The Next Big Thing

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, apparently winter has arrived in full force as I sit for long hours at my desk with 5 layers of clothing on with my new best friend, the kettle. Thanks to my father I’m largely anti-central heating, so in true British style I can sit and moan about the weather safe in the knowledge that at least I’m not spending any more money on heating than I need to. Living the dream! On the plus side, when the colour DOES return to my fingers I can continue working on.. -drum roll-.. The Next Big Thing!

Now, as I mentioned a while ago, even though I normally love to keep projects secret until the grand reveal, I’ve decided to do things a little differently this time. The Next Big Thing is a comic I’m creating for my Final Major Project (FMP) at University, which generally has to be to some level of completion by mid-late March, though I will most likely have it finished and to print in May-June ready for my degree show (Ahhh! Panic!). The grand scheme for this project started back in August when I travelled around Scandinavia with my other half. The spectacular views and crisp air left me with many ideas, but after gathering together rather a lot of information I decided that I wanted to create a story around the Sámi.

Norway in August
Norway in August

In a nutshell, the Sámi (also: Sami, Saami) are the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, who first settled at least 5’000 years ago, with ancestral rock carvings dating back to around dating back to around 4’200 BC. Mind-blowing, right? Even more amazing is how the Sámi culture is still present and celebrated today, even after years of heavy exploitative taxation from both Sweden and Norway, the taking of land and many more various types of oppression. Since shuffling around the museums of Norway and Sweden and learning what I could out there, I came home to start exploring the Sámi in more depth with books, documentaries and websites. Although cultural appropriation is a key topic at the moment and something to be wary of, I’ve been doing everything I can to be as respectful and clued-up as possible, because I think it’s important to inform people about other cultures.. Plus, it’s interesting! I should’ve been an anthropologist.. Anyway, I finally finished writing and scripting my story last week so here’s some of the sketchbook work I’ve been doing…

I have the story at 36-pages long, though I’m going to try and trim it down by 1-2 pages to make it 34, so that gives me the covers and 4 extra pages making the book a nice even I-will-feel-this-age-by-the-time-I’ve-finished 40. So, a bit of a challenge! On the bright side, I’m making good progress to have the mock-up done by Christmas and that gives me more time for character development before drawing up 40 pages of wonderfulness. There isn’t anything I’d rather be doing! Well, maybe sitting on an sunny beach having a massage, but apart from that.. There isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing!

In other news, I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissions this past week too. As you may remember I mentioned designing a t-shirt for a local band, which is all going through nicely! The band, Jagged Little Thrills are releasing their album in February next year, so the design will compliment their social media campaign nicely, and hopefully get them a whole load of t-shirt sales on the launch night! I’m drawing up the final design this week, along with an illustration for a local charity newsletter that is going out in time for a Christmas appeal. Here’s a peek at both, t-shirt design on the left, close up progress of the charity illustration on the right!

Anyway, that’s about it for now. My first layer of paint on the charity commission is now dry and I’m on deadline for that, so back to it! I shall be back next week as always with the final images on these two commissions, and hopefully some more progress everywhere else.. Until next time, peace out.

x

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Thought Bubble Festival Round-Up

Good morning ladies and gents,

So, it’s all over! The exciting blur that was Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds this past weekend has been and gone in a flash, and I’m dealing with some serious post-festival blues. It probably doesn’t help that it’s dark and gloomy outside and I’m a bit sleep deprived, but Thought Bubble was so much fun I didn’t really want it to end. But, alas, I’m back into the throngs of university assignments and real life nonsense, which my brain doesn’t seem to be particularly in gear for. Third year woes.

The Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds was a week-long event with a load of workshops and events, with the pièce de résistance being the comics festival over the weekend. Open both Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm, I was lucky to be plonked next to some absolutely lovely table buddies, Van Nim and Richy K. Chandler over in New Dock Hall, the biggest of the three halls used for the comic festival. There were many, many lovely comic people to see over the weekend, and I even got given some lovely goodies in the form of the Dead Singers Society and the HOME Art Aid Nepal Anthology, plus a comic-swap with Richy for his Tempo Lush Tales of the Tanoox! Here’s the weekend in a nutshell..

Special thanks definitely has to go to Samuel C. Williams for including me in his coffee runs over the weekend; as you can imagine this comic selling business is a rather tiring affair so I spent the weekend entirely propped up on caffeine. Other highlights include bumping into Andrew Tunney, (who I’d met properly at MancsterCon earlier this year) and helping his vigilante mission against faux-steampunk; witnessing some impressive renditions in the comic-karaoke on Saturday evening (yes Paddy, I’m still in awe); and wondering if those crazed sneezes were even real or not, with Danny Noble, Andy Oliver, Elizabeth Querstret and Matt, and Wallis Eates. AND, I finally got to meet Mike Medaglia, whose work is absolutely beautiful. There were so many people I missed seeing just because of how zombie-fied I was by the end, but it was a great weekend and I couldn’t have wished for better company and conversations! A HUGE thank you to everyone who stopped by my table and said hello, purchased goodies and took the time to chat. Also, extra special thanks to Alan Henderson who picked up my The Red Road original artwork in the alternate colours! Finally, big big thanks to the organisers of Thought Bubble for making it absolutely fantastic to be a part of – it was my first Thought Bubble and it definitely won’t be my last.

Phew, what a weekend. I’m looking forward to finding some time in the next few days to curl up in bed with my new reading material, the HOME anthology and Tales of the Tanoox, but for now I’m in dire need of catching up on university assignment work. Fun times! On the bright side, there are some exciting things coming this way soon.. Next week will see normal service resume with a good catch up on what I’ve been working on. So, until then, have a good week everyone! Over and out.

x

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The Road to Thought Bubble

Good morning happy campers!

So, another week has vanished and The Red Road second edition has been released out into the big wide world! It’s been really exciting to revisit the book again and make it even better than last time, it feels like just yesterday that I was ingesting large amounts of caffeine to get the pages inked up in time. With copies now at both Orbital Comics and Gosh London, and the second edition’s first public appearance this weekend at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, it’s time to persuade everyone that they really need this comic in their lives. The Red Road second edition is available online through my Etsy store, so off you go!

The Red Road – second edition in Gosh Comics! Alongside Sneaky Business, DRC#5 and A Bit of Undigested Potato..

As you may remember from the last week I’ve been having a crack at clay modelling, making Bear and Coyote for the re-release of The Red Road. Naturally, I got the comparative sizing completely wrong, and after my little creatures had dried they decided to crack. Hmph. HOWEVER, after some useful internet-ing I came across the technique of filling the cracks with fine surface filler before painting them, so off to the local cheap DIY store I pranced. After getting a bit fine surface filler happy, several painting errors and almost throwing a porcelain paint pen out the window, my lumpy, wonky spirit animals are complete!

Even in their lumpy, wonky forms I spent so long on the little darlings that I’ve become somewhat attached to them (not literally, thankfully), so I’ve decided to carry on and bring them to Thought Bubble Festival with me anyway. Because, well, for all the errors of my clay-ways, at least they actually stand on all fours. Small victories must be celebrated! So, if you’re in Leeds on Saturday for Thought Bubble and fancy seeing what it looks like when clay goes wrong, come swing by my table in New Dock Hall (73b)

Speaking of which, only three days to go until the Thought Bubble excitement commences! This weekend will see Leeds full of comic artists and creators, shifting around and giggling in boozy corners. For the entirety of Saturday and Sunday I will be selling The Red Road, Sneaky Business and a selection of prints, greetings cards and postcards amongst the countries finest, and even creators from overseas! Thought Bubble states that it’s the “largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers”. With three exhibition spaces and further event rooms, the whole bonanza is taking place at Leeds Docks, in New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries Hall, and the Thought Bubble Marquee between the two. As you can see from this lovely map below, I’m down on the other half of table 73 next to Hello, how are you? and her adorable work, with fellow Art Aid Nepal Home artist Richy K. Chandler next to us on table 72. There is so much to see at Thought Bubble this year, and it’s all started already! I’m really excited to be there for the first time so please swing by and say hello if you’re in the area. Also, launching at Thought Bubble is my pal Samuel C Williams‘ new zine Dead Singers Society, with work from a whole host of people including Tim Bird, Alan Henderson and myself. For a complete breakdown of the new releases at Thought Bubble, there’s an excellent guide here from Broken Frontier, so be sure to check that out.

Finally, in amongst the craziness of preparing for the biggest comics event of my career to date (no pressure, of course..) I’ve also been working on all that university malarky. In amongst the essays and the presentations, the tutorials and the seminars and lots of emails I’ve been working on drawing up some designs for a Northampton based band. So far I’ve just been working on some roughs, but hopefully with some feedback I’ll be working towards one final design to be screen-printed onto a batch of t-shirts for the band to sell. How exciting! So far here’s just a peek of what I’ve been coming up with..

So, that’s it for now! As always I have a large pile of work beside me whispering at me and taunting me (not literally… yet) so hi ho and off to work I go. If you’re in Leeds for Thought Bubble this weekend then I’ll see you there! Until next week.

x

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HOME

HOME – Anthology by Art Aid Nepal

Successful submission for the Art Aid Nepal HOME Anthology, which after a successful Kickstarter compaign raised over £3’000 for children affected by the Nepalese earthquakes in April 2015. Here’s some information from the Kickstarter campaign website;

What does HOME meant to you?

32 talented multicultural artists have come together to explore this and the result is an A5 sized book with 92 pages full of illustrations and comics in full vibrant colours!

The 7.8 magnitude quake created a lot of destruction and loss of life. Even those who survived were not spared the mental trauma and even months later the aftershocks causes our hearts and minds to tremble. Thousands of adults and children lost their homes and are still displaced. The need to help them remains, for their troubles are far from over. The shaking continues, even months later. There have been nearly 400 aftershocks over 4 magnitudes since the first quake.

All funds raised from the sale will be used to support education and art therapy workshops for children affected by the tragedy. Art can help to heal and bring simple joy to their otherwise troubled lives. With many schools destroyed vast number of children are now studying in makeshift structures at the Temporary Learning Centres. Those who have also lost their home and are now living in tented camps. Many of these children had very little access to creative pursuits and now, after the quake, their options are even more limited. The Children’s Art Museum of Nepal have been conducting art workshops in the temporary learning centres in public schools.

Together with Art Aid Nepal, we would like to extend these workshops to the more deprived children in the tented camps. There are currently 30 camps for displaced people in Kathmandu valley. We will be conducting the workshops in the largest of these camps in Chuchepati which has more than 8000 families living and 200 children under the age of 12.

Published November 2015

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Hello, November.

Good morning ladies and gents.

So, another week is behind us and we’re well and truly into November. There’s a crisp, cold scent to the night air which can only mean the arrival of Bonfire night. Because, y’know, why not celebrate some guy’s failure of trying to blow up the House of Lords in the 17th century when it involves pretty colours and bright lights? Thankfully my week-and-a-half long lurgy seems to be finally tailing off, though it’s been a determined little bunch of germs.

On Monday I managed to drag my coughing and sniffly self into the university print rooms to play with my collagraph printing plates I showed you all last week. Wanna see? Yeah you do!

These prints are all part of the work I’m creating for the Folio Society’s printing of War Horse, and as I mentioned last week this is a competition which calls for three internal illustrations and a book jacket design in the typical Folio Society styling. As the subject matter of War Horse is pretty dark, and the story is told through the eyes of the horse, I didn’t want to go and just draw horses everywhere. Instead, I’m looking at combining these textured backgrounds with washes of paint and some drawn details. The first print is for the shelling at night, the second is muddy brown holes in the snow, and the third is pieces of shrapnel and earth upturned by more shelling. I don’t normally work in an abstracted way so it’s kind of nice to try out this more atmospheric way of presenting a landscape rather than going straight to drawing pens. Fits the story better, I think.

In similar news, I’ve been trying out something different with modelling clay, too! With Thought Bubble Festival only a week and a half away, I’ve been working on a small side project to keep me company over the weekend on my half of table 73. Plus, with the re-release of The Red Road coming THIS FRIDAY, and Thought Bubble being it’s first public appearance, I thought it’s a perfect opportunity to make something  bit different. Now, I’m absolutely no expert in the field of modelling, but after a plea on twitter and speaking to some fellow students at university, I found out my failed attempts were because I needed to make a skeleton structure to support the weight of the clay. Who knew! Low and behold, I’ve just about managed to make a model of Bear and Coyote with air-drying clay and a frame consisting of paper clips, wool and hot glue.

Now, they are pretty crappy. I mean, I was hoping I could sell them, but I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone until I’ve practiced a little more. Also, as you can probably tell, they aren’t to scale of each other – whoops! Making a smaller Coyote would have been really fiddly, and making a bigger Bear would have needed a much larger and more substantial frame. But altogether, not too shabby for a second attempt. Some cracks have appeared in the drying process so I shall be off to get some fine surface filler to fill those in before I paint and glaze my new friends.

Speaking of The Red Road… IT’S ALMOST FRIDAY!! I am so, so excited to be releasing The Red Road for a second time, especially with the changes and additions I’ve made. The story remains the same, but there’s some special extra content in there now, and a couple of other tweaks to make it the best it can be. Yay! Don’t forget, The Red Road launches this Friday (6th November) still for the same price of £6 on my Etsy store, but this time with an extra 4 pages of goodies. Just to make life even more exciting, Richard Bruton’s review came through last week from Forbidden Planet Blog. What a dream come true! Having not only a Broken Frontier review but now a Forbidden Planet review too is an incredibly proud and exciting moment for me. Here’s a snippet, and click here for the full review.

“…Hathaway deserves fulsome praise for delivering something so brutal, so powerful, in such simple terms. This is good comics.”

– Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet Blog review of The Red Road

Finally, yesterday saw celebrations in the form of Broken Frontier’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver’s Small Pressganged 4th birthday! Wow, that was a mouthful. Anyway, it’s safe to say that without Andy Oliver’s tireless work to embrace small press and independent comics, I would not be on the shelves of comics shops throughout the UK, and I would not have appeared in anthologies and at comics events. What a guy! For myself and countless others, Andy has championed our hard work and given it an amplified audience of dedicated fans and followers. Really, I am so thankful for the great work that he does, and I would just be another uni student desperate to get anywhere without his support and belief in my work. All hail the hat! To celebrate the occasion I draw Andy a nice big hat cake with four candles per hat and a potential flag fire hazard. It’s not exactly my most esteemed work, but as a doodle it gets the message across. Happy 4th Birthday Small Pressganged!

So, that’s about it for now; the Next Big Thing is slowly under way and next on the list is working on my dissertation proposal. (Yep, you thought your Wednesday morning was fun..) Don’t forget to get your shiny second edition copy of The Red Road from Friday, and check back next week for some previews of the second edition additions. Until next time!

x

 

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Hope Centre

In November 2015 I was commissioned to create a half-page editorial illustration for the Northampton Hope Centre‘s Christmas fundraising campaign.

The Northampton Hope Centre works to relieve poverty and tackle the causes of homelessness in Northampton by giving people a hand up. For more information on the Hope Centre and the work they do, please visit their website here.

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