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Heatwaves & Hand-Printed Zines

Good afternoon all!

Crikey, it’s mid-July already. It’ll be Christmas before we know it. It’s been busy as ever over the past four weeks, with my first ever keynote speech done and dusted, another comics’ fair under my belt and a short zine lovingly crafted, printed, stapled and bound in my own living room. But, I’ve still had time to enjoy the summer months down in Bournemouth with plenty of swimming in the sea and running around on the beach! Here are the highlights:

Since last time:

  • I attended and spoke at the International Graphic Novel and Comics’ Conference
  • My sketchbook for codename: The Biggest One Yet (TBOY) is becoming plumper still
  • I tabled at the South London Comic & Zine Fair with Good Comics
  • Sam and I made a new zine together
  • I was accepted into Bristol Comic & Zine Fair in October – woo!
  • And, I picked up an old car called Billie. Road trips!

First up, the International Graphic Novel & Comics Conference (IGNCC) was a blast. Julia and the other organisers did a wonderful job, and once I’d stopped shaking from my speech, I had a fantastic time listening to other people present their papers and keynote speeches, all on varying subjects within the field of comics. Having studied illustration at university I’m fairly well rehearsed in listening to comics’ being talked about in depth in such a way, but it was still such a powerful, inspiring experience to hear about so many subjects within a few days.

Sadly I did miss a few things I really wanted to see; Woodrow Phoenix’ exhibition and talk on She Lives would have been spectacular (but the downside of a new car was the pre-booked MOT taking up valuable conference time…). But overall it was an excellent few days! Thank you so much to the whole IGNCC team for hosting such a great event – and right on my doorstep too.

Next up, I spent this last Saturday in the overly muggy climates of Croydon, at the South London Comic & Zine Fair (SLCZF)! Between Paddy, Sam and myself we managed to eat a Caribbean feast whilst selling comics and zines to the throngs of people strolling past our table. Although, the heat did seem to affect my brain so my apologies to anyone who felt like they were talking to a spongy wall – that was just me!

For SLCZF, Sam and I decided to make a little hand-printed zine together as we haven’t had the chance to make one before. As Sam is a parent, we have split custody and both work full-time jobs, the time we actually have alone together is precious. Before I relocated to the coast and we were long-distance, we had a sketchbook that we posted back and forth to each other with all the things we’d like to do together when we finally lived in the same place, and this new zine felt like an extension of that idea, and finding peace in the time we get which is truly ours.

We hand-picked some G. F Smith paper and printed it all up on my laser printer, then Sam stapled and trimmed each one by hand. You can pick one up from my Etsy store for £2 plus postage! And yes, the cover is one example of me balancing things on Sam’s head whilst he sleeps.

The Things We Do..
The things we do when it’s just me and you.. new zine! £2 + P&P

Finally, my sketchbook is still well underway for my new project under the codename The Biggest One Yet (TBOY). Although with the conference and the zine I’m a little behind, you can still find all my progress over on Patreon. I also have another project coming up which will be really exciting, so sign up now before you miss anything.

And that’s about it for now! Me and Billie the car will be planning our next research adventure… watch this space.

 

x

 

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Summer Loving

Goof advernoon, evereony!

This humidity/hayfever combination has me all a’funk. Even more so when I sit down to write my blog, and can’t recall what I ate for dinner two days ago let alone what I’ve been doing for the past nearly six weeks. I can hear you all now, reading this, muttering affectionately… “ah, that’s what happens when you start getting older”. Thanks.

Thankfully I’m a lady of lists, so here I am to look back through them all and get you up to date at what’s going on at HQ.

Since we last spoke:

  • I’ve been researching and writing my keynote speech
  • My sketchbook for codename: The Biggest One Yet (TBOY) is becoming plumper
  • I went to Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning
  • I’ve been on a copywriting course through my work (expect jazzier headlines in anything I write from now on)
  • And, drove around my living room swerving to avoiding Pokemon and wild animals*

So! Keynote speech. It sounds impressive, it feels impressive, and a solid 10% of me is not nervous at all.

Genuinely, I’m really looking forward to speaking at the International Graphic Novel and Comic Conference; it’s something I couldn’t have ever dreamed of doing a few years ago, and really, to talk about comics for half an hour to a keen audience is practically a dream. Try introducing yourself as a comics artist to anyone who isn’t a comic artist – it’s exhausting. Even trying to answer the question of ‘what kind of comics do you make?‘ is a tricky one, as really, people only know of a very few genres. Superheroes, political/newspaper cartoons, and possibly if they live in a metropolitan city with an excellent bookshop, they may also know of autobio/biographical and journalistic comics. All-ages-anthropological-sociological-travel-fantasy is a bit of a jumble, let’s face it. So being able to talk to a semi-engaged audience sounds delightful!

The theme of the conference is Retro! Time, Memory, Nostalgia. My speech is on Retrospective Storytelling: From Childhood to Characterisation, on Wednesday 27th June. So if you’re booked onto the conference please do come and say hello! You can find the full programme here.

Sketchbookin’ hard on my biggest comics’ project yet…

Next up, I’ve been chugging away slowly at a sketchbook I picked up specifically for working on my next comics’ project in. For The Biggest One Yet (TBOY) I really wanted to grow an idea though sketching and external inspiration, rather than starting with an idea. I have a few things I’d like the story to encompass and a route for it to take, but the finer details are something I’d like to stumble upon during the process. I’ve been posting regular updates and sketchbook pages on Patreon, so if you have FOMO of TBOY then YKWTD: https://www.patreon.com/rozihathaway

I couldn’t possibly leave you with nothing, so here’s a taster:

This past week I also made a special trip on the number 17 bus to Bournemouth University for their Festival of Learning. They’ve had a whole host of interesting events on, but the only one I could make it to was the fantastic Storytelling from India talk from Tara Douglas. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the screening of the animations that the talk was based on, but it was still incredibly interesting all the same. The talk of India’s caste system reminded me a lot of an exhibition I went to a couple of years ago at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool; which, FYI, is a fantastic museum and if you haven’t been there already I highly recommend it. Back to the talk – Tara led us through the process of making a series of animations based on tribal stories, myths and legends. Using local storytellers, narrators and artists it made for a really interesting and beautiful project. If you’re interested, you can see a full article from Bournemouth University here, or check out the website here.

And that just about wraps it up! As I said above, I have been lucky enough to go on a copywriting course with my day job – so have I convinced you through my words? I’m not sure what I would be trying to convince you of… Maybe I need more practice.

Until next time!

 

x

 

*driving around my living room swerving to avoid Pokemon may or may not be in the imagination of myself and four-year-old Saul.

 

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Inking Women & Drawing Foxes

Good afternoon folks,

So! It’s been a busy month as ever here at HQ.. First up, The Inking Woman Book Launch! On Thursday 15th March I took a half-day at my day job and hopped on the 3 hour coach up to London for The Inking Woman/Marie Duval book launches from Myriad Editions. You know me – ever the traveller. With a quick pit-stop in the V&A and The Science Museum beforehand, I bundled over to the launch party with a skip in my step and after a short while, prosecco in my hand.

The atmosphere was electric, just as much as it had been at the original Inking Woman exhibition at The Cartoon Museum almost a year ago! Thank you so much to Corinne Pearlman, Cath Tate and Nicola Streeten for all their hard work in putting such a fantastic book together. Below you can see me lurking in the back with a handful of the Inking Women featured in the exhibition/book – I’m so proud to be among them! The whole experience took a little while to sink in – travelling back the same night probably didn’t help in making it all feel rather surreal. But, low and behold I am published in a Myriad book amongst so many wonderful cartoonists.

In other news, I spent most of March finishing up something new for a new anthology; the Good Comics Reader! Those chaps at Good Comics decided it’d be nice to do an anthology featuring all the creators whose work they have published so far. How could I resist? My new four-page comic will be launched in the Reader on Saturday 14th April at Leamington Spa Comic Con, and copies are available to pre-order now.

Good Comics Reader!

The Reader is also raising money for charity, with 50% of the proceeds going to Young Minds. Here’s a little bit about them from their website;

We’re leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. We’re here to make sure they get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.

The crisis in children and young people’s mental health is real and it is urgent. More children and young people than ever before are reaching out for help with their mental health. But for those who take that brave step, help is much too hard to find.

Together, we are changing this. We’re fighting for young people’s mental health. Join our fight.

Young Minds support young people through different projects and support packs for young people and their parents/carers. It’s really crucial to support the mental health of young people, and it’s something close to my heart as you will know from my ongoing support of 42nd Street Manchester through sales of my print. So, if you like being entertained through the thought-provoking and moving medium of comics, and you want to do your bit for charity, then I strongly recommend grabbing a copy of the Reader asap. I’ll be back at Leamington Comic Con next Saturday 14th April with Good Comics to launch the Reader, so if you want it signed then come and say hi! Tickets are available here or on the door.

A preview of my comic for the Reader, Ræven.

In other Good Comics related news, this Friday is the launch party of their newest release The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes at Gosh! Comics in London. PAR-TAY! As an honorary member of Good Comics I’ll be at the launch with a glass in hand celebrating this really excellent book – if you’re a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan like I am, you’re in for a treat – so if you’re local to London then come on down as it’s going to be amazing!

Finally, in some really-really-super exciting news, this summer I’ve been invited to be a keynote speaker at the International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference in Bournemouth. I’ll be opening the conference on Wednesday 27th June with my talk on ‘Retrospective Storytelling: From Childhood to Characterisation’. Other speakers include Catherine Anyango Grünewald and Woodrow Phoenix. The conference is going to be really interesting, so check out all the details here and book your ticket now!

Aaand that just about sums it up for now! Don’t forget to subscribe to my updates on Patreon to get the news as it happens. But until next time.. peace out.

 

x

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New Chapter

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.

Cartoon County - 29th January 2018
Cartoon County – 29th January 2018 (Picture credit: Samuel C. Williams)

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..

The Patreon Story

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:

$2 or more per month –  you can access exclusive blog posts about what I’m up to, work-in-progress photos and previews only available to patrons. i.e. you will get more regular updates and photos.
$5 or more per month – you get the above, plus 10% off in my Etsy store and access to my digital comics archive to read and download, and see full colour pages of new comics before they’re published! If you like digital comics, you will be getting a massive bargain compared to buying my work individually or in it’s anthologies.
$10 or more per month – everything listed above, plus a hand-drawn and painted postcard in the post every month (UK postage only)
$12 or more per month – everything listed above, plus a hand-drawn and painted postcard in the post every month (Worldwide postage)
$40 or more per month – everything listed above (excluding postcard), plus an A5 drawn, inked and painted commission of your choice every month – or you can just bump up to this for one month if you’d like to commission artwork from me, and then bump back down to a different tier. (Worldwide postage)
Check out my Patreon site here to witness it all for yourself, and sign up for some sweet deals to arrive through your door. After all, who doesn’t love receiving post that isn’t bills or junk mail? Hopefully that clarifies everything a bit. Don’t miss out, even for just $2 (£1.45ish) a month you get to see comics as they happen, and before anyone else.

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!

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