avery hill

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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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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