Moniaive Comic Festivals

I grew up reading comics, then progressed to graphic novels as an adult.

I've never been to one of the large comic festivals, like you get in San Fransisco, or even Glasgow. But closer to home I've always loved the Moniaive Comic Festival.

Set in a small village nestled in the hills of Dumfries and Galloway, it was originally created by legendary comic book writer, Alan Grant (Batman, Lobo, Judge Dredd and countless others), and his wife, Sue, who live in what has sometimes been dubbed, "Scotland's coolest village".

Top named writers and artists, some of whom turn down offers to go to the large conventions, will happily turn up to Moniaive Comic Festival because they all know Alan and Sue. Without even trying, you can find yourself sharing a pint and a conversation with legends in the industry.

In 2016 I met, and began collaborating with, Ralph Yates-Lee, owner of Basement 20 Hair Salon in Dumfries. Over the years we have worked on many projects together where he has managed to pull together teams of hairdressers, makeup artists, and models for some of the larger shoots I've been involved in.

Ralph is also a comic book fan, and a resident of Moniaive, so it wasn't long before we decided to contribute to the festival ourselves: creating characters that looked like they could be straight out of a graphic novel, and photographing them, while encouraging the public to watch the processes and even sketch the models.

2016 - Moniaive Manga
Ralph and his team created models using themes and tropes from Japanese Anime

2017 - New Model Army
Tying in with the 40th anniversary of 2000AD, characters were created to look like they had stepped out of a dystopian future. Alan Grant wrote a 6 panel comic strip using the characters, which were then illustrated by his grandson, Elliot Gray.

2018 - The Great Moniaive Comic Con Con
Getting ever more ambitious, Ralph conceived of the idea of android characters with fancy hairstyles. Alan Grant then wrote a script for a 16 page story, where the androids come to the Moniaive Comic Festival and begin kidnapping the writers and artists to take to a rival festival, but are stopped by "them pesky kids" at the last moment.

The pages and panels were then given to different artists, locals, and visitors to illustrate before being made into a small comic book. As well as photographing the cover image, I was also responsible for creating 4 panels of the story, over a 2-page spread

Below you will find galleries of the photos created for each of these events, and short (about 2 minutes long) behind-the-scenes videos of the photo shoots. The footage for each of these videos was shot by my friend, landscape photographer, Allan Wright, and then I edited the videos together.

2016 - Moniaive Manga (2:39)

2017 - New Model Army (2:01)

2018 - The Great Moniaive Comic Con Con (1:39)