avery hill publishing

ELCAF, Editing & Early Starts

Good afternoon all,

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.

I teamed up with one half of the Good Comics micro-publishing duo Samuel C. Williams to spend the day amongst the comic masses, as well as celebrating the latest Good Comics release – Josh Hicks’ Human Garbage (which is excellent, by the way). ELCAF is a festival where I’m happy I didn’t get in. Not because I wouldn’t love to be a part of it – I really would – but how they curated it this year and true breadth of work on offer was new, exciting and visually overwhelming in the best possible way. It was amazing to walk around and talk to people without having to rush back to a table, too! I had a chance to have a brief catch up with the Avery Hill gents, there with Tillie Walden and Ellice Weaver – whose beautiful new book Something City launched on the day. I also finally put faces to the names of the Dirty Rotten Comics crew Gary and Kirk, met and discussed the business of comics with Sam and Simon Moreton of Smoo/Minor Leagues fame, and had a chance to speak to John Riordan and John Cei Douglas (..and his dog).

John Cei Douglas’ dog, an excellent sales tactic and wonderfully friendly pup.

Also amongst the busy aisles of creators and browsers, we bumped into Pete Redrup of The Quietus, who has kindly just reviewed Cosmos & Other Stories on his most recent column Behold! A Comics Round Up For June. Here’s a snippet:

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.

Pete Redrup, The Quietus

Don’t forget you can pick up Cosmos & Other Stories online from the Good Shop or my Etsy store.

I was also generally pretty well behaved with my spending at ELCAF, with my small but beautiful haul consisting of (L-R) Bianca Bagnarelli‘s comic Daughters, published by Short BoxIcinori‘s beautifully printed Dessus Dessous and Peony Gent‘s A6 short comic Growth – plus a bonus postcard from everyone’s favourite friendly face, Mike Medaglia.

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:

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:

Brain Shoodles Print. On sale soon!

Finally, this Saturday the Birmingham Comic Art Festival graces Birmingham City University, with yours truly behind a table selling the likes of Njálla, Ø and Cosmos & Other Stories, as well as an array of other goodies. There isn’t a huge amount of information to find online, but you can see the key details of the event via the Facebook page. If you’re in or around the West Midlands please do come and say hello! It’ll be another early start for me (Up at 4:30am for ELCAF, and up at 5am on Saturday for BCAF) so I’ll appreciate any company I can get – tickets are free, with registration required here.

And that wraps it up for now! Keep cool everyone, and I shall be back with more (but probably not quite as much) news next time. Peace out!

 

x

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BCZF and the Sneaky Launch

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, another week has zoomed by and this here will be my last blog for a little while. From next week I’ll be making the big move up North to Manchester and starting a new job, so there’s some pretty big life adjustments to get my head around! It’s been a tough few weeks making sure everything is done in time for moving, and also finishing up comics work and launching Sneaky Business vol. 2, so I’m looking forward to having everything put to bed so I can focus all my energy on mine and my handsome northerner’s new home together.

But, regardless of the sheer amount of work, Sneaky Business vol. 2 is go! Despite the very nearly irreversible spelling mistakes bring printed, forgetting to tell people they’re included, and then completely forgetting to put it up for sale online, Sneaky Business vol. 2 has been launched; and, in true style! Bristol Comic and Zine Fair this past Saturday was a wonderfully vibrant day, and between the beaming sunshine and rain showers it made for a consistently high volumes of people having a look around, and spending their hard earned money on comic and zine-like goods! Here are some photos from the day, some by me and some respectfully borrowed from the event photographer Eileen Long and Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver. Check them out below:

I had SUCH a good time at BCZF, and big thanks to everyone who came by my table to say hello! And also to anyone who happened to make the mistake of asking how things are and ended up hearing my life story about how stressful moving home is (I think the Avery Hill gents, Elizabeth Querstret and Rebecca Bagley took the brunt of it) – please forgive me. Overall it was such a fun day, and I really can’t wait to apply again and hopefully be a part of the fun next year too! Though with how crammed my half table was this year I may have to look into a better way of presenting my comics and goods.. Hang them from the ceiling? Stick them to my clothing? Send your suggestions on a postcard.

But, anyway.. Sneaky Business vol. 2 had it’s grand launch complete with googly eyes, and as of yesterday can now be purchased on my Etsy store for the bargain price of £3! Printed in a limited run of 100, SB2 contains 36 pages from 19 creators, so get your hands on a copy pronto. You can read all about the artists and creators included in Sneaky Business from my previous blog here.

Click me!

In other news, I found out that my submission to the Illustrated Women in History zine has been accepted! You may or may not remember, back in July I created a piece on Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, to submit to this zine by Julie Gough of A Pale Landscape, and I’m thrilled to have made it to the final selection. The zine is on sale now for £10 plus shipping, and can be found and ordered here.

So as you can see, it’s been a busy and successful week! I just have a one final piece of work to do before moving which you’ll all be privy to in the coming months, but until then I must love and leave you all for a few weeks. Feel free to send burly moving men my way as I’m not sure how me and a skinny IT guy are going to move all our belongings up and down far too many flights of stairs.. But until next time, see you on the other side!

x

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Degree Show Launch

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s pretty much all over. Yikes. The ‘student’ title I’ve begrudgingly had for the past two and a half years is slowly fading as the Degree Show is nearing close and graduation is only a month away. Putting together the degree show was quite the task, with the private view and launch party on Friday evening drawing in far more of a crowd than expected – always a good sign! Between putting the catalogue together and building a shop out of boxes, lugging heavy boards and painting portfolio stands it was all a bit of a blur.. But it’s done, and open to view every day until it shuts for good this Sunday 19th June.

Huge thanks to fellow graduate Naomi for letting my use her photos (above), and also helping to keep me sane over this past year! The degree show was entirely tutor-led by design, though a few of us took over creating and designing the catalogue. I can’t take any credit for the overall design, but I certainly put my InDesign skills to good use! A few of us also set up our own shop to sit outside of the room itself, selling a range of items; from my comics Njálla and The Red Road, to postcards, prints, and other students books and 3D items.

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Overall the feedback has been positive, and although it’s not exactly what I’d hoped from my degree show when I’ve walked around universities in the past, it’s been nice to have an end-point (and several glasses of wine) to celebrate. Apart from clearing out the show next week and graduation at the end of July, that’s pretty much it! You can find all the information about our Creative Curiosities degree show here on the event page, or the School of the Arts degree shows as a whole through the University of Northampton website here.

As my time has freed up a little between the degree show being completed and leaving the country for a few days I took the opportunity to do my yearly girlfriend duties of doing something for Chris whilst he’s away at Download Festival. Last year I created Rejsen for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, and the year before that I made a Boba Fett piece for him, which I eventually turned into a poster. As for 2013 I have not the foggiest what I did, if anything, as I managed to accidentally erase my old Blogspot page with my old blogs from 2011-2014 a few months back (gutting, yes.. but on the plus side my old horrendously bad work is no longer available to find online). This year I decided to have a go at daily comics. Journalistic comics is something I’ve wanted to branch into for a while but never had the time, so I felt that this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl and see how it felt.

To best understand the premise for the comic, here is the intro to be read in the Law & Order narration voice:

In June every year, Chris goes to Download Festival and I sit at home working.
This year, I am recording this exciting time in comic form.
These are my stories.

– DUN DUN –

Seven days. I managed a whole seven days. Go team! I’ll admit, I didn’t get to draw every day and some days had more catch-up than others, but it went pretty smoothly for the most part. I only used pencil, pen and acrylic ink for the whole thing and it’s VERY rough and ready as it was intended just to get my brain thinking rather than creating a masterpiece. Anywho, Chris let out some vague and hopefully not fake giggles when he read it, so I’ll take that as a positive sign. With my next immediate comics project coming up being a fresh submission to Dirty Rotten Comics for their 8th anthology it was a good thing to work in black and white again; it’s been quite a while since working sans colour, so definitely a wise move to practice again before developing a new short story. Plus, with DRC#8 due in just under two weeks I need to get cracking!

On a final note, this coming Saturday is the yearly Crouch End Cartoon Art Festival at Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End, London! I’m so sad to be unable to make it this year after I had such a blast last year, but holding fort on the Broken Frontier Small Press to Watch table this year will be Andy Oliver with a few others, and stacks of Small Press Yearbooks for sale! There are a whole host of other talented and wonderful folks including Richy K. Chandler, Wallis Eates and Avery Hill Publishing; so if you’re in the area pop on down and check out the talents on offer – it’s FREE! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has written up a release all about the event, which you can peruse over here.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Now that this student malarkey is almost over I need to spend every waking hour trying not to fail as an illustrator. Talk about pressure.. Happy Wednesday! Until next week, have a good ‘un everyone!

x

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The Final Countdown

Goood afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, I haven’t gone mad. Well, I may have done, but this specific reasoning for having not gone mad comes from a midday blog effort. “Oooh”, I hear you all say, as you munch your lunchtime sarnie trying to avoid getting crumbs in the keyboard. Which always happens anyway. Yes! I decided a change was in order this week, before I busy my head in more comics for the remainder of the afternoon.

It’s been a busy week, in fact each week has been becoming steadily busier in the run up to my two-week Scandi adventures; so I have three more afternoons of work to get everything done as much as physically possible so that I can enjoy my fortnight in the fjords. As I revealed last week, my new collaborative zine Sneaky Business has been completed! I received the final artwork, finished the covers up and tomorrow I shall be scurrying along to the local printers to throw my USB their way. HOW EXCITING! Now that it’s all beautifully laid out, I can give you a proper introduction…

Sneaky Business - A collaborative comics zine full of sneaky.. well.. business.
Sneaky Business – A collaborative comics zine full of sneaky.. well.. business, really.

Sneaky Business is a comics zine of my creation, featuring two page and one page comics. After producing a one-page comic for Keara Stewart earlier in the year for her comics anthology A Bit of Undigested Potato, I felt deeply inspired to have a go myself! Though, not with quite so many comics as an anthology, as I think my brain would fall out from the stress of doing that amount of organising on top of everything else. Shortly after TAKEOVER back in May, the idea was born and I started contacting friends in the business. Another reason I wanted to do something like this, as I told the other artists involved, is because the majority of my work is quite dark, emotive and serious. How is everybody supposed to know how hilariously funny I am, without me showing them? Thus, Sneaky Business was born.. From the talented hands of (from top-bottom of the image above);

Rozi Hathaway – hello! -waves-
Pete Hindle – http://petehindle.com/
Samuel C Williams – http://cargocollective.com/samuelcwilliams
Alex Hahn – http://www.alexhahnillustrator.com/
and…
Peter James Norman – http://www.aplacetoputthings.co.uk/

Now for more exciting news! Sneaky Business is being launched on Saturday 29th August 2015 at MancsterCon, so if you’re in the area please do come and say hi and pick up your shiny new copy of Sneaky Business. I will be hosting an internet pre-launch on Monday 24th August, so if you’re unable to get to Manchester (cuh, you’ll be missing out) then I shall make sure you get your copy featuring these wonderful sneaky comic artists for the weekend. A big thanks to my creators Sam, Pete, Alex and Peter, and to anyone who has has helped me out; a special mention to Keara for being an inspiration and Ricky Miller from Avery Hill Publishing for giving me his words of wisdom when I was mid-crisis. So, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to order a copy when it’s released! Because it’s awesome.

In other news, I’ve been clocking up the hours at the ol’ desk producing this Top Secret project that’s due in September, which I mentioned last week. As all you wonderful people asked so nicely, (you didn’t, but I’m guessing you really wanted to..) here are some more snippets of what’s being taking all my time and energy!

I’m really really really really hoping to have all the pages inked by Friday evening, so when I return two-stone heavier from the lands of Danish pastries I can relax and focus on preparing for the colouring aspect, ready for deadline. Yesterday I managed to draw and ink up two in 5 hours, so by that logic I won’t quite get it done.. But I’m going to try my hardest! Page one was a bit of a pain, the rest should be easier. I hope. And pray.

So, yes! Hopefully all this visual stimulation invigorates you all ready for your afternoons, just think of me cramped over my desk drawing pages after pages of comics, and think about how much simpler a desk-job is. I will be back in three weeks time with a full update of my travels, so I hope everybody has a wonderful couple of weeks, and think of me on a boat somewhere between the islands surrounding Oslo.. Or in Stockholm having fika.. Or in Denmark practising my Danish on real, Danish people whilst playing with Lego and eating wienerbrød. Until then – over and out.

x

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Tales From the First Publication Corner

Good evening dutiful followers,

Well, what a celebratory day it is! Second Year of University is OFFICIALLY OVER, woo! No more redoing work from months ago and tweaking something because it’s out of alignment by 2mm, I can finally breathe and start to clear my head ready for a summer of busy drawing fun. After a hectic 7 months I can now find time to do the fun things in life, like make up new comic ideas and draw whatever I feel like. And it feels gooooooood. But, I have plenty of interesting news to keep you all occupied, don’t you worry! First up..

Alternative Press and The London Radical Bookfair hosted TAKEOVER 2015 this past weekend, on Saturday 9th May at a nice little warehouse on 47-49 Tanner Street just a hop, skip and a jump from London Bridge. What a day! Although there were some early complications – definitely of no fault of the organisers, mind you! – the day was busy and Tanner Street became full of people interested in all the comic, zine and book business of the day! As I mentioned previously, I was accepted to TAKEOVER on the First Publications Corner, a special spot for highlighting the work of first-time self publishers of zines and comics as a way to keep us all together (and out of trouble, I suspect!). I met some fantastically interesting people on Saturday, and walked around feeling like a deer in headlights for most of it, but as my first event I’m sure I’ll feel like a regular by the end of the year! Special thanks to those who made me feel at home in a whirlwind experience; Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier, Keara Stewart, Ricky Miller of Avery Hill Publishing, Alex Hahn, Alexandra Cook and Wallis Eates. You’re all lovely!

I only managed to sell a couple of bits, but lots of lovely people and seeing Danny Noble‘s under-table acrobatics definitely made for a good day. Another awesome part of the day was the creation of a Zine in a Day made by Co-Op Footprinters, who brought their risograph printer down from Leeds just for the event. And I thought dragging a suitcase of comics around London was difficult! The idea was absolutely lovely, and I dutifully took along a prepared image to submit to the zine. Have a look below!

The day was made even better with the release of Keara Stweart‘s zine anthology, A Bit of Undigested Potato! Featuring the work of 58 artists (including yours truly..) the anthology looks at bad dreams and nightmares from the perspective of the artist (featured at Broken Frontier here). My comic Locomotion is situated in there, but I’m afraid you’ll have to purcahse your own copy to see it all! I read the whole anthology as soon as it was places in my hands, and from the sad, to the scary and the funny, this book really is something special. I’ll definitely cherish it, and thanks again to the lovely Keara for asking me to join in the fun! What an honour, and a privilege to be included amongst such awesome people.

So, after the excitement of Saturday and the final push at University I’m feeling rather tired, but from meeting all the wonderful aforementioned people at TAKEOVER my brain is now overflowing with ideas of things to come! Now, secrets are way more fun in this line of work, so I won’t divulge too much, but I will say that you can expect to see issue #2 of Down to Your Skivvies coming out soon.. And maybe a few more things popping up on my Etsy shop! For now, I shall retire for the night ready for the busy few days ahead, but I shall be back next week with some coverage of a few exciting University projects that haven’t been covered in all the madness. And then, let the ideas and exciting things commence! Peace out! x

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