Rock and or Roll

Good afternoon, all!

It’s been a pretty busy month here at the Good Comics-Hathaway-Williams residence, but you’ll be glad to know that I have PLENTY to fill you in on, so grab a cuppa and get comfy.

For the past couple of weeks – or 24 days if we’re being specific – I’ve been working on a new, short comic. Unlike anything else I’ve done, I started with just a vague idea of what I wanted it to be about, and I’ve been drawing one panel per day every day since (except when I’ve had to catch-up, but sshhhh..)

Part of this method has meant that I’m not thumbnailing ideas out first or writing a script. I’ve made some notes and have the idea rolling around in my noggin, but aside from that it’s completely unplanned and pencilled, inked and painted on the same pieces of paper. Check out what I have so far!

As you can probably tell, this comic is about ROCKS! I love picking up rocks at the beach, and luckily for me, I have the Jurassic Coast to my west and Highcliffe beach (which is an SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest)) to my east. Ancient rock galore!

I’ve never really had an outstanding interest in geography or geology, but when I’m at a rocky beach I do enjoy finding the most interesting rocks to bring home. From my initial idea, I tried to do some research and struggled to get my head around the age and formation of location specific rocks. Luckily for me AGAIN, I have the Bournemouth Natural Science Society down the road (if you’re local, I strongly recommend you go check them out and support them), and I managed to get in touch with their geology expert to ask him some questions about Highcliffe rocks in particular. And, he very kindly helped me out!

I’m continuing my panel-a-day project for the foreseeable future, and it’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve really enjoyed doing and is different to my usual subject matter. When I’m finished I’m going to look at turning it into a printed comic, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you’re interested in following my progress, check out my Patreon and subscribe for updates.

In other news, my skateboarding-partner-in-crime Livvy and I have been busy working on a poster for our local Girls’ Skate Night! I won’t reveal too much, but I think we have a budding collaborate career ahead of us, and she’s absolutely killing it at the skate-park. And she’s only 9 years old! She’s also a dab-hand at the Wacom tablet.

Finally, things have been all go go go with Good Comics! We have just recorded and released the second episode of the Good Comics Podcast, this time interviewing Josh Hicks of Glorious Wrestling Alliance fame. We also talk to him about the upcoming Cardiff Comics Carnival this weekend which Sam and I will be at.

If you like random anecdotes and comics chat, be sure to check it out. Related to small comics shows, last week I wrote a blog for Good Comics about the end of Bristol Comic & Zine Fair – read it here.

My short comic Bear also made it onto the Good Friday’s blog, so if you fancy a quick read you can see that here.

And that just about sums it up for now! As I mentioned, this Sunday Good Comics be at the Cardiff Comics Carnival and the following Sunday 31st we’ll be at the Laydeez Weekend Festival at Free Word in London. So, if you’re local to either of those, be sure to pop along and say hi!

Until next time! x

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Welcome, 2019

So, it’s 2019. Happy New Year, everybody!

It’s that undeniably exciting time of year again; the tin of Quality Street is finally dwindling, there’s a new calendar on the wall, and it’s time to look ahead to a new year and everything that could possibly be. Daunting for some, the start of a new year is my very favourite time of the year.

It wouldn’t be a new year without looking back at the previous, so get comfy with a cuppa and join me in some light New Year’s Day reflections.

Moon - self-published in September 2018.
Moon – self-published in September 2018.

This year kicked off in style with Cartoon County in Brighton, hosted by Alex Fitch. Cartoon County is a monthly meet-up of comic creators, and I was honoured to be the January guest. Other guests this year have included Rachael Ball, Julian Hanshaw and Wallis Eates. I’ve been in good company! Cartoon County still hosts its monthly meet-up, and for more information on their gatherings, you can follow them on Twitter.

2018 also saw the re-release of Cosmos & Other Stories, published by Good Comics. Cosmos was originally released in March 2017 but sold out by the end of that year, so we re-released it in an extended format at the beginning of 2018. The new version had a totally brand new story included, which involved some fun Olmec and Aztec research. Sadly, Cosmos is now very-nearly sold out again – act quickly if you’d like to pick one up before it’s gone!

Cosmos & Other Stories, expanded edition. Last few copies available from Good Comics.

Last year also saw me create three more short stories; one which has since been published in BBE Collective’s Barriers anthology, and one for the Good Comics Reader charity anthology (see some of my progress pictures here). The other unpublished story is available for Patreon subscribers.

Speaking of which, 2018 is the year I began a Patreon subscription service! You can read all about my decision here.

Bear, available to Patreon subscribers

I also started working on my long-form story which will be coming out in the next couple of years. The decision to start working on a longer story came naturally and is something that will be slowly plugging away for a while. You can catch up on some of my early sketchbook work here!

Other goings-on included the launch of The Inking Woman book by Myriad Editions, based on The Cartoon Museum exhibition from 2017. Myself and other female creators are published in this first-of-its-kind book, and was truly an incredibly experience.

This past summer also saw my first ever keynote speech at the International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference here in Bournemouth. It was one of the absolute highlights of my comics career, and I am so grateful for the team at ICGNC for welcoming me.

Keynote speech at the IGNCC, June 2018

2018 was also the year of Moon, my newest comic. Successfully funded through Kickstarter (thanks to some wonderful backers!), Moon came to be in time for Thought Bubble 2018 in September. I put everything I had into making Moon, and I’m absolutely thrilled with how it came out. If you’d like to get your hands on a limited copy, they’re available in my shop.

Moon has gone on to be one of Daniel Elkin’s Books We Liked 2018 and one of A Place to Hang Your Cape’s 10 of the Best Indie Comics of 2018!

Whilst Moon may dabble in deities, it’s message is intimate and unassuming. Set against the backdrop of a Chinese shipping docks, Moon tells the story of an inquisitive grandson’s discovery of what his grandfather hides from him in one particular shipping container. More akin to a snapshot than a story, Moon‘s warm colours and dockside setting lends it a detached, melancholic flavour. Printed in a bespoke, mini-tabloid format, Moon is a small, enchanting read.

Fred McNamara, A Place to Hang Your Cape

Finally, 2018 drew to a close with the announcement that I’ve officially joined Good Comics. Keen to support grass-roots creators, establishing and developing themselves in a growing community, Good Comics aims to be a hand-up for a handful of creators. I’ve been working alongside the co-founders of Good Comics a lot this year, and I’m thrilled to be joining them in the Good cause for 2019 and beyond.

And that rounds it up! It’s been a busy year, and I’m so grateful for everything that has come my way. A huge thank you to all of you who support my work and speak to me at shows, who backed my Kickstarter, or who just dig my work. You’re all the best, and here’s to another year of making new stories!

Happy 2019, everyone!

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New Chapter

Good afternoon everyone!

It’s me, your friendly neighbourhood Houdini. I know, I know, I said I was back properly last time, and then didn’t reappear again until now, nearly six weeks later. About five weeks ago, I had some news which made me weigh up my options and reflect a little on my working practices, including writing about what I do. This blog doesn’t get the views it used to, and my daily structure has changed a hell of a lot in the past six months. That, and teamed with some changes going on at my day job, has left me with the decision to pare down my blogging on here and start posting shorter and more regular updates on a subscription website called Patreon. It’s not been an easy decision to make, and I’m certainly not disappearing off here any time soon, but hopefully that explains why I keep vanishing from my ‘weekly’ blog. More on Patreon a little later on, as I’m sure you’re all eager to hear what I’ve been up to…

Last time I caught up with you all I was getting ready to gallop over to Brighton for January’s Cartoon County meet-up; and what a blast it was! Alex Fitch was an excellent interviewer, with interesting and carefully considered questioning – I’ve been interviewed a handful of times, and I must say it’s one of the greatest compliments to be interviewed by someone who has either a keen interest or has taken the time to learn about my work. Thanks so much, Alex! I had a chance to catch up with a few faces I don’t see all that often, and I also managed to put names to faces for a few creators which is always really nice. Thanks so much for having me, Brighton. Plus, your burgers are really really good.

Cartoon County - 29th January 2018
Cartoon County – 29th January 2018 (Picture credit: Samuel C. Williams)

In other news, I not only finished up the additional pages for the reprint of Cosmos & Other Stories, but it’s now here and available to buy online! Woo! It’s still priced £6, but now with an extra 12 pages of comic goodness – including a brand new seven pages story and two pages of sketchbook images. You can pick up a copy of Cosmos from my Etsy store here, from Good Comics’ online shop and from Dave’s Comics in Brighton. And here’s a sneak peek of the new comic! (And the whole comic is available online via Patreon for $5 a month!)

This one has been a really fun comic to do, even if it took me way longer than I ever intended it to. But, it was fun to flex my short story skills once more, and it meant I got to delve into the depths of ancient Aztec history, with reference books such as The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec by Mary Ellen Miller, and more serious titles such as Horrible Histories Angry Aztecs by Terry Deary and Martin Brown. I’m really pleased with how Cosmos looks in it’s new reprinted format, and really grateful that Good Comics have helped me reissue this comic again exactly how I wanted it. Thank you to everyone who picked up an original copy, and those who also buy a new one!

Next up, as you may remember I had been creating a short autobio comic for Dirty Rotten Comics submission! Sadly, I didn’t make the cut this time. But, it’s been great practice to work on something a little more based in reality than my usual tales of magical arctic foxes and fallen stars. Have a look at this sneak peek!

Even though this comic, Bear, won’t be in the latest Dirty Rotten Comics, I have a few other ideas for it yet.. so watch this space! (Maybe not on a full-time basis, as you might be watching for six weeks at a time with how busy everything is right now… I wouldn’t want to give anyone eye-strain!)

So, that’s what I’ve been doing! So to round-up, here’s a little more about my decision making process is moving over to blogging on Patreon rather than here..

The Patreon Story

Now, as I mentioned above, this blog doesn’t seem to get the reach it once did. Writing a large post like this takes at least a couple of hours, and if I was doing weekly posts like I used to it’d be around an hour a week of writing an editing, and extra time documenting everything I do and preparing preview images. Which, was fine and wonderful when I was a full-time student or when I graduated and worked in a creative job that allowed me time to write. However, now things are a little different with my personal circumstances. Prior to six months ago I was in a very lonely and isolated position of not really having much else to do apart from work (as I’m sure Self-Care & Vegetables readers are aware). Now, I’m happy. I understand it’s important to have time off to look after myself, read and enjoy life. I have a wonderful partner who I love spending time with, and I also have his two kids in my life who are funny, gnarly and sweet. So as you can tell, my time has to be spread a little more evenly, which is nicer and healthier. But that meant something had to give.

I hear you ask.. “but why are you moving over to somewhere where I have to pay to see the same things I’ve seen for free all this time?” – well! I will still aim to update here every four-six weeks. It’ll be more of a round-up than an in-depth analysis of every stage, kind of like this blog as been today! You’ll still see pencils to inks and sketchbook stages, right the way through to final previews. My tiers of subscription on Patreon give you more than you could ever have here. Let me show you:

$2 or more per month –  you can access exclusive blog posts about what I’m up to, work-in-progress photos and previews only available to patrons. i.e. you will get more regular updates and photos.
$5 or more per month – you get the above, plus 10% off in my Etsy store and access to my digital comics archive to read and download, and see full colour pages of new comics before they’re published! If you like digital comics, you will be getting a massive bargain compared to buying my work individually or in it’s anthologies.
$10 or more per month – everything listed above, plus a hand-drawn and painted postcard in the post every month (UK postage only)
$12 or more per month – everything listed above, plus a hand-drawn and painted postcard in the post every month (Worldwide postage)
$40 or more per month – everything listed above (excluding postcard), plus an A5 drawn, inked and painted commission of your choice every month – or you can just bump up to this for one month if you’d like to commission artwork from me, and then bump back down to a different tier. (Worldwide postage)
Check out my Patreon site here to witness it all for yourself, and sign up for some sweet deals to arrive through your door. After all, who doesn’t love receiving post that isn’t bills or junk mail? Hopefully that clarifies everything a bit. Don’t miss out, even for just $2 (£1.45ish) a month you get to see comics as they happen, and before anyone else.

And on that note, that sums it up for now! I have a busy few weeks ahead preparing some top secret things, a comic for an anthology, creating more things and travelling all over the place. Life is meant to be busy, right? Right?

Thanks for being patient and reading all of my ramblings, and here’s to a new, exciting chapter!

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Bring It Back Now Y’All

Good afternoon everyone!

Welcome back, please find a seat and make yourselves comfortable. There’s tea and coffee over there, and some fruit on the side. It’s been a little while again, and I’d like to thank you all for your patience whilst I’ve been navigating a new demanding job, new interests and taking more of a keen focus on my own physical and mental well-being. Looking back over the years I’ve often used working on multiple comics projects as a crutch to help ignore my own personal life, and now I’m juggling things around to make sure all areas are getting the best I can possibly give. So, thanks again for holding with me, and if I haven’t said it before.. 2018 is going to be ace. Just you wait and see!

First things first, I’ve been hibernating away working on an additional short comic for the re-release of Cosmos & Other Stories next month. It’s based on an old folklore tale and I’ve really loved building a little story around it, so I hope you all will enjoy it too! The second edition of Cosmos is up for pre-order again with Good Comics, so if you fancy being one of the first to get your hands on a copy, head on over to their Good Shop and check it out then checkout. Here’s a little preview of the pencils…

As you all know from Njálla and The Red Road, I love a good folk legend or myth, and I’ve found a really interesting old Mexican legend that ties in with the theme of Cosmos; loneliness, love and reflection. I’m really, really excited to be bringing out the second edition, and with it being re-released in only a few weeks, I have it well on the way to being finished up and sent back off to print. Woohoo!

Next up, why work on one comic when I can work on two? A couple of weeks ago I was reminded that Dirty Rotten Comics have a call for submissions out for their next anthology, number #12. They opened up submissions back in November, but I figured it’d be really good practice to crack out a story at short notice and work on something I’ve been looking to develop more: autobiographical slice of life and travel writing. I’ve been juggling this new four-page comic and the final Cosmos story, and both are due to be completed around the same time, so it’s going to take a good final push to get these done! Here are some working photos of the new short story for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics – all roughs, I assure you..

The deadline for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #12 is 31st January, so get to it and submit something too! I’ve been in three of their anthologies so far, and they always release the best selection of comics from a wide range of talent. You can find all their submission details on their website!

In other news, it’s been recently announced that The Inking Woman exhibition has been turned into a book, and is due to be published by Myriad in late March! The Inking Woman exhibition took place back in April 2017 and featured 100 women cartoonists, including yours truly! I’m so thrilled to hear the exhibition has been turned into a book, and it’s more important than ever to look at the part women have taken in a heavily male dominated history of comics and cartooning. You can read about the book here.

So, what else is 2018 bringing? Well, there’s another BBE Collective anthology coming soon, with submissions open until the end of March; there’s also something new from those Good Comics boys coming soon (pictured below). And that just takes us up until the end of March/April time. This past week I’ve also been confirmed with a half table again at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, which is wonderful news! I absolutely love Thought Bubble Festival, and have had an excellent time the past three years I’ve attended.

And finally, if you’re local to Brighton city centre, come along and see me talk with Alex Fitch this Monday (29th January) at the Cartoon County meetup! Cartoon County is a group of Sussex creators who talk comics, cartooning and everything else related, and have had notable guests such as everyone’s favourites Hannah Berry, Gareth Brookes and Danny Noble, and many many more. You can check out their website here, and their Twitter page here for more information on Monday’s meet up.

That just about rounds it up for now! See you on Monday evening if you’re coast-local, and check back back here next week for a round-up. Until then, have a wonderful weekend!

 

x

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