- Moon will be Kickstarted, with the campaign launching soon.
- This brand-new 24-page story will be printed in mini-newspaper format.
- Moon will be released in time for Thought Bubble Festival, on 23rd-24th September 2018.
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.
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..
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:
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!
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!
Did you know that New Year is my favourite time of the year? I mean, Christmas has it’s perks.. homely feelings and spending time with family, friends and loved ones; being able to treat the ones you love; eating way too much delicious food and having a great excuse to. But can also be a lot of pressure, and it can be tough if you miss your nearest and dearest, and all around us there are harrowing reminders that there are a lot of people who are cold and alone on a day that is meant to evoke the opposite. New Year’s Eve, however, is a beacon of hope.
2017 was an incredibly and challenging year for a lot of people, myself included. I moved home twice and relocated yet again, and produced some of the most honest work of my career so far. So, let’s have a look back:
Last year saw the release of my fourth standalone comic book Cosmos & Other Stories, released in March by micro-publishers and all-round-excellent-gents Good Comics. Cosmos is really a collection of stories from the soul, and I was thrilled and relieved to see it flourish. So much so, that it came out and sold out within 9 months! The reprint of Cosmos will his shelves this year, so keep an eye out..
Speaking of reprints, in summer Njálla sold out of 250 copies in just over a year and another run went to print! Thank you so much to everyone who has bought my books, read my stories and kept the magic alive.
2017 also kicked off with my third successful piece to be a part of Good Comics Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 3! I was cursing trying to get that piece right whilst working on Cosmos & Other Stories, and oh I remember it well. Other anthologies I’ve been a part of this year include BBE Collective’s Habitat Anthology, Dirty Rotten Comics’ first full-colour Issue 10 and the groundbreaking Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017. I’m continually so thankful to be included in anthologies great and small, and I’m hoping to carry on working on even more group and anthology projects in 2018!
It hasn’t all been joy and butterflies, though. 2017 saw pain in my personal life and the birth of Self-Care & Vegetables, a zine about the aftermath of a break-up in real terms. It was a difficult project to work on, mainly from opening up in such an honest way, but the zine has done really well and I’m glad to have put it out there. That Comic Smell have recently put up a podcast talking about Self-Care & Vegetables and discussing it’s honesty. Check it out here, about 45 minutes in. Other shout-outs to campaigners of small press go to Pipedream Comics who featured me in their Pull List, A Place to Hang Your Cape for interviewing me, and of course, Broken Frontier for their continued support – including this time last year winning the Breakout Talent Award for 2016.
Another huge honour this year was being included in The Cartoon Museum‘s Inking Woman Exhibition, featuring past and present women comic artists and cartoonists in the first exhibition of it’s kind. It was a superb exhibition and a huge honour to be a part of. I also created a print for Emily B Owen’s Brain Shoodles launch, which has gone on to sell independently to raise funds for 42nd Street Manchester, a charity which works with young people experiencing mental health difficulties.
Finally, I sold work at seven comic shows around the UK last year. Seven! No wonder I’ve been feeling tired.. I even went to a comic art show as a punter for the first time in longer than I care to admit, and a pretty fantastic show it was.
2017 was also a year of experimenting with my work, from digital illustration to lino printing I had fun with it all, and it’s set me up for another year of creating things in new and interesting ways. I learnt a lot in ’17, and although it was definitely challenging and character-building at times, I feel stronger and more passionately about things than I have for a long time. And a lot of that is down to you – you, who reads my blogs, purchases my comics and listens to my words. Without an audience I’d have nothing, so here is a gigantic thank you and Happy New Year to each and every one of you who has ever taken the time to look at my books and/or art. You’re all marvellous.
And on that note, I wish you a farewell for now. I’m going to continue to reflect on this all whilst examining the inside of my eyelids, and be back with you soon to see how 2018’s shaping up. Until next time!
p.s. Happy Birthday mum!
Good afternoon all!
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..
First up, Cosmos & Other Stories has been voted #35 in the Indie and Small Press Comics of the Year 2017 by Pipedream Comics! Pipedream Comics have been a wonderful supporter of all things small press this year, with my interview back in May and coverage from Bristol Comic & Zine Fair in October. I’m amazed and thrilled at how well Cosmos has been received, and selling out within 8 months has just been wild.
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!
Good afternoon all!
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:
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 Stories available 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.
Good afternoon folks!
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!
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!
In other news, this weekend is the annual Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) at The Station in Bristol. Originally I didn’t quite get in, but thankfully the Bristolian Comics Gods shined down on me as I managed to nab a reserve spot and this Cinderella will now definitely be going to the ball. Cosmos & Other Stories is now down to only a handful of copies, so if you’re in the area act quick and come pick one up from me, or get your copy online in the Good Comics shop. Plus, I’ll be there with the usual suspects of Njálla, Ø, Self-Care & Vegetables and also some copies of the newest Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook featuring my short comic that came out earlier this year (see below).
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!
Good afternoon all!
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.
…sound appealing yet?
Self Care & Vegetables is now available to pre-order on my Etsy store! The zine is officially released at this year’s Thought Bubble Festival on Saturday 23rd September, with pre-orders being sent out on Friday 22nd.
And, if you feel a bit bummed out after reading what is normally a lighthearted blog, here are some nice things to recover with:
And that’s it for now! Next week I’ll be back with more news and gossip, so until next time.. over and out!
Good afternoon all,
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!
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.
Click above to get your digital copy for £0.99!
And finally, as well as working on the zine I’ve also been working on something more illustration-based for a submission.. Well, three things to be precise. Have a peek:
I’m planning to finish these up this weekend, so all will be revealed soon!
And, that’s about it for now. Have a good bank holiday weekend all – I shall be partying with my paints! Laters.