It’s been a little while, huh? Apparently my limits of multitasking are, a) starting a new, demanding day job and b) moving home… again. Hopefully, this time moving has been for good, and we have been hard at work for the past fortnight to make our home everything we have ever hoped for. For the first time in too long I have a peaceful space to call my own, and a working space that is nice and far away from where I sleep. I have a list of things to work up to before the new year, and 2018 is going to be more exciting than ever..
I’m so happy to be re-releasing Cosmos & Other Stories in early 2018 with Good Comics, complete with a bonus story – so keep your eyes peeled for more information on that in due course! The online stores are now totally sold out, but you can possibly still pick up a first print edition of Cosmos at a few stories in the UK: Orbital in London, Dave’s Comics in Brighton, Gnash Comics in Ashburton and the Travelling Man stores – if you’re after one in time for Christmas it’s worth giving those stores a call.
In other news, I haven’t had much time to do any work, let alone write a blog about how little comics’ work I’ve done. I have, however, managed to throw all of my inktober pieces together into an animation, so check that out below:
It’s a bit rudimentary, but it’s really nice to see it all in motion as I imagined it. Inktober feels like only yesterday yet also forever ago since I sketched my fox and butterfly pals. In my drawing hiatus (thanks to all my belongings being packed in boxes for at least two weeks) I have however excelled in cushion cover making and even made my first pair of curtains last week. AND a net curtain! Possibly not as exciting to you all, but I promise it’s been every bit the roller-coaster and incredibly satisfying. Almost as satisfying as taking down the visually abhorrent curtains that were here when we moved in… but that’s a story for another day. Blergh.
Anyway! Keep your eyes peeled as I endeavour to be back next week with something more to show you. Until then, have a picture of my new squirrel friend and the beach that’s a 10-minute walk from home. Peace out!
So, it’s November! I now look forward to losing the feeling in my toes between getting out of bed in the morning and returning to it that night, that crisp autumn/winter smell that infuses the air, and wrapping myself in several layers to keep toasty whilst I sit down to draw. It’s true, I’m not much of a winter/cold weather person (unless I’m on a snowboard on a mountain), but there are certain positive things that come with the long nights and snuggling up to keep warm.. for one, it seems more than respectable to get into comfy clothes as soon as I fall in through the door.
So, aside from noticing the chill in the air, this past week I’ve been plugging away at #inktober! I did fall behind a little during the month-long challenge, and have to complete two in one day a couple of times, but I still stuck with it and managed to come out with a complete narrative. Check it out!
It’s been a lot of fun to work on something with no pressure, and also fun to do more work created with Kuretake Zig brush pens rather than a solid black lines and painted with gouache. The full tools I used for each day are:
Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils (colours: Cream, Sunburst Yellow, Peacock Blue)
LAMY Safari (colour: Petrol)
The Kuretake pens are the same brand and type that I used to create Self-Care & Vegetables, and have a really nice relaxed feel to them. If you use them nervously it can all go a bit wrong, but to make sweeping and confident lines they are an absolute delight. Yes I could talk about pens for hours. Yes I’m more than comfortable with my ability to do so.
In other news, I’ve been continuing work on the comic I spoke of last week. It’s been slow progress as I’ve been juggling several other things, but I’ve started being able to plot in where some of the story text is going to go, and cutting and pasting parts around to make it look as strong as possible before I start drafting up the final artwork. Have a look:
As I mentioned last week, part of this new story involves trying out some other ways of storytelling. It’s a little more fiddly and means that my streamlined process of working on comics that I spent years perfecting can’t be applied , so it’s probably going to take me a little longer than I’d originally envisioned. But, the good news is that stooping over a desk and paper is a particular loved past-time of mine, so no fear in getting it done!
Finally, in some scarily good news, there are only a few copies left of Cosmos & Other Storiesavailable from Good Comics! I totally sold out of my stock about a month ago, and those gents are down to the final handful of copies – and it’s only been out since late March! The good news is that there will be a reprint in the new year, but for now if you’ve been holding off and want to make sure someone get’s their Christmas copy of Cosmos then act now: http://goodshop.bigcartel.com/
And that just about wraps it up for now! Keep an eye out for what I get up to with my inktober pieces now they’re all done, and I will endeavour to be back soon with more comics news. Until next time, have a good week/weekend everyone! Peace out.
It’s been a week-and-a-half since Leeds already, huh? Time flies when you’re moving house and have a whopper of a cold. But, lurgy-moaning aside.. Thought Bubble. What a festival! As always it totally lived up to all expectations and I had an absolute blast. I was lucky enough to be tabling next to Sam Williams of Good Comics and his thermos of coffee, so we both ruled the table and a half of comics between us and tried not to spend all our takings on other people’s beautiful printed wares.
Thank you so much to everyone who came by, especially to those who already have some of my comics and came round especially to pick up something new. You guys in particular make my heart melt a little. Check out our Hathaway-Good Comics joined tables below, and a special guest appearance of GC’s Paddy in a frame as he couldn’t be there in person. Yes, I had to explain many times that Paddy is in fact not deceased, and yes, one person was genuinely concerned for his well-being. But it’s fine, we had Good Comics published creators pose with Paddy to make him feel like he was really there!
Good Comics Table @ Thought Bubble 2017
Good Comics Table @ Thought Bubble 2017 – Including Paddy
Thought Bubble Table 2017
Thought Bubble Table 2017
Elizabeth Querstret with New York Zine… and Paddy
Saturday was the busiest day of the two in the Cookridge Street Marquee; it seemed to be the first marquee of festival that people stumbled into which definitely helped boost sales. The steady flow of visitors seemingly stayed constant all day, and by the evening it felt like a very quick day indeed! Also, the yearly tradition of the mid-con unofficial karaoke party was in full swing this year, though you’ll all still be pleased to know that I still managed to safely hang back and save everyone from my strangled-feline style melodies. Sunday was a quieter but still fairly busy day, with more tired and bleary-eyed creators bumbling around doing their shopping during the quiet spells… -cough-including me-cough-.
Sunday ended with a nice pint and the traditional Five Guys burger meal, followed by the slow train home through every village of the Pennines back to Manchester. Thankfully there was penty of reading material – check out this sweet haul:
The Wolf and The Fox by Joe Latham especially turned me into a melt-in-the-middle dollop behind my table on Sunday afternoon, and La Mariposa by James Lawrence has some amazing facial expressions and a great back story – speaking of which, you can find the full web-comic for free over here, starting right from the beginning. Also, Habitat by Big Brown Eyes Collective, as you can see is now out in the world and ready to be seen! I’ve had my contributor copy handed to me by the sisters of BBE, and you can get yours here on their Etsy store. See a snippet of my illustration for the anthology below!
And that wraps up the TBubz coverage! Huge thanks as always to the Thought Bubble organisers and red-shirt wearing volunteers for making the event such a pleasure to sell at. It really does make all the difference.
Before Thought Bubble kicked off, I went on over to 42nd Street in Manchester, the charity that I’m supporting through sales of my ‘These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone’ print currently on sale on my Etsy store. I went along to say hi to the staff and pick up some leaflets to display alongside my Thought Bubble table display, and to use going forward when I’m tabling at events to help sell the prints. Don’t forget, the prints are still available online here, with 50% of the sale going to 42nd Street Manchester, a charity that supports young people aged 11-25 with their emotional well-being and mental health. The work they do is incredibly important, and you can help by getting your hands on some artwork at the same time!
42nd Street Manchester with some tired looking person standing in front of it
These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone Print for 42nd Street Manchester
A panel from my comic, “At the End of the Garden…”
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2017
And that just about wraps it up for now! Next week I’ll be back with some nice new things I’ve started drawing for Inktober, but if you want to keep up with them in the meantime you can follow my inklings over on Twitter. I will hopefully see some of you at Bristol on Saturday, and if not.. until next time!
So, it’s done. It’s actually done-and-sent-off-to-the-printers done. That’s right, the mystery project I’ve been clocking away at for the past few months, from its conception in April to completion this week… is done. Done done done done done.
Working on something autobiographical has never been my strong point. I love imagination, myths, nature and journeys, I like working with mood and tone, atmosphere and textures. However, when faced with the challenges that life brings, sometimes it’s necessary to step back from things and reevaluate.
So, a relationship broke down. Who cares, right? I’m fairly private, I don’t divulge the details of my living in a spare room for the past five months, and I certainly don’t tell people that some days, at my worst, I struggled to find the strength to eat. I come from a family of not talking about things, and a big reason my four-year relationship broke down is because we never talked about our problems.. so, why do this?
There are many things I’ve learnt so far this year, and one of them is the importance of honesty; not only with other people but with myself. I spent a long time not realising I was unhappy, a costly mistake which has taught me a lot about who I am as a person and what I want out of life. By extension, working through the situation I’ve found myself in and creating a physical record of what has happened – whilst using new materials and techniques – has helped me beyond what words could, and that’s where Self Care & Vegetables came in.
It’s been challenging to look at creating this comic/zine objectively – writing my experiences into a narrative script and editing down my own heartfelt moments. It’s not something I’d describe as pleasant any day, so.. again, why have I essentially published a drawn journal detailing every breakdown?
Well, I realised I’m not alone. Some of the things I experienced were akin to poor mental health and learning how to get better was something I struggled with for many, many months. I guess it sounds overly enlightened, but in a similar way to Cosmos, if I can help someone relate and make them feel less alone, it’s part of my duty as a creator to do so. This isn’t my Sistine Chapel, and it may not be a best seller, but for a limited run of 100 copies it’s 40-pages of all my anxieties and recovery following the fallout of a four-year relationship.
Comic creators, this is your four-and-a-half week warning for Thought Bubble, I repeat, this is your four-and-a-half week warning:
That’s right; one of, if not THE biggest UK independent comic festivals is just around the corner, as the words “It’s nearly Thought Bubble” strike fear into anyone who’s working on a project to release at Leeds’ epic weekend comics celebration. As I mentioned last time, I’ve been getting back to the grind to complete my new zine – the plus-side of not using any paint this time around (yes, yes it’s been a painful but important thing to temporarily let go of gouache and my brushes) is that the final artwork is a lot quicker to create. So, with a few finishing touches it should be going off to print before the week is out!
Here’s some previews..
Next week pre-orders for the zine will open and the full announcement will be made, so keep your peepers peeled!
In other news, the latest Pipedream Comics Pull List went up this month, titled Discover Small Press – including an interview from yours truly! Here’s what they said about it on the site:
We were inspired to celebrate Small Press after a visit to the East London Comic Arts Festival in June and so we’ve picked five of our favourite creators and talked to them about their inspirations and the stories behind their books. These include Jonathan Cape award-winner Matthew Dooley, Avery Hill’s new superstar Ellice Weaver, Human Garbage creator Josh Hicks, NPC-Tea’s Sarah Millman and Cosmos’ Rozi Hathaway. All five of these creators encapsulate what is great about the world of small press and we hope that by discovering their work you can embrace the wonders of the community, too. We also have an amazing cover from Sub Diablo creator Darrell Thorpe.
So, we’re nearing the end of summer already. September is technically autumn, which is practically almost winter, which means that rainy Manchester has given me approximately one week of good sunshine weather this season. At least it’s consistent? This also means it’s nearing the end of the time needed to finish my new zine I mentioned in my last update, which will be launched at Thought Bubble Festival in six and a half weeks!
Progress has been slow on the zine in the past couple of weeks, as I’ve found working on this project to be a bit up and down – not to mention having an incredibly annoying cough and feeling like garbage for two weeks. Not feeling great made it hard to work on this zine, so instead I opted to spend my time on crafty things I could do in bed, like sewing. Yes, I’m turning into my mother. And yes, if you knew her you’d realise that’s a great thing.
The zine, an autobiographical story, is something totally new for me. A different way of working and a different way of writing, and working on something autobiographical is a lot harder than escaping into the realms of magical foxes and stars in a jar. I dabbled in stories relating to my experiences in Cosmos & Other Stories, but this zine is definitely a new challenge – wholly to the point with no abstraction. Luckily for me, time is running out and I work a lot better under pressure, so it’ll be done before I know it! I hope.
Without trying to sound too much like 1960’s newscaster – keep an eye out for more as this develops.
In some other excellent news, a half-table space opened up at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 7th October, and I was asked if I’d like to exhibit! I will admit, I was kinda upset when I didn’t get into BCZF – but like ELCAF, this event really has an incredible collection of artists so I was more than happy to tag along with the Good Comics gents and take up some space on the communal table. But, luck turned in my favour and I’ll be there. Exciting stuff! Check out the Facebook event page for all the deets.
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2017
Event photos by Eileen Long – http://www.eileenlong.co.uk
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair is two weeks after Thought Bubble Festival (23rd-24th September), with Loogabarooga (21st October) two weeks after Bristol – so it’s going to be a busy month-or-so with lots more travelling. It’s a good thing I’m well rehearsed in napping on trains and coaches! Zooming down the M6 catching flies is my best look..
And that’s it for now! I have my work cut out preparing this zine in the next few weeks, but I’ll keep you all updated with what’s going on. Until next time, have a good week/weekend all.
Small Press Yearbook 2017 – Cover by Ellice Weaver
A panel from my comic, “At the End of the Garden…”
The Yearbook is now on sale at selected comic shops around the UK and also online here for £7.99 plus postage. It features the ‘Six to Watch’ of last year; Rebecca Bagley, Kim Clements, Brigid Deacon, Emily Rose Lambert, Jey Levang and Ellice Weaver, as well as a handful of extra creators with back-up stories, including yours truly. I haven’t had a chance to look through the Yearbook yet, but I just know it’s going to be good.
Next up, Emily Owen’s Kickstarted Brain Shoodles zine is out into the world! Mine arrived yesterday, complete with some prints from my piece I created for one of the reward tiers. Brain Shoodles is a described as a mental health zine, documenting Emily’s struggle with anxiety and depression, and learning sometimes just how to put one foot in front of the other. It’s an accessible, touching read, and if you’d like to get your hands on a copy they are for sale on her online store for £3 plus postage.
Brain Shoodles, by Emily B Owen
Brain Shoodles Print
Also, Emily kindly sent me some of the prints (pictured above right) which are now up for sale on my Etsy store!
Given the nature of their creation, I am selling the prints with 50% of profits going to 42nd Street, a young-persons mental health charity here in Manchester. 42nd Street supports young people aged 11-25 years with their emotional well-being and mental health, promoting choice and creativity, championing young person centred approaches. They offer counselling, workshops and events to help engage young people, and have offered continued support in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing in May. They’re an excellent cause, and I hope to make as much for them as I can.
The prints are A4, printed on beautiful heavyweight recycled card stock, and on sale for £10. There’s a limited run, so if you’d like one click here.
I’ve also put my A5 print from Cosmos on my Etsy store! Originally released for free alongside pre-orders of the book, the print is just £4 and features one of the more colourful pages from the final story in the collection, ‘Treehouse‘. Click through the image below to see the whole thing!
My Etsy store has had a nice little revamp, so to celebrate all you nice readers of this blog can get 10% off my store for the next week with the code IREADIT – and with no minimum spend! Par-tay!
So, it’s a bit toasty outside, isn’t it? Even rain-blessed Manchester is rather balmy in the sunshine, and I haven’t had to carry my umbrella around with me for a week. A WHOLE WEEK! That’s almost unheard of around these parts.. But alas, despite the weather there has been a lot going on – so put your feet up with a glass of something refreshing and read on..
Last weekend was the sixth annual ELCAF, the East London Comics & Arts Festival, in the sizzling southern heat. Said heat was particularly enjoyable on the Underground, I assure you.. Now, I applied for ELCAF back when tables were announced but sadly I didn’t make the cut. However it left me with an opportunity to head down to the capital for the day and be on the other side of a table for once; dreamily drift around, catching up with old creator pals and making new ones.
This book shows how Hathaway is developing as an artist. There’s a clear consistency despite differences in panels, lettering styles and colour. One particularly effective technique is the way she follows a densely panelled double page spread with a single two page image overleaf. This somehow opens up the stories, creating a hopeful, positive tone regardless of what has been established before. Cosmos & Other Stories is a beautiful book by a considerable talent.
I had the chance to read Daughters and Growth on my coach journey back home on Saturday evening, and I can confirm that they are both equally wonderful books; Growth is a short, poetic narrative with a reassuring tone of looking after your mental health, told in an abstract form through caring for plants – I can definitely recommend this if you’re into poetic comics with that nice warm after-feeling. And.. who isn’t? You can pick up Growth from Peony’s Etsy store here. Daughters is a more traditional start-to-end story, picking up the proceedings in the middle of a family crisis in a dystopian society. Two stories run parallel, one through narration and one through the characters discussions and body language. It’s a thought-provoking short, beautifully told with clean lines and crisp colours. You can pick up a copy on Short Box’s website here.
Phew, lengthy round-up! But there’s more. Maybe time for a quick interlude to go and top up your drink?
In other news, I was kindly asked to produce a print for Emily B. Owen‘s Kickstarter campaign for Brain Schoodles, a comic about anxiety and depression told through doodles. The campaign recently ended on Kickstarter with Emily smashing her target of £250, and the comic will be launching on Saturday 8th July at Small Press Day at the Cardiff Comic Expo! Here’s some working snaps:
Brain Shoodles: Digital Progress
Brain Shoodles: Pencil and paint progress
My print was commissioned as an addition to the Printorama pledge. So all backers getting that tier reward will receive their copy of the print with their zine. If you missed out, fear not! I will have some of these prints on sale in the coming months with proceeds going towards a Manchester-based mental health charity of my choosing. Big, big thanks to Emily for asking me to do a piece for her campaign. I’m humbled and very happy to be a part of it! See the final piece below:
But, don’t despair. I have plenty of illustration-led projects in the pipeline and I’m gently nurturing the beginnings of some ideas for future comic projects, so me and my ramblings aren’t going anywhere!
In other exciting news, I’ve stocked up on some more postcards for selling at events and online! A little while ago I sold some postcard packs on my Etsy store and they sold straight away, so in the coming week or so I’ll have a fresh pack going up including these five designs! So keep an eye out…
Indie creator Rozi Hathaway is back for more on AP2HYC with her latest offering Cosmos & Other Stories. Those of us fortunate enough to have read her previous entry here, Ø, will know that Hathaway is more than capable of bringing out the lonely 11-year old inside all of us, and her newest book is no exception. The story is a collection of comic vignettes that run the gambit of human loss and anxiety before leaving the reader on an uplifting note about seeking the wonderful things that exist in the world.
This review sits nicely next to AP2HYP’s coverage of Ø, which went up on the site last month. Thanks guys! Don’t forget, you can still pick up all my titles over on the ol’ Etsy store, and at selected small-press friendly stores around the UK.
And that rounds it up for now! Keep an eye out next week for the release of the new Dirty Rotten Comics… I might even show you some pictures of my comic in it’s colourful glory.