Hannah Berry

Spring is in the air! Oh no, wait, that’s rain.

Good evening one and all!

So, my prayers have seemingly been answered and a milder air has positioned itself over the UK, or at least – Northampton. Unfortunately that just brings a lot of rain, but at least I’m not being deafened by the sound of my chattering teeth! This past week has been another busy one, and even included a trip to Siberia! Kinda..

First things first, on Saturday I paid a visit to my favourite Manchester-based comic shop – Travelling Man! The ever-so-kind Haroon has taken on stock of The Red Road in his fine establishment, meaning that all of you Mancunians can pop on in, collect your numbered edition of The Red Road and also part with some more of your hard-earned money to visually stimulate your brain with the wonder that is visual narratives, in all its shapes and forms. Look! See!

The Red Road - on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!
The Red Road – on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!

Now that’s two places in the UK that stock The Red Road, and, as always, you can pick up a copy online via Etsy too. Whilst on the topic of The Red Road, yesterday marked the occasion of it being exactly one month since launch! In the past month I’ve packed up and sent out orders to many, successfully obtained my first review and managed to get stores to stock it in London at Gosh! Comics, and in Manchester at Travelling Man. As it stands, I have 42 copies left in my happy hands ready to distribute to any awaiting readers! In just under two weeks I’ll be hoping to sell some comics, postcards and other goodies to fellow students at a student market at the University Students Union, so keep your fingers and toes crossed everyone!

In other news, I’ve been making progress on a sci-fi themed narrative that is being shown via selected images and 3D objects, ready for a University exhibition on the 19th March! The exhibition is based on the theme of ‘Machines’, and us Illustration bunch plus some elective graphic design students are hosting our own exhibition on campus with our varying interpretations of the word machines. Naturally, I wanted to do a comic, but given the time constraints and exhibition end-goal, I’ve constructed a story around this theme, and a few key images will be displayed at the exhibition which may then lead onto a short story comic if I decide to take it further! For now, I’ll leave you with this sneak peek.. Can you tell what it is yet?

My biggest fan..
My biggest fan..

Ah yes, I mentioned Siberia at the beginning of this blog, didn’t I? On Saturday, aside from the Travelling Man fun, myself and my other half took a trip to the Manchester Museum to see their special exhibition on Siberia! After diving into Colin Thubron’s In Siberia a few months back I’ve found myself fascinated with this obscure place that’s one and a half times bigger than Europe (WOAH, right?!). Although I realise this is far from illustration-related, the exhibition is really interesting and definitely worth a look – it’s on until Sunday 1st March. I did spend a happy few moments trying to draw taxidermy lemmings at the exhibition too, so maybe keep an eye out for some lemmings creeping into my work at some point.. Alive ones, that is. The one saddening fact is that the Manchester Museum gift shop really lacked, so if anyone knows of any excellent books on the folklore and mythology of Siberia then let me know!

Finally, the creation of a zine amongst two of my fellow illustrator classmates (one of whom you can check out her Tumblr here) is coming along nicely! I mentioned previously that a university project led me to interview Hannah Berry, which will be super exiting to have her answers back in the coming weeks, but tonight I also sent off some questions to Northampton based comics creator and illustrator Melinda Gebbie, husband of the infamous Alan Moore! Fingers crossed these two interviews will be able to fit into our zine/journal nicely, with lots of other ideas up our sleeves. Fun times! Anyway, I think that’s it for now! And as my last piece of advice for this chilly Monday evening.. Don’t listen to what writers for The Guardian have to say, as they clearly don’t know where to look for excellent work. Thankfully, you can always rely on the comics creators picked on in such articles to have an excellent sense of humour. Over and out! x

Scott McCloud, our hero.

 

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Shelf Fame & Other Tales

Good evening ladies and gents,

Well, last week sped by a little too quickly, didn’t it! I seemingly spent most of the week glued to my desk working on a book cover design, only moving for hourly stretches and to boil the kettle – my new love for camomile and honey tea is helping me detox from my usual high caffeine intake and also, it smells like sleep and clouds. What could be better? The wild life of an illustrator is all it’s cracked up to be, and I like to think that my insights make you all realise how bad-ass of a career this is.

Anyway! On Saturday I took a trip down to our fine capital city for a happy day of exploring and absorbing! First stop was to Soho, as Steve at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street has been kind enough to take on copies of The Red Road for sale in the Small Press and Independent area of the store. I think I may have accidentally skipped for joy at one point, but hopefully no one noticed. And, even if no one did indeed notice then I’ve just ruined it for myself on here. I will defend happy-joy-skipping until the bitter end! The last and only time I’d been to Gosh! Comics previously was for the HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing in July of last year – the shop has such a lovely feel and atmosphere, with a huge table in the middle covered in all sorts of wonderful books and graphic novels. There’s even original and print artwork for sale decorating the walls, it really is a wonderful place.

I was excited beyond belief at my book being placed on the shelves, so for any London readers, you envision my excitement and skipping for yourself by picking up your numbered copy of The Red Road down at Gosh! Comics:

After Gosh! I spent the rest of the day visiting a variety of neat exhibitions, and first up was The Cartoon Museum! Somehow, I’d never actually known about the museum until I was researching my trip to Brussels Centre belge de la Bande dessinée (you can read all about my adventures here) and The London Cartoon Museum came up on Google. Oops! Anywho, it’s a small museum but the content really speaks for itself.

Next up was Anise Gallery’s new exhibition Sequential City, featuring original pieces and prints from Owen D. Pomery, Alison Sampson, Lando, Hannah Berry, John Riordan & Tim Bird, looking at the psychology of architecture in contemporary graphic novels. The Anise Gallery is tucked well out the way, just around the corner from the Design Museum past London Bridge. The space is small and homely, and the exhibition is like a hidden gem. I ended up treating myself to John Riordan‘s Capital City and Lando‘s Anthropozine which are both moving reads – If I had endless money I’d have bought it all! Following this I made my way over to Somerset House to the Mapping the City exhibition featuring illustrators and graffiti artists and their interpretations of maps. Interesting stuff!

The British Library’s Lines in the Ice exhibition was my last port of call (get it?), with historic illustrations of the various attempts at discovering what was through the North-West passage. Sad, but interesting, and by this point my calves were ready to get the train home (legs, not baby cows)! Mapping the City is on until 15th Feb, and Sequential City is on until 15th March, so no excuse not to get down there!

 

Goodies!!

More good news, this week has seen the arrival of some new smaller merchandise bits for selling! I had some postcards made up and some promo stickers too for any small events, including a Uni-organised arts and crafts fair I’m doing with some fellow students at the end of this month. Slowly but surely I’ll be clocking up some other items to sell ready for the summer! Because, well, my Etsy store looks a little lonesome with just The Red Road sitting there.

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’d like to read more about my adventures in London, in a more in-depth way, then I have a separate post going up on my university Tumblr blog, which you can read here. I shall be dutifully back in a week with another update, and hopefully this book cover will be done by then! I have lots on at the moment, and I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been up to.. Peace out! x

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Another week bites the dust.

Good evening, happy campers!

So, it’s been another productive week at Rozi-HQ. More postal orders have been shipped out to some lovely folks around the UK, and even to the land of the free over in the USA – thanks everyone! Special thanks to Andy Oliver for his relentless promotion of The Red Road, alongside his wonderful article I mentioned last week. All the feedback I’ve received has been glowing, and I’m really pleased that people have enjoyed the envelope doodles I’ve been sending out with postal orders. I’ve also received my first feedback on my Etsy store, yippee! It’s all very exciting, and slowly the manic pace of launch and getting out the first bundle of orders has slowed down to a steady trickle, and back to reality I shuffle.

Envelope doodles, woooo!
Envelope doodles, woooo!

In the interest of new and upcoming things, I spent a very happy morning in the university print rooms on Friday morning creating mountains. That’s right. I’ve been making MOUNTAINS. Well, prints of mountains.. At the ol’ University, we not-quite-blindingly-stressed-yet second year students have two practical projects going at the moment, and I thought I would make the most of the free print-room facilities by making some collagraph prints to use for both of these projects. Now, for those of you who are unaware of a collagraph print is, you basically make your own ‘stamp’ with card or board, by adding textures or cutting into it. You then get your groove on with some oil based paints, mixing them up and rolling them on like there’s no tomorrow – followed by rolling the ‘stamp’ and some damp paper through a hefty printing press to make wonderful looking things that take a couple of days to dry. I made two different sets of mountains, because quite clearly I have an ongoing obsession theme with mountainous scenery and I wanted to use them in both projects. So, here we are;

Red, texturey mountains. Textury is a word, right?
Red, texturey mountains. Textury is a word, right…?
Working space! Making mess..
Working space! Making mess..
Green Welsh mountains!
Green Welsh mountains, fancy.

These prints will be digitally collaged up with some proper pen and ink drawings, as per my usual style! As these two projects have no room for comic making, I thought it would be a great time to test-drive using some different techniques in my work to set it apart from every other pen and ink reliant like myself. Hopefully, if in reality they will look like what I perceive in my head, if not better, then I will be one happy bunny. Apart from that, I can’t tell you any more otherwise I’d have to.. Nah, I’m kidding. But, all will be revealed in the coming weeks!

Also, in more exciting news – for a separate project at university I’ve been in touch with my fellow HOAX‘er Hannah Berry who is kindly letting my interview her! Now, if you don’t know who Hannah Berry is, you can check out her work here, and you should definitely buy it. Buy it all. She works in a very distinct style, reminiscent of Belgian and French comic artists, much different than mainstream comics illustrators here in the UK. There’s something very unique about her style, and as she’s also a fantastic storyteller I am very much looking forward to her responses to my nerdy-art-student questions! The interview will be primarily printed for this particular assignment, but if I remember to share it I’ll pop some extracts up on here.

Right, I think that’s it for now. Remember kids, tell all your friends and family about how awesome comics are, and THEN point them in my direction for a copy of The Red Road. We’re not all just about superheroes, right? Keep an eye out for another weekly update in, well, about a week’s time for more exciting (potentially) news! Peace out x

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Busy, busy, busy

Well, what a busy week its been! Firstly, I’ve taken on extra hours at the paid-job to help me out before I have to drop my hours in September, so that’s been keeping me out of trouble. Then, came Art in Action last Thursday, plus after a full day in London on Saturday the week has begun yet again, and I can feel this busy schedule in my poor aching legs. So, in chronological order, here we go!

I’ve been to Art in Action once before in 2011, which I covered somewhat in my blog here, and I enjoyed it just as much this year as I did previously. It was a great day; The weather was beautiful, if not a little toastie in the depths of the various tents. For those who don’t know, Art in Action is a big arts and crafts festival which allows artists to showcase their work and demonstrate their processes. There is also a giant arts market for loads of supplies, and a makers market in which you can buy various goodies. There are several areas covered including painting, sculpture, jewellery, glassblowing, international artists and illustration/calligraphy, even beekeeping. Illustration always feels a little lacking, though with the amount to cover in the whole event its not really a surprise! My highlights from this year were illustrators Jackie Morris and Shelly Perkins, and printmaking extraordinaires Ian Phillips and Laura Boswell. I’m fairly useless at printing, I don’t seem to be able to practise the same kind of patience in printing that I do on a physical drawing, though I absolutely love the effects printing produces. Watching Ian Phillips making reduction lino prints, and Laura Boswell making traditional Japanese woodblock watercolour prints was pretty gosh-darn super, and I’m looking forward to trying out some more printing if I get the opportunity in the second year of university.

Left: Jackie Morris, Right: Shelly Perkins
Left: Jackie Morris, Right: Shelly Perkins
Left: Ian Phillips, Right: Laura Boswell
Left: Ian Phillips, Right: Laura Boswell

After some much needed family time and cider on Friday came an action-packed day in London with my handsome northerner on Saturday. A couple of months ago Ravi got in touch and mentioned an upcoming HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing being organised at Gosh! Comics in Soho! Luckily for me I managed to squeeze in a trip to the British Library for the Comics Unmasked exhibition (until 19th August), and I’m so glad I did as the range of work and topics was absolutely incredible. Bumping my forehead on glass-cases to try and get closer to the original artwork of comics such as Watchmen and Tank Girl was definitely worth it. Topics covered included politics, sex, heroes, and dreams; It’s not often I enjoy an exhibition as much as this one, I definitely recommend it to anyone who is able to get to London before it closes, whether you’re a comics fan or not. It really was fascinating! After refuelling at Subway, I met up with the other HOAX’ers Ravi Thornton (author),Karrie FransmanRian HughesJulian HanshawIan JonesHannah Berry and Mark Stafford (illustrators) at Gosh! Comics for a happy afternoon of signing. I met Mark, Karrie and Rian for the first time, as they weren’t present at the launch last month, and they are just as lovely as everyone I’ve met so far. The whole afternoon was a whirlwind of squiggles and doodles, requests and new faces though there were some familiar faces as Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier came along to say hi too! I also managed to pick up Dan Berry‘s book Suitcase on half price which I was chuffed about. After the signings we made our way to a nice pub to finish of the day nicely. Here are some pictures from the day:

From L-R: Karrie Fransman, Rian Hughes, Ravi Thornton, Julian Hanshaw, myself, Ian Jones, Hannah Berry and Mark Stafford.
From L-R: Karrie Fransman, Rian Hughes, Ravi Thornton, Julian Hanshaw, myself, Ian Jones, Hannah Berry and Mark Stafford.
What a happy bunch!
What a happy bunch!

Anyway, that’s it for now. I have a competition entry for a 6-page comic that I’m working on at the moment so I shall endeavour to have something nice to show you all soon. x

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Hayfever, I’m sick of your shit. Plus, Gosh! Comics HOAX signing!

Urgh,

Hay-fever season.

Those two dreaded words that make myself and countless others flinch, wince and generally run indoors and hide. Every night I get to slowly cook in my bedroom whilst the windows are sealed shut to try and avoid the 4am wake-up involving trying to attack my itchy throat and eyes with a toothbrush. And then, it doesn’t really matter anyway! Pollen still manages to find a way in. HOW DOES IT DO THAT? God forbid I have anything important to do, as soon as I enter the great outdoors my complexion gives off that lovely pale-faced red-nosed glow. I do appreciate that trees, grass and flowers need to get their frisky business on, but I’d rather they didn’t get their frisky business on up my nose.

And then I read this; Telegraph – “Hay-fever Experts Forecast Worse Case Scenario For Suffers

So, I’ve decided to resort to any means necessary to protect myself from the invisible air pirates otherwise known as pollen, with a creation illustrated below;

Hay-fever season is upon us..
Hay-fever season is upon us..

Anyway, that’s my rant over for now. Onto other news!

The lovely folks over at Gosh! Comics London have organised a nice HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing! You can read all about it on Gosh! Comics website here. I’m sure all you busy folks are more than happy to clear your diaries to pop down to London on the 19th July, and come say hi between 2-3pm! Not only do I get to see the ever so lovely Ravi Thornton, Hannah Berry, Julian Hanshaw and Ian Jones again, I’m pretty damn excited to meet Karrie Fransman (who has recently been a part of the British Red Cross’s Refugee Week – read her free comic online about the harrowing true story of a young Kurdish-Iranian refugee Ebrahim), Mark Stafford (whose incredible pages in HOAX have left me lingereing in a state of awe ever since) and Rian Hughes (Soho Divas especially, beautiful work). Which ALSO means I have approximately 3 weeks to figure out what on earth I’m going to draw in HOAX if someone requests doodles from us all again.. Invisible air pirate pollen, maybe?

Gosh! Comics Signing - Saturday 19th July 2-3pm
Gosh! Comics Signing – Saturday 19th July 2-3pm

If you can’t travel down to London, or you just ‘damn well don’t want to be told what to do’ by me, you can still buy HOAX: Psychosis Blues HEEEREEEE or from any of the lovely independent retailers selling it, like Travelling Man or Page45.

Anywho, I have more to report on in the next week or so. For a University summer project our class have been told that we need to start a blog over on Tumblr, so I shall be posting my updates in BOTH places now, and potentially waffling on a lot more over there. So, if you are indeed a Tumblrlrlrlr, you can now ‘follow’ me. Not in a stalking way, mind. I’m really not interesting enough for that.

Right, I’m off to stick my face in a bucket of ice water and try to ease my facial suffering. For now.. Bye! x

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Back to Reality

So, the fun of the HOAX Psychosis Blues launch is well and truly over, as I slump begrudgingly back into reality. Not that it’s all bad, mind you, just not quite as glamorous (though struggling with bags of Aldi shopping could be glamorous if I tried really, really hard…).

It was a fantastic day in Manchester on Saturday, starting off at Travelling Man selling books pre-launch and doing some signing. Out of the ten total illustrators there were four of us on the day, Julian HanshawHannah BerryIan Jones and myself, plus writer/creator/all-round-supertalent Ravi Thornton. I admit, I felt like maybe I was in some sort of surreal dream sat next to such talented and lovely people, but thankfully nerves only got the better of me a couple of times (and hopefully no one noticed!!). The feedback from people who’d already seen the stage show was fantastic, making it all the more exciting for the final run that night. After an interlude of great food with my better half, we were back at the Royal Exchange Theatre for the final show of HOAX My Lonely Heart; the performance was incredibly moving, with Tachia Newell and Olivia Sweeney portraying Rob and Helen. The live music soundtrack from Minute Taker from the side of the stage was a beautiful addition, and the looming presence of Rob’s illness (played by Stephen Myott-Meadows) gave a really sinister feel. The feeling of watching someone mentally unravel in front of my eyes is something I won’t be forgetting for a while.Read the 4* review here! Following the stage show we all piled into Sandinista Bar’s lower floor for the after-party and further signings. And, after a great speech from Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier, and a heartfelt, moving speech from Ravi we all settled in for a night of good company.

So there we are! HOAX Psychosis Blues is published and available for purchase direct from Ziggy’s Wish. It’s on a limited run of 1000 First Edition copies all signed and numbered by the author, and sales from book go towards supporting mental health charities

A small selection of team HOAX! L-R: Myself, Ravi Thornton, Ian Jones, Hannah Berry and Julian Hanshaw
Andy Oliver doing his thing!
Ravi’s moving speech of thanks to everyone involved.
HOAX: Psychosis Blues

So what have I learnt? HOAX as a whole has taught me many things, one of which being caffeine abuse, but in relation to Saturday I have learnt a very important lesson: People will ask in future “Can you draw something too!” in a book when signing, and I really, really need to think of something to fallback on. Needless to say there are a couple of awfully drawn butterflies in people’s books due to my lack of preperation and inability to focus under direct pressure. Oops! There is still lots to learn.
For now, that’s it! x

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HOAX: Psychosis Blues

There’s one creator I haven’t mentioned yet and that’s newcomer Rozi Hathaway who illustrates the last poem. ‘A Load Lifted’ acts as a coda to HOAX Psychosis Blues and makes touching use of one of its recurring motifs as Rob’s story closes in a moment of final release. It’s a pivotal segment and Hathaway imbues it with a majestic sense of grace and liberation; tragedy evolving into a kind of spiritual emancipation. It’s visual storytelling that is assured in poise and confident in technique – an artist to keep an eye out for I feel.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Full article here.

HOAX: Psychosis Blues is a graphic memoir by Ravi Thornton, telling the story of her brother Rob’s decline into schizophrenia. In an incredibly moving tale, the story is told through chapters and poems, illustrated by ten different artists including Bryan Talbot, Karrie Fransman and Hannah Berry.

Available to order here


Proceeds from HOAX: Psychosis Blues go towards supporting mental health charities (for more information please visit Ziggy’s Wish)

Also available to buy at Page 45, Travelling Man and Gosh! Comics.

To read more about the project as a whole please visit http://www.ravithornton.com/hoax

(Many updates from this time can be found over at my old blogspot account)

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