In-between drawing a webcomic called Bunny – which features a family of
small marshmallow like creatures on a mission to understand their world
and ours – and sewing together plush toys for a living he can be found
drawing covers and introductory comics for short-story anthologies about
Robots in the Wild West, stories about lonely cosmonauts for the 69 Love
Songs Illustrated project, and small bleak comics about sleepwalking
into a city made almost entirely of rather forbidding spires for his own
amusement.

You can also follow Lem’s work on twitter, and via his blog. I recommend you do, it’s seriously worth it.

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In other Small Press news, the time is fast approaching for the launch of Solipsistic Pop volume 2!

Solipsistic Pop is a biannual anthology designed to spotlight the best in alternative comic art from the UK. It features diverse, beautiful, twisted and peculiar comics that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Comic artists old and new are encouraged to contribute.

Volume 2 contains 64 pages of sequential art from some of the best comic artists, illustrators and designers working in the UK today. With a 12 page newspaper insert, gorgeous gatefold cover and specially designed tote bag, it’s a must have for any comic fan.

Contributors include Kristyna Baczynski, Becky Barnicoat, Adam Cadwell, Stephen Collins, Joe Decie, Marc Ellerby, Sally Hancox, Anne Holiday, Tom Humberstone, Philippa Johnson, Daniel Locke, Lizz Lunney, Jack Noel, Mark Oliver, Luke Pearson, Octavia Raitt, Anna Saunders, Julia Scheele, Matthew Sheret, and Matilda Tristram.

The first volume received rave reviews (for good reason), so be sure to get your hands (or other appendages) on the sophomore issue. Awesome.

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That’s it for this week, but we’ll be back in seven(ish) days time with some more sequentially goodness, so you won’t have to wait too long. Of course, if you’re really impatient, you could store yourself in carbonite for seven days and then get a friend to begin the thawing process (and aid your recovery from the associated hibernation sickness) just before then. But that would be silly.

Put the bunny back in the box.

– Clark