So, Easter has passed us and I have successfully eaten my body-weight in all the good things; Easter eggs, Easter cake, Easter roast dinners and Easter.. cheese? Regardless, I have now lethargically thrown myself into the new week ready to tackle some more serious and important comic business.
As you can see I’ve also been playing around a bit with panel borders in this comic, similar to effects I’ve tried in the concluding pages of Njálla and first back when I made Afloat for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016. It’s been a fun one-shot short comic to make, utilising some of the skills I’ve played around with previously. Hopefully it goes down well!
Also, next week sees the launch of The Cartoon Museum’s new exhibition The Inking Woman on Wednesday 26th April! I’m heading down especially for the event, so if you’re around central London you should definitely check it out. There will be original artwork on display from myself and many other female British creators. There’s not a huge amount on the website about it, but you can keep up with The Cartoon Museum’s progress in the run up to the exhibition on their Facebook Page and Twitter.
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.
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!
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!
So, another week has passed and I’m getting used to my new working schedule – huzzah! I’m even somehow managing to keep productive despite slowly melting in this unexpected English heat. The good news is that as I’m writing this the humidity has actually dropped down to 38% from our usual balmy 80-90%, though I’m sure it won’t last for long.. But this beautiful sunshine today perfect for working on the bright summery colours for my entry to kuš! comics, so I’ll enjoy it whilst I can.
As you may recall from last week I was just finishing up inking the final few pages before working on the colours for my BFF themed submission. Usually I come up with my colour scheme before I even start drawing up the roughs, but this time I threw caution to the wind and figure out the colours as I was going along, and picked the final swatches far later on. Here’s a little taster of the colour palette and progress on how I get the spreads figured out:
Mini-spreads galore, with VERY rough digital colours.
Working back into some digital rough colouring.
Yep, my practice colours look like a child going nuts, but as it only acts as a guide I’m usually safe in the knowledge that no one sees this stage. But y’know, you guys won’t tell anyone.. Right? The next step for me is to put these very rough colours into painterly practice on some photocopies, just to make sure it all flows as I want it to. From there, as long as that all looks good I’ll carry on to the final pages and work my way through those. Long-winded, huh? But it works! Keep an eye out next week for some painting progress..
In a more sneaky kind of news, work has continued on the design of the covers and inner pages for Sneaky Business vol. 2! For the most part I want it to keep the original vibe of Sneaky Business vol. 1, but bigger and better. I’ve also been tagged in a handful of sneaky progress shots for SB from the likes of Alex Hahn, KLY R and more, and if you want to keep up with it all be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for all the updates as they happen. I already have 4 comics finished and submitted by some awesome small press creators including the infamous Danny Noble, so in case you haven’t quite guessed from this past paragraph: Sneaky Business vol. 2 is going to be seriously good. There is still two and a half weeks to submit your 1-2 page sneaky comics, so come and join in the fun! All the details are available here.
Finally, thanks to all those who came to visit the NN Table Top Sale this past Saturday at NN Contemporary here in Northampton. I think we were all relieved to find the event moved inside given the gales and rain (it’s August in England, and far too much of a common occurrence). I was sharing a table with the very talented Naomi Rose Johnson, and although it was a pretty quiet afternoon it was still pretty fun! As far as tabling and appearances, that’s it now until 1st October at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair, so time to focus on getting these comics done and Sneaky Business edited and sent off to print! You’ll all be glad to know I have plenty to keep me busy, so keep an eye out next week for further progress on my colourful kuš! comics entry and more. Until next time, peace out.
Created as a submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8, Sørgedag is a four-page comic about loss and mourning. Set in the open countryside of Norway I utilised textured paint to bring a different feel to this comic, and keep pushing how I look at creating narrative. Created in both black and white and in colour, the black and white version is published in DRC #8, with the colour version released as part of a compilation later in the year.
“I was also really impressed with Rozi Hathaway’s Sørgedag, a tale of grief and loss that utilises many of her trademarks whilst still looking different to her other work as a result of the textured paint she used. Striking and sombre in black and white, watch out for a colour version in the future.”
First up, as you may recall from last week I was scurrying away to finish up my submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8. It’ll be a year since I first appeared in DRC, with my autobiographical comic Rejsenprinted in Issue #5 of the anthology. For those of you who don’t know, Dirty Rotten Comics is a British comics anthology published three times a year and the guys who run it are dedicated to championing small press comic creators, big and small. To continue with my short stories with Danish titles theme, this time around I created Sørgedag, meaning mourning/bereavement (direct translation is sad-day). After finishing Njálla, which not only was a mammoth task but also very much all-ages family-friendly compared to my track record of work, I felt the need to get back to my dark roots and go with something a little more gloomy. I’d had the idea in my head for Sørgedag for a while, but in the end I tweaked the setting and played around a lot with atmosphere and panels and added in a whole new way of colouring; rough acrylic paints.
I had a LOT of fun working with acrylic paints, and it brings a whole new kind of texture and feeling to the comic. As for the technical details, I began working in the usual way; plot, script, sketches, rough out pages on layout paper and ink up the line-work on heavyweight cartridge paper. Usually I paint directly onto the cartridge paper with my linework, but this time I used my lightbox to layer over another piece of cartridge paper and get all messy with paint to the lines underneath. The whole thing turned out great, and though DRC is strictly black and white I painted it in colour so I have the option to republish it on my own at a later date in colour. Woohoo! Here are some work-in-progress previews:
Printed purely in black and white with colourful covers, Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies feature around 70 pages of work, 1-4 pages in length for the bargain price of £4; hopefully I find out soon whether I’ve been successful or not – fingers crossed!
Last year I hand-picked four comics pals to create 1-2 page comics under the theme of ‘stealth’ and ‘sneaky’, as something a bit different and lighthearted from my usual repertoire; Alex Hahn, Pete Hindle, Peter James Norman and Samuel C. Williams happily agreed to create something new for the comics-zine, and I also created a comic too, ’cause, y’know.. I’m the boss. The 12-page comics-zine was sold online and in comic shops around the UK at the lowest price possible to break even on printing costs. This time around I decided to expand on the idea and open up submissions to everyone, and that I have done! Who knows how many pages it’ll end up being? But the ethos remains the same, with Sneaky Business as a community platform for entertaining stories made as accessible to readers as possible.
Sneaky Business vol.1
Last year’s contributors
If you’re interested in submitting or want to check out more information, the Call for Submissions page is live and has everything you need to know! Submissions are open for 10 weeks, and close just before midnight on Monday 12th September.. Get your thinking caps on and get involved, it’s going to be snazzy.
Finally, I’m spending a lot of time in London this week, not only for the D&AD New Blood festival in Shoreditch as a graduate of the University of Northampton (got a First, by the way. Boom), but also as this Saturday is the first ever Small Press Day! What is this new, fantastic sounding day, you ask?
A celebration of self-publishing, DIY culture, and grassroots comics across the U.K and Ireland on Saturday 9th July.
An idea born on twitter led to a series of nationwide events in a matter of weeks. The reaction and the support of our aim (to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing via store-based events and signings, in the first instance, and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve) has been absolutely phenomenal. Join us on 9th July for the inaugural Small Press Day at one of the stores listed on the map below and meet the next generation of superstar comic creators, zine makers, and DIY micro publishers.
So, it’s pretty much all over. Yikes. The ‘student’ title I’ve begrudgingly had for the past two and a half years is slowly fading as the Degree Show is nearing close and graduation is only a month away. Putting together the degree show was quite the task, with the private view and launch party on Friday evening drawing in far more of a crowd than expected – always a good sign! Between putting the catalogue together and building a shop out of boxes, lugging heavy boards and painting portfolio stands it was all a bit of a blur.. But it’s done, and open to view every day until it shuts for good this Sunday 19th June.
Huge thanks to fellow graduate Naomi for letting my use her photos (above), and also helping to keep me sane over this past year! The degree show was entirely tutor-led by design, though a few of us took over creating and designing the catalogue. I can’t take any credit for the overall design, but I certainly put my InDesign skills to good use! A few of us also set up our own shop to sit outside of the room itself, selling a range of items; from my comics Njálla and The Red Road, to postcards, prints, and other students books and 3D items.
Overall the feedback has been positive, and although it’s not exactly what I’d hoped from my degree show when I’ve walked around universities in the past, it’s been nice to have an end-point (and several glasses of wine) to celebrate. Apart from clearing out the show next week and graduation at the end of July, that’s pretty much it! You can find all the information about our Creative Curiosities degree show here on the event page, or the School of the Arts degree shows as a whole through the University of Northampton website here.
As my time has freed up a little between the degree show being completed and leaving the country for a few days I took the opportunity to do my yearly girlfriend duties of doing something for Chris whilst he’s away at Download Festival. Last year I created Rejsen for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, and the year before that I made a Boba Fett piece for him, which I eventually turned into a poster. As for 2013 I have not the foggiest what I did, if anything, as I managed to accidentally erase my old Blogspot page with my old blogs from 2011-2014 a few months back (gutting, yes.. but on the plus side my old horrendously bad work is no longer available to find online). This year I decided to have a go at daily comics. Journalistic comics is something I’ve wanted to branch into for a while but never had the time, so I felt that this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl and see how it felt.
In June every year, Chris goes to Download Festival and I sit at home working. This year, I am recording this exciting time in comic form. These are my stories.
– DUN DUN –
Seven days. I managed a whole seven days. Go team! I’ll admit, I didn’t get to draw every day and some days had more catch-up than others, but it went pretty smoothly for the most part. I only used pencil, pen and acrylic ink for the whole thing and it’s VERY rough and ready as it was intended just to get my brain thinking rather than creating a masterpiece. Anywho, Chris let out some vague and hopefully not fake giggles when he read it, so I’ll take that as a positive sign. With my next immediate comics project coming up being a fresh submission to Dirty Rotten Comics for their 8th anthology it was a good thing to work in black and white again; it’s been quite a while since working sans colour, so definitely a wise move to practice again before developing a new short story. Plus, with DRC#8 due in just under two weeks I need to get cracking!
Anyway, that’s about it for now! Now that this student malarkey is almost over I need to spend every waking hour trying not to fail as an illustrator. Talk about pressure.. Happy Wednesday! Until next week, have a good ‘un everyone!
Well well well, it’s almost that time of the year! We are four short days away from the joy of family, feasting, and being propped up in a corner after many glasses of wine. Lovely stuff! Although I always look forward to the Christmas break, it’s felt particularly needed this year.. With a stressful term one of the final year of university down, only two more to go until I graduate. It’s not all tinsel and puddings in the next few weeks, mind you; I’ll most likely be writing the majority of my dissertation over the Christmas break and I have a few other things to do before returning to lectures in the cold and dark reality of January. But, in the spirit of not wishing time away, all that nonsense is in the back corner for now. Phew!
My usual update last Wednesday had to be delayed due to assessment, but that means that I now have even more to tell you all! First up, you may remember the commission I did for the Hope Centre a few weeks ago, for their Christmas appeal. Well, it took a little while but I finally got my hands on a printed copy of the newsletter featuring my illustration. How exciting!
It’s been really nice to see my work in print. I mean, comics-wise I’ve had a pretty dang awesome year and drawing for narrative is my favourite thing to do. However, working on an editorial piece like this and seeing it out there in the world is a rewarding moment and important for my portfolio. Rejoice! The Hope Centre in Northampton, as I mentioned in that previous post is an important charity. If you fancy helping them out at this rather cold time of the year, head over to Just Giving and their Hope for Christmas campaign.
T : Something I’ve noticed about your work is that, in each case there seems to be a uniting sense of journey. You have a lot of movement through spaces, establishing shots and interactions. There’s also a nice echoed mapping of movement in the visual pacing of the panels and the unfolding nature of it also reflects the way the formation of the narrative itself works. These things surface, and it can be seen as a sign of connection with the medium. How much of this was a conscious decision, was it all planned?
R: I’m very interested in pacing with comics; how movement through a story can be subtly distorted and played with. It’s not really something that can be done in other mediums, so it’s been great to play with it as much as a story allows. It was particularly relevant in The Red Road, as it’s based around the poem which has a similar movement through time, or more lacking any specifics of time. Part of it was definitely a conscious decision, though I’ve learnt a lot more about pacing with every new comic I create.
The Rejsen submission I made for Dirty Rotten Comics was completely incidental, it was more just a reflection on how many different places you end up sitting, standing or waiting on a platform during years of travelling by train to Manchester. The movement in comics and playing with time is still something I’m getting to grips with doing. It’s a constant learning curve!
In other news, as I mentioned in my last post, I went to my first ever Laydeez do Comics event held in Gosh! Comics in London last Monday! I didn’t manage to get any photos as I was so enamoured with listened to two such inspiring individuals talking about their work; Rachael Ball and Mike Medaglia. Mike started with talking about his work from the past few years leading up to now, with his success of One Year Wiser – the hugely popular book of 365 illustrated quotes and mantras, the subsequent One Year Wiser the colouring book, and his latest venture of creating comics for the Mindful Life Illustrated on Elephant Journal. Go Mike! Next up speaking was Rachael Ball, the creator of The Inflatable Woman, an einspiring tale of one woman and her life experiences after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve not had a chance to read The Inflatable Woman yet, but Rachael’s inspiring talk about her own battle with breast cancer and how she took on creating this story from scratch was moving, and how she weighted the graphic novel with dark parts equally balanced with humour really shows her talent. And, I mean, she has arguing penguins in the story. What’s not to love? You can buy Rachael’s The Inflatable Woman from any decent book retailer, and Mike Medaglia’s online shop can be found here (though don’t bother him whilst he’s on holiday!). And of course, the wonderful Gosh! Comics have stock of both their work. And lots of other talented people. You should go pay them a visit.
Thanks to Keara, Wallis and the folks at Gosh for being welcoming as always, and I briefly got to see some ever so friendly faces before dashing through Soho on a one-horse open sleigh.. Err.. I mean.. By foot.. to get my train back home to Northampton. I’m really glad I made time to go to a Laydeez do Comics event before speaking as a part of the Broken Frontier themed event in January! Though now the pressure is on to make people believe that I’m actually interesting. Yikes! Saying that, I do have a fondness for making In Design presentations, so I can spend a happy Christmas dropping in images and making it all look rather fetching. So, as I mentioned last time, the next Laydeez do Comics London is on Monday 18th January – tickets are free but must be booked and sell out fast, so if you’d like to come and hear me stutter make sure you get yourself on the mailing list now!!
Finally, as of Friday afternoon, University is now finished for the year and I am free as a festive bird (although not really, as I mentioned at the start.. But I’m pretending for a few days)! War Horse is finished and progress on The Next Big Thing will be continuing over Christmas, and hopefully in January I might have some good news regarding the latter. For now, I’d like to wish all my readers (Hi mum!) a very merry festive season! I will be back in just over a week with an update before the New Year, potentially a compilation special looking back over 2015 and how snazzy it’s been. For now, though, enjoy!!! See you on the other jolly side!
So, it’s been a while! Two weeks of adventuring around Norway, Sweden and Denmark had a wonderfully calming and refreshing effect, with the 8-10 miles of walking a day leaving me with a svelte lady Viking figure. My partner and I had a wonderful time, it was physically tiring at times but the amount we saw with only a couple of days in each city is pretty remarkable. And, even better, I have LOTS of photos and ideas mulling around in my break for The Next Big Thing..
Before I left for the Scandi-lands, I left you all with the visions of Sneaky Business zine and what was to come. Well, last week I picked up a lovely box of Sneaky Businesses from the local printers and pre-order is officially open! Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier kindly reviewed Sneaky Business for me, and you can see what he says here!
There’s something incredibly appealing about the almost ephemeral zine-like approach of Sneaky Business; something smaller scale that, nevertheless, acts as a concise showcase for a number of self-publishing talents in one affordable and welcoming package.” – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier review of Sneaky Business.
Talking of MancsterCon, it’s now only three days to go until the event itself! I’m really excited to be attending as a seller rather than a viewer this year, and the organisers kindly have adopted me as an honorary Northerner to Manchester’s celebration of indie sequential art in the North West. There are a whole host of events going on between 10am-5pm, and if you’re in Manchester you should definitely pop along and say hello! I’ll also be sitting alongside Tom Ward, Chris Welsh, Andrew Tunney and Debbie Jenkinson on the “So you want to get into comics?” panel! Here’s what they say about it..
“We’re all here because we love indie comics, but how do you actually become an indie comics artist? Where do you start from? What’s the mark of success (or failure for that matter)? What exactly is a non-repro blue pencil? These talented, award winning indie comic artists reveal their secrets and bestow some advice for the up and coming comic artist.”
Should be fun! If there’s one thing I can talk about to no end, it’s my own work. Because, y’know. It’s all I do. So in case you’d forgotten, MancsterCon is this Saturday 29th August 2015 at the Salford University, Media City campus in Salford Quays, Manchester. Pre-holiday I’d also been busy ordering new supplies and goodies, so hopefully it’s a really successful day for all of us.
In other news, in my last update before holiday I talked about my Top Secret Project! Low and behold, in three days I managed to fully ink all nine pages and spend my evenings with an ice pack on my wrist – but I did it! Hurray! On return from the lands of blondes and Vikings, I’ve been hard at work painting the pages up, so here are some more sneaky progress shots from my current work.
The deadline remains as 1st September, so I have my work cut out to finish this and prepare for MancsterCon this weekend! But it’s a really exciting project, and although I’m nervous as to how it’ll be received I’m also excited to see it finished, bound and in people’s loving arms.
Finally, I was thrilled to arrive home last week to a shiny copy of Dirty Rotten Comics sitting on my desk! Don’t worry, the postman didn’t break into my home, my well trained flatmate carefully positioned it away from any pots of paint and water containers. It’s been a wild ride to see my work in print, from the first time in June 2014 with HOAX, to my first self published works in The Red Road earlier in the year. The feeling of pride and excitement never dwindles to see my work in print, almost more-so when hand-picked by someone else. Thank you so much to the guys at Dirty Rotten Comics for putting Rejsen to fame! My dreams were made even more so by being highlighted as one of the top comics in the anthology by Richard Bruton at Forbidden Planet and Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier;
“And finally, last but certainly not least, Rozi Hathaway. Her ‘Rejsen‘ tells a simple 2-page tale of meeting up, of waiting, of longing, of counting the days. It’s a fragment thing, each panel disconnected from the text that recounts the reason the woman is dragging a case around a railway station, but the interaction of text and Hathaway’s lovely artwork is spot on…” – Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet Blog
“Rozi Hathaway – another of that now legendary six – also goes the slice-of-life route with her account of a long-distance relationship. It’s a beautifully personal piece that has a haunting, almost lyrical quality to it – the weary passage of time and the inhospitable nature of public transport fading into insignificance in a heartwarming, joyous final panel.” – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
Success! Though I shouldn’t get too used to these kind things people say; it’s coming up to a month until my third year of University starts, and I need to be prepared to be thoroughly verbally destroyed by several lecturers whilst weeping into my fifth coffee of the day. However, I have a month of peace and quiet until all hell breaks loose and I wonder why I spend £40k on a degree. And peaceful, quiet and busy it shall be. Until next week!
Dirty Rotten Comics is an alternative comics anthology, published three times a year.
Edited by Gary Clap and Kirk Campbell
Contributions by Amy Smith, Andy Barron, Anna Dowsland, Barney Farmer & Lee Healey, David Meadows & Andrew Potts, David Robertson, David Thomas & Rosa Devine, David Ziggy Greene, Des Buckley, Gary Clap, Ioan Morris, James Gifford, James Wragg, Jess Milton, Jessie Huckin, Jey Levang, Joe Callanan, John Dredge & Joseph Champniss, Kevin Loftus, Kirk Campbell, Matthew Dooley, Olivia Sullivan, Rozi Hathaway, Sarah Crosby, Scott Wrigg, Teal Barnes, Todd Oliver and Tom Mortimer.
“Rozi Hathaway – another of that now legendary six – also goes the slice-of-life route with her account of a long-distance relationship. It’s a beautifully personal piece that has a haunting, almost lyrical quality to it – the weary passage of time and the inhospitable nature of public transport fading into insignificance in a heartwarming, joyous final panel.”
“And finally, last but certainly not least, Rozi Hathaway. Her ‘Rejsen‘ tells a simple 2-page tale of meeting up, of waiting, of longing, of counting the days. It’s a fragment thing, each panel disconnected from the text that recounts the reason the woman is dragging a case around a railway station, but the interaction of text and Hathaway’s lovely artwork is spot on…”