It’s been a little while, huh? Apparently my limits of multitasking are, a) starting a new, demanding day job and b) moving home… again. Hopefully, this time moving has been for good, and we have been hard at work for the past fortnight to make our home everything we have ever hoped for. For the first time in too long I have a peaceful space to call my own, and a working space that is nice and far away from where I sleep. I have a list of things to work up to before the new year, and 2018 is going to be more exciting than ever..
I’m so happy to be re-releasing Cosmos & Other Stories in early 2018 with Good Comics, complete with a bonus story – so keep your eyes peeled for more information on that in due course! The online stores are now totally sold out, but you can possibly still pick up a first print edition of Cosmos at a few stories in the UK: Orbital in London, Dave’s Comics in Brighton, Gnash Comics in Ashburton and the Travelling Man stores – if you’re after one in time for Christmas it’s worth giving those stores a call.
In other news, I haven’t had much time to do any work, let alone write a blog about how little comics’ work I’ve done. I have, however, managed to throw all of my inktober pieces together into an animation, so check that out below:
It’s a bit rudimentary, but it’s really nice to see it all in motion as I imagined it. Inktober feels like only yesterday yet also forever ago since I sketched my fox and butterfly pals. In my drawing hiatus (thanks to all my belongings being packed in boxes for at least two weeks) I have however excelled in cushion cover making and even made my first pair of curtains last week. AND a net curtain! Possibly not as exciting to you all, but I promise it’s been every bit the roller-coaster and incredibly satisfying. Almost as satisfying as taking down the visually abhorrent curtains that were here when we moved in… but that’s a story for another day. Blergh.
Anyway! Keep your eyes peeled as I endeavour to be back next week with something more to show you. Until then, have a picture of my new squirrel friend and the beach that’s a 10-minute walk from home. Peace out!
So, another comic event has drawn to a close leaving just one final show before the year is done. Where did 2017 go, huh? Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) had an absolutely electric environment this year, with an expanded space and over 100 creators behind 80 tables. I was in the smaller side-section of the venue known as The Kitchen, right next to the food and coffee (useful) and in an immense stroke of luck, the person I was due to be tabling next to had cancelled at short notice, meaning a) I could spread out and b) I didn’t have to sit in a pillar. You wouldn’t believe some of the pillars and chairs you end up getting squished next to at comic fairs over the years… It’s not all glamour, I tell you.
A very sizeable half table thanks to someone dropping out last minute.
Ready to go!
The beauty of Bristol is that it has an eclectic mix of students, local artists and generally interested general public. With the event being free to enter it brought in a lot of people and made the whole event a really exciting place to be. Having my table located off in a side-venue would normally mean a quieter day, but the organisers managed to put a lot of complimentary creators/publishers together, and regardless of my location it was an incredibly busy day! Tabling next to a pillar was a little lonely at times, but I had a lot of interesting conversations with people and had a chance to catch up briefly with Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Alex Thomas from Pipedream Comics. I also met Bryony Attenburrow, who did the Laydeez do Comics blog back in January last year when I spoke alongside Andy Oliver and Danny Noble, who is really nice! The whole day was a bit of a whirlwind, meeting new people and catching up with comics’ chums, but it was a really great day. Huge thanks to the BCZF organisers for doing such a spectacular job, and of course to everyone who swung by my table to say hello!
Off course, it wouldn’t be a good day at a comic fair if I didn’t get the chance to pick up some sweet new zines. Between myself and Sam we managed to pick up a nice haul of new things – some of which I’d been after for a long while. Check it out!
The haul! L-R: What Happened by Simon Moreton, Desert Island Discs Fanzine edited by Sammy Borras, Laydeez do Comics Hometown Anthology, Glorious Wrestling Alliance: Grappling Road by Josh Hicks, Zoology by Jo Berry, The Fields Beyond Episode 1 by Matthew Pettit and M69 by Nick Soucek
Zoology by Jo Berry
Pipedream Comics Pull List
Pipedream Comics Interview
As you can see, I also managed to get my mitts on a copy of the Pull List which included my interview! So shiny! You can pick up your digital copy of the Pull List here. I’d been wanting to pick up the Laydeez do Comics zine Hometown for quite a while, and similarly the Desert Island Discs Fanzine hasn’t been out all that long and I’d always intended to do something for it. There’s a really interesting correlation between comics and music, something you can see in the Dead Singer’s Society zines too – you can’t beat the passion of reading about someone’s connection to a particular song, album or artist. It’s like listening to Professor Brian Cox talk about the solar system or physics; I’m not wholly familiar with those long words he’s using, or totally understand what he means, but damn it’s interesting.
Another cool thing I picked up purely by it taking my fancy, is this really cool fold-out double-sided illustration/poster by Jo Berry! It quite literally caught by eye as I was walking back to my table with £3 burning a hole in my pocket – it’s a really interesting way of working and something I’ve been keen to try out for a while, the folded paper method of narrative and building out to a bigger picture. I can’t find much information on Jo or where to by Zoology, but she has an Instagram page here.
In other news, I’ve been clocking away and doodling away daily for this year’s Inktober! I’ve managed to always miss taking part the past few years, usually due to being busy working on twelve other things. So this year I decided I would truly throw myself into it and have a good go at it. And so far I have just about managed to keep on track, with only a few “I can’t be bothered to clamber into the house for WiFi to post this tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow” moments.
Travelling Inktober – on the way to BCZF!
Inktober days 8 through 10 – transcending paper special.
For those of you unaware, Inktober is essentially 31 days of 31 drawings. Every year cartoonists, comic artists, illustrators, creatives, librarians, doodlers and anyone who wants to, picks up a pen and does one ink drawing every day for an entire month. It keeps you drawing even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, and for others who spend longer on their pieces can add real refinement to their drawing. Me, I’m just a doodler, so I’ve spent the last 10 days making one ink drawing with a couple of Kuretake brush pens and some added highlights to make a narrative about a fox and a butterfly. All the drawings are posted up on my Twitter, but keep an eye out on here as at the end of the month you’ll get to see the entire story.
Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewer based in Ontario that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.
Each of our beers is a work of art. On the inside, we proudly brew some of the most well-crafted beers with the help of our brewmaster, Ryan Morrow. On the outside, we feature limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians that change every few months. Added bonus? Through the augmented reality technology of our partner Blippar, all labels come to life through the free Blippar mobile phone app. Simply scan the label to hear the music, see the videos and view artist bios.
There’s a zine-like feel to Self-Care & Vegetables, not just from the way that the book is packaged but also in its presentational style. It sits somewhere between graphic narrative and pure sequential art with that lesser reliance on panel-to-panel narrative giving it an appropriately more personal, stream-of-consciousness feel to its pages. This also affords Hathaway an opportunity to stretch her storytelling skills, bending conventions of the form to her will thematically – check out the powerful use of lettering in some of the sample pages in this review – and making extensive use of visual metaphor.
Rozi Hathaway will have something a bit different on her table this year, with an incredibly personal and intimate story about break ups and the physical and mental toll they can take. Self Care and Vegetables will have a limited print run of 100 copies and cost just £3, so if you’re a fan of Rozi’s work it’s going to be a real rarity. But if you love raw and sensitive auto-biographical comics, told in an intelligent and through-provoking way then be sure to pick up a copy.
I’ve also been squirreling away making some nice additions to my array of tabling goods with stickers, more badges and some new prints. The prints include a special limited edition lino print I’ve been making this week to go out with all pre-orders of Self-Care & Vegetables!
Linocut image for the Self-Care & Vegetables print
Lino print for Self-Care & Vegetables
Self-Care & Vegetables is due to be picked up from the printers later this week and all the pre-orders will ship out on Friday 22nd September with a FREE lino print! If you’re keen to get your hands on a print, the remaining will be on sale at Thought Bubble and the remaining festivals of the year, but pre-order now to get your complimentary one and avoid disappointment. Thank you so much to everyone who has pre-ordered so far! You can get your copy here.
I’ve also been making up a new Njálla lino print too, with only eight available, printed with water-based black and metallic green printing ink on flax seed paper. Again, these will be on sale first at Thought Bubble! You can find me in the Cookridge Street Marquee on table 37b next to Good Comics. Be sure to come and say hello!
And that just about wraps it up for now. I have a week and a half to go to finish preparing for Thought Bubble and complete a couple of potential projects.. and pack up my life. So, I shall attempt to be back next week with a pre-TB update! Until next time…
Comic creators, this is your four-and-a-half week warning for Thought Bubble, I repeat, this is your four-and-a-half week warning:
That’s right; one of, if not THE biggest UK independent comic festivals is just around the corner, as the words “It’s nearly Thought Bubble” strike fear into anyone who’s working on a project to release at Leeds’ epic weekend comics celebration. As I mentioned last time, I’ve been getting back to the grind to complete my new zine – the plus-side of not using any paint this time around (yes, yes it’s been a painful but important thing to temporarily let go of gouache and my brushes) is that the final artwork is a lot quicker to create. So, with a few finishing touches it should be going off to print before the week is out!
Here’s some previews..
Next week pre-orders for the zine will open and the full announcement will be made, so keep your peepers peeled!
In other news, the latest Pipedream Comics Pull List went up this month, titled Discover Small Press – including an interview from yours truly! Here’s what they said about it on the site:
We were inspired to celebrate Small Press after a visit to the East London Comic Arts Festival in June and so we’ve picked five of our favourite creators and talked to them about their inspirations and the stories behind their books. These include Jonathan Cape award-winner Matthew Dooley, Avery Hill’s new superstar Ellice Weaver, Human Garbage creator Josh Hicks, NPC-Tea’s Sarah Millman and Cosmos’ Rozi Hathaway. All five of these creators encapsulate what is great about the world of small press and we hope that by discovering their work you can embrace the wonders of the community, too. We also have an amazing cover from Sub Diablo creator Darrell Thorpe.
In an attempt to enjoy my short-lived downtime, these past couple of weeks I’ve working on an illustrative submission for a collection of illustrations/comics coming out later in the year. You know me, I can’t resist an anthology submission! Check it out:
I’ve been using an Arts and Crafts of Mexico book from Manchester City Library (just signed up, and FYI that library is incredible..) to look at patterns and animals used in traditional Mexican folk art, whilst also researching online about alebrijes and the bright colours used in traditional Mexican art. If there’s anything University taught me, there’s no such thing as too much research – even just for a one page illustration! You’ll have to wait until next time to see what I’ve come up with, but above is some of the progress I’ve made so far..
You can get your postcard pack online here – five seductively matte laminate cards for just £3.50 + P&P. Bring back snail mail! And… to celebrate the beginning of summer I’m offering 20% off all orders for one week only using the code OHHEYJUNE. Valid until 7th June!
Another ‘Six to Watch’ artist who continually surpasses her previous work with each new offering is Rozi Hathaway. In ‘Aquarium’ we witness a young girl’s wonder at the sea life she is observing with Hathaway playing with the space between panels to emphasise two worlds coming together. It’s quite brilliant in structure and is the finest piece of pure comics in the issue.
So, another week has passed and another comic is under my metaphorical belt. It’s been a strange time of finishing up projects that have been ongoing for several months.. The Yearbook story below, I wrote in January, pencilled up ideas by February, and then it’s taken three more months of dipping in and out (alongside finishing Cosmos and a piece for Dirty Rotten Comics 10) to get it done. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to having a totally clear schedule for a little while to wind-down and collect my thoughts.
Almost-on-time as promised last week, my short four-pager for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 was completed this weekend (with a tiny bit of work done to finish it up on Monday night) and sent over to the man in the hat, Broken Frontier‘s Andy Oliver. Launching this summer, you can find out more about the book directly from the website – but for now, here’s some sneak previews of my story:
I’m incredibly honoured to be a part of ‘The Inking Woman’ exhibition. It’s a vibrant, empowering collection of works that show the humour and passion that women have drawn on over the years; powerful illustrative and narrative work, that surpasses trends and time.
Small press sensation Rozi Hathaway is making quite the name for herself on the indie scene with her beautiful, through-provoking, poetic style. With a dreamy mix of painted artwork and minimalist story-telling, her latest book Cosmos And Other Stories was launched at Leamington Comic Con to critical acclaim, so we caught up with Rozi to find out more about what inspires her highly personal style of comic.
Finally, the special edition Dirty Rotten Comics 10 will be out in the next few weeks! The pre-orders haven’t gone up yet, but I’ll let you all know when they do as they’ll be featuring a whole host of specially selected creators – the first artist reveals went up yesterday with Alex Potts, Jey Levang and fellow Good Comics‘ creator Josh Hicks announced.
And that’s all for now! This weekend will see me having some well needed time off, but nevertheless I will be back next week with answers to questions such as.. What’s next? Have I indeed run out of ideas? Did I actually eat all those Oreos? Until next time!
The tenth issue of the comics anthology series Dirty Rotten Comics is in full colour! Released in May 2017, with 92 pages of brightly coloured comics’ genius, here’s what the DRC guys have to say..
“In full-colour for the very first time, our landmark tenth issue arrives with a bang! With strips from some of our favourite past DRC contributors and an extra thirty pages of content, you can’t say we don’t know how to celebrate in style!”
“Another ‘Six to Watch’ artist who continually surpasses her previous work with each new offering is Rozi Hathaway. In ‘Aquarium’ (above) we witness a young girl’s wonder at the sea life she is observing with Hathaway playing with the space between panels to emphasise two worlds coming together. It’s quite brilliant in structure and is the finest piece of pure comics in the issue.”
So, it’s done! Cosmos & Other Stories has been released out into the world in spectacular style at Leamington Comic Con this past weekend, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. And yes, I think I need a long lie-down. Or a holiday. Or both?
Several of the post-con reviews earmarked Leam Comic Con as a friendly event with a great atmosphere, (Broken Frontier, Pipedream Comics and Awesome Comics Podcast to name a few..) which is a wholly accurate way to describe the day! Located in the Royal Spa Centre adjacent to the town centre, the coffee was strong and the weather was great. I had an excellent time as always tabling next to my Cosmos publishers Samuel C. Williams and Dr Paddy Johnston of Good Comics (yes we had a cheese board for snacking purposes, and yes it was as wonderful as it sounds), and the room was full to the brim of comics fans young and old! Thanks so much to Dan and Lisa for being excellent hosts!
Good art rents a room in your consciousness. Really good art plants roots in your subconscious. Cosmos & Other Stories is a piece of art does this – and also enables you to step out of your rush, rush, dopamine-fueled day and rest happy in a second of time.
A collection of a handful of comics shorts, it’s Hathaway at her economical but profound best; a book that displays that remarkable ability she has to bring us so fully into the lives of her characters with a recognisable emotional resonance.
You’ll be glad to know that Cosmos & Other Stories is available to purchase from the Good Comics online store, and also from Gosh! Comics and Orbital Comics in London. It’ll also be available from my Etsy store in the next month, so keep an eye out for that! In their attempts of slowly taking over the world, Good Comics announced it’s next 2017 launch yesterday with Josh Hicks‘ new collection of short stories, Human Garbage, released on 17th June at ELCAF. Between this and their soon-to-be-confirmed publishing ventures of the year it’s looking to be an excellent 2017 for the guys, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.
Josh Hicks’ Human Garbage – Released 17th June
What’s next? Well.. My blog will be on another short break for two weeks now as I move house and finish up a few submissions, for starters. I’ve been working on comics/illustrations for three different anthologies, developing on-and-off whilst I was completing Cosmos – so those are a priority to get finished up and send off in the next few weeks. Aside from that, my general answer for has been to start developing a longer-form story. But, as ever, there are a whole bundle of smaller projects I have on the back-burner and would love to get stuck into.. And of course, I plan on helping Good Comics take over the world. On that note, I’ll see you all in a fortnight! Until next time..