Small Press Yearbook 2016

Spring Has Sprung

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s Spring. The season that leaves everyone reaching for the duster and me reaching for my antihistamines.. What a glorious time to be alive! As long it’s a case of being alive, inside, with the windows shut, away from tree pollen. Magical.

Now that Cosmos & Other Stories is finished up and out in the world, AND I’ve moved home just over a week ago, it’s been a time of catching up on comics I’ve promised for submissions. First up, I’ve been working on a four-page comic for this year’s Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook! Last year’s Yearbook was a platform for the Broken Frontier’s 2015 ‘Six to Watch’ artists to be published as a focal point whilst still sat next to more established artists. Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Jess Milton, Alice Urbino, Adam Vian and myself all contributed to the Yearbook, with my comic Afloat gaining praise in reviews from Page 45, The Quietus and more. This year, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 is focusing on the 2016 ‘Six to Watch’ creators Rebecca Bagley, Kim Clements, Brigid Deacon, Emily Rose Lambert, Jey Levang and Ellice Weaver – with myself and others creating shorter back-up stories to support these fabulous six comics ladies.

As you can see from above, I’m currently up to the inking stage of my four-page comic for the book. Next, I need to figure out what I’m doing with the colours, and get it all painted and scanned in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out for some previews/peeks of the final comic!

In other news, I’ve also been working on a special comic for those nice gents at Dirty Rotten Comics for their special anniversary issue 10. I’m really excited to have been asked to contribute, and I’m working away on a short two-pager for the issue with the deadline fast approaching.. For now, here’s a small peek of my pencil sketches!

Whalin’ around in DRC10!

At the end of the month when I’m slightly less deadline-oriented, I have the pleasure of heading over to Liverpool for the Craft Comic Festival at the Craft Taproom, which is part of Smithdown Festival! If you’re in or around Liverpool on the Bank Holiday weekend you should pop down on Saturday 29th from 10-4pm to check it out. And it’s free! For all the details, head over to their designated Facebook Event Page.

Finally, in some more glorious news, I’m absolutely over the moon to be included in the upcoming The Inking Woman: An exhibition of British women cartoon and comic artists at The Cartoon Museum in central London. The exhibition will run from 26th April to 24 July 2017 and will feature work from creators such as Hannah Berry, Emma Vieceli, Karrie Fransman, Edie OP, Danny Noble and more. And me! More confirmed artists are popping up all the time, so be sure to follow The Cartoon Museum on Twitter with the hashtag #InkingWoman to see who will be there.

And that’s about it for now! The rest of this week will be spent maniacally finishing up some comics and then eating my entire body-weight in chocolate this weekend. Maybe some cake, too. Until next time!

 

x

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The Half-Way Mark

Good afternoon radiant readers.

So, is it Wednesday again already? It’s been another busy week here at HQ, juggling painting and scanning comics pages, finishing up and painting the frames for animation, and important, final degree things like portfolios and such. In the whirlwind that has been the last 2 and a half years, it’s now only four weeks until my final assessment and somehow everything in falling into place. It’s a busy time, but thanks to my militaryesque organisational skills and copious amounts of camomile tea I’m raging through like a woman on a mission.

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently working away each week painting pages, scanning them in, tweaking and slotting into place ready for printing. At an efficient rate of 10 pages a week, I’m comfortably on track at the half-way mark for the campaign, which has now been funded beyond double my original project goal! Heartfelt thanks to all my wonderful backers, and those new backers who know it’s fully funded, but are still pledging away regardless (Royal Mail are going to absolutely love me come May/June time). If you are a backer, you’ll know that you get exclusive updates and work-in-progress images before anyone else.. If you’re not a backer yet, you can either head over to Kickstarter and pledge now, or keep an eye out on this here blog for all the news a few days later. Here’s what you may have missed:

It’s so exciting to see Njálla come together in its final form, plus spending any spare time I have on the free colouring book for backers I’m getting more and more eager for the launch. Ahhh!

In other news, after all the excitement of the Kickstarter had subdued slightly I have been back to finishing up my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards submission, which I’m doing alongside Njálla as part of my final illustration portfolio for University. Although I was on track for completing this animation for the original deadline of the 7th April, it was a bit of a relief when they extended it to the end of this month so I had more time to spend on it and tweak it. Now, as any dedicated readers will be aware, I haven’t said a huge amount regarding this animation as Njálla has ultimately been the bigger, longer project, and the bearer of my soul for the past 6-7 months. However, this animation has been a huge undertaking for me, not only as it’s been juggled alongside other projects, but also because my experience in animation is pretty small.. Before I’ve only ever created short looping gifs, whereas this is a full 4-frames a second, 20 second animation.

Above is a short preview of the finished animation in part, as all the work is finished and scanned but I just have some finishing touches to work on digitally before submitting. Mainly, it’s a bit jumpier than I’d like it to be, so it needs smoothing out with some sneaky-tweaks. It’s all a learning curve! A steep, jagged, tiring learning curve.

In other very exciting news, after the announcement last week for the launch party of Broken Frontier’s Anthology and Small Press Yearbook, pre-orders for the Yearbook are now open! I am so excited for the release of this incredibly special collection, and as one of the featured comics creators from the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 I’m even more excited for Afloat to see the light of day! Working on that 10-page comic last summer was so much fun, and I really enjoyed stretching my story-writing muscles by tackling a 10-page slice of life tale.

If you’re not in or around London for the launch party at the end of this month (see more details in the Facebook event here), then you can pre-order your copy of the Small Press Yearbook, featuring Afloat, from the online store here. Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver, has had a strong ethos for this book from the start:

“To fully embrace the philosophy of this venture 40% of the Broken Frontier Small Yearbook‘s print run will be distributed as comp copies. This includes Yearbooks sent to comics publishers, commentators, activists and industry figures in order to introduce them to the work of Hathaway, Milton, Noble, Raby, Urbino and Vian.

The remaining number will be priced at as accessible a price point as feasible to ensure as many readers as possible discover the comics of the original Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’. To make that a reality this 100-page book will retail for just £6.00 for 83 colour and black & white story pages!”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 – Pre-Orders Now Open!

You can read the full article about the Yearbook here, with the details of the additional, supporting contributors here, and the pre-order release post here. In the run up to the aforementioned launch party at Gosh! Comics, Broken Frontier will be running exit interviews for us Six to Watch too, with the first article for Jess Milton coming out earlier this week – definitely worth a read. With copies of the Yearbook available from the end of April and Njálla released in early-June, I hope you’re all ready for some new reading material!

I think that’s about it for now! The kettle is calling my name (worrying, I know) and I have plenty to keep me busy for the rest of the day. Rest assured I will be back next week with (hopefully) a finished animation and more previews from Njálla! Until next time.. Have a good week everyone!

x

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Success! Njálla is Funded!

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a week! I think somewhere between staring wide-eyed at my laptop screen in disbelief and taking a casual dance/sprint combo around the living room, I was barely able to comprehend what was going on during Wednesday through to Friday last week. In less than 10 hours (10 hours!) you wonderful people all helped to absolutely smash my project goal of £800 for the printing costs of my upcoming comic Njálla. Apart from confessing my undying gratitude to my backers, I have no idea how to portray exactly how amazed and thankful I am to each and every person who put pennies to their name to help support make this comic a real, physical being. By Thursday I put up a stretch goal which was also smashed by the end of the day, so most of the weekend was spent staring off into the distance trying to comprehend what sort of alternate reality I’ve been placed in. So thank you, THANK YOU, backers, friends and family who have all been real heroes here in helping me to publish this story.

After launching the Kickstarter Project Campaign last week and announcing it here on the blog, I was lucky enough to also have a glowing announcement from Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier too. Here’s some rather nice things he had to say:

Having covered her work so closely over the last year or so, I’ve observed firsthand Rozi Hathaway’s creative development in that time. Her growing confidence as a storyteller, that assured understanding of the mechanics of her chosen medium, and a willingness to experiment with genre and tone are all hallmarks of a practitioner with a commitment to immersing herself in all aspects of her craft.

But where her work truly stands out is that strand to her practice that concentrates on pensive, very human narratives. She has an astonishing ability to evoke an emotional response in her readership with little or no exposition, pulling her audience into the lives and experiences of her protagonists through both the deftest visual characterisation and that hauntingly empathetic atmosphere to her pages. It’s very much in evidence in The Red Road, in ‘Afloat’ in the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and in her slice-of-life tale ‘Rejsen’ in Dirty Rotten Comics #5.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Back Rozi Hathaway’s New Comic ‘Njálla’ on Kickstarter – Broken Frontier ‘Small Press Creator to Watch’ Launches Her First Crowdfunding Campaign

As the goal of £800 has been reached, Njálla is going to print! Woohoo! This means that as the Kickstarter ends on Friday 6th May, I will have sent all the files over to Rich at Comic Printing UK who will be creating a physical proof copy for me to check over, and once that’s all fine and dandy he will be printing the run of 250 books to arrive at my door mid-late May. As my final university assessment is on Thursday 19th May I’ll be scurrying around like a woman on a mission until the following week, when all Kickstarter-backed orders will be posted.

In further exciting news, the online launch date is announced! On Thursday 2nd June Njálla will be available to buy online through my Etsy store, and in selected comic shops around the UK (to be announced nearer the time). So, if you have some long-term rivalry with Kickstarter or if you just fancy waiting, you’ll be able to get a copy of Njálla in just over 7 weeks.. I’d best get to work!

Colouring book, now free to all backers!
Colouring book, now free to all backers!

As I mentioned above, after smashing the project target in less than I day, I decided to put up a stretch goal to try and get some extra goodies out of the campaign for all my lovely backers. So, what are stretch goals..? A stretch goal is a funding target set BEYOND the original goal. The project is still very much complete and funded, stretch goals are just some fun extras that I can add in as a way of saying an additional thank you, in the form of physical goods! Those aforementioned physical goods are in the form of a FREE colouring book and sticker for all my backers! The colouring book is something fun; at 12-pages in length it will feature pages of lavvu’s, Arctic foxes, reindeer and more, with some additional Northern Sámi words and phrases in there too. Who doesn’t love a bit of casual colouring, whilst learning? Not to leave my digital PDF pledgers out, they will be sent a few pages that can be printed out and coloured in as well.

In other exciting news, Gosh! Comics have announced the launch party for the eagerly awaited Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook! As you long-term readers will know, I worked on a ten-page featured comic for the Small Press Yearbook last summer, as a part of the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015! The launch party is on Friday 29th April at Gosh! on Berwick Street, from 7-9pm where there will be a joint celebration between us Small Pressers and some of the creators from the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology, with full details over on the Facebook event page. Amongst a whole host of wonderful creators, I shall be there signing away copies of the anthology – so if you’re local, please come along!

You can follow all the updates on the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook’s online release date via the usual channels of Facebook and Twitter, through the hashtag #BFSPYearbook, if you’re into that kinda thing. #Downwiththekids

I think that’s about it for now! Aside from excitedly running up and down, I have spent the last week painting away on Njálla, scanning in and dropping into the page templates to get it all ready for printing in a few weeks. Panic! I’ve never before had to tackle painting quite so many pages at once, but it’s all good fun and getting exciting to see how the pages will look when they’re printed.. I’d better crack back to it! I will be back as usual next week, so until then, have a good week all!

x

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The Next Big Shake-Up

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, it’s mid-March already. When did that happen? You’ll have to forgive my lack of an update last week as I came down with a rather nasty cold/flu type thing which had me floored for the most part of a week. I don’t think I’ve been that ill for so long in quite a few years, but I can assure you being healthy again feels amazing! It actually forced me to have at least four days of doing no work as I could barely see straight let alone do anything else, so I’ve had the joy of coming back to everything vaguely fresh-eyed and brimming with animal knowledge from being propped up in front of David Attenborough documentaries.

One large part of work off my plate is my dissertation, which I finished up and submitted on Monday. Woohoo! I had a pretty good time with my dissertation; it was an interesting subject and I planned and researched a lot of it early on in September/October time. Themed on mental illness as portrayed in contemporary graphic novels, it’s right up my alley and hopefully it gets me a good grade. Now that dissertation business is out the way I’m down to just two main projects, the Creative Conscience awards which I’ll post about when it’s a bit more finished, and.. The Next Big Thing!

As of Monday evening I finished drawing up and inking all 34 pages of story for The Next Big Thing, which is super exciting news – Yay! Although the hard work is far from over, with the next tasks on my list being to scan all the pages in to practice my colour scheme within Photoshop, and at the same time photocopy all the pages so that I can practice colours with paint, and then only when both tasks are complete and I’m happy then I paint my originals. All in all I estimate that this task will take me up to after Easter, into early-mid April. It’s a lot of paint!

I’ve also drawn up and inked the outside cover, but things like the inside pages which don’t contain the story but may have bits of information and title pages, those also need doing. Having never worked on a book of this length before it’s been a pretty long process, especially with having to only work on this for 1-2 days a week whilst working on a load of other projects and preparing for the upcoming Degree Show in June, but it’s starting to feel like the end is in sight!. Especially as I’ve picked the date for my funding..

I can happily announce that my Kickstarter campaign for funding the printing costs of this will begin on Wednesday 6th April! Mark it in your diaries ladies and gents, as for 30-days I will be offering incentives including prints, originals and possibly even my first born to raise the much needed funds to print 250 copies of this project, which has been an integral part of my life since the beginning of the idea’s conception in August 2015. I have poured my heart, soul and everything else I have into making this, and I’ll be excitedly announcing the title along with the launch of the Kickstarter in April. For now, here is the opening two pages of the prelude, uncoloured, because you guys deserve it.

It was incredibly important to me to be able to give some insight into the Sámi people from everything I learnt whilst travelling through Scandinavia, and from books and internet sources, so the prelude (pages 1-2 pictured above) runs over six pages. Think of it like the introduction to a museum exhibit.. But with comics! This part, as you can see, is drawn in a more primeval, rune-like style compared to the rest of the comic which is in my usual way of drawing things. Because I’m feeling generous, here’s some a sneak preview of one of the uncoloured pages mid-way through the comic:

See, don’t say I never give you guys anything! Colour and painting is playing a huge role in this story, so it’s kind of hard to see how it’s going to turn out from scans with no colour, but if you’ve been following my blog for a while when you’ll have seen some hints at what’s coming.

So my life is pretty much being taken over by paint for the coming weeks, although I still have a fair bit of drawing to get through for the Bright Futures Creative Conscience Brief, which I’ve mentioned before. We’re still fundraising for our degree show at UoN too, so if you’re interested in helping to support us pay for the printing of our catalogue and postcard packs then please head over to our GoFundMe page, and check out more of the information on our refreshed website.

AND, before I forget, some exciting news was announced last week! The nine back-up creators for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook were announced to the world, with such super-duper talents as Mike MedagliaGareth Brookes, Owen D. Pomery and Jessica Martin. Things are hotting up with the Small Press Yearbook, and more details are on the way to being announced soon. It’s really exciting to be a part of something so important, and I can’t wait to get hold of my copy. To keep up with Yearbook, you can follow the #BFSPYearbook hashtag on Twitter, and keep an eye out on Broken Frontier.com.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! I’d best get back to work otherwise the boss will moan at me. Oh wait… That’s me. Until next time!

x

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