This year I’ve been lucky enough to buckle down and find time to do Inktober, the social-media led daily drawing challenge for the whole of October. For my Inktober, I’ve been posting daily(ish) pictures of a narrative on Twitter of a fox and a butterfly engaged in some kind of chase-battle. Think Duel meets Mad Max: Fury Road, but fluffier and ending far more happier. So, actually not anything like Duel. Or Mad Max. Whatever, you get my point.
On 1st November I’ll be posting the whole series on my blog, and shortly after turning it into something really cool – so keep an eye out!
So, the last festival of the year (in my calendar, anyway) is coming up this weekend in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The Comics Fair Loogabarooga is not only fun to say, but also the first of it’s kind, teaming up with the Loogabarooga Festival 2017, and can be found in Loughborough Town Hall this Saturday from 10am-5pm. If you’re local and fancy checking it out, it’s free to attend! All the information can be found here.
I’ll also have copies of the BFSPYearbook 2017 with me!
Here’s what they say about the event:
In association with Loogabarooga Book Festival and Loughborough Comic Con, LCF looks to showcase the talent and skills of the Uk’s Small Press and self publishing scene, with panels and workshops showing you how to make and get into comics as well as a big comics market this is the perfect way to find your new favourite creator and support some incredibly talented people. The event is FREE to attend with a nominal charge to attend workshops.
In other news, I’ve still been ticking away with Inktober! I tell you, it’s not so much the challenge of doing a five-minute drawing, it’s the remembering when you’re 2.5 pints into a pub quiz that you haven’t done anything for the day, and probably won’t manage it by the time you’ve poured yourself into bed just before midnight. But alas, it’s also been nice to mix it up a bit – like on Friday when I took a nice yet thigh-achingly difficult cycle out to the beach to also to catch up on inktober. So, if anything, it’s just another good excuse to show off how beautiful it is where I live.
With just under two weeks left until October and Inktober is over, you can catch up on all my drawings over on Twitter or keep an eye out here for the final display of them all together in my blog on 1st November.
In other news, I’ve been working away on a new top secret comic for something in the new year (yes, yes it’s already time to talk about 2018 releases – gasp!) which I’m not going to show you anything about just yet – but I WILL show you how I’ve been brushing up my skills with digital illustration! I’ve never been much for drawing on a screen with shapes, but as an artist and someone who likes to have many strings to my bow, it’s important to look into different methods – whether that’s sewing, lino printing of using purely digital means. A couple of weeks ago I went to a really nice Mexican food place down near here, and it got me thinking about how much I adore Mexican food and how cool it would be if I somehow ended up doing a total Chef and got a street food van. Not that I plan on doing it.. but you never know. So, let’s make a logo. And here it went!
Adventures in vector (would make an excellent title of a book) is something I want to keep working on, and diversify in finding a way that I can use any material possible and still show a unique style. Much like working on the jiggling jellies commission a short while ago, this is another thing I’m keen to keep working on and keep finding new ways to make cool things. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll make a comic that combines digital and traditional? Or fully digital? The world is my pixel and/or vector-based oyster.
And that about sums it up for now! If you’re near to Loughborough then please do pop along to the Loogabarooga Festival and Comics Fair on Saturday and it’s going to be truly ace. If not, you can still get all of my books online through my Etsy store. I’ll be back next week with the Loogabarooga low-down, so until then..
So, another comic event has drawn to a close leaving just one final show before the year is done. Where did 2017 go, huh? Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) had an absolutely electric environment this year, with an expanded space and over 100 creators behind 80 tables. I was in the smaller side-section of the venue known as The Kitchen, right next to the food and coffee (useful) and in an immense stroke of luck, the person I was due to be tabling next to had cancelled at short notice, meaning a) I could spread out and b) I didn’t have to sit in a pillar. You wouldn’t believe some of the pillars and chairs you end up getting squished next to at comic fairs over the years… It’s not all glamour, I tell you.
A very sizeable half table thanks to someone dropping out last minute.
Ready to go!
The beauty of Bristol is that it has an eclectic mix of students, local artists and generally interested general public. With the event being free to enter it brought in a lot of people and made the whole event a really exciting place to be. Having my table located off in a side-venue would normally mean a quieter day, but the organisers managed to put a lot of complimentary creators/publishers together, and regardless of my location it was an incredibly busy day! Tabling next to a pillar was a little lonely at times, but I had a lot of interesting conversations with people and had a chance to catch up briefly with Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Alex Thomas from Pipedream Comics. I also met Bryony Attenburrow, who did the Laydeez do Comics blog back in January last year when I spoke alongside Andy Oliver and Danny Noble, who is really nice! The whole day was a bit of a whirlwind, meeting new people and catching up with comics’ chums, but it was a really great day. Huge thanks to the BCZF organisers for doing such a spectacular job, and of course to everyone who swung by my table to say hello!
Off course, it wouldn’t be a good day at a comic fair if I didn’t get the chance to pick up some sweet new zines. Between myself and Sam we managed to pick up a nice haul of new things – some of which I’d been after for a long while. Check it out!
The haul! L-R: What Happened by Simon Moreton, Desert Island Discs Fanzine edited by Sammy Borras, Laydeez do Comics Hometown Anthology, Glorious Wrestling Alliance: Grappling Road by Josh Hicks, Zoology by Jo Berry, The Fields Beyond Episode 1 by Matthew Pettit and M69 by Nick Soucek
Zoology by Jo Berry
Pipedream Comics Pull List
Pipedream Comics Interview
As you can see, I also managed to get my mitts on a copy of the Pull List which included my interview! So shiny! You can pick up your digital copy of the Pull List here. I’d been wanting to pick up the Laydeez do Comics zine Hometown for quite a while, and similarly the Desert Island Discs Fanzine hasn’t been out all that long and I’d always intended to do something for it. There’s a really interesting correlation between comics and music, something you can see in the Dead Singer’s Society zines too – you can’t beat the passion of reading about someone’s connection to a particular song, album or artist. It’s like listening to Professor Brian Cox talk about the solar system or physics; I’m not wholly familiar with those long words he’s using, or totally understand what he means, but damn it’s interesting.
Another cool thing I picked up purely by it taking my fancy, is this really cool fold-out double-sided illustration/poster by Jo Berry! It quite literally caught by eye as I was walking back to my table with £3 burning a hole in my pocket – it’s a really interesting way of working and something I’ve been keen to try out for a while, the folded paper method of narrative and building out to a bigger picture. I can’t find much information on Jo or where to by Zoology, but she has an Instagram page here.
In other news, I’ve been clocking away and doodling away daily for this year’s Inktober! I’ve managed to always miss taking part the past few years, usually due to being busy working on twelve other things. So this year I decided I would truly throw myself into it and have a good go at it. And so far I have just about managed to keep on track, with only a few “I can’t be bothered to clamber into the house for WiFi to post this tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow” moments.
Travelling Inktober – on the way to BCZF!
Inktober days 8 through 10 – transcending paper special.
For those of you unaware, Inktober is essentially 31 days of 31 drawings. Every year cartoonists, comic artists, illustrators, creatives, librarians, doodlers and anyone who wants to, picks up a pen and does one ink drawing every day for an entire month. It keeps you drawing even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, and for others who spend longer on their pieces can add real refinement to their drawing. Me, I’m just a doodler, so I’ve spent the last 10 days making one ink drawing with a couple of Kuretake brush pens and some added highlights to make a narrative about a fox and a butterfly. All the drawings are posted up on my Twitter, but keep an eye out on here as at the end of the month you’ll get to see the entire story.
Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewer based in Ontario that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.
Each of our beers is a work of art. On the inside, we proudly brew some of the most well-crafted beers with the help of our brewmaster, Ryan Morrow. On the outside, we feature limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians that change every few months. Added bonus? Through the augmented reality technology of our partner Blippar, all labels come to life through the free Blippar mobile phone app. Simply scan the label to hear the music, see the videos and view artist bios.
October Sketchbook 2017 – Improving in Adobe Illustrator
You love tacos, I love tacos, we all love tacos… And after eating aplenty at a really nice place in Bournemouth, I wanted to brush up my skills in Adobe Illustrator the best way I could think to – making myself a street-food taco truck in case I ever fancy a change of career. Trying to combine my painterly approach with clean vector lines is challenging, but this guy turned out pretty well I think!
It’s been a week-and-a-half since Leeds already, huh? Time flies when you’re moving house and have a whopper of a cold. But, lurgy-moaning aside.. Thought Bubble. What a festival! As always it totally lived up to all expectations and I had an absolute blast. I was lucky enough to be tabling next to Sam Williams of Good Comics and his thermos of coffee, so we both ruled the table and a half of comics between us and tried not to spend all our takings on other people’s beautiful printed wares.
Thank you so much to everyone who came by, especially to those who already have some of my comics and came round especially to pick up something new. You guys in particular make my heart melt a little. Check out our Hathaway-Good Comics joined tables below, and a special guest appearance of GC’s Paddy in a frame as he couldn’t be there in person. Yes, I had to explain many times that Paddy is in fact not deceased, and yes, one person was genuinely concerned for his well-being. But it’s fine, we had Good Comics published creators pose with Paddy to make him feel like he was really there!
Good Comics Table @ Thought Bubble 2017
Good Comics Table @ Thought Bubble 2017 – Including Paddy
Thought Bubble Table 2017
Thought Bubble Table 2017
Elizabeth Querstret with New York Zine… and Paddy
Saturday was the busiest day of the two in the Cookridge Street Marquee; it seemed to be the first marquee of festival that people stumbled into which definitely helped boost sales. The steady flow of visitors seemingly stayed constant all day, and by the evening it felt like a very quick day indeed! Also, the yearly tradition of the mid-con unofficial karaoke party was in full swing this year, though you’ll all still be pleased to know that I still managed to safely hang back and save everyone from my strangled-feline style melodies. Sunday was a quieter but still fairly busy day, with more tired and bleary-eyed creators bumbling around doing their shopping during the quiet spells… -cough-including me-cough-.
Sunday ended with a nice pint and the traditional Five Guys burger meal, followed by the slow train home through every village of the Pennines back to Manchester. Thankfully there was penty of reading material – check out this sweet haul:
The Wolf and The Fox by Joe Latham especially turned me into a melt-in-the-middle dollop behind my table on Sunday afternoon, and La Mariposa by James Lawrence has some amazing facial expressions and a great back story – speaking of which, you can find the full web-comic for free over here, starting right from the beginning. Also, Habitat by Big Brown Eyes Collective, as you can see is now out in the world and ready to be seen! I’ve had my contributor copy handed to me by the sisters of BBE, and you can get yours here on their Etsy store. See a snippet of my illustration for the anthology below!
And that wraps up the TBubz coverage! Huge thanks as always to the Thought Bubble organisers and red-shirt wearing volunteers for making the event such a pleasure to sell at. It really does make all the difference.
Before Thought Bubble kicked off, I went on over to 42nd Street in Manchester, the charity that I’m supporting through sales of my ‘These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone’ print currently on sale on my Etsy store. I went along to say hi to the staff and pick up some leaflets to display alongside my Thought Bubble table display, and to use going forward when I’m tabling at events to help sell the prints. Don’t forget, the prints are still available online here, with 50% of the sale going to 42nd Street Manchester, a charity that supports young people aged 11-25 with their emotional well-being and mental health. The work they do is incredibly important, and you can help by getting your hands on some artwork at the same time!
42nd Street Manchester with some tired looking person standing in front of it
These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone Print for 42nd Street Manchester
A panel from my comic, “At the End of the Garden…”
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2017
And that just about wraps it up for now! Next week I’ll be back with some nice new things I’ve started drawing for Inktober, but if you want to keep up with them in the meantime you can follow my inklings over on Twitter. I will hopefully see some of you at Bristol on Saturday, and if not.. until next time!
As a self-initiated project, I created three labels for submission to the Collective Arts Brewing call for entries. Themed around Japan, I looked at using my style of creating artwork to make something non-narrative for a change, and this is what I came up with; red maple, bamboo, and the iconic Mt. Fuji.
Unfortunately, due to timing and conventions I didn’t get this submitted in time for Series 9, so it’s just been a useful exercise for now!
So, it’s finally that time! The biggest independent comic festival of the year is upon us, and much sooner than usual thanks to it’s new slot in the end of September, rather than it’s prior early-November date.
Thought Bubble Festival is a fantastic event. Unlike the more famous comic-cons such as MCM, Thought Bubble is purely about comics. No movies, no gaming, just graphic narrative in all it’s forms; whether that’s established creators, university collectives, or first timers. I attended Thought Bubble in 2015 and 2016, and the atmosphere is absolutely electric; when you get all kinds of comic creators from around the country at the same time, we all relish in the fact that we all are skint, have a boring day job and somehow still put ourselves through writing, creating and using our pennies to print things, hoping people will buy them. Every community has it’s cliques, but for the most part Thought Bubble is a huge celebration of us all managing to somehow drag ourselves to the same place at the same time and sell some comics.
I’ll be in Cookridge Street Marquee on table 37b, tabling next to Good Comics on table 36. Come and say hi!
Other people to check out include the Big Brown Eyes Collective, also in Cookridge Street Marquee on table 82a with their brand new anthology Habitat, featuring an illustration from moi.
This past week I’ve managed to finish up making thirty hand-cut lino prints to go with Self-Care & Vegetables, my new comic/zine debuting at Thought Bubble. I’ve also been to pick up SC&V from the printers, so it’s all ready to go!
You still have until midnight tomorrow (Thursday) to pre-order SC&V, with all pre-orders receiving one of the lino prints for free.
Some pre-orders have been sent off today, with the remaining being shipped by Friday 22nd. Any orders placed after Thursday night will and be sent out the following week! I’ll also have any leftover prints and new stock from Thought Bubble going up on my Etsy store in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that (including these badges – oooo!)
And that’s where I leave you! I have a few things to catch up on and finish up before the week it out, and then some recovery time – so I will be back soon with the Thought Bubble Festival low-down from behind table 37b. If you’re in or around Leeds this weekend do come along and say hi, it’s going to be a great weekend. Until next time!
There’s a zine-like feel to Self-Care & Vegetables, not just from the way that the book is packaged but also in its presentational style. It sits somewhere between graphic narrative and pure sequential art with that lesser reliance on panel-to-panel narrative giving it an appropriately more personal, stream-of-consciousness feel to its pages. This also affords Hathaway an opportunity to stretch her storytelling skills, bending conventions of the form to her will thematically – check out the powerful use of lettering in some of the sample pages in this review – and making extensive use of visual metaphor.
Rozi Hathaway will have something a bit different on her table this year, with an incredibly personal and intimate story about break ups and the physical and mental toll they can take. Self Care and Vegetables will have a limited print run of 100 copies and cost just £3, so if you’re a fan of Rozi’s work it’s going to be a real rarity. But if you love raw and sensitive auto-biographical comics, told in an intelligent and through-provoking way then be sure to pick up a copy.
I’ve also been squirreling away making some nice additions to my array of tabling goods with stickers, more badges and some new prints. The prints include a special limited edition lino print I’ve been making this week to go out with all pre-orders of Self-Care & Vegetables!
Linocut image for the Self-Care & Vegetables print
Lino print for Self-Care & Vegetables
Self-Care & Vegetables is due to be picked up from the printers later this week and all the pre-orders will ship out on Friday 22nd September with a FREE lino print! If you’re keen to get your hands on a print, the remaining will be on sale at Thought Bubble and the remaining festivals of the year, but pre-order now to get your complimentary one and avoid disappointment. Thank you so much to everyone who has pre-ordered so far! You can get your copy here.
I’ve also been making up a new Njálla lino print too, with only eight available, printed with water-based black and metallic green printing ink on flax seed paper. Again, these will be on sale first at Thought Bubble! You can find me in the Cookridge Street Marquee on table 37b next to Good Comics. Be sure to come and say hello!
And that just about wraps it up for now. I have a week and a half to go to finish preparing for Thought Bubble and complete a couple of potential projects.. and pack up my life. So, I shall attempt to be back next week with a pre-TB update! Until next time…
So, it’s just over two weeks until Thought Bubble Festival and all hands (i.e. both of mine) are on deck to make sure everything is ready for my table, and it all looks as awesome as it possibly can!
Last weekSelf-Care & Vegetableswent off to print and has had an amazing response, so huge thanks to everyone who has shown support. Pre-orders opened up last Wednesday and are off to a great start – so order yours now to avoid disappointment! You can pre-order Self-Care & Vegetables from my Etsy store here, with a shipping date of Friday 22nd September.
I’ve also been working away on some cool pieces to go with the zine, and so far all pre-orders made through Etsy will get a free mini print! I have another cool giveaway at Thought Bubble Festival itself involving these badges.. so keep an eye out for more news coming soon.
Talking of pre-orders, those gents at Good Comics have also put up their pre-orders for the autumn releases coming out at Thought Bubble – Olivia Sullivan‘s SID, Sarah Crosby‘s Stir Fry and Elizabeth Querstret‘s New York. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Good Comics recently, and I checked out Olivia’s SID and wrote a thing about it for the press release:
Olivia’s newest work is brutally honest and allows you to step inside the unpleasant but candid world of obsessive compulsive disorder. SID opens up to us in a way which you don’t necessarily ask for, but offers another excellent example of honestly talking about mental illness.
(Also, if you pre-order my zine and Sarah Crosby’s comic, you essentially have yourself a Vegetable Stir Fry.)
In other news, in and around all the other things going on, I’ve still been working away on three illustrations for a submission that I alluded to previously. I’ve been pretty short on time with the zine, the day job and all the other things, but they’re coming along nicely – and patiently awaiting me finishing them off on my noticeboard. Check it out:
And finally, I had the pleasure of working on something a bit different the past couple of weeks – a logo commission, with the final outcome created in Adobe Illustrator as a vector image, rather than old pen on paper (pixel) images! For those who aren’t art nerds, the key difference with a vector based image is the ability to resize. If you have a normal image you draw or save off the internet, and you try to make it way bigger, it goes all pixelated and blurry. Vector images can be freely resized and are essentially made up of shapes. Tech-talk aside, here’s a sneak peek of the humble beginnings of scanning the drawing in and working over the top, and the final giggling jellies:
What’s your clearance, Clarence?
What’s your vector, Victor?
And there we have it! As is the usual, life would be quiet if I didn’t have my usual juggling act of projects on the go. Hopefully next week I’ll have my zines back from the printers and some previews will be on the way, so keep your peepers peeled for the next update! Laters.