Frantic Fun at FantasyCon and BristolCon!

The last two weeks have been a manic blur of fun, meeting friends, train frustration, award nominees, artwork, dizzyness and desperately trying to get something to dry! 😀

This year I was humbled and honoured to be shortlisted as Best Artist in the 2018 British Fantasy Awards, held on the last day of FantasyCon in what is always a fun awards ceremony. This year it was held in Chester, a town drenched in Roman history that I’d never been to before. The Queen hotel where the event was taking place was COLOSSAL! You kind of felt that you had dropped into Pan’s Labyrinth itself!

I was staying at the hotel in a beautiful Chinese decorated room with a shower door that didn’t close properly and a Nespresso machine, so despite flooding the bathroom floor twice I at least started every day fully caffeinated!  🙂

FantasyCon itself was a manic blur, but in the nicest way. Meeting up with most of my fellow Grimmies (Sammy, Jo, Roz, Steven P, Steven G, Pete, Kate, Joel, Jason) and seeing other friends (Adele, Chloe, Juliet McKenna, Cheryl, Rosa, Anna Smith-Spark, Anne Stephens, Jen Williams – such cool people!) is always so lovely. The Grimbold Books table looked fab, (we have SO many awesome books!) and the panels I went to were so interesting. There were many highlights, but for me it was probably the panel on artists working in the SFF genre, as an illustrator myself I was keen to hear author and publisher thoughts on artwork in books and the process of using an illustrator.

I was flabbergasted though when Joanne Harris (of Chocolat fame) came into the room and sat down as a panellist! She wasn’t on the programme at all so it was a fab surprise and yes, I had to blurt out in a geekish fashion that “I love your books!”. 😀  Ian Whates, head of NewCon Press, was there as the panel moderator and hearing his thoughts on commissioning illustrators and artwork was really interesting. SUCH an incredibly useful talk and at the end of it I actually got to speak to Joanne Harris and give her my business card – it seems she’s on the look out for an illustrator for her next book! Eeeek! Fingers crossed! I also got to chat briefly with Ian Whates and his wife from NewCon who are always looking for new illustrators to use too, so some really useful contacts made there! He he he!

The only irritation, and I know I sound like an old fart here, is that a young 17ish kid decided to gravitate towards me, showed me her (ahem) drawings, which I dutifully smiled, nodded and praised, then continued to draw throughout the panel, not listening to what was being said and actually kept interrupting proceedings to languidly talk about her father writing a poetry book that she did some drawings in!!!!! WTH? If you’re going to be rude enough to interrupt rather than listen, then at least ask a question about what was being said, don’t interrupt in a totally inane and bizarre manner! Ian and Joanne were incredibly sweet and kind natured over the whole thing and probably guessed as did I, that this young girl had some problems. Hey ho.

But that’s the great thing about Cons, not only are you meeting friends, making new ones, soaking up the creative atmosphere like a sponge, making connections and contacts, expanding your own business reach and hanging out with lovely like-minded folk, but cons are incredibly welcoming and open to everyone, that’s their strength, so you get to meet people who may not ordinarily cross your path which is always very cool! 😉

FantasyCon ended in the awards ceremony and no, I didn’t win Best Artist. That accolade went to a very well established American illustrator from New York, Jeffery Alan Love, who has won several other awards and whose work is great. I was disappointed naturally but really didn’t expect to win so it wasn’t a surprise. I was just genuinely chuffed to bits to be shortlisted amongst such amazing artists! I was also thrilled that Jen Williams won Best Fantasy Novel for Ninth Rain, Well done Jen! 😀 ❤

FantasyCon ended I only had a few days breather before BristolCon, where I was exhibiting my artwork in the Art Room there. I showed a selection of my fantasy maps, silk paintings (many of them SFF themed) and my portraits which I set up on the Friday before the Con. I decided to show my portraits in a Game of Thrones style ‘Wall of Faces’ or ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ again but with new portraits in, including one of fab sci-fi writer, Gareth L Powell who spotted himself! 🙂

To add to the manic art making, I’d been asked by Vice Chair, John Bavistock in August to do a secret portrait of BristolCon’s Guest Of Honour this year, my lovely mate Joanne Hall (who is not only a kick arse uber-talented writer, but actually ran BristolCon for 8 years!). It took me about 4 weeks of full on painting to complete as, to make it extra special, I decided to do an oil painting portrait on canvas rather than my usual pencil portraits. Lol, BUT, that meant I HAD to get it finished before I left for Chester to give it a week and a half to dry in time for BristolCon! Hairdyers were definitely used in the last manic hours! 😀

BristolCon went brilliantly well as did the Silk Painting Workshop I ran there, where my lovely 5 students produced some gloriously wonderful silk paintings, and yes I’m looking at you Roz Clarke & Rosa – your work was sublime!!!!! ❤ It was lovely to see fellow Grimbold Books mate, Pete Sutton launch his awesome new book, Seven Swords, which I can’t wait to read (having been mesmerised by Pete’s short story collection A Tiding of Magpies which I read on the train home from Chester) and it was fab to watch the Q&A panel with Roz grilling Jo on subjects as diverse as writing, running BCon, life on the farm etc.

But I admit my highlight was seeing Jo being honoured as Guest of Honour for all her incredible hard work over the last 8 years as well as her amazing writing achievements…and seeing her reaction to her surprise secret portrait was just comedy gold!!! 😀

A gloriously lovely two weeks all round…now time to REST!!!!! 😀 ❤ xxxxx

❤ ❤ ❤

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Shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award! Eeeek!

It’s taken a couple of weeks to sink in, hence the delay, but I’m thrilled to say that I’ve been shortlisted for the 2018 British Fantasy Awards in the Best Artist category!!! Yay!!!!

Can’t quite believe it but seeing my name listed as a shortlist nominee is surreal and a little overwhelming, but in a good way! 🙂 I’ve been nominated in the Best Artist category for the two hand drawn pen & ink maps I created for HarperCollins last year, for Anna Smith-Spark’s brilliant ‘The Court of Broken Knives’ and Anna Stephen’s wonderful ‘Godblind’!

It’s been a lovely surprise especially given that this has been a tough year for me personally, health problems, one of my beloved wolfies (Tolly) has been very unwell, massive financial worries (colossal vet bills!) and the latest gut punch – my wonderful Godmother (who I’ve known and loved my whole life and has been there for us through some pretty traumatic times) is desperately ill with ovarian cancer. It fact she’s having her operation tomorrow to try and cut all the cancer out. We’re all very worried and fighting back tears at the moment, so having something lovely like this happen has definitely been a much needed ray of sunshine in amongst a sea of crap.

I won’t find out if I’ve won until the swanky awards ceremony (October 21st). So in a mad dash, despite the fact that I’m totally skint, I booked up the hotel and tickets for FantasyCon 2018 up at Chester (October 19th – 21st) and will be sitting there during the awards ceremony with fingers and toes crossed while practising my ‘I’m not really disappointed’ face when someone else wins it! 😀

A massive THANK YOU to the British Fantasy Society and to everyone who voted for me. Amazing to see the other artists I’m nominated with:

Best Artist
· Ben Baldwin
· Jeffrey Alan Love
· Victo Ngai
· Daniele Sera
· Sophie E Tallis
· Sana Takeda

I also want to shout out my other friends who have been nominated too. Firstly a massive congrats to the lovely Joanne Hall who has been nominated in the Best Short Story category for her story ‘Illumination’ taken from the anthology ‘The Book of Dragons’ by AJ Dalton published by my publishers, Kristell Ink (an imprint of Grimbold Books). Congrats to Joshua Cornah another fellow Grimmie from Kristell Ink, who has been nominated for Best Comic/Graphic Novel for his hilarious Grim & Bold cartoons. Grimbold Books themselves (worthy winner of the Best Independent Press at last year’s BFS awards) are also again nominated this year as well! Woo hoo! xxx

I also want to make a huge shout out to Anna Smith-Spark who has been nominated for Best Fantasy Novel and Best Newcomer for ‘The Court of Broken Knives’! Way to go Anna! 😀 xxx

Yay!!! So stupidly excited and very honoured and humbled by the whole thing.

To check out more of my work, pop by my website: Sophie E Tallis Illustrations or if you want to BUY any artwork, check out my new Etsy shop: Sophie’s Artisan Arts!

Thank you folks! ❤ ❤ ❤ xxxxx

“Illumination” Shortlisted for Best Short Story at BFS Awards!

SO thrilled for the gorgeous and wildly talented Joanne Hall, a fellow British Fantasy Award shortlisted nominee. VERY well deserved for her excellent short story, ‘Illumination’. If you haven’t read it yet…what are you waiting for!!! 🙂

Joanne Hall

Great news this week (and a long overdue blog post, I’m sorry…). My short story “Illumination”, which appeared in The Book Of Dragons, edited by A J Dalton and published by Kristell Ink, has been shortlisted for Best Short Story at this years British Fantasy Society Awards, which will be presented at FantasyCon in October.

The-Book-of-Dragons-by-AJ-DaltonI’m thrilled to bits about this; I almost never write short stories and, I’ll level, I’d completely forgotten that I had promised Adam a story for Book of Dragons until he emailed me about ten days before the deadline to remind me about if and I totally told him I was working on it which was A Bit Of A Fib (ok, a complete fib) and then had to flounder to get it written at the last minute*. So to be shortlisted for a major award for it is just brilliant 😀

The full…

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A big thank you, welcome and New Year’s resolutions

Lol, well I’m starting the New Year with a re-blog, but what a great blog to show everyone. If you haven’t already come across Morgen Bailey, then what are you waiting for? Huge thanks to Morgen herself for very kindly name checking me, thank you sweetie…all that’s left to say is check out her blog and her essential writing advice. Happy New Year everyone!!! 😀 xxx

Morgen 'with an e' Bailey

Hello everyone. It’s not often that I put a general post up but this is the perfect time to say a big “THANK YOU” to those of you who have visited, whether occasionally and regularly. I’d especially like to thank (in alphabetical order) Chris F, Chong, Della B, Deb B, Euphonos, Graham S, Jane R, Joy S, Marcoujor, Mark K, Maxima, Nanny C, Sal B, Sophie T, and Yvonne H, to name just a few. There are many, many others who have supported me since I created this blog on 31st March 2011 and are to thank for the 281,183 hits and 1,074 subscribers to-date. Thank you. 🙂

Morgen Oct 2014A very warm welcome to those who have visited recently (or now) for the first time. Hopefully this blog is easy enough to navigate but if not, do let me know how it could be improved. The general idea is that there is new…

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2014 in review

Can’t believe it’s this time of the year again! The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. 😀

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Books for Christmas

An AWESOME list of Christmas books to fill your stockings and guarantee a great time over the festive season. For the perfect Christmas gift, check these out…oh, and they have my book too! 😀 xxx

The Nerdy Paige

T-minus sixteen days until the big ‘C’! Christmas that is. We’re quickly approaching full-on-panic mode time, but don’t despair I have some Christmas ideas for you. Books! Yes, books, for less than the price of a double venti vanilla soy hot mocha with a shot of raspberry and spritz of whip cream you can be hurled away into far away lands with dragons, be thrust in the middle of a tangled murder mystery, or ride the high seas with pirates and pterodactyls. That sounds like a pretty awesome gift if you ask me. I have a few suggestion of Indie Books, you know, some great authors who aren’t signed to major labels, but are still pretty stinkin’ talented. My goal is to give a little air time to authors who you may’ve never heard of. I’m going to try my best to categorize these books into themes you might be…

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BristolCon and other loveliness

Another great blog post about BristolCon (I really will shift my arse and write my own tomorrow!). This time, it’s awesome fantasy writer and fellow Grimboldian, Robyn Jane Fulton aka, the awesome Ellen Croshain! Enjoy! 😀 xx

Ellen Crosháin Author's Blog

BristolCon can be summed up in four words. Ten buckets of awesome. It was so much fun.  Joanne Hall did an amazing job as Chair (as she has done since it started) I was really nervous going on my own because usually I go with hubster or Nakama. Sadly, I missed the first talk because my bus was late but I was kept busy by my goody bag and the stalls. I even bought a few Christmas presents. I’ll start off with the stalls. There was a room full of the usual stuff you get at cons, crafts and jewellery, stuff from Forbidden Planet and a comic book shop, as well as few authors and artists selling their own stuff. The FP stand had Grimbold Books, stuff by Emma Newman, Anna Lyle, Snorri Kristianson, Mark Lawrence and a dozen other authors and artists I have admired for years, including Jim…

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