The End is in Sight!

Good evening happy campers,

Well, it felt as if this week would never come, but here it is! Just one more presentation at University to go, and the second year of lectures will be over. Sure, there will be some work to do over Easter to improve some assignment work, but no more caffeine-chugging sessions of working 12 hours a day! Well. For a little while, anyway.

This past week has seen the completion of the first ever zine I’ve worked on! Zara Ward, Kamala Roberts and myself created Down to your Skivvies as a part of a University assignment that we’re hoping can be carried forward and continued over summer and into next year! This first issue we’ve looked at celebrating women in illustration and the arts, and touched upon areas of feminism and understanding what it is to be feminist. We have interviews, an article, our own work and also our first submission coming from a first year illustration student. Below is a picture of the zine, and also of the interview I did with Hannah Berry – unfortunately my interview with Hannah was conducted over email so I had to rely on my imagination of how our interview would look if we were face to face. We both agreed that there would be balloons.

The zine will be available for sale shortly via my Etsy site, for three whole Great British pounds sterling. Which, when you think about it, is pretty good for 28 pages of content printed with love*. I shall keep you all posted with when the zine goes up for sale online.

* more like, with increased anger at how the University printers are absolutely, ridiculously awful and drive me insane.

In more zine related news, I’m very happy to have finished my one-page black and white comic for Keara Stewart! I’ve been referring to this project as a zine for a little while as my heads been buried in projects galore, but due to all the interest Keara is making it an anthology – how EXCITING! I’m absolutely honoured to have been asked to contribute, and I had a lot of fun creating my piece for Keara. I believe there will be some Broken Frontier coverage coming up before the anthology is released, so keep your peepers open! Naturally, I’ll allow a little sneak preview….

Sneaky preview... Keara's anthology - coming soon!
Sneaky preview… Keara’s anthology – coming soon!

 

Also, in the world of fairness, I found out last week that I was unfortunately unsuccessful for my application for ELCAF, the East London Comics Arts Festival in June. You can’t win them all, sadly, and although I was really looking forward to this one, they received over 400 applications and only had about 70 tables, so I’m not taking it personally! This morning, however, I received an email from Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds in November saying I’ve been successful. YAAAAY!! Thought Bubble has to be one of the biggest of the comic art festivals in the UK, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to have a nice half table selling my work! This makes for MancsterCon in August, and Leeds in November, so I’m just waiting to hear back about Alternative Press TAKEOVER 2015 in London, in May! Busy busy busy. I’m really excited to meet some of my idols and acquaintances I’ve made over the past few months, so once I’m back off holiday I’ll be making up my Game Plan for summer 2015. Work Hard / Eat Biscuits Hard. Am I right?

Speaking of holiday, this time next week I’ll be sliding down the French Alps face-first with my snowboard in the air (woooohoo!), so I will be unable to grace you all with my presence. Rest assured, I will be waffling away on my return, and I’ve taken extra precautions this time and have invested in some uncomfortable wrist guards to fit under my snowboard gloves so I don’t damage my hands in any way whilst falling on my bum every 5 minutes. I’m confident that some fresh mountain air and some Jägermeister will rejuvenate the ol’ brain cells, plus people keep saying that relaxing is.. good? What is this ‘relaxing’, thing.. PFFT. I’ll give it a whirl, anyway!

For now, I wish you all a happy Easter! I hope you all manage to have successful egg hunts in the garden whilst trying to chase the dog. Oh wait, that’s just my family?

See you all in two weeks!! Peace out! x

Sometimes I pretend to be cool.

 

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Down to Your Skivvies Zine

Down to Your Skivvies is a collaborative zine created by Kamala Roberts, Zara Franciszka Ward and myself. Looking at particular themes and the relationship of these topics with illustration, issue #1 focused on feminism and women in the arts, with issue #2 looking at writers and books. Including articles, illustrations, interviews and more, Down to Your Skivvies encompasses everything that is true to a DIY zine; printed in black and white on a Xerox printer, 20-24 pages, full of thoughts, opinions and original artwork.

Issue #1 available to buy online here

Issue #2 available to buy online here

Covers and editing: Rozi Hathaway
Content: Rozi Hathaway, Kamala Roberts & Zara Franciszka Ward

Covered by Broken Frontier’s ZINEWATCH!

Down to Your Skivvies! is a zine put together by Zara Franciszka Ward, Rozi Hathaway and Kamala Roberts with a stated intention to celebrate “being female, feminism and all things lady-like”. Regular readers of ‘Small Pressganged’ will know that Rozi Hathaway is one of six UK small press creators I have been following throughout this year at Broken Frontier that I have suggested are ones to watch in 2015. So it goes without saying that I was particularly drawn to her contributions in these pages.

Hathaway’s two-page comic herein deals with her formative relationship with feminism with a raw honesty and, as ever, her visuals ensure the reader’s empathy with a reflective and evocative quality (sneak peek above right). She also interviews acclaimed graphic novelist Hannah Berry (Adamtine) in Down to Your Skivvies #1 and there are further Q & A discussions with Typical Girls magazine editor Jamila Prowse by Roberts, artist Fiona McDonald by Ward, and a piece on comics creator Sarah McIntyre’s thoughts on the lack of diversity in the portrayal of women in the medium. Old school zine-style in presentation, Down to Your Skivvies! is an eclectic mix of material that, nevertheless, retains a consistent thematic approach and voice.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Zinewatch – A Round-Up of DIY Culture from Alys Jones, Alexandra Cook, Rozi Hathaway, Brigid Deacon and More

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Machines

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

Ahh.. What’s that I hear? That’s the sweet sound of completed projects, essays, assignments and briefs.. The sound of stress-headaches slowly dissipating and being replaced with long-nights sleep and lessened under-eye bags (well….. here’s hoping). Although it’s not time to completely breathe a sigh of relief just yet, I’m now completely on top of my workload and ahead of the curve for remaining deadlines! It’s a smug and content feeling, I must admit.

One area that I’m happy to have completed is the Machines project, which launched as a part of a University based exhibition last Thursday. Us second year students were handed this brief at the beginning of the term, all we were given was the word ‘machines’, and we could interpret it in any way we envisioned. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I chose to incorporate a back-story narrative with the hope of possibly turning the idea into a comic one day. I’m not entirely sure I’ll take it any further, but it was fun to try out narrative in a different way! Below are some images of the exhibition in it’s finished stages, including some work from my fellow students.

 

01/03/2026

Two years ago, the Kepler 2 Telescope caught sight of an exo-planet displaying similar characteristics to our own planet Earth. Following this discovery, a curiosity rover had been to this new planet, newly named by NASA as the planet ‘Spyryt’. Sent through an open worm-hole, the Spyryt Curiosity Rover shuttle accelerated through time and recently landed on the barren wasteland. Nobody could have expected what images started to be sent back.

The following pictures have been sent from the Spyryt Curiosity Rover, and additionally the use of 3D printing has allowed samples to be sent back digitally, though testing is still incomplete. Spyryt’s desolate, dystopian landscape is being kept quiet from the public for now, but questions are being asked. And we don’t know how to answer them…

I had some interesting feedback from my peers and lecturer, general consensus seems to be that I should have increased the size of the newspaper articles, or made more – which is understandable. It’s hard to envision an exhibition in a space before it goes in, so looking at it on the wall it may have been better to have more/larger satirical articles. On the whole the feedback seemed to be positive (I think??), I knew what I wanted to do and I executed it to a good standard, and I can’t pick fault with any particular part, but I’m definitely feeling the void of having no particular character/protagonist. I approached the brief with a comic in mind, but due to the time constraints involved I couldn’t really focus on any of the story from back on Earth with engaging characters and things like that. But hey, I take is all as valuable experience. We had to incorporate a 3D element into our pieces, so that’s what the interesting pile of dirt, rocks, computer parts and medical supplies is! That was definitely fun, and apparently it counts as ‘art’. Maybe I should smuggle it into the Tate and see if I can sell it for some obscene amount of money to fund my next comic?

Talking of comics, after seeing the lunar eclipse on Friday I thought of my characters from The Red Road, and how I kind of miss drawing them. Is that weird? I like to think that it’s an understandable sufferance; as comics people spend so many ridiculous hours drawing the same characters over and over again, they kind of feel like dear friends at the end of it all. Maybe I’m just a romantic, but I thought of Bear and Coyote as I accidentally-tried-not-to-blind-myself from the beautiful, surreal sight of an eclipse mid-morning, and felt compelled to catch up with my old friends in this quick drawing/painting;

Image (10)

I didn’t have much time to draw and paint this one, but I’m thinking of maybe doing some limited prints for the festival season (if I’m successful.. I hope you’re all still keeping your fingers, toes and eyes crossed?) if people are interested. We shall see! As the University deadlines fade into history I remember that burning passion for drawing and that I have the whole summer to draw to my little hearts content! Yippee!

Now, as referenced with my excitement last week, the zine I’ve been working on with two fellow students is almost ready to be printed. We came up with a name, just final touches and printing to be done! Now, I’m probably biased, but this zine is going to be really interesting, and you should definitely be excited to see some previews next week before I put some up for sale on my Etsy store. Also, I’ve had to make another small zine in the past week for an assignment that’s being printed tomorrow. AND I have been plotting out a small one-pager comic for another zine I was asked to contribute on from the lovely Keara Stewart, which will be going on sale at zine fairs and selected stores in the coming months.. So lots of zine business bridging the gap before I can get working on the next story!

Anywho, I believe that’s it for now! I can’t relax too much – best get back to some Uni work before I forget something critically important. Keep your eyes peeled for next week, there will be ZINES EVERYWHERE! Peace out! x

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Mid-Month Madness

Good evening happy campers!

So, I don’t know about anyone else but I really need a holiday. University work has slowly been piling up to my eyeballs and somehow I still seem to be relatively calm. Ish. This week past week has seen the completion of pieces ready for a University-based exhibition, and also work towards an exciting zine-project I’ve been working on alongside two of my fellow students! More about that later..

I am exceedingly stoked to now have The Red Road stocked in Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham! Now, for those who aren’t aware, I grew up not far from Birmingham and spent many happy teenage weekend in the city centre around the Oasis Market, or at gigs at the old Carling Academy screaming along to whatever music I was into and getting knocked accidentally on a new ear piercing. Ahh, those were the days. Anyway, any of you West Midland folk can now pop in and see Dave and the gang and Nostalgia & Comics and support the small press scene. Woohoo!

The Red Road – now sold in Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham!

As the two-month mark since The Red Road was released passed yesterday, I am absolutely over-the-moon to have been able to pass so many on to new and loving homes! In fact, as I sit here with only 25 copies left, I may well indeed be looking into a second-run of printing once my stocks get super low. I have been thinking about a second run for a couple of weeks now, and although it’s another scary financial burden (even scarier this time, as family and friends have already purchased from the first run and subsequently filled their family clause agreements) I have some pretty exciting ideas of what bonus material I can squeeze into an extra four pages! Alas, that’s still a little while away yet.. But exciting times are in the horizon.

In other news, the University-based Machines exhibition launches on Thursday! Unfortunately, as the event is in the creaky-old University art-block and it’s not open at any realistic times for non-students, it’s a little hard to get excited about compared to my last exhibition with the Art Day Collective lot in 2013. Though, the work is done and today we all installed our pieces, so my little corner is all ready to go! The theme of the exhibition is Machines, and each of us studenty-lot took on our own interpretation of the word and created a body of work including a sculptural element. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I took a narrative sci-fi approach to the brief, with a dystopian mirror planet being explored by a curiosity rover.. Oooo errr, I hear you all say. Well, if you want to come and see the exhibition, it’s opening night is Thursday 19th March (this week!) with a wine reception from 5-7pm. You can see some sneak-peeks and previews on the exhibitions website here, and more information about the exhibition dates on the poster;

Machines Exhibition - Opens this week!
Machines Exhibition – Opens this week!

I will endeavour to take lots of nice photos of my work up before I have one-too-many cups of free wine, so hold onto your hats for next weeks update (Andy Oliver, as you’re the only person I can think of who wears a hat who I know reads my updates, please make sure you hold onto your hat extra tight on behalf of all the non-hat-wearers).

In other exciting news, this weekend saw the completion of some pieces I’ve been working on for a zine! The zine that is yet to be named is a collaborative effort between my student-friends Zara, Kamala and myself, with the first issue is on the theme of women in the arts industry and feminism. As I’ve mentioned before, I managed to utilise my HOAX: Psychosis Blues contacts and arrange for an interview with Hannah Berry, as I absolutely adore her work. To add to this, I’ve written an article and arranged another interview (which unfortunately has seemingly fallen through), plus made a two-page comic to be featured in the zine. Other highlights from Zara and Kamala include interviews with a female artist and also a lady who has launched her own women’s magazine in London. We’ll be putting the zine together this week and next week ready for deadline, and if people are interested I’ll see if we can put them up for sale on my Etsy store. Once the zine has been DIY printed I shall post up some spreads for you all to gander at, so keep a watch out! For now, here’s a sneaky-peek I put up on Twitter yesterday of part of my comic..

New zine out soon!
New zine out soon!

Finally, I have applied for the Alternative Press Takeover 2015 this week, which is a FREE, one-day event in London on the 9th May from 12pm-7pm! I won’t hear back for a little while, so please everybody keep all fingers, toes and eyes crossed for this, my Thought Bubble application and my ELCAF application! I’m raring and ready to go for a summer of meeting fellow creators, selling works and getting inspired, so the first step is being accepted.

Anyway, I think that’s possibly all for now! I have more upcoming assignment work to show and announce in the next two weeks which are going to be somewhat crazy, so check back soon! But for now.. Peace out! x

 

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It’s not the destination, it’s the ride.

Good evening my happy followers!

So, another week gone, and a fresh week full of challenges and piles of work await my undivided attention.. It’s getting to that key time where all of my university deadlines fall around the same week of each other, so I’m manically trying to get everything done to the highest possible level that I can do whilst still juggling a few other things and whatever is left of my sanity. On the plus side, I had an incredibly efficient week last week, and although that doesn’t make things that much easier in the run-up to the deadline mine field, it does help a little. One thing I’m really happy to have completed is as follows..

In early February I was approached via Facebook by a charity called Ride for Willen; They have organised a 800 mile charity bike ride from Paris to Nice, over both Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux, with the aim of raising much needed funds for the Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes. Alongside the sponsored bike ride, they have an additional site called Ride.Eat.Drink set up to further support the Willen Hospice by selling illustrated gifts and prints. Naomi, a good friend of mine from Uni, had also been approached to create a piece and she made this incredibly detailed paper-cut original illustration for sale. Now, I was a little late to the party as I needed to get some uni work out of the way first, but thanks to my other good friend known as The Mohawk, cycling king, I finally came up with this piece which I finished on Thursday evening! Check it out;

Donated illustration to charity; Ride for Willen
Donated illustration to charity; Ride for Willen

According to my previously mentioned friend, The Mohawk, the secret behind the enjoyment of cycling is the views – and this really stuck with me. Although I’m not a cyclist myself, I am definitely an appreciator of good views, and after some research and presenting The Mohawk with some ideas, he helped me narrow down my concepts which I then sketched up and refined further. And then, well.. There it is! I tried to really capture the essence of the peace and tranquillity from riding (not the leg-burning pain I was blessed with the last time I used a bike machine at the gym..). I also didn’t want to focus too much on who, or what bike it is, so it’s open to the imagination a little more. Anyway, the Ride.Eat.Drink team seemed to really like the piece, so I’m happy to be able to help! Prints of the piece should be going up for sale in the next couple of days, and you can further support the sponsored bike ride by visiting their donation page here or buying illustrated goodies here. Success!

Talking of finished pieces, I finally finished my submission for The Penguin Random House Design Award last week. As a brief also for a university assignment, I re-designed the book cover for the Puffin book Carrie’s War. It took a lot of critical analysis, re-drawing and re-jigging to get this piece as good as I could get it, and it was an insanely hard piece of work for some reason.. I think my brain is hardwired into narrative, so trying to give an essence of a whole book in one cover, whilst gaining viewer interest and maintaining that hold on the casual browser into picking it up and reading over.. Phew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it again! Props to people who can do it all (book covers, editorial, narrative, gifts, e.t.c), hopefully this book cover has taught me a lot and makes the next attempt a lot easier, but it was definitely a big challenge for me.

Carrie's War
Carrie’s War

I’m not entirely optimistic that it’s a winning entry, there are so many applicants for the competition it’s like being a very small student entry fish in a very large tank of other highly talented student fish. Anyway, regardless of the competition it’s been a healthy change for me to do something different, though I miss comics!

Finally, this past week I submitted my applications for ELCAF (East London Comics and Art Festival) being held on June 20th-21st, and also Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds on the weekend of 14th-15th November. In the world of comic art festivals (rather than the more well-known Comic-Con’s, which are more aimed towards the mass-market) Thought Bubble is one of the huge hitters. It’s been going since 2006, and rises in popularity every year. Along with the Comic Arts Festival in the Lake District, these two are the kings of festivals in the North of England. ELCAF in London is a fairly new festival, run by the publishers Nobrow. Both of these I would be hugely honoured to be able to attend, and I should find out by the end of the month whether I’ve been successful or not! Teamed with the more independently run MancsterCon that I’ve been confirmed for in August, I’m really hopeful that this year just keeps on getting more awesome! Fingers and toes crossed, everybody!

Right, I shall leave it at that for now. I shall be back with you all like clock-work in the next week for more updates on all the gossip from Rozi-HQ. Over and out! x

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Happy March!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

So, it’s March already! I mainly know this as I emerged from my desk for a brief amount of time to celebrate turning 25 with a cocktail in one hand and cake in the other. True story! And yes, it was as good as it sounds.. Though, I’ve been informed that I need to cease smiling or looking surprised as the wrinkles will start to stick soon. On a cheerier note, I have lots to tell you all about this week! Where shall I start..

Ah yes – The Red Road! That pesky book I keep harassing everybody about! WELL, as I mentioned last week in my blog post, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has featured me as one of Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, alongside Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian. It seems that Andy’s received quite a bit of attention from his article, and it looks like some exciting pieces will be coming up in Spring on the Small Pressganged section of Broken Frontier’s site! So, definitely worth watching out for that one – of course I’ll hold up giant, flashing neon signs to assist you all in the right direction. In also-awesome-news, the very kind Jared of OK Comics in Leeds has just taken on stock of The Red Road, so Leeds – you can now go and caress your very own copy! Although, preferably after purchasing, as I don’t think they allow non-spend-caressing..

okcomics

Further good news, is that on Friday myself and the incredibly talented papercut illustrator Naomi attended a University-led sales event, sharing a stall to sell our stuff! Given that it was a Friday, (and most students tend to be a little less inclined to attend their lectures surrounding the weekend.. Or any days ending with a ‘y’, for that matter) it was a fairly quiet few hours of selling – but the few people that did come round gave some positive feedback and I managed to sell a few more copies of The Red Road, and even some prints! The penguins print seemed to be very popular, so I shall have to make note to do more cartoony stuff for people to ‘aww’ at if they don’t know that they’re interested in comics yet.

Myself on the left, doing my very best sleep-deprived look, and Naomi on the right with her prints and papercut illustrations in the foreground!

 

All in all it was a fun day, and helped spread the word a bit! There should be some more events from October, so I shall get plenty of practise over summer, which leads me to…

Manchester! I am proud to be classed as an honourary-Northerner this year as I’m attending the indie comic event of MancsterCon! They describe themselves as follows…

MancsterCon is a voluntarily run organisation dedicated to bringing together the best of the independent sequential art scene in the North West. We organise seminars, artist meet ups and an annual convention through which we aim to highlight new talent in comics, illustration, animation and games.

MancsterCon 2015 will be held on 29th August at the University of Salford, Media City Campus. Tickets are available to buy here. If you’re interested in being a guest speaker or sponsoring our event, we’d love to hear from you!

I attended MancsterCon for the first time last year as a guest, which I covered in my blog here, and I really enjoyed the cosy feel of the event! I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to return this year selling The Red Road and other goodies, and I can’t wait to start putting together more bits to sell! You can read the announcement on their blog here, and purchase tickets here! I’m also excited to be exhibiting in the same space as the Merrick Comic guys, whose work is fantastic – I’m a bit behind the times as I only have issue one, so I’ll be looking forward to picking up the next few in August.

And finally, as I have been slowly working my way through University assignments, I’m making some decent progress with my Machines project I’ve mentioned a little bit about in the last couple of week! I don’t want to give too much away before the exhibition from the 19th (read all about it here!), so I shall leave you with one of my finished pieces for the project, which I gave you all a sneak-peek of a couple of weeks ago..

Oooh…. Machine-y..

 

For more information or to attend the event – see the Facebook page for more details! Anyway, I think that’s the latest for now.. For the rest of the week you’ll find me manically trying to get as much university project work done as possible, whilst trying not to over-caffeinate myself. Although I’ve had a very productive start to the week, so hopefully we’re all set for an excellent week. Must be the added wisdom of being a year older…. Peace out! x

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