As a part of an ongoing personal project I have started creating maps of the cities I visited whilst backpacking through central Scandinavia in August 2015. The first choices of maps to illustrate have been Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, with Bergen, Malmö, Aarhus and Gothenburg still to go. Throughout our time in Scandinavia my partner and I were lucky enough to have friends to show us great places to see, eat and experience, and by creating these maps I’ve put our experiences and fond memories into something tangible.
Keep an eye out as I carry on illustrating the rest of these wonderful cities! And if anyone speaks to them, tell Norway, Sweden and Denmark that I miss them very much.
So, it’s the middle of the week again and I think I’ve just about recovered from a busy week back and forth to London last week. Between D&AD New Blood Festival and Small Press Day it was a pretty active week, though I have made up for it so far this week by realising yesterday evening that the only time I’d left my desk in three days was to eat, wash, sleep, and walk to the post box. Oh, the life of a freelancer.
First up, D&AD! The New Blood Festival acts as a showcase to the best talents coming out of design courses from Universities across the UK, and I went down to Shoreditch for the open evening on Tuesday 5th and the entirety of Thursday 7th to represent my portfolio and work on display. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a design festival, but it was very busy and full of keen graduates; having been used to manning tables of my own work and stock at comics festivals over the past year or so it was very surreal to only have one small area for my work. Although I didn’t manage to get any pictures, here are some from fellow graduate and graphic designer Megan Hughes:
In other news, it was the first ever Small Press Day on Saturday! As I mentioned last week, Small Press Day is an “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.” (From SmallPressDay.co.uk). Broken Frontier have rounded up the day in their expansive article from yesterday and can probably say it all far better than I can, so check that out for the full details. I didn’t get a chance to do much of the circuit, though I was lucky enough to be a part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’ signing table with Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver, and comic artists Emma Raby and Jey Levang at Orbital Comics.
Albeit a short spell behind the table, it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for Small Press Day next year. Long live comics! Thanks SO much to all the lovely staff at Orbital Comics for being awesome and having us join in the signing fun! As a part of the promotion leading up to the event I also wrote a small recommendation piece for Broken Frontier, amongst other creators, championing other small press work. You can read what we all said here.
In a very welcome relief from a particularly low-spell, I was also alerted by my comics buddy Sam that Njálla had been featured in Warren Ellis’ newsletter Orbital Operations! Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis! How amazing is that?!
In other news, in the efforts to continue expanding my illustration portfolio and trying out new things I’ve been working on a new and exciting week-long project. As some of you avid readers may remember, last summer I spent two weeks backpacking across the main cities of Scandinavia with my better half Chris. A whole load of the research from this trip was fed into Njálla, which took around nine months from start to finish including the Kickstarter and launch. However, it wasn’t all just Noadi’s and lavvu’s, there is a whole wealth of experiences and travels locked up in my head that I’ve been wanting to play with. And, given that my three strongest passions in life are, 1) Drawing, 2) Travelling, and 3) Kettle Chips, I figured that I needed to start combining the first two in some form other than comics. So, let there be maps!
To begin with I’ve picked the three main cities we spent the most time in; Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. From here I’ve designed maps encompassing the main attractions, and I’m just seeing how I can turn these into awesome pieces that could possibly be used as prints, for articles, or more! Above are some of the inks previews, but I’m *almost* finished.. So, keep an eye out next week for the grand reveal. If I never mention it again, it’s because it all went horribly wrong.
Finally, after an enquiry email into Sneaky Business submissions and artists rights I have updated the submissions page! Don’t forget you still have over two months to submit 1-2 page comics to the second volume of Sneaky Business, and I am so excited to see what lands in my inbox between now and then. As I said above, LONG LIVE COMICS! Any-who, that’s about it for now and the kettle is calling me (sadly not the chip variety). Have a good rest of the week, everyone!
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!
So, I haven’t gone mad. Well, I may have done, but this specific reasoning for having not gone mad comes from a midday blog effort. “Oooh”, I hear you all say, as you munch your lunchtime sarnie trying to avoid getting crumbs in the keyboard. Which always happens anyway. Yes! I decided a change was in order this week, before I busy my head in more comics for the remainder of the afternoon.
It’s been a busy week, in fact each week has been becoming steadily busier in the run up to my two-week Scandi adventures; so I have three more afternoons of work to get everything done as much as physically possible so that I can enjoy my fortnight in the fjords. As I revealed last week, my new collaborative zine Sneaky Business has been completed! I received the final artwork, finished the covers up and tomorrow I shall be scurrying along to the local printers to throw my USB their way. HOW EXCITING! Now that it’s all beautifully laid out, I can give you a proper introduction…
Sneaky Business is a comics zine of my creation, featuring two page and one page comics. After producing a one-page comic for Keara Stewart earlier in the year for her comics anthology A Bit of Undigested Potato, I felt deeply inspired to have a go myself! Though, not with quite so many comics as an anthology, as I think my brain would fall out from the stress of doing that amount of organising on top of everything else. Shortly after TAKEOVER back in May, the idea was born and I started contacting friends in the business. Another reason I wanted to do something like this, as I told the other artists involved, is because the majority of my work is quite dark, emotive and serious. How is everybody supposed to know how hilariously funny I am, without me showing them? Thus, Sneaky Business was born.. From the talented hands of (from top-bottom of the image above);
Now for more exciting news! Sneaky Business is being launched on Saturday 29th August 2015 at MancsterCon, so if you’re in the area please do come and say hi and pick up your shiny new copy of Sneaky Business. I will be hosting an internet pre-launch on Monday 24th August, so if you’re unable to get to Manchester (cuh, you’ll be missing out) then I shall make sure you get your copy featuring these wonderful sneaky comic artists for the weekend. A big thanks to my creators Sam, Pete, Alex and Peter, and to anyone who has has helped me out; a special mention to Keara for being an inspiration and Ricky Miller from Avery Hill Publishing for giving me his words of wisdom when I was mid-crisis. So, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to order a copy when it’s released! Because it’s awesome.
In other news, I’ve been clocking up the hours at the ol’ desk producing this Top Secret project that’s due in September, which I mentioned last week. As all you wonderful people asked so nicely, (you didn’t, but I’m guessing you really wanted to..) here are some more snippets of what’s being taking all my time and energy!
Top Secret Project, a 10 page comic reached completion in August, more details announced soon..
Pencil roughs – complete!
I’m really really really really hoping to have all the pages inked by Friday evening, so when I return two-stone heavier from the lands of Danish pastries I can relax and focus on preparing for the colouring aspect, ready for deadline. Yesterday I managed to draw and ink up two in 5 hours, so by that logic I won’t quite get it done.. But I’m going to try my hardest! Page one was a bit of a pain, the rest should be easier. I hope. And pray.
So, yes! Hopefully all this visual stimulation invigorates you all ready for your afternoons, just think of me cramped over my desk drawing pages after pages of comics, and think about how much simpler a desk-job is. I will be back in three weeks time with a full update of my travels, so I hope everybody has a wonderful couple of weeks, and think of me on a boat somewhere between the islands surrounding Oslo.. Or in Stockholm having fika.. Or in Denmark practising my Danish on real, Danish people whilst playing with Lego and eating wienerbrød. Until then – over and out.