Based on a conversation with a four-year-old, Moon is an original comics story with plenty of imagination, a look at familial relationships, and a nod the Chinese legend of Chang-e and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
…Our first port of call was to catch up with some familiar faces, and we started off with Good Comics’ Sam Williams, Rozi Hathaway and Josh Hicks who were all bunched in on a row together. Rozi was showcasing her new book Moon and this was our first chance to see it in print and the newsprint finish really made the most of Rozi’s beautiful artwork.
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.
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!
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.”