Broken Frontier Small Pressganged

Spring Has Sprung

Good afternoon folks!

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.

Now that Cosmos & Other Stories is finished up and out in the world, AND I’ve moved home just over a week ago, it’s been a time of catching up on comics I’ve promised for submissions. First up, I’ve been working on a four-page comic for this year’s Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook! Last year’s Yearbook was a platform for the Broken Frontier’s 2015 ‘Six to Watch’ artists to be published as a focal point whilst still sat next to more established artists. Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Jess Milton, Alice Urbino, Adam Vian and myself all contributed to the Yearbook, with my comic Afloat gaining praise in reviews from Page 45, The Quietus and more. This year, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 is focusing on the 2016 ‘Six to Watch’ creators Rebecca Bagley, Kim Clements, Brigid Deacon, Emily Rose Lambert, Jey Levang and Ellice Weaver – with myself and others creating shorter back-up stories to support these fabulous six comics ladies.

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!

Whalin’ around in DRC10!

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!

 

x

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Hello, 2017.

Happy New Year!

So, it’s 2017. When did that happen? Somewhere between drinking prosecco in my sweatpants and hearing some fireworks going off outside, probably.. Not my most glamorous moment truth be told, but after the year I’ve had I opted to start the year as I mean to go on; no no, not drinking in lounge-wear (though I can definitely get behind that) but taking things a little slower. Maaaaybe.

And 2017 has started with a bang, as Njálla has been voted as one of ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ from 2016 by Broken Frontier! I’m incredibly honoured as 2016 saw a lot of fantastic releases from small press creators, and as Andy Oliver states in the article it is by no means a be-all-and-end-all of small press in the UK. I’m especially moved as the now out-of-print The Red Road was featured as one of the ten in 2015’s end of year review also, meaning I’ve now set a precedence with myself to keep going and keep making more. Oh, well, if you insist..

The release of Njálla back in June feels like a short lifetime ago, and I’m incredibly grateful to be one of the luck ten picked. Go us! You can read the full article here at Broken Frontier, and also check out previous year’s articles from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

With this wonderful news and that general new year feeling I’ve been contemplating last year’s achievements, most of which were listed in my reflections blog last week, and I have a good feeling about 2017 and what’s to come. As you can see from this handy diagram below I was RATHER busy with my own publishing endeavours as well as a lovely bunch of successful submissions for some great titles, including the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 and Dirty Rotten Comics #8.

But, 2017.. Well! It’s off to a busy start already. The call for submissions for the third Dead Singer’s Society from Good Comics is still open and will be until Sunday 15th January, so there there is still time to get something in for this third collection of music related comics, illustrations and essays. As stated in their call for submissions, there is a maximum of two pages per contributor, so it’s nothing too daunting. I’ve been scribbling away to make sure I get something done in time, though my first efforts have firmly gone in the bin so I’ll be starting from scratch this week.

Call for Submissions for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine!

Also, I’ve been working away on my fourth short story for the upcoming collection that’s being published through those Good Comics fellows! With this collection of stories taking root (Ha.. get it? Trees? Roots?) from the power of environment alongside feelings of love, loss and loneliness it’s been a far more all-encompassing task than I initially imagined. But, it’s going to be good. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on with exploring panels and borders:

Short stories are definitely challenging in their own right, but there’s something more poetic about them versus longer storytelling – not that I’m exactly an expert on longer form narratives, mind you. With abstract shapes and  a sense of movement through time similar to how I approached The Red Road, it’s an exciting challenge to be working on this and definitely something that a whole lot of my soul is going into. I’ll be sharing sneak peeks and progress as the weeks go on, so do keep an eye out for that and the lead up to this collection’s release in Spring.

And that’s where I leave you at! Until next time, keep finishing off those mince pies and cake, because err.. they don’t keep. And it’s a shame to waste those festive leftovers.

 

x

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Recovery & Scarves

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, that’s it. The last comics’ festival of the year is well and truly over – and what a festival it was. This year’s Thought Bubble Festival was a most excellent weekend full of wonderful people and more laughs than I’ve had in a long time. Though, I did have a nightmare of a time on Friday evening. And I did happen to lose my favourite scarf. But apart from that, it was the best (plus I already have a ridiculous amount of scarves, so.. I can cope).

Thought Bubble Festival ran from 1st-6th November, with the comic festival running over the weekend of the 5th-6th down in Leeds Docks. I was happily plonked in New Dock Hall, between the charming gents of micro-publishers Good Comics (Dr Paddy Johnston, Samuel C. Williams and Pete Hindle) on my right, and the incredibly talented Anja Uhren (whose Irgendwo im Nirgendwo I recommended back in June for Broken Frontier in the lead up to Small Press Day) to my left. With over 400 exhibitor tables between New Dock Hall, the Royal Armouries building and the ComiXology Marquee it really is a HUGE event, and this year definitely felt busier for me than last year. This year I also attempted to make my table as fun as possible, with my Njálla cut-out, fake snow and snowflakes spread out to help entice people over to my table. Check it out!

As you may recall from last week’s update, Thought Bubble saw the release of my newest short story comic Ø, which was kindly mentioned by Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier as one of his picks during the Gosh! Comics Presents ‘The Best Thing I’ve Read All Year’ panel. You’d think I’d have thought about how someone would talk about Ø with no knowledge of the pronunciation, wouldn’t you. I can confirm that no, no that thought didn’t cross my mind.. So I can only eternally apologise to Andy for trying to promote Ø without the foggiest of how to say it! However, it’s probably the most accidentally clever marketing ploy I’ve ever done, shooting it right to the top of the alphabet of Thought Bubble’s debuting books list. But, regardless of my apparent living on another planet, Ø’s debut went fantastically! You can read more about it here on the updated page, and get your copy from my online Etsy store for just £3 plus shipping.

As you can also see above, Alan Henderson of Penned Guins popped by with some original artwork from his submission to Sneaky Business vol. 2, kindly tucking it into the top copy ready for the next purchaser to get free with their sneaky stories – how awesome is that? Also, I have now officially sold out of The Red Road! I took my final copy to Thought Bubble and Andy Oliver passed me back a couple he’d been taking to tabling events – and all three went! First released in January 2015, the starting 100 copies sold out by October, and I’ve since sold through the bumper second edition 100 copies in just over a year. Thank you to everyone who has continually taken interest in The Red Road, it is still my baby and I’m sad to see it go – but it’s time to keep moving forward.

Big, big thanks to everyone who popped by and said hello – and to everyone who took the time to spend their hard earned money on something I made. You’re all wonderful! Also HUGE thanks as always to Thought Bubble organisers and all the volunteers who make it so fantastic to be a part of. It’s now, with my standard post-TB cold, that myself and the other comic creators wait patiently for next year and the next festival.. We sulk back to our desks to hibernate for winter, so please do think of us. And send cake.

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In more cheerful news, last week Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged celebrated it’s 5th birthday! In a very heartwarming day of celebration, a bunch of us small press comics people talked about who we found through the hard work of Andy Oliver and his Small Pressganged efforts and articles – this is the column which first included the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, which gave me endless coverage and interest that I’d never have gotten otherwise, and without it I definitely wouldn’t have the confidence to be where I am today. I made a special piece for the day which features on the article, also seen above. Myself and a few others mention Danny Noble, and if you’re interested in checking out her work, you can do so here and read about her fabulous self here. I was really honoured to be mentioned by Ravi Thornton, so it’s a lovely article to read all-round. Go check it out and feel your soul warmed!

And that’s about it for now! Outside of Thought Bubble and Small Pressganged’s 5th birthday I have plenty to talk about in the coming blogs, so be sure to check back next week for the return to normality. Until then – keep warm! I’m going to go and put another one of my many scarves on…

 

x

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November Air

Good afternoon lovely readers!

So, I’m back! It doesn’t feel like it’s been all that long since I divulged my creative life, but I have missed it over the past four weeks all the same. It’s been a very exhausting time; moving really is no joke, especially with only a small van and 150 miles of road between the old homes and new. In the end my absolute trooper of a boyfriend and I did 4 trips in 4 days, covering 1033 miles – and one 24.5 hour shift of moving that ended with us collapsing into bed at 6am. Until you’ve cleaned an empty apartment at 2am and moved three heavy reptile vivariums at half 4 in the morning, you just don’t know what misery it is. Best of all, we somehow managed not to fall out, and now we have our beautiful happy home together! We definitely moved at the right time, as now the nights are drawing in, the clocks jumped forward and it’s getting colder – which means the time has almost come.. Thought Bubble weekend is nearly here!

Possibly the biggest comic art festival in the United Kingdom returns to Leeds Royal Armouries this weekend; Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival celebrates it’s tenth anniversary with events running from the 1st-6th November, with the comic festival on the 5th-6th November. I attended my first ever Thought Bubble as a seller last year and had an absolute blast with my table neighbours Van Nim and Richy K. Chandler (you can read all about it here), so I couldn’t wait to apply again for this year – and thankfully I got in! I’ll be in New Dock Hall on table 180b next to those lovely gents at Good Comics.

New Dock Hall @ Thought Bubble Saturday 5th/Sunday 6th November. Come say hi!

Entrance to Thought Bubble is £29 for the weekend or £18 for a single day (either Saturday or Sunday) with under 12’s free with a ticket-holding adult. Cosplayers also get a discount and tickets can be purchased in advance – head to the Thought Bubble website for all the details.

After my rather awful attempts at clay sculpture table friends last year I decided to make something a bit better, so this year I’ll have a real Njálla with me! Well, not real real, but as close to a real Njálla as I can get. So, if you’re in Leeds and thinking of attending Thought Bubble on Saturday or Sunday, look out for my foam-board frosty fox (he doesn’t bite).

The wild Njálla, currently enjoying my reading chair…

In other Thought Bubbly news, my newest short story Ø will see it’s debut over the weekend! For my key fans, you might remember me talking about Ø before; I created it as a 16-page submission to the recent call for entries from the Latvian comic anthology kuš! for their BFF themed š! #27. Sadly, I didn’t make the final cut. But, this means I’ve been able to quickly whack it together and self-publish it instead! Previewed by Andy Oliver this week at Broken Frontier, Ø has been selected as one of his Small Press Debut Picks! Here’s what he has to say about it:

“Broken Frontier 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch‘ artist Rozi Hathaway has a new 16-page comic at Thought Bubble with the rather succinct title of Ø. A beautiful story of childhood friendship, affection and loneliness, this magical tale showcases Hathaway’s powerful use of colour to accentuate mood and theme.”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Thought Bubble Small Press Debut Picks Day 1 – Comics from Rozi Hathaway, Steven Tillotson, Anna Haifisch and More!

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Check out the article and subsequent daily articles to figure out what to add to your shopping list for this weekend! Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged also sees it’s fifth birthday this week, so be sure to keep an eye on the website and on Facebook/Twitter tomorrow (Thursday 3rd November) to see loads of birthday fun including some exclusive artwork from yours truly. And back to the comic briefly – Ø has now been updated on the front page of my website, so you can check out some of the information there and get the link to all the blog posts detailing its creation – and watch out for next week’s blog update for a full breakdown of the release. I’ll also be selling the usual suspects at Thought Bubble this weekend, including the newest Sneaky Business, this summer’s big release Njálla (snowy landscapes and magical foxes, coming up to the perfect time of year for it!), the few remaining copies of The Red Road I have left, copies of the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and other smaller goodies.

There will be a whole gigantic host of amazing talent at Thought Bubble and I highly recommend making it down if you have the chance. If last year is anything to go by it’s going to be something special…

And that’s about it for now! I have lots to catch you all up on in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for your back-to-normal weekly Wednesday wisdom. Until next week.. have a good one, and hopefully see some of you in Leeds! Peace out.

 

x

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

x

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Window Scribbles & Other Tales

Good morning happy campers!

So, I have survived! I endured an entire week of dissertation writing and come out the other side of it, albeit slightly greyer and possibly a bit more eloquent, innit. I must admit, by Thursday I was starting to lose the plot a bit and took some time out to refine my sketches for the Gosh! London window display (more about that shortly), but I powered through difficult circumstances and have 85% of my dissertation done, with two months now to finish it off and polish it up a bit. Phew! I don’t think I’d recommend any creative folk to put down their pencils for an entire week, as I did feel like I was gradually losing my soul.. But hey, it’s most likely the last essay I’ll every write. *air punch*

On Sunday I had the fantastic excuse to put down my books and get an early train down to London, ready for the window-painting bonanza of Gosh! and Laydeez do Comics, which I mentioned previously in my blog here. I arrived in London early and plonked myself down in a coffee shop to read the wonderful Save our Souls magazine (which had been patiently awaiting my attention for well over a week, whoops!), and after I was feeling suitably caffeinated and inspired by David Ziggy Greene’s newest venture, I made my way down to Gosh for it’s opening time. Everyone at Gosh is so lovely, and they helped me out with cleaning off the previous window art and supplying me with a big box of paints and pens, and gave me tips along the way. In the end it took around four-and-a-half hours to create the window, with most of the time taken up with creating the Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier text, and getting the proportions correct of the biggest figure. Have a look!

A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
Outside view
Outside view
Another figure just by the door.
Another figure just by the door.

I had a lot of fun working on the windows. It was quite freeing just to be able to draw and colour in something I’d been planning for ages, in public, with a passing audience (and also, it was great entertainment for me to see people looking at what I was doing instead of where they were going, and bumping into other unsuspecting pedestrians). Special thanks to Tom and Nora for helping me out and taking photos!

Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter
Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter

As you may be able to make out in the background on the floor I pre-made some props at home to bring with me, of Danny Noble‘s and my work to jazz the display up a bit – I’ll get some photos of those on the night. Speaking of which, this coming Monday is hurtling towards us at record speed! The Laydeez do Comics evening on Monday 18th is going to be quite the place to be, if I may say so. The Broken Frontier themed special will see talks from Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and champion of all things small-press related, Danny Noble, the creative force to be reckoned with, and myself. As I mentioned last week, tickets are all sold out but you can keep an eye out on Twitter for any last-minute cancellations. And, for those of you who miss the wonderful fun we’re all going to have (sorry), as always there will be a guest blogger to take account of everything, which will go up on the site in the weeks after. Andy Oliver will also be excitedly making two announcements on Monday evening, so keep an eye out for the public announcements in the following days!

Although it feels like I’ve barely had a break, University term started up again yesterday after spending Monday doing more of my dissertation, so I have a list as long as my arm of things to do. This includes my presentation for Laydeez do Comics, so I shall endeavour to get cracking on that shortly! Aside from the windows there isn’t that much I can show you all unfortunately, with that pesky essay getting in the way all of last week. I did spend a bit of time yesterday following my tutorials and research time doing some long-missed work on The Next Big Thing, with more to come next week.. Here’s a sneaky peek of some practice page layouts I’ve been working on:

Finally, in more super news, The Red Road has just this morning been named by Broken Frontier as one of the ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ 2015! Alongside the likes of Tillie Walden, Rachael Smith and more talented individuals, it’s a huge honour to be listed. It’s hard to believe that The Red Road was first released to the world almost a year ago, and with it’s second print run over half-sold it’s great to have such positive reinforcement from Andy Oliver and the Broken Frontier team. Thanks all!! Don’t forget you can pick up your super-second edition bumper copy in-store from Gosh!, Travelling Man Manchester, Orbital Comics and Nostalgia & Comics, plus online from my web-store.

But anyway, as my father enjoys saying so much; time is of the essence! And back to work I go. Next week’s update will have all the gossip from Laydeez do Comics and whether I managed to entertain or send to sleep the audience – place your bets! Have a good week everyone. Over and out!

x

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Hello, November.

Good morning ladies and gents.

So, another week is behind us and we’re well and truly into November. There’s a crisp, cold scent to the night air which can only mean the arrival of Bonfire night. Because, y’know, why not celebrate some guy’s failure of trying to blow up the House of Lords in the 17th century when it involves pretty colours and bright lights? Thankfully my week-and-a-half long lurgy seems to be finally tailing off, though it’s been a determined little bunch of germs.

On Monday I managed to drag my coughing and sniffly self into the university print rooms to play with my collagraph printing plates I showed you all last week. Wanna see? Yeah you do!

These prints are all part of the work I’m creating for the Folio Society’s printing of War Horse, and as I mentioned last week this is a competition which calls for three internal illustrations and a book jacket design in the typical Folio Society styling. As the subject matter of War Horse is pretty dark, and the story is told through the eyes of the horse, I didn’t want to go and just draw horses everywhere. Instead, I’m looking at combining these textured backgrounds with washes of paint and some drawn details. The first print is for the shelling at night, the second is muddy brown holes in the snow, and the third is pieces of shrapnel and earth upturned by more shelling. I don’t normally work in an abstracted way so it’s kind of nice to try out this more atmospheric way of presenting a landscape rather than going straight to drawing pens. Fits the story better, I think.

In similar news, I’ve been trying out something different with modelling clay, too! With Thought Bubble Festival only a week and a half away, I’ve been working on a small side project to keep me company over the weekend on my half of table 73. Plus, with the re-release of The Red Road coming THIS FRIDAY, and Thought Bubble being it’s first public appearance, I thought it’s a perfect opportunity to make something  bit different. Now, I’m absolutely no expert in the field of modelling, but after a plea on twitter and speaking to some fellow students at university, I found out my failed attempts were because I needed to make a skeleton structure to support the weight of the clay. Who knew! Low and behold, I’ve just about managed to make a model of Bear and Coyote with air-drying clay and a frame consisting of paper clips, wool and hot glue.

Now, they are pretty crappy. I mean, I was hoping I could sell them, but I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone until I’ve practiced a little more. Also, as you can probably tell, they aren’t to scale of each other – whoops! Making a smaller Coyote would have been really fiddly, and making a bigger Bear would have needed a much larger and more substantial frame. But altogether, not too shabby for a second attempt. Some cracks have appeared in the drying process so I shall be off to get some fine surface filler to fill those in before I paint and glaze my new friends.

Speaking of The Red Road… IT’S ALMOST FRIDAY!! I am so, so excited to be releasing The Red Road for a second time, especially with the changes and additions I’ve made. The story remains the same, but there’s some special extra content in there now, and a couple of other tweaks to make it the best it can be. Yay! Don’t forget, The Red Road launches this Friday (6th November) still for the same price of £6 on my Etsy store, but this time with an extra 4 pages of goodies. Just to make life even more exciting, Richard Bruton’s review came through last week from Forbidden Planet Blog. What a dream come true! Having not only a Broken Frontier review but now a Forbidden Planet review too is an incredibly proud and exciting moment for me. Here’s a snippet, and click here for the full review.

“…Hathaway deserves fulsome praise for delivering something so brutal, so powerful, in such simple terms. This is good comics.”

– Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet Blog review of The Red Road

Finally, yesterday saw celebrations in the form of Broken Frontier’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver’s Small Pressganged 4th birthday! Wow, that was a mouthful. Anyway, it’s safe to say that without Andy Oliver’s tireless work to embrace small press and independent comics, I would not be on the shelves of comics shops throughout the UK, and I would not have appeared in anthologies and at comics events. What a guy! For myself and countless others, Andy has championed our hard work and given it an amplified audience of dedicated fans and followers. Really, I am so thankful for the great work that he does, and I would just be another uni student desperate to get anywhere without his support and belief in my work. All hail the hat! To celebrate the occasion I draw Andy a nice big hat cake with four candles per hat and a potential flag fire hazard. It’s not exactly my most esteemed work, but as a doodle it gets the message across. Happy 4th Birthday Small Pressganged!

So, that’s about it for now; the Next Big Thing is slowly under way and next on the list is working on my dissertation proposal. (Yep, you thought your Wednesday morning was fun..) Don’t forget to get your shiny second edition copy of The Red Road from Friday, and check back next week for some previews of the second edition additions. Until next time!

x

 

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Under the Sea

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, another seven days have clocked past and I’m feeling more comfortable with being up to my chin in assignment work. Final year stress? It’s a breeze! Ha.. Famous last words. But whilst I’m enjoying this false sense of security, I have my most recent project to show you all!

So, two weeks ago us happy third years were given a choice of articles to illustrate for an editorial brief. I chose one which was around the idea of the road, the space between places. Entitled ‘Toward Portland’, the already published article is a first person thought trail from an author describing over the course of a one page essay how the road is the place between places, also referencing other non-place places, like the twilight, midnight and abyss zones of the deep sea and all the spookies that reside down there. The writer also mentions his interest in travel starting from a young age, trying to dig to china in his back yard. Out of the two images we had to create, the only real constraint was that the first image, in a magazine setting, would have a crease running down the centre. This basically means I had to offset the image and counterbalance it, so that nothing ‘essential’ would be lost in the middle fold. All good practise, though! So, with all that in mind, you can see finished images below (click for bigger version);

There’s always something exciting about researching a new idea or topic. The deep sea concept jumped out at me immediately, and thanks to this awesome interactive animation I stumbled across on the BBC, I now know far more about the journey to the centre of the earth than I ever have. Fascinating stuff! The antikythera wreck and mechanism immediately jumped out at me, and I used theoretic diagrams in the second image. Also, those deep sea spookies you can see are the likes of amphipods (which didn’t make the final cut, sorry amphipods), the marine hatchetfish, and deep sea jellies such as the comb jellyfish and a sinister looking siphonophore. That last charmer can be up to 40 meters long with millions of stinging cells which it deploys in a net to completely obliterate anything that drifts towards it. With that in mind, I can safely say that I’m more than content on land, and plan not to meet these particular creatures any time soon. But yes, this was a nice change and a fun project full of complex and enticing ideas. Refreshing!

In other news, the ‘HOME’ themed Art Aid Nepal anthology has been reviewed by Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier this week! Check out an extract from the review below;

“Home also provides contributions that invite the reader to construct their own narratives around a single image. Katriona Chapman (Katzine – her page right) is another artist to emphasise that our relationships are integral to our sense of home while Rozi Hathaway (The Red Road and one of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’) provides a quiet but poignant moment of finding one’s place in the world amidst chaos and disorder. Asia Alfasi similarly highlights the importance of memories in relation to the thematic heart of the anthology.

To a degree it feels almost redundant if not inappropriate to be critically analysing a compilation of work that has been created with such altruistic intentions. However, regardless of the origins of its existence, Home is a reflective and contemplative collection of evocative work that all readers will relate to. Great comics and a great cause in one package. This one deserves your support.”

Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier review of Art Aid Nepal HOME Anthology

As I mentioned last week, this is something I’m incredibly proud to be a part of. Elena Vitagliano and Kripa Joshi have done a fantastic job at raising the hoped £2000 so far, but with 6 days to go there’s still a chance to make more of a difference. Here’s what they say about it..

“By raising £2000 we hope to provide workshops for the children in these temporary shelters. But we don’t want to stop at that… we have bigger dreams too.
If we can raise £2500 we will give each of those children a journal and art materials so they have tools for creative outlet. And if we raise more than £3000 we would conduct teacher training in the worst affected area to equip them with skills on how they can bring creativity into their classrooms through some very basic and easily found materials.
The more money we raise, the more areas we will be able to reach with the training. With your help we hope to reach as many children as possible and continue to provide support.”

You can still donate to the Kickstarter project until Monday 19th October, and you can do so here!

That’s it for now, folks! The Next Big Thing is in the beginning research stages of compiling what I have so far before I progress onto creating the story. Exciting stuff! Well, for me it is, anyway. Until next week..!

x

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Top Secret Project

Good morning you lovely people, you!

So, it appears to be autumn. I’m not quite warm enough, University is looming once more and my list of jobs to do before third year starts is slowing depleting.. Though I keep thinking of things to add to it, which doesn’t help. Thankfully, stress is low and my stocks of camomile tea are high, so here’s to a good few weeks before the teeth-grinding, alcohol comforted, crying into sketchbooks era of Third Year begins.

Amongst the delights of laughing at my own history of terrible drawings last week, and celebrating the wonders of MancsterCon, you may have seen mentions of the Top Secret Project having reached completion. Now, the Top Secret Project started back around May, though it still feels like a blur of thinking and drawing, with the final painting of my 10 pages taking a week to complete. I still can’t divulge any more details about the Top Secret Project (in case you hadn’t already guessed from the title), but if you can all hold onto your hats for just a couple more months, all will be revealed… For now, though, here are some of the final images; from final inks to varying stages of painted completion. I’m still resting in that uncomfortable zone of “is-this-actually-terrible-and-people-will-laugh-at-me-and-I’ll-have-to-change-my-name-and-become-a-hand-model-and-move-to-a-village-and-hide-forever”, but I’ve come to realise that the fears and worries are a good thing. Emotional investment equals fear of other peoples opinions, and emotional investment means I’ve done the best I can. So, let’s just hope it’s not a flop.

Similarly to The Red Road, I drew all my pages out in pencil, went over them in fancy ink pen, and painted them in varying shades of gouache. Unlike The Red Road, however, I drew everything 100% larger than it’s due to be printed; it’s something my lecturers at University kept telling me I should do to improve my figure drawing, and I actually listened. I’ve been drawing double the size of print since Rejsen, with my comic in Sneaky Business also being double the size of print too. I’m not sure if it’s making me a better illustrator/artist or not, but it works well enough and doesn’t take any extra time.

The one thing I did do different this time, is that I worked on all the pages from rough form on separate paper first, then once the pencils were done-ish I used the light-box to draw everything up on the final fancy paper in pencil again, tightened it all up and inked. The good thing about doing it like this, is that the paper wasn’t left with a multitude of rubbed-out mistakes, and no pencil indents too. I IS LEARNING, LIKE. But yes, with every new project comes a new set of wisdom, and the completion of the Top Secret Project has left me feeling comfortable in the set of processes I have for my upcoming Final Major Project at University (cue: fear).

Last week also saw the review of Down to Your Skivvies #1, by Broken Frontier in Andy Oliver’s new Zinewatch feature! DTYS#1, created by Kamala Roberts, Zara Ward and myself earlier in the year is about celebrating women in the arts, and though #2 is in the making, it’s great to have a little boost with this review – thanks Andy! You can read his review of DTYS here, and purchase a copy on Etsy, here.

Old school zine-style in presentation, Down to Your Skivvies! is an eclectic mix of material that, nevertheless, retains a consistent thematic approach and voice.
– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier.

Aside from this, the past week has actually been pretty busy with non-work related things, although a couple of lovely new shiny projects have come my way which will give me plenty to do this week, along with that damn pre-uni, ever growing check-list. So, I shall leave you all rest-assured that I am continuing my delicate balance of staying warm, drawing lots, and doing my very best not to go into hibernation mode. I am off on a few day escape to Amsterdam next week so I will be back with my blog on Friday instead of it’s usual mid-week presence, but picture me happily cycling around canals in the rain whilst stuffing my face full of poffertjes and wheels of gouda. Until next week!

x

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