The Next Big Thing

Launch Success! Cake and Comics.

Good afternoon faithful followers!

So, what a week it’s been! Crashing towards the finish-line of University looking bedraggled, full of hay-fever and lacking sleep, it’s clear that hosting a launch party for Njálla at the same time as finishing up my degree was quite a brave choice.. The whole of last week has been mostly a blur of comics, catalogue designs and getting my fingers stuck to objects with superglue. BUT, three years of further education is almost over and Njálla is out there in the world, so the lack of sleep is totally worth it.

This past Saturday night saw the launch of Njálla here in Northampton at the NN Café, with a whole host of family and friends coming down to join in the fun and help me celebrate my latest comic-ing venture! I have to admit, it’s very strange to host an event centred around my work, given that I usually spend my time hiding in my drawing cave. I’ve never much been one for drawing attention to myself (well, apart from when I had a purple mohawk), but that being said, it’s important to throw yourself into these situations every once and a while, right? After working on Njálla start to finish over 8 months I definitely needed to have a large beverage and end the biggest project of my career so far on a high note! Here are some photos from the night, borrowed from a number of people (thank you, photo people!):

Huge thanks to my handsome assistant Chris who donned a Njálla t-shirt with me and helped to calm my nerves, and my mum who brought a Northern Lights themed cake for us all to share around! Of course, big thanks also go to everyone who travelled near and far to come along and show their support, including Broken Frontier‘s Andy Oliver who finally got his copy of Njálla! Finally, thank you to the NN Café for hosting, it was a perfect venue and a great time was had by all! (I hope)

In other news, my next appearance on the comics circuit was announced the other day; I’ll be part of the Gosh! Comics and Broken Frontier Drink and Draw at the end of June! I’m honoured to have been asked to attend alongside Amber Hsu and Christian Ortiz, as well as my Six to Watch 2015 companion Danny Noble, the artist in residence for Drink and Draw. You can read all about the Drink and Draw from Gosh! here, and register your interest here! I dropped off some signed copies of Njálla at Gosh! Comics yesterday too so you can head down to pick up your copy ahead of time for the grand total of £8.

 

Whilst I was in London yesterday dropping off comics to lovely comics people to put on their shelves, I made time to scoot on over to the British Museum to see their Sunken Cities exhibition. Following the recent rediscovery of the two port cities Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus near Alexandria in Egypt that sank into the sea around 1’300 years ago, Sunken Cities looks at the relationship between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece and the careful removal and restoration of a whole host of incredibly preserved artefacts. You’ve probably all guessed by now that I’m really interested in historic cultures (The Red Road, Njálla) and I’d been waiting to see this exhibition since they first announced it last year! Armed with a sketchbook, I ended up spending two hours in the exhibition drawing and making notes; it was just so nice to take an afternoon off from all the madness and stress and to just immerse myself in history. It really was a fantastic exhibition, and I urge you to go and see it if you can. You can find all the information about the exhibition here.

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My short-lived freedoms in the British Museum didn’t last long, and these next few days are back to the grind in finishing up the University of Northampton Illustration Degree Show, ready to launch on Friday evening. After what feels like a massively long slog, it’s almost over and our work from the final year will be up on display for all to see! The private launch starts this Friday early-evening, and then the show runs from Saturday to the following Sunday 19th. If you’re interested in attending head on over to our Facebook event page here. I will have a full breakdown of the Degree Show launch next week, so until then I’d best get back to work.. Have a good week everyone!

x

 

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Njálla Launch & More

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, the time has finally come. The majority of Kickstarter pledge rewards are shipped, and Njálla launches for sale online tomorrow with the official launch party at the NN Cáfe here in Northampton on Saturday. I had envisioned that I could have a nice little tag-line about how you can cool down this summer by reading about the snowy, winter-lands of the Scandinavian Arctic Circle, but, well.. It’s 12°C, grey and raining here. Maybe not.

Regardless of the weather, Njálla is my pride and joy, and I’m so excited for it to be out there in the great wide world! I’ve worked really hard to create something special, and if you’re local to Northampton or have nothing better to do this Saturday night (is it usually just me..?) then come on down to NN Contemporary’s Café in Northampton and celebrate with me.

I’ve been remarkably organised due to the hundreds of other things I have to do this week, and all the listings for Njálla and related products are ready to launch on Etsy tomorrow morning from 9am UK time! So, if you missed out on Njálla’s Kickstarter Campaign and you’ve been kicking yourself since, you’ll be able to purchase your copy online tomorrow. Whilst that’s all done and ready to go, I have plenty to keep me occupied in preparations for Saturday’s launch event too, with some surprises under my metaphorical hat.. So come along if you can!

As the UK Kickstarter rewards have started to arrive I’ve been so excited to have people share their parcels with me as they arrive! My Kickstarter pals have all received freebies for helping to make this all happen, including colouring books, stickers, balloons and some sassy wrapping. Thanks so much to everyone whose taken the time to snap a picture and share it; take a look at some of the photos I’ve been tagged in.. How cool is this?

Additionally, huge thanks go out to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier who voted Njálla as his Comic of the Week this week! As many of you will be well aware, Broken Frontier has had exclusive coverage of my work since Hoax Psychosis Blues. From my first self-publishing venture The Red Road, comics zine Sneaky BusinessDown to your Skivvies zine and now Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign, exclusive preview and my work within the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Andy’s support has made the process of throwing my work out there a bit less scary and a lot more rewarding. Keep an eye out for his review of Njálla coming tomorrow.. I have no idea what will be said, so I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat!

Keeping an eye out.. hah!

In other news, things became all the more hectic again at University last week in preparation for launching our graduate degree show, showcasing a selection of our work from this final year of studies. Although assessment is officially over and my grades are being mulled over by someone somewhere with a large cup of tea, we still put on a show of our work in an exhibition style at the University itself, for potential future working relationships and clients as well as friends and family to come and see why we’ve all been ignoring them for six months. It’s been a lot of work, and I’ve been juggling a handful of tasks along with a few others.. But the end is in sight! The private launch is from Friday 10th June at 6:30pm, and the show being open to view to the public from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th June. If you’re interested in attending then you can find all the details here.

Finally, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 is now on sale! After the gents at Good Comics launched it this past Sunday at DIY Cultures, it’s now available to buy online along with Vol. 1 and a whole host of other goodies. Check out their online store here! I’ve also updated my website to include my work from Dead Singer’s 2 on the front page, so you can check out all the details and who else is involved by clicking here.

On that note, it’s time I get back to work. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Njálla’s online launch tomorrow and I shall be back next week with all the information and more. Until then, have a good week everybody!

x

 

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Njálla

 

Previously alluded to as The Next Big Thing, Njálla (pronounced nyaah-lah) is my latest self-published comic released online on Thursday 2nd June. The printing of Njálla was made entirely possible to to a successful Kickstarter Campaign. What’s it about? Well..

Njálla is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle; which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the guovssahasat, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

Njálla is an A5 (148 x 210 mm), 48-page full colour comic, in a limited run of 250 copies, perfect bound. See the successful campaign for Njálla on the Kickstarter page here, and read previous posts about my work leading up to this point using the tag ‘The Next Big Thing’, or follow this link.

Read the blog announcement of Njálla here.

Read Andy Oliver’s announcement on Broken Frontier here.

Read the exclusive preview of Njálla from Broken Frontier here.

Read the review of Njálla from Broken Frontier here.

Njálla is an obvious labour of love, respectfully crafted and diligently researched. It also embodies everything I have come to admire and enjoy about Rozi Hathaway’s comics over the last couple of years – their humanity, their empathy and their pure visual splendour. A stunning synthesis of unearthly mystery and endearing innocence, Njálla underlines once again the subtle potency at the heart of Hathaway’s craft.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Njálla – Rozi Hathaway Brings the Legends of the Sámi to Magical Life in a Spectacular All-Ages Offering

Read the review of Njálla from The Quietus.

There’s an image early on of two people sitting around a stove in a lavvu, the tents used by the Sámi, and the way Hathaway’s watercolours cast light and shadow is so effective. A heavily repeated motif is the use of circles. They are everywhere – in the lighting, the movement, the sky, the land, the interiors. They convey so many different things – the excitable energy of a child, the rough forces of nature, the Northern Lights, the enclosed space of a lavvu. It’s this natural, restrained quality that really stands out here – the minimal dialogue allows the images to tell the story, about a child, myths of the Sámi and the Northern Lights. Njálla is a confident, assured book, well worth tracking down.

– Pete Redrup, The Quietus – Behold! July’s Quietus Comics Round Up Column 

Available to buy online now!

Huge thanks to all of my wonderful Kickstarter backers who made this happen:

Claire Parmley / Anastasia Hiorns / Alan Henderson / Bridget / Andy Oliver / Chris Bates / Cecily Kennemore / James McLaughlin / Dave White / Ricky Miller / Mike Medaglia / YoMma / Zara / Alex Smith / Richard Redfern / Sueleen McQueen / MarineMonstress / Christina / David Ogley / Simon Wallis / Malcolm / Sandra Bates / Emma Raby / Sarah Crosby / Tim Wiltshire / Mattias Vermeersch / Martin Cooper / NB / Nor Azman / Len Ahgeak / Pippa Bailey / Nicola Edwards / Marlon Mapstone / Paddy Johnston / Rafael  / Chris Welsh / Chiara Montresor / Conori Bell-Bhuiyan / Comichaus.com / Michael Huntley / Annie / Selina / Matthieu Boussard / Jordan Franklin / Amy Crawford / lyrik / Andrew Walsh / Tora Stridh / Thomas Henn / Joanna Turner / Billy Dayton / Te Hao Boon / xphiler06 / Lucy McLoughlin / Jordan / Dries Dewulf / Megan Smith / Rebecca / Chantel Beaven / Craig Galloway / Bo Rosén / Alex McNelis / Dimitri Mavroudis / Brittney / Ellen Power / Kim Schwanhaeusser / Rhiannon / iamshirtacus / Sonny Gibson / Jill / Cheryl Fisher / Johanna Wedin / Jasmin / Jennifer Sheer / Derek Freeman / Paul Jordin / Bernadette Siddall / Diane Fox / Milou / Beth Ray / Martyn B. Lorbiecki / Matthew Kuzio / Anje van der Veen / Maaike van Eekelen / Luke Marquart / Froze / Andrew Lee / zombiejojo / Rachel Harris / Douglas Harrower / Amber / JM / Bennett / Jessica Poppke / Peter Evans / Jonne / Carole Fletcher / Lily / Petra Pavlikova / Blake Sykes / Charlotte / Katie Whittle / Ben Dunn / Dave Green / Gius / Peter Hartman / Aninia Schwan / Lucy / Martin / Naomi Rose Johnson / Barbara Gabrys / Lara N / Alexander Gudenau / Ignasi Pizarro / Heidi Elliott / Tze-Wen Chao / Andrew Belding / Mike Meltzer / Markisan Naso / Tamara Slaten / Stephanie Wischhusen / Sam Chi Cken Evans / Vincent Laine / Kasele Deitz / Azucena Cauich / Mer / SecretBaroness / Kamila Tyran / Jeanette Wennerstrand / Chris Banser / Holly Brown / Caitlin Jane Hughes

For more information about the research that went into this project, please visit my dedicated page here: rozihathaway.com/njalla-research/

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Postage Party-Time

Good afternoon everyone!

So, it’s been a rather manic week over here at HQ with an alarming amount of packaging and order preparation to do for Njálla. After finishing up that pesky assignment work I’ve still very much been feeling the pressure in the form of 12 pieces of new and original art for Kickstarter backers as well as carefully wrapping up stacks of pledge rewards to ship out this week. Never again will I underestimate just how much of a mammoth task it is to send out so many orders! Far from wanting to sound ungrateful, I am looking forward to throwing the last of these parcels at the nearest postal worker so that I can have a long, long sleep that doesn’t involve dreaming of postage labels and tissue paper. But also I’m looking forward to that moment, because that means everyone’s orders will be on their way, YIPPEE!

In some very exciting news, yesterday saw the exclusive preview of Njálla go live on Broken Frontier! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has been so wonderful to lend his full support to not only my work, but also Njálla. Right from the beginning, through to the Kickstarter launch and yesterday’s preview. I am incredibly thankful! Check out Andy Oliver’s kind words and some sneaky previews from Njálla over on Broken Frontier here.

Since the comics arrived late on Thursday, a lot of my time over the weekend was spent finishing up commissions for the 12 backers that pledged to receive original artwork. Y’know, I thought I’d have so much more time that I did thanks to that university final important assessment nonsense.. Cuh! Anyway, I worked hard into Monday finishing up final artwork, meaning everything is ready to be packed and shipped. That mammoth task in itself is a fun one, but with about 20% of the orders going out so far to those lovely international backers, the hard-part is almost over! I did totally misjudge the postage for UK orders and had to drag myself back to the post office this morning, so UK backers if you’re wondering why there’s a collection of random stamps on your order.. That’s why! Anyway, as I haven’t got much in the way to show you all (given that watching me pack orders is far from exhilarating), here’s a sneaky peek of the commissions I’ve been working on and my very busy desk;

I had a few backer requests for special things in their commissions, which was really fun to do! I just have a few finishing touches to do on the A4 originals and they’ll be off tomorrow morning.

In other news, as you may have seen last week, my one-page comic for Good Comics’ Dead Singers Society Zine Vol. 2 had been submitted, and now the collection is available to pre-order. Yay! If you head on over to the Good Comics online store you can pre-order your copy of Vol. 2 or even grab the first one if you missed out, along with a whole host of other goodies. The excellent cover by James Howard has been released online and you can pick up a copy this weekend at DIY Cultures in London, if you’re in the vicinity!

Anywho, that’s about it for now! These parcels won’t wrap themselves (sadly) and so far I have had zero paper-cuts, so start placing your bets on how long it’ll take. Once I’ve finished my packaging and postage party tomorrow I’ll be back to all-things-go preparing for the University Degree Show exhibition from 10th June and my own Njálla launch at the NN Café on the 4th June. No rest, eh? Have a good rest of your week, everyone! Until next time..

x

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Comiket, Assessment and More!

Good afternoon folks!

So, you’ll have to forgive my tardiness this week in getting the ol’ blog out on time. Yesterday was my final, FINAL ever assessment at University in the form of a 20-minute presentation and unfortunately that took over the entire week. But now, as much as it hasn’t really sunken in yet, my degree is finished. In 2-3 weeks I should find out what classification of a degree I’ve received, then there’s just that pesky business of a Degree Show exhibition to finish preparing for, and then graduation is in July. The sweet feeling of freedom is almost in my tired, sweaty grasp and I can confirm that IT FEELS GOOD.

It slipped my mind to take any pictures of the stacks of project sketchbooks on my desk and images on the wall, but just imagine a few arms full of stuff. And a lavvu in the corner. I’ll write up a better synopsis of my final year of university projects after the degree show, but for now I have PLENTY to keep you entertained with.

First up, Comiket! Last Saturday 14th May I willingly dragged myself away from assessment preparations to spend the day in London with my favourite Editor-in-Chief, Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier on the Small Press ‘Six to Watch‘ table at Comica London’s Comiket! Having never been to a Comica event before I wasn’t quite sure to expect, but situated under the Victorian glass-panelled roof between the Central St. Martin’s College of Art and the House of Illustration it was a quaint little market with a great atmosphere. As I’m on the brink of releasing a new comic, and with Sneaky Business being totally sold out, my section of the table was looking a little anaemic, but in all we had a pretty decent day and sold a lot of Small Press Yearbooks.

Apart from drinking copious amounts of Waitrose coffee to keep warm and manning the Six to Watch table, I was incredibly honoured to be a part of Paul Gravett’s Live Drawing Parade! In 25-minute slots, the Drawing Parade featured a whole host of people including the likes of Paul B. Rainey, Jessica Martin, Sean Azzopardi and JAKe. It’s really great to watch people draw live, with some far more sensible people having a composition ready worked out to ink, and then masochistic people like me who decided to freehand draw a composition right then and there. The Drawing Parade was filmed and also projected onto a screen for an audience to watch (look mum, I’m famous!), and the time-slot also included Paul Gravett doing small interviews with us drawing folk. I opted to work on a drawing of the characters from Njálla – not only as promotion but also as I’m really, really used to drawing lots of foxes at the moment. Big thanks to Andy Oliver for taking some snaps of my serious-work-face whilst drawing and painting away! Yes, yes, sadly I’m one of those people with RBF.

I had such a great day at Comiket. It is always a huge pleasure to spend time with comic folk, catching up with familiar lovely faces and meeting new ones is one of the most rewarding parts of working in comics as everyone is so totally down-to-earth. We’re all just a bunch of tired people who understand what it’s like to spend hours drawing alone at all hours. Best job in the world, mind you. Except maybe the panda-hugger. Sadly due to both personal and degree show commitments I’ll be missing out on DIY Cultures at the end of this month and CECAF/ELCAF in June, so I plonked home after Comiket knowing it’ll be a while until the next one. To read a round-up of both Comiket and other goings-on in the Small Press world check out Broken Frontier’s Small Press Round-Up!

In other exciting news, my humble HQ has seemingly turned into a distribution centre as I am now amid packaging, cellophane envelopes, stickers, prints, colouring books and lots and lots of copies of Njálla. Yay! Three big boxes of comics were the last to arrive yesterday evening, with my new friend the UPS man even carrying them up two flights of stairs for me. Spoilt, I tell you. MASSIVE thanks go out to Rich at Comic Printing UK who not only has made Njálla look supple and wonderful (you just wait till you feel that matte-laminate cover, it’s face-strokeably good) but also has been a source of entertainment and support throughout the whole process. If any of you ever decide to create comics I would encourage you to go and speak to Rich and read all his excellent advice blogs.

So now I’m left with the mammoth task of finishing off original artwork commissions for my 12 generous Kickstarter backers, wait for the money to come in and ship off LOTS of comics to their new forever homes. I start shipping out from next week with all my backers the first to receive their copies, and Njálla launching online on my Etsy store from Thursday 2nd June, with the OFFICIAL launch here in Northampton at the NN Café on Saturday 4th June. Yippee!

In a final snippet of other news, last week I mentioned working on a short one-page comic for Good Comics Dead Singers Society Volume 2. You’ll all be relieved to know that I manage to finish it up and shoot it over to those friendly gents in time, and will be featured in the new Dead Singer’s when it’s released. How exciting! If you want to check out the first volume you can get your hands on a copy through the Good Comics online shop here. But for now, here’s a snippet from my comic in the upcoming volume two..

The next anthology project I’ll be working on is a submission for the newly-announced Dirty Rotten Comics #8. The call for submissions runs up until 30th June so I have time aplenty to work on my next 1-5 page black and white idea. The submission is open to all UK emerging comic artists and after my two-page Rejsen comic was successfully printed in Dirty Rotten Comics #5 I’ve been itching to get into their ace anthology again. After that deadline’s passed I’ll be working on Sneaky Business volume 2, so keep an eye out for news on that coming in the next month or so..

Anyway, I’d best get back to it. I have a whole load of commissions to be working on this weekend so rest safe in the knowledge that I’m upping my caffeine intake accordingly. I’ll be back next week on schedule for Wednesday with more news on Njálla and maybe even some more sneaky peeks.. Ooh err! Until next time, have a good weekend all!

 

x

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Kickstarter Complete!

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, we’re done! As of Friday morning Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign finished with a whopping £2502 pledged from 139 lovely backers. WE DID IT! Thank you so much to all my wonderful backers, it wouldn’t have been possible without your keen interest in my story. It’s been an overwhelming 30 days and I’m still a little bit in shock from the whole campaign process. But, no time for that dazed nonsense, there is work to be done!

Page 31

I managed to get really organised and sent all the completed pages over to Rich at Comic Printing UK on Thursday of last week, so we’re ahead of schedule for the comic itself. Rich has worked his matte laminate magic and gotten some proof copies over to me at super-speed, so I’m working on some small final amendments before the final 250 copies are ready to fly out of the Comic Printing printer. This week I’ve also sent off my order for colouring books, prints and stickers, so you’ll all be glad to hear that everything is in motion.. Yippee! Organised is my middle name, don’tcha know.

In more exciting news, I’m very happy to reveal to you all… the cover! Kickstarter backers had the grand unveiling last week, so you’ll have to excuse them if they’re sticking their tongues out and going ‘nerr’ at you non-backers from behind their screens. Here it is:

Cover Preview

Exciting, right? Right?! I’m excited. Especially since receiving my matte laminate covered proof copies and seeing this in all it’s physical glory.. Swoon. In the coming weeks I’ll be working on original artwork and finishing up university assessment stuff, and then all physical backer pledges will be sent out the week prior to Njálla’s release. Time is drawing ever closer to Njálla’s release to the world, and that familiar terrified/exciting feeling is going to be a perma-fixture for the foreseeable future. Yikes!

In other news, this weekend is the highly anticipated Comica Comiket in London! On Saturday 14th from 11-6pm Comiket will be held underneath the Victorian glass-roofed shed between the House Of Illustration and the Central St Martins College of Art, not far from Kings Cross St. Pancras. As I’m just a couple of weeks shy of a new book release I didn’t apply for a table myself, however I’m joining in the fun at the Broken Frontier’s Six to Watch table to help promote and sell the Small Press Yearbook as well as selling some copies of The Red Road and Down to Your Skivvies zine! There will also be an array of Six to Watch comics for sale on the table, including the likes of Emma Raby and Rebecca Bagley. So, if you’re in or around London on Saturday pop down and say hi! The whole event is free and there’s loads of things to see and do as well as visit stalls, it’s shaping up to be an excellent event.

You can register your interest on the Facebook event page here or just turn up and have a wander. It’ll be awesome.

In other news, I’ve been taking some time to wind down after working on a couple of such hefty projects (both Njálla and the Unilever animation) to work on a short 1-pager comic for the upcoming volume 2 of Dead Singers Society! After the success of the first issue, of which I created a single page illustration of Muddy Waters, the gents at Good Comics have had their call for submissions out for a while in preparation for the second issue. I’ve only just had a chance to dive into this one, but I’m really excited to be creating a short comic for this particular dead singer. All will be revealed in time, but for now, here’s a sneaky preview of what I’ve been working on…

FullSizeRender (1)

If you fancy submitting for Dead Singers Society vol. 2 and you like to leave it last minute like I have, you still have time! Submissions end at 11pm on Sunday 15th, and for all the information and more from Good Comics you can head over to their Twitter page here.

Finally, in the madness of the Kickstarter it completely slipped under my radar, but I have now officially sold out of Sneaky Business! The short comics-zine I created with submissions from Pete Hindle, Samuel C. Williams, Alex Hahn and Peter James Norman last summer has flown the coop, with potential copies left in various stores around the UK (note to self: I should check on that). Now Njálla is reaching completion I’ll be looking into volume 2 of Sneaky Business, so although it won’t be for a little while if you’re interested in potentially contributing then get in touch (I sit alone at a desk all day, I could certainly do with a conversation that isn’t with myself).

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Assessment work needs to be done for next week and the kettle won’t boil itself. Keep an eye out next week for more visual goodness and a run-down on Comiket! Until then..

 

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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Announcing… Njálla!

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, today is the day I’ve been working towards for months.. And months, and months. The Next Big Thing is announced, and the Kickstarter funding campaign is live!

It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks getting everything together and preparing to host my comic on Kickstarter. Silly me, I thought it’d only take a couple of days.. Between writing about the project for the page, working out the budgets, drawing up titles/diagrams/bookplate designs/print designs, writing a script, filming my big head, and then staring at my big head for hours on end whilst editing the video, I think I may have lost a little sanity. It also took nearly two weeks, but I managed to get it finished up ahead of time to allow for a couple of days of quiet reflection before timidly releasing Njálla to the world.

Click here to go through to the Kickstarter Campaign for Njálla

Special thanks due to all those who put up with me seeking advice and wisdom for the Kickstarter element of this project. Having never tackled anything like this before I felt pretty lost at times! Thanks to comics friends, friends and family for all their input and help, and my ever patient partner (yes, you can see up his nose in my campaign video) for putting up with me talking about this non-stop.

So, the project! Well, if you’ve been keeping up with The Next Big Thing/Njálla then you know that the story is based around the Sámi. Here’s a bit more in-depth information about Njálla direct from my Kickstarter:

Njálla is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle, which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the guovssahasat, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

A relatively unknown culture, the Sámi ancestral history is believed to span thousands of years. I first discovered the Sámi when my partner Chris and I backpacked through parts of Scandinavia last August, spending a lot of time eating amazing food, walking miles and going to various museums and exhibitions. The more I researched and read about the Sámi, the more I realised how I wanted to bring elements of this culture into a comic – not only to enchant people, but also to give a brief insight into such a historic and interesting culture.

If successfully funded in the 30 day period from today, Njálla will be printed as an A5 (148 x 210 mm), 48-page full colour comic, in a limited run of 250 copies, perfect bound. All Kickstarter orders will be ready to ship around the end of May, with the date of release being in early June (specifics to be confirmed). Perfect for when you’re feeling a little too warm in the balmy humid English summer, you’ll be able to read about vast snow-covered lands.. What could be better? I’ve also tried to include a range of rewards beside the comic that span a range of price points and include some prints and originals. If you happen to be feeling incredibly generous and optimistic about my future popularity, original comic spreads are available as a reward too. I have some other rewards up my sleeves, and some nice stretch campaign ideas if the time comes!

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In comparison to The Red Road, this time around my page count is far longer which has meant that I get a nice shiny perfect bound cover (with a spine, rather than stapled). I’ve spoken at length over the past few months with Rich at Comic Printing UK over what options I have, and how I could make this comic look the best as physically possible. Also, I spent some time last week coming up with designs for a limited edition bookplate which will be printed in a limited run of 100! Bookplates (otherwise known as ex libris) are a fairly historic practice, but more and more comics creators are opting for these small, high quality printed pieces in addition to their comics. Gosh! in London have a section dedicated to bookplates, some even created specifically for the store. So, y’know, I thought it best to join in the bookplate fun! All bookplates will be hand-numbered too, so you can hold your bookplate and envision the hand cramp that came along with lovingly writing each one out.

Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print
Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, when you pledge for your reward on the right hand column of the page – whether £3 for a digital PDF copy or £50 for an original with the printed comic, your pledge total (including postage) will not be taken from your bank account unless the project is successfully funded. So, if you pledge today, and the project never reaches its funding goal, not only will I go and weep in a corner never to brave the crowd-funding world again, but also the money will never leave your account. However, if at the end date of 6th May the project is successfully funded, and I run around the flat in a fit of excitement waving pages of comic, the money will come out of your account then. Good, isn’t it?

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Phew. What a tiring experience! Since getting everything in place I’ve just continued working on the comic, mainly on pages surrounding the actual story like acknowledgements and more information, things like that. I’ve also been getting some promotion into motion, and then working out the practice painting so that I’m ready to rock and roll for the next 30 days and complete the painting! Painting a comic of this length will probably take the best part of a good week, week and a half maybe, but also I’m still working on the Unilever Bright Futures project I’ve mentioned previously, as part of the Creative Conscience awards which has had it’s deadline extended (phew!). Juggling these two large projects with the remainder of my uni work is going to be keeping me busy until… The end of June. Who needs rest though, right?

 

I think that’s about it for now! For all the information on the Kickstarter visit the link today, and see my big head bob about the screen as I forget what I’m supposed to be saying about twelve times. HUGE thanks to those lovely people who have backed so far today, including the first backer of the day being my comics buddy Sam! Who, coincidently, has a new comic coming out at the end of this month which you should all check out. Big big thanks also to everyone who has shared the project on social media, you are all super awesome. For now, I shall leave you all to bask in the wonders of Njálla, lavvu-pie-charts and badly edited videos. I shall be back next week with an update on how Kickstarter progress is looking after the first week, more work on Njálla as it reaches completion, and the rest! Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. See you next week!

x

 

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Campaign Countdown

Good afternoon folks and folkettes,

So, another week has vanished and somehow it’s already Wednesday. When did that happen? The weekend away was definitely needed to recharge my batteries a bit, but doesn’t half make a dent in my working week. Anyway, Kickstarter-induced panic aside, I hope everyone had a lovely bank holiday weekend whatever you were all up to. Personally, I ate too much of everything and am now debating whether I’ll be able to fit into my clothes next week or not.

Since last week’s update I’ve been working pretty solidly on my Kickstarter campaign, ready for launch next week. When I started working on it I had no idea just how much work it takes to do – blimey! Not only is there the whole glaring-into-a-camera thing and getting a script ready for that, but there’s also selling the project as best as possible in the main body of the campaign page. Whilst I’ve been busy working out budgets and pie charts, drawing sub-header titles and reworking my campaign details twenty times, my actual comic and remaining uni work has taken a temporary sideline. Though, I think I’ve almost cracked this whole Kickstarter thing, so as soon as I’ve filmed my work of cinematic genius as a campaign video, I’ll be ready to go!

 

Coming 6th April! Ish.
Coming 6th April! Ish.

 

I’d hoped to launch the campaign on Wednesday 6th, though it looks like once submitted the campaign is up for review which can take up to 3 business days. Because of this, I’ll submit on Monday and hopefully it’ll have launched by Wednesday, if not before. Phew! Saying that, I think I may be worrying about the finer details a little too much, and I’m sure no one really cares if it’s uploaded a day early – I tell you what, this whole crowd-funding thing is a stressful business, although if I ever have to do it again I’ll be far wiser on how to approach it. I hope.

So yes, because of this whole fandango I don’t have a huge amount of work to show you, as staring into my laptop and calculator, scribbling notes on paper and checking emails for the 4 working days between the last update and now isn’t particularly interesting for anyone else but me. I have, however had a chance this morning to start working on photocopies of The Next Big Thing with paint!

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Now, painting onto cheap photocopier paper does hurt my soul quite a bit. It’s smushy, you can’t really blend well, and it’s just a bit pants. But, instead of launching into painting my final, original pages it means I can make mistakes and change my mind on colours and it doesn’t really matter, as I can just make another copy and try again. Above is a sneaky preview of the practice painting photocopy pages I’ve worked on so far. I’m DEFINITELY looking forward to getting stuck into the final paints, I just have to work through the practice bits and the Kickstarter admin bits and then I can sit back, relax and paint to my hearts content.

In some rather excellent news, The Next Big Thing aside, I have been accepted into Thought Bubble 2016! After a very anxious Friday evening where everyone had received their emails and my inbox was still unnervingly empty, I needed not worry. I had SO much fun at Thought Bubble last year, and I can’t wait to be back in Leeds come November to carry on promoting The Next Big Thing, the upcoming Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and watch comic-pals do karaoke (I’m not sure what it is about comic artists and karaoke, but apparently it’s a thing).

Thought Bubble Festival 2016! Banner by Emmeline Pidgen, (from thoughtbubble.com)

As I sadly didn’t make it into the Lakes Comic Art Festival in Kendal, Thought Bubble is now my biggest event of the year and my optimum opportunity to get copies of soon-to-be-revealed The Next Big Thing to a new audience. More events are popping up for later in the year all the time, and I have my eye on a couple more events as long as funds can stretch that far. However, with Thought Bubble being one of the biggest comic events in the UK, I’m over the moon to be able to have a half table there again.

So, that’s that! Next week will see the launch of The Next Big Thing Kickstarter campaign, with the big reveal of the title (yes, that’s right, it’s not ACTUALLY called The Next Big Thing) and live pledges available for you to put towards in helping to make this comic a real, physical reality. How exciting! Until then I have a lot of work to do on some finishing touches, so until next week.. Over and out!

x

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