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!
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 done. It’s actually done-and-sent-off-to-the-printers done. That’s right, the mystery project I’ve been clocking away at for the past few months, from its conception in April to completion this week… is done. Done done done done done.
Working on something autobiographical has never been my strong point. I love imagination, myths, nature and journeys, I like working with mood and tone, atmosphere and textures. However, when faced with the challenges that life brings, sometimes it’s necessary to step back from things and reevaluate.
So, a relationship broke down. Who cares, right? I’m fairly private, I don’t divulge the details of my living in a spare room for the past five months, and I certainly don’t tell people that some days, at my worst, I struggled to find the strength to eat. I come from a family of not talking about things, and a big reason my four-year relationship broke down is because we never talked about our problems.. so, why do this?
There are many things I’ve learnt so far this year, and one of them is the importance of honesty; not only with other people but with myself. I spent a long time not realising I was unhappy, a costly mistake which has taught me a lot about who I am as a person and what I want out of life. By extension, working through the situation I’ve found myself in and creating a physical record of what has happened – whilst using new materials and techniques – has helped me beyond what words could, and that’s where Self Care & Vegetables came in.
It’s been challenging to look at creating this comic/zine objectively – writing my experiences into a narrative script and editing down my own heartfelt moments. It’s not something I’d describe as pleasant any day, so.. again, why have I essentially published a drawn journal detailing every breakdown?
Well, I realised I’m not alone. Some of the things I experienced were akin to poor mental health and learning how to get better was something I struggled with for many, many months. I guess it sounds overly enlightened, but in a similar way to Cosmos, if I can help someone relate and make them feel less alone, it’s part of my duty as a creator to do so. This isn’t my Sistine Chapel, and it may not be a best seller, but for a limited run of 100 copies it’s 40-pages of all my anxieties and recovery following the fallout of a four-year relationship.
Comic creators, this is your four-and-a-half week warning for Thought Bubble, I repeat, this is your four-and-a-half week warning:
That’s right; one of, if not THE biggest UK independent comic festivals is just around the corner, as the words “It’s nearly Thought Bubble” strike fear into anyone who’s working on a project to release at Leeds’ epic weekend comics celebration. As I mentioned last time, I’ve been getting back to the grind to complete my new zine – the plus-side of not using any paint this time around (yes, yes it’s been a painful but important thing to temporarily let go of gouache and my brushes) is that the final artwork is a lot quicker to create. So, with a few finishing touches it should be going off to print before the week is out!
Here’s some previews..
Next week pre-orders for the zine will open and the full announcement will be made, so keep your peepers peeled!
In other news, the latest Pipedream Comics Pull List went up this month, titled Discover Small Press – including an interview from yours truly! Here’s what they said about it on the site:
We were inspired to celebrate Small Press after a visit to the East London Comic Arts Festival in June and so we’ve picked five of our favourite creators and talked to them about their inspirations and the stories behind their books. These include Jonathan Cape award-winner Matthew Dooley, Avery Hill’s new superstar Ellice Weaver, Human Garbage creator Josh Hicks, NPC-Tea’s Sarah Millman and Cosmos’ Rozi Hathaway. All five of these creators encapsulate what is great about the world of small press and we hope that by discovering their work you can embrace the wonders of the community, too. We also have an amazing cover from Sub Diablo creator Darrell Thorpe.
I’m writing this in the clutches of the latest cold that’s going round, which has me coughing for hours on end, so please send cake and medicine to me whilst splutter out this update…
So, I hope you’re all up for something a bit different today, as I’m going to tell you a story. Make yourselves comfortable! Once upon a time, after Cosmos & Other Stories came out, and after I finished up pieces for Dirty Rotten Comics #10 and The Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017, I decided to take a short break from comics. I think, doing this kind of work, it’s all too easy to feel like you have to keep churning out work so people don’t lose faith or forget you exist. But after a tough personal spell and using work as a crutch to keep me going, it was time to let my mind go and deal with life, and try to regain my health.
The break from comics didn’t come naturally, and I still worked on commissions both for private clients and other more illustrative work (the Kickstarter print with Emily B. Owen’s Brain Shoodles, and a piece for the Habitat anthology). But, the break from direct comic work was there all the same, and it gave me valuable time to promote the work I’ve already done and work out where best to move next. And, play with some different materials and techniques. Check it out:
Zig Brush Pens
Tombow Pen & Graphitint
Tombow Pen & Graphitint
Having time to play around with new processes and materials has been golden, and given me a chance just to draw or create for the sake of drawing again. I’ve played with creating stamps from soft lino,drawing with Kuretake Zig Brush pens, the Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen and some Graphitint pencils, as well as other experiments in fabric and dying, clay and wood. Taking that pause really did help to clear my mind and work on new concepts, and it gave me new skills and new challenges to hone in on to keep improving.
And that leads us to my new project! Due to be released in September in time for Thought Bubble Festival, I’ve been working on a small comic which I’ve gone thorough the scripting and layouts of already, when the inking coming next. Have a look at some sketches:
One thing I’ve been taking note of is how my painting accounts for the majority of the atmosphere in my work. So, remove the painting, do I still give that effect? This new project I’m working on is not only vastly different and physical application, but also different from my usual storytelling too, being totally autobiographical rather than based in imagination. It’s been challenging, and new, and exciting all at the same time. And I really hope people like it!
I do miss splashing about with gouache and I’ll definitely keep evolving the way I paint, but for now, get ready for something new and exciting and totally paint-free! -gulp-
And that’s where I leave you for now! I’ll be back soon with more news, but until next time have a good week/weekend everyone. I’m off to visit family and get plied with food to mend this illness once and for all. Laters!
So, it’s a bit toasty outside, isn’t it? Even rain-blessed Manchester is rather balmy in the sunshine, and I haven’t had to carry my umbrella around with me for a week. A WHOLE WEEK! That’s almost unheard of around these parts.. But alas, despite the weather there has been a lot going on – so put your feet up with a glass of something refreshing and read on..
Last weekend was the sixth annual ELCAF, the East London Comics & Arts Festival, in the sizzling southern heat. Said heat was particularly enjoyable on the Underground, I assure you.. Now, I applied for ELCAF back when tables were announced but sadly I didn’t make the cut. However it left me with an opportunity to head down to the capital for the day and be on the other side of a table for once; dreamily drift around, catching up with old creator pals and making new ones.
This book shows how Hathaway is developing as an artist. There’s a clear consistency despite differences in panels, lettering styles and colour. One particularly effective technique is the way she follows a densely panelled double page spread with a single two page image overleaf. This somehow opens up the stories, creating a hopeful, positive tone regardless of what has been established before. Cosmos & Other Stories is a beautiful book by a considerable talent.
I had the chance to read Daughters and Growth on my coach journey back home on Saturday evening, and I can confirm that they are both equally wonderful books; Growth is a short, poetic narrative with a reassuring tone of looking after your mental health, told in an abstract form through caring for plants – I can definitely recommend this if you’re into poetic comics with that nice warm after-feeling. And.. who isn’t? You can pick up Growth from Peony’s Etsy store here. Daughters is a more traditional start-to-end story, picking up the proceedings in the middle of a family crisis in a dystopian society. Two stories run parallel, one through narration and one through the characters discussions and body language. It’s a thought-provoking short, beautifully told with clean lines and crisp colours. You can pick up a copy on Short Box’s website here.
Phew, lengthy round-up! But there’s more. Maybe time for a quick interlude to go and top up your drink?
In other news, I was kindly asked to produce a print for Emily B. Owen‘s Kickstarter campaign for Brain Schoodles, a comic about anxiety and depression told through doodles. The campaign recently ended on Kickstarter with Emily smashing her target of £250, and the comic will be launching on Saturday 8th July at Small Press Day at the Cardiff Comic Expo! Here’s some working snaps:
Brain Shoodles: Digital Progress
Brain Shoodles: Pencil and paint progress
My print was commissioned as an addition to the Printorama pledge. So all backers getting that tier reward will receive their copy of the print with their zine. If you missed out, fear not! I will have some of these prints on sale in the coming months with proceeds going towards a Manchester-based mental health charity of my choosing. Big, big thanks to Emily for asking me to do a piece for her campaign. I’m humbled and very happy to be a part of it! See the final piece below:
So, another week has passed and another comic is under my metaphorical belt. It’s been a strange time of finishing up projects that have been ongoing for several months.. The Yearbook story below, I wrote in January, pencilled up ideas by February, and then it’s taken three more months of dipping in and out (alongside finishing Cosmos and a piece for Dirty Rotten Comics 10) to get it done. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to having a totally clear schedule for a little while to wind-down and collect my thoughts.
Almost-on-time as promised last week, my short four-pager for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 was completed this weekend (with a tiny bit of work done to finish it up on Monday night) and sent over to the man in the hat, Broken Frontier‘s Andy Oliver. Launching this summer, you can find out more about the book directly from the website – but for now, here’s some sneak previews of my story:
I’m incredibly honoured to be a part of ‘The Inking Woman’ exhibition. It’s a vibrant, empowering collection of works that show the humour and passion that women have drawn on over the years; powerful illustrative and narrative work, that surpasses trends and time.
Small press sensation Rozi Hathaway is making quite the name for herself on the indie scene with her beautiful, through-provoking, poetic style. With a dreamy mix of painted artwork and minimalist story-telling, her latest book Cosmos And Other Stories was launched at Leamington Comic Con to critical acclaim, so we caught up with Rozi to find out more about what inspires her highly personal style of comic.
Finally, the special edition Dirty Rotten Comics 10 will be out in the next few weeks! The pre-orders haven’t gone up yet, but I’ll let you all know when they do as they’ll be featuring a whole host of specially selected creators – the first artist reveals went up yesterday with Alex Potts, Jey Levang and fellow Good Comics‘ creator Josh Hicks announced.
And that’s all for now! This weekend will see me having some well needed time off, but nevertheless I will be back next week with answers to questions such as.. What’s next? Have I indeed run out of ideas? Did I actually eat all those Oreos? Until next time!
So, it’s Spring. The season that leaves everyone reaching for the duster and me reaching for my antihistamines.. What a glorious time to be alive! As long it’s a case of being alive, inside, with the windows shut, away from tree pollen. Magical.
As you can see from above, I’m currently up to the inking stage of my four-page comic for the book. Next, I need to figure out what I’m doing with the colours, and get it all painted and scanned in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out for some previews/peeks of the final comic!
In other news, I’ve also been working on a special comic for those nice gents at Dirty Rotten Comics for their special anniversary issue 10. I’m really excited to have been asked to contribute, and I’m working away on a short two-pager for the issue with the deadline fast approaching.. For now, here’s a small peek of my pencil sketches!
At the end of the month when I’m slightly less deadline-oriented, I have the pleasure of heading over to Liverpool for the Craft Comic Festival at the Craft Taproom, which is part of Smithdown Festival! If you’re in or around Liverpool on the Bank Holiday weekend you should pop down on Saturday 29th from 10-4pm to check it out. And it’s free! For all the details, head over to their designated Facebook Event Page.
Finally, in some more glorious news, I’m absolutely over the moon to be included in the upcoming The Inking Woman: An exhibition of British women cartoon and comic artists at The Cartoon Museum in central London. The exhibition will run from 26th April to 24 July 2017 and will feature work from creators such as Hannah Berry, Emma Vieceli, Karrie Fransman, Edie OP, Danny Noble and more. And me! More confirmed artists are popping up all the time, so be sure to follow The Cartoon Museum on Twitter with the hashtag #InkingWoman to see who will be there.
And that’s about it for now! The rest of this week will be spent maniacally finishing up some comics and then eating my entire body-weight in chocolate this weekend. Maybe some cake, too. Until next time!
That’s right; just like Leo in The Revenant or Michael Myers in Halloween, I have returned. Though luckily for me I haven’t been mauled by a bear or shanked by a rather upset Ripley… though sometimes the morning commute sometimes feels like a combination of the two. It’s been a while since my last post, and although unintentional, sometimes life just gets in the way and something has to give. And, seeming as my blog doesn’t have a deadline attached, this is the one thing that had to go to the bottom of the pile for a while. Alas, I’m back with you for the long run with a lot of exciting news, so without further ado..
Last time I was filling you all in on my upcoming plans with Cheltenham True Believers Festival, risograph printing and writing the rest of my short stories. Well, a lot has happened since then, and in the interests of efficiency I’m going to break it down, as otherwise this will turn into a thesis-length blog which no-one will want to read. Woo, efficiency! Here it goes.
THOSE COMIC FESTIVALS:
Five-and-a-half long weeks ago was the fairly fresh-faced OK True Believers Comic Con held in my old stomping ground of Cheltenham, at the infamous Cheltenham Racecourse. It was the first con of the year and I had the pleasure of squeezing on the end of the Good Comics table with Dr Paddy Johnston and Samuel C. Williams; although it was a fairly quiet day trade-wise, it was great to have a weekend away and spend a load of time with some comics people. And.. we got to play with a risograph printer on Sunday which was pretty excellent. And when I say we, I mean Paddy and I stood watching whilst Sam and his buddy Mike did all the work. Thanks guys!
I also joined in the fun at Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday 25th February on the Good Comics table with Paddy, because.. why not? Sheffield Zine Fest was held in the Students Union and had a really nice down-to-earth and homemade feel to the event, suiting the Good Comics releases and my kinda work a lot more to the ground than the more commercial-based events like Cheltenham True Believers and the MCM events. It was also great to hang out and push other people’s work rather than my own, and there was burritos involved which always makes for an excellent day.
That’s right! My comics collection I’ve been working on since November is finished and off to print, ready for launch in a week and a half. Cosmos and Other Stories is a collection of short stories exploring humanity and loneliness; packaged up into a lovely 36-page face-strokingly-soft matte laminate product of love, Cosmos tells the stories of different people dealing with the different ways we all feel lonely in this big ol’ world. The book was formally announced on the 24th February via the Good Comics press release;
Cosmos and Other Stories examines themes of loneliness and longing, with Hathaway’s uniquely expressive and dreamy paintwork taking the reader on a journey through various cities, towns, bedrooms and celestial realms. If you’ve ever been lost in a crowd, stayed up all night to talk to someone long distance, or felt the ache of an absent love, then this collection will speak to you.
You can read the full press release here! It’s been a whirlwind four months of writing and drawing up this collection, and although I always put everything I have into my stories, this one is particularly close to my heart. Plus, Sam from Good Comics has been an excellent and supportive yet critical editor, and really pushed me to make the best work I possibly could.. So with all that in mind, I really hope it goes down well otherwise I might just crawl into bed for a while to recover. Pre-order Cosmos and Other Stories here, and even more exciting, every pre-order gets an A5 print of artwork from the book with their order.. So act quickly and get that pre-order in!
A5 Print from Cosmos & Other Stories, now for sale on Etsy.
I quite literally have just finished up the book, with the files being sent off to Rich at Comic Printing UK on Monday night before I crawled into bed. Tuesday evening was (am) spent writing this gem of blogging genius for you, so I am finally going to celebrate finishing this book by drinking a large glass of wine and collapsing in a corner (I’m lying, I started the wine before I even started typing. YOLO!). I will be back in the normal swing of things next week with the pre-con post about Leamington and everything it has to offer, so keep an eye out for that! And until next time.. have a good week all, and thanks for being patient!