The Biggest One Yet

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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Bruxelles and Beyond

Good afternoon all,

It’s May! When did that happen? No, seriously… Answers on postcards, please.

The last month or so has flown by as usual, and it’s been a busy time working on comics ready for submission and projects anew. I’ve also recently changed day-jobs into something far more interesting – in the field of marketing and copywriting, ooh err – so be prepared for my grammar and sentence structures to slowly improve (we hope).

Right! Since we last spoke;

  • The Good Comics Reader has been released with my four-page comic Ræven
  • Leamington Comic-Con has been and gone
  • I finished up another four-pager to be included in the brand-spanking new BBE Collective anthology; Barriers
  • I took a romantic comics’ trip to Brussels for a long weekend, and
  • …I’ve begun preliminary sketchbook work on my first full-length comic book. Agh/eek/woo, etc.

My favourite time of the year is a busy time of the year. The Good Comics Reader was officially launched at Leamington Comic-Con on Saturday 14th April. The festival was a huge hit as always thanks to Dan and Lisa’s tireless work to promote small press comics. The Reader is beautiful; risograph printed on recycled paper, and it is good for the feels as 50% of the profits go to the charity Young Minds. Here are some previews of my comic;

Drawing for risograph printing involves working in layers for colour separation, so it was working in a totally new way for me. Here’s one of the spreads; this was for the red/burgundy layer on pages 1-2:

Ræven Colour Separations
That moment when you realise your nails match the table.

Nifty, huh? If you’d like to read this comic, you can get your copy of the Reader here, priced £6 (alternatively, this is one of the many comics on my Patreon that you can read as part of the $5-and-up subscription).

Next up, last month I finished a comic for BBE Collective on the theme of ‘Barriers’. I created an illustration for their last anthology Habitat (which you can buy here, priced £7) and they’re such nice and encouraging people that I couldn’t resist creating something again. Plus, their anthologies are the some of the most tenderly colourful and beautiful around on the small press scene, so I recommend you check it out. I’m not sure when Barriers will be coming out in print form, but you’ll be the first to know! Here’s a sneak peek of my comic;

Next up, after what felt like a long time of lots of serious adult things and working a lot, Sam and I took a mini-break to Brussels, Belgium to ignore our phones and get some fresh air and fresh ideas (and fresh kriek). We somehow managed to book to go away when the weather was absolutely incredible; normally Brussels is a rain-haven. Alas, with blue skies and warm hearts we ventured around the city taking in the sights and sounds, visited the wonderful Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée and took a trip out to Louvain-le-Neuve to the Musée Hergé. I’m not going to inundate you with tourist photos, but here are a few gems from a wonderful trip away.

I came back from Brussels with a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh imagination.. that promptly got a little squashed by a few very busy weeks. Regardless, now things have settled down a bit I’ve been studying my photos and the small pile of books* we brought back from Brussels. Slowly but surely I’m working away, both in my head and in sketchbook form, on ideas for my next comic.

I’ve debated for a while now what my next step would be; do I continue creating short work? Do I try to be published by a big-name publisher? Do I carry on self-publishing? I’m still not entirely sure on those last two, but I have decided the time is right to create a much, much longer book. A full length comic, with story arcs and everything. The wonderful thing about short stories and submissions is that I get to try out a new idea and process or medium every single time, and now I’ve had some time exercising different methods of painting, colouring and drawing, I’m ready to put all this knowledge into practice and work out a longer story.

I’m really, really excited.

Though don’t you go getting too excited just yet; we have a long journey ahead of us, you and I. Writing a full-length book is no walk in the park, and it’ll take me well into next year to complete. But the cogs are working away and the sketchbook has started. And here I introduce into the world my newest code-named project; The Biggest One Yet.

I’ll be sharing sketchbook pages on my Patreon a couple of times a week, so if you’re keen to watch the story develop at the same time I do, you know where to go.

And that’s it for now! Keep your peepers peeled for next month’s news, and until then – peace out.

 

x

*It was not a small pile. It was, in fact, pretty large. 

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