the red road

Hello, 2017.

Happy New Year!

So, it’s 2017. When did that happen? Somewhere between drinking prosecco in my sweatpants and hearing some fireworks going off outside, probably.. Not my most glamorous moment truth be told, but after the year I’ve had I opted to start the year as I mean to go on; no no, not drinking in lounge-wear (though I can definitely get behind that) but taking things a little slower. Maaaaybe.

And 2017 has started with a bang, as Njálla has been voted as one of ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ from 2016 by Broken Frontier! I’m incredibly honoured as 2016 saw a lot of fantastic releases from small press creators, and as Andy Oliver states in the article it is by no means a be-all-and-end-all of small press in the UK. I’m especially moved as the now out-of-print The Red Road was featured as one of the ten in 2015’s end of year review also, meaning I’ve now set a precedence with myself to keep going and keep making more. Oh, well, if you insist..

The release of Njálla back in June feels like a short lifetime ago, and I’m incredibly grateful to be one of the luck ten picked. Go us! You can read the full article here at Broken Frontier, and also check out previous year’s articles from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

With this wonderful news and that general new year feeling I’ve been contemplating last year’s achievements, most of which were listed in my reflections blog last week, and I have a good feeling about 2017 and what’s to come. As you can see from this handy diagram below I was RATHER busy with my own publishing endeavours as well as a lovely bunch of successful submissions for some great titles, including the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 and Dirty Rotten Comics #8.

But, 2017.. Well! It’s off to a busy start already. The call for submissions for the third Dead Singer’s Society from Good Comics is still open and will be until Sunday 15th January, so there there is still time to get something in for this third collection of music related comics, illustrations and essays. As stated in their call for submissions, there is a maximum of two pages per contributor, so it’s nothing too daunting. I’ve been scribbling away to make sure I get something done in time, though my first efforts have firmly gone in the bin so I’ll be starting from scratch this week.

Call for Submissions for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine!

Also, I’ve been working away on my fourth short story for the upcoming collection that’s being published through those Good Comics fellows! With this collection of stories taking root (Ha.. get it? Trees? Roots?) from the power of environment alongside feelings of love, loss and loneliness it’s been a far more all-encompassing task than I initially imagined. But, it’s going to be good. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on with exploring panels and borders:

Short stories are definitely challenging in their own right, but there’s something more poetic about them versus longer storytelling – not that I’m exactly an expert on longer form narratives, mind you. With abstract shapes and  a sense of movement through time similar to how I approached The Red Road, it’s an exciting challenge to be working on this and definitely something that a whole lot of my soul is going into. I’ll be sharing sneak peeks and progress as the weeks go on, so do keep an eye out for that and the lead up to this collection’s release in Spring.

And that’s where I leave you at! Until next time, keep finishing off those mince pies and cake, because err.. they don’t keep. And it’s a shame to waste those festive leftovers.

 

x

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Recovery & Scarves

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, that’s it. The last comics’ festival of the year is well and truly over – and what a festival it was. This year’s Thought Bubble Festival was a most excellent weekend full of wonderful people and more laughs than I’ve had in a long time. Though, I did have a nightmare of a time on Friday evening. And I did happen to lose my favourite scarf. But apart from that, it was the best (plus I already have a ridiculous amount of scarves, so.. I can cope).

Thought Bubble Festival ran from 1st-6th November, with the comic festival running over the weekend of the 5th-6th down in Leeds Docks. I was happily plonked in New Dock Hall, between the charming gents of micro-publishers Good Comics (Dr Paddy Johnston, Samuel C. Williams and Pete Hindle) on my right, and the incredibly talented Anja Uhren (whose Irgendwo im Nirgendwo I recommended back in June for Broken Frontier in the lead up to Small Press Day) to my left. With over 400 exhibitor tables between New Dock Hall, the Royal Armouries building and the ComiXology Marquee it really is a HUGE event, and this year definitely felt busier for me than last year. This year I also attempted to make my table as fun as possible, with my Njálla cut-out, fake snow and snowflakes spread out to help entice people over to my table. Check it out!

As you may recall from last week’s update, Thought Bubble saw the release of my newest short story comic Ø, which was kindly mentioned by Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier as one of his picks during the Gosh! Comics Presents ‘The Best Thing I’ve Read All Year’ panel. You’d think I’d have thought about how someone would talk about Ø with no knowledge of the pronunciation, wouldn’t you. I can confirm that no, no that thought didn’t cross my mind.. So I can only eternally apologise to Andy for trying to promote Ø without the foggiest of how to say it! However, it’s probably the most accidentally clever marketing ploy I’ve ever done, shooting it right to the top of the alphabet of Thought Bubble’s debuting books list. But, regardless of my apparent living on another planet, Ø’s debut went fantastically! You can read more about it here on the updated page, and get your copy from my online Etsy store for just £3 plus shipping.

As you can also see above, Alan Henderson of Penned Guins popped by with some original artwork from his submission to Sneaky Business vol. 2, kindly tucking it into the top copy ready for the next purchaser to get free with their sneaky stories – how awesome is that? Also, I have now officially sold out of The Red Road! I took my final copy to Thought Bubble and Andy Oliver passed me back a couple he’d been taking to tabling events – and all three went! First released in January 2015, the starting 100 copies sold out by October, and I’ve since sold through the bumper second edition 100 copies in just over a year. Thank you to everyone who has continually taken interest in The Red Road, it is still my baby and I’m sad to see it go – but it’s time to keep moving forward.

Big, big thanks to everyone who popped by and said hello – and to everyone who took the time to spend their hard earned money on something I made. You’re all wonderful! Also HUGE thanks as always to Thought Bubble organisers and all the volunteers who make it so fantastic to be a part of. It’s now, with my standard post-TB cold, that myself and the other comic creators wait patiently for next year and the next festival.. We sulk back to our desks to hibernate for winter, so please do think of us. And send cake.

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In more cheerful news, last week Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged celebrated it’s 5th birthday! In a very heartwarming day of celebration, a bunch of us small press comics people talked about who we found through the hard work of Andy Oliver and his Small Pressganged efforts and articles – this is the column which first included the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, which gave me endless coverage and interest that I’d never have gotten otherwise, and without it I definitely wouldn’t have the confidence to be where I am today. I made a special piece for the day which features on the article, also seen above. Myself and a few others mention Danny Noble, and if you’re interested in checking out her work, you can do so here and read about her fabulous self here. I was really honoured to be mentioned by Ravi Thornton, so it’s a lovely article to read all-round. Go check it out and feel your soul warmed!

And that’s about it for now! Outside of Thought Bubble and Small Pressganged’s 5th birthday I have plenty to talk about in the coming blogs, so be sure to check back next week for the return to normality. Until then – keep warm! I’m going to go and put another one of my many scarves on…

 

x

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November Air

Good afternoon lovely readers!

So, I’m back! It doesn’t feel like it’s been all that long since I divulged my creative life, but I have missed it over the past four weeks all the same. It’s been a very exhausting time; moving really is no joke, especially with only a small van and 150 miles of road between the old homes and new. In the end my absolute trooper of a boyfriend and I did 4 trips in 4 days, covering 1033 miles – and one 24.5 hour shift of moving that ended with us collapsing into bed at 6am. Until you’ve cleaned an empty apartment at 2am and moved three heavy reptile vivariums at half 4 in the morning, you just don’t know what misery it is. Best of all, we somehow managed not to fall out, and now we have our beautiful happy home together! We definitely moved at the right time, as now the nights are drawing in, the clocks jumped forward and it’s getting colder – which means the time has almost come.. Thought Bubble weekend is nearly here!

Possibly the biggest comic art festival in the United Kingdom returns to Leeds Royal Armouries this weekend; Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival celebrates it’s tenth anniversary with events running from the 1st-6th November, with the comic festival on the 5th-6th November. I attended my first ever Thought Bubble as a seller last year and had an absolute blast with my table neighbours Van Nim and Richy K. Chandler (you can read all about it here), so I couldn’t wait to apply again for this year – and thankfully I got in! I’ll be in New Dock Hall on table 180b next to those lovely gents at Good Comics.

New Dock Hall @ Thought Bubble Saturday 5th/Sunday 6th November. Come say hi!

Entrance to Thought Bubble is £29 for the weekend or £18 for a single day (either Saturday or Sunday) with under 12’s free with a ticket-holding adult. Cosplayers also get a discount and tickets can be purchased in advance – head to the Thought Bubble website for all the details.

After my rather awful attempts at clay sculpture table friends last year I decided to make something a bit better, so this year I’ll have a real Njálla with me! Well, not real real, but as close to a real Njálla as I can get. So, if you’re in Leeds and thinking of attending Thought Bubble on Saturday or Sunday, look out for my foam-board frosty fox (he doesn’t bite).

The wild Njálla, currently enjoying my reading chair…

In other Thought Bubbly news, my newest short story Ø will see it’s debut over the weekend! For my key fans, you might remember me talking about Ø before; I created it as a 16-page submission to the recent call for entries from the Latvian comic anthology kuš! for their BFF themed š! #27. Sadly, I didn’t make the final cut. But, this means I’ve been able to quickly whack it together and self-publish it instead! Previewed by Andy Oliver this week at Broken Frontier, Ø has been selected as one of his Small Press Debut Picks! Here’s what he has to say about it:

“Broken Frontier 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch‘ artist Rozi Hathaway has a new 16-page comic at Thought Bubble with the rather succinct title of Ø. A beautiful story of childhood friendship, affection and loneliness, this magical tale showcases Hathaway’s powerful use of colour to accentuate mood and theme.”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Thought Bubble Small Press Debut Picks Day 1 – Comics from Rozi Hathaway, Steven Tillotson, Anna Haifisch and More!

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Check out the article and subsequent daily articles to figure out what to add to your shopping list for this weekend! Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged also sees it’s fifth birthday this week, so be sure to keep an eye on the website and on Facebook/Twitter tomorrow (Thursday 3rd November) to see loads of birthday fun including some exclusive artwork from yours truly. And back to the comic briefly – Ø has now been updated on the front page of my website, so you can check out some of the information there and get the link to all the blog posts detailing its creation – and watch out for next week’s blog update for a full breakdown of the release. I’ll also be selling the usual suspects at Thought Bubble this weekend, including the newest Sneaky Business, this summer’s big release Njálla (snowy landscapes and magical foxes, coming up to the perfect time of year for it!), the few remaining copies of The Red Road I have left, copies of the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and other smaller goodies.

There will be a whole gigantic host of amazing talent at Thought Bubble and I highly recommend making it down if you have the chance. If last year is anything to go by it’s going to be something special…

And that’s about it for now! I have lots to catch you all up on in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for your back-to-normal weekly Wednesday wisdom. Until next week.. have a good one, and hopefully see some of you in Leeds! Peace out.

 

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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2015 Reflections

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, the Christmas cake is dwindling and I’ve eaten my bodyweight in turkey.. It must be that limbo between Christmas and New Year where I’m not quite sure what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing, with what feels like a brain full of cranberry stuffing. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on a successful 2015 (as it doesn’t take much brain-power, thankfully)..

Work-wise, it’s been a fantastic year. Of course we can’t have it all, and this year wasn’t without it’s fair share of difficulties, with a small health issue of my own in the first few months of 2015, a friend’s recurring battle with cancer (fingers crossed, all looking good this time!), and the very quick and unexpected loss of my uncle in August. It’s all too easy to have regrets and feel as if being too work-centric has left me with the loss of valuable time before it was too late, but, all I can do it look back on the positives.. I have learnt a lot about the way I work in the past year, and I can only hope that my storytelling and comics work is going from strength to strength with each piece completed. Also, my work on illustrations without narrative has improved tenfold since this time last year, and I have dedication and tough marking at University to thank for that.

In all, there’s a lot of people who have helped and supported my work in 2015, and I couldn’t name them all if I tried – but to everyone who has ever bought a piece of my work, a comic, a postcard or even just had a chat at a convention, thank you. Thanks to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier for naming me one of his Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 and for continually supporting and championing my work, helping me with advice when I’ve asked, reviewing my work, and getting us six seen at CECAF. Thanks to Keara Stewart for asking me to be a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato, my first ever anthology comic, and inspiring me to not only take on my own project Sneaky Business, but also for giving my the confidence to apply for Dirty Rotten Comics. Big thanks to my Sneaky Business folks for happily creating work for free, which now sits on comic shelves around the country! Thank you to all those comic shops, Travelling Man Manchester, OK Comics in Leeds, Orbital Comics in London, Gosh! Comics in London, and Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham for having my work on your lovely shelves. Thanks all the lovely people I’ve met along the way at conventions and selling events, and a special mention to Van Nim and Richy K Chandler for being so wonderfully entertaining at Thought Bubble and keeping me sane. Thank you to my ever patient partner Chris for bring supportive and understanding, to my flatmate for being the best at bouncing ideas off (and supplying me with Jack Daniels), my family, and the supportive bunch of friends I have near and far, so understand when they don’t hear from me for months on end. And, all you readers! You lovely readers, you.. Putting up with my waffling week after week, and making me feel popular. Here’s to 2016 and all the exciting things to come!

I shall be back next week as usual, probably mid-dissertation, in the run up to painting the Laydeez do Comics window display at Gosh! Comics. Woohoo! There is a LOT of exciting things coming up in January and early-February, and my work will be pretty much non-stop. But it’ll be worth it! I’ll have more information on how the year is shaping up next week, but for now I hope you all had wonderful seasonal festivities, and have a Happy New Year! See you next year..!

 

x

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Thought Bubble Festival Round-Up

Good morning ladies and gents,

So, it’s all over! The exciting blur that was Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds this past weekend has been and gone in a flash, and I’m dealing with some serious post-festival blues. It probably doesn’t help that it’s dark and gloomy outside and I’m a bit sleep deprived, but Thought Bubble was so much fun I didn’t really want it to end. But, alas, I’m back into the throngs of university assignments and real life nonsense, which my brain doesn’t seem to be particularly in gear for. Third year woes.

The Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds was a week-long event with a load of workshops and events, with the pièce de résistance being the comics festival over the weekend. Open both Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm, I was lucky to be plonked next to some absolutely lovely table buddies, Van Nim and Richy K. Chandler over in New Dock Hall, the biggest of the three halls used for the comic festival. There were many, many lovely comic people to see over the weekend, and I even got given some lovely goodies in the form of the Dead Singers Society and the HOME Art Aid Nepal Anthology, plus a comic-swap with Richy for his Tempo Lush Tales of the Tanoox! Here’s the weekend in a nutshell..

Special thanks definitely has to go to Samuel C. Williams for including me in his coffee runs over the weekend; as you can imagine this comic selling business is a rather tiring affair so I spent the weekend entirely propped up on caffeine. Other highlights include bumping into Andrew Tunney, (who I’d met properly at MancsterCon earlier this year) and helping his vigilante mission against faux-steampunk; witnessing some impressive renditions in the comic-karaoke on Saturday evening (yes Paddy, I’m still in awe); and wondering if those crazed sneezes were even real or not, with Danny Noble, Andy Oliver, Elizabeth Querstret and Matt, and Wallis Eates. AND, I finally got to meet Mike Medaglia, whose work is absolutely beautiful. There were so many people I missed seeing just because of how zombie-fied I was by the end, but it was a great weekend and I couldn’t have wished for better company and conversations! A HUGE thank you to everyone who stopped by my table and said hello, purchased goodies and took the time to chat. Also, extra special thanks to Alan Henderson who picked up my The Red Road original artwork in the alternate colours! Finally, big big thanks to the organisers of Thought Bubble for making it absolutely fantastic to be a part of – it was my first Thought Bubble and it definitely won’t be my last.

Phew, what a weekend. I’m looking forward to finding some time in the next few days to curl up in bed with my new reading material, the HOME anthology and Tales of the Tanoox, but for now I’m in dire need of catching up on university assignment work. Fun times! On the bright side, there are some exciting things coming this way soon.. Next week will see normal service resume with a good catch up on what I’ve been working on. So, until then, have a good week everyone! Over and out.

x

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The Road to Thought Bubble

Good morning happy campers!

So, another week has vanished and The Red Road second edition has been released out into the big wide world! It’s been really exciting to revisit the book again and make it even better than last time, it feels like just yesterday that I was ingesting large amounts of caffeine to get the pages inked up in time. With copies now at both Orbital Comics and Gosh London, and the second edition’s first public appearance this weekend at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, it’s time to persuade everyone that they really need this comic in their lives. The Red Road second edition is available online through my Etsy store, so off you go!

The Red Road – second edition in Gosh Comics! Alongside Sneaky Business, DRC#5 and A Bit of Undigested Potato..

As you may remember from the last week I’ve been having a crack at clay modelling, making Bear and Coyote for the re-release of The Red Road. Naturally, I got the comparative sizing completely wrong, and after my little creatures had dried they decided to crack. Hmph. HOWEVER, after some useful internet-ing I came across the technique of filling the cracks with fine surface filler before painting them, so off to the local cheap DIY store I pranced. After getting a bit fine surface filler happy, several painting errors and almost throwing a porcelain paint pen out the window, my lumpy, wonky spirit animals are complete!

Even in their lumpy, wonky forms I spent so long on the little darlings that I’ve become somewhat attached to them (not literally, thankfully), so I’ve decided to carry on and bring them to Thought Bubble Festival with me anyway. Because, well, for all the errors of my clay-ways, at least they actually stand on all fours. Small victories must be celebrated! So, if you’re in Leeds on Saturday for Thought Bubble and fancy seeing what it looks like when clay goes wrong, come swing by my table in New Dock Hall (73b)

Speaking of which, only three days to go until the Thought Bubble excitement commences! This weekend will see Leeds full of comic artists and creators, shifting around and giggling in boozy corners. For the entirety of Saturday and Sunday I will be selling The Red Road, Sneaky Business and a selection of prints, greetings cards and postcards amongst the countries finest, and even creators from overseas! Thought Bubble states that it’s the “largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers”. With three exhibition spaces and further event rooms, the whole bonanza is taking place at Leeds Docks, in New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries Hall, and the Thought Bubble Marquee between the two. As you can see from this lovely map below, I’m down on the other half of table 73 next to Hello, how are you? and her adorable work, with fellow Art Aid Nepal Home artist Richy K. Chandler next to us on table 72. There is so much to see at Thought Bubble this year, and it’s all started already! I’m really excited to be there for the first time so please swing by and say hello if you’re in the area. Also, launching at Thought Bubble is my pal Samuel C Williams‘ new zine Dead Singers Society, with work from a whole host of people including Tim Bird, Alan Henderson and myself. For a complete breakdown of the new releases at Thought Bubble, there’s an excellent guide here from Broken Frontier, so be sure to check that out.

Finally, in amongst the craziness of preparing for the biggest comics event of my career to date (no pressure, of course..) I’ve also been working on all that university malarky. In amongst the essays and the presentations, the tutorials and the seminars and lots of emails I’ve been working on drawing up some designs for a Northampton based band. So far I’ve just been working on some roughs, but hopefully with some feedback I’ll be working towards one final design to be screen-printed onto a batch of t-shirts for the band to sell. How exciting! So far here’s just a peek of what I’ve been coming up with..

So, that’s it for now! As always I have a large pile of work beside me whispering at me and taunting me (not literally… yet) so hi ho and off to work I go. If you’re in Leeds for Thought Bubble this weekend then I’ll see you there! Until next week.

x

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Hello, November.

Good morning ladies and gents.

So, another week is behind us and we’re well and truly into November. There’s a crisp, cold scent to the night air which can only mean the arrival of Bonfire night. Because, y’know, why not celebrate some guy’s failure of trying to blow up the House of Lords in the 17th century when it involves pretty colours and bright lights? Thankfully my week-and-a-half long lurgy seems to be finally tailing off, though it’s been a determined little bunch of germs.

On Monday I managed to drag my coughing and sniffly self into the university print rooms to play with my collagraph printing plates I showed you all last week. Wanna see? Yeah you do!

These prints are all part of the work I’m creating for the Folio Society’s printing of War Horse, and as I mentioned last week this is a competition which calls for three internal illustrations and a book jacket design in the typical Folio Society styling. As the subject matter of War Horse is pretty dark, and the story is told through the eyes of the horse, I didn’t want to go and just draw horses everywhere. Instead, I’m looking at combining these textured backgrounds with washes of paint and some drawn details. The first print is for the shelling at night, the second is muddy brown holes in the snow, and the third is pieces of shrapnel and earth upturned by more shelling. I don’t normally work in an abstracted way so it’s kind of nice to try out this more atmospheric way of presenting a landscape rather than going straight to drawing pens. Fits the story better, I think.

In similar news, I’ve been trying out something different with modelling clay, too! With Thought Bubble Festival only a week and a half away, I’ve been working on a small side project to keep me company over the weekend on my half of table 73. Plus, with the re-release of The Red Road coming THIS FRIDAY, and Thought Bubble being it’s first public appearance, I thought it’s a perfect opportunity to make something  bit different. Now, I’m absolutely no expert in the field of modelling, but after a plea on twitter and speaking to some fellow students at university, I found out my failed attempts were because I needed to make a skeleton structure to support the weight of the clay. Who knew! Low and behold, I’ve just about managed to make a model of Bear and Coyote with air-drying clay and a frame consisting of paper clips, wool and hot glue.

Now, they are pretty crappy. I mean, I was hoping I could sell them, but I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone until I’ve practiced a little more. Also, as you can probably tell, they aren’t to scale of each other – whoops! Making a smaller Coyote would have been really fiddly, and making a bigger Bear would have needed a much larger and more substantial frame. But altogether, not too shabby for a second attempt. Some cracks have appeared in the drying process so I shall be off to get some fine surface filler to fill those in before I paint and glaze my new friends.

Speaking of The Red Road… IT’S ALMOST FRIDAY!! I am so, so excited to be releasing The Red Road for a second time, especially with the changes and additions I’ve made. The story remains the same, but there’s some special extra content in there now, and a couple of other tweaks to make it the best it can be. Yay! Don’t forget, The Red Road launches this Friday (6th November) still for the same price of £6 on my Etsy store, but this time with an extra 4 pages of goodies. Just to make life even more exciting, Richard Bruton’s review came through last week from Forbidden Planet Blog. What a dream come true! Having not only a Broken Frontier review but now a Forbidden Planet review too is an incredibly proud and exciting moment for me. Here’s a snippet, and click here for the full review.

“…Hathaway deserves fulsome praise for delivering something so brutal, so powerful, in such simple terms. This is good comics.”

– Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet Blog review of The Red Road

Finally, yesterday saw celebrations in the form of Broken Frontier’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver’s Small Pressganged 4th birthday! Wow, that was a mouthful. Anyway, it’s safe to say that without Andy Oliver’s tireless work to embrace small press and independent comics, I would not be on the shelves of comics shops throughout the UK, and I would not have appeared in anthologies and at comics events. What a guy! For myself and countless others, Andy has championed our hard work and given it an amplified audience of dedicated fans and followers. Really, I am so thankful for the great work that he does, and I would just be another uni student desperate to get anywhere without his support and belief in my work. All hail the hat! To celebrate the occasion I draw Andy a nice big hat cake with four candles per hat and a potential flag fire hazard. It’s not exactly my most esteemed work, but as a doodle it gets the message across. Happy 4th Birthday Small Pressganged!

So, that’s about it for now; the Next Big Thing is slowly under way and next on the list is working on my dissertation proposal. (Yep, you thought your Wednesday morning was fun..) Don’t forget to get your shiny second edition copy of The Red Road from Friday, and check back next week for some previews of the second edition additions. Until next time!

x

 

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The Lurgy Arrives

Good afternoon ghosts and ghouls,

So, I’m blessing you with my presence today whilst battling a fearsome autumnal cold. I’ve been awaiting this beast that’s been going round for a while, and I’ve been managing to happily avoid it until now. Marvellous. Don’t colds just have a way of appearing at the most awkward time? It’s not like I have presentations to give, with the need to think about complex educational things, right? Instead, the inside of my brain is made of marshmallows and I look like Beetlejuice. But hey, I’ve been eating vegetables galore so hopefully I will battle this demon lurgy in time for the weekend!

This past week I’ve started making some headway on ideas for a new project, the Folio Society and House of Illustration Book Illustration Competition. The Book Illustration Competition is a yearly jobby that’s been going on since 2011, though this year is the first time I’ll be entering. This year’s book is War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, and I shall be creating three inner illustrations and the book cover design for this, for completion is early January. So it’s quite a big task, but an exciting one nevertheless. Last week I made some collagraph printing plates ready to do some illustration backgrounds to draw back into; unfortunately I’ve felt too awful to stand in the print room at University and get inky, but fingers crossed my human-self returns soon and I can get my print on. Below are my printing plates, textures and all, ready to go! Aren’t they lovely.

Also, in my eternal search for new and interesting textures that I can add into my work, I had a go at some DIY nail varnish marbling! Because I’m too frugal to buy marbling inks, and I have a sizeable collection of nail varnish already, I decided to give this method a go after finding it on Pintrest. Now, I didn’t use anywhere near as much colour as in the tutorial (see previous point about frugality) to do mine, but they turned out pretty interesting all the same. These experiments are all going towards the preparations for The Next Big Thing..

Who says illustration just needs to be drawing, huh? All of these types of things I like to scan in and add as a layer behind an image to give it a bit more of a textured and interesting look sometimes. Plus it’s kind of fun to try these things, apart from the inevitability of being gassed in my living room by nail varnish. It’s all part of the fun!

In other news, I popped into Travelling Man in Manchester on Sunday to drop off some copies of Sneaky Business! They now sit alongside a remaining copy of The Red Road (first edition), and right underneath Keara Stewart‘s nightmare anthology I created a comic for, A Bit of Undigested Potato. How EXCITING! Don’t forget, you can pick up the last remaining copies of The Red Road from Gosh London, Travelling Man Manchester, OK Comics in Leeds! Sneaky Business is still available to buy from my rather shiny Etsy store, as well as in Gosh, Orbital Comics and now Travelling Man.

And with The Red Road re-release getting ever closer, I’m slowly getting prepared for the two-day comic bonanza that will be Thought Bubble Festival! For those of you travelling to Leeds for the occasion, the comics festival at the weekend is looking absolutely spectacular. I’ll be in New Dock Hall on table 73b, with lots of lovely and talented people around as shown on the map! I have some exciting things up my sleeve for the event, so be sure to pop by and say hello if you’re in the area.

Finally, following the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer being released last week, (and subsequently having to sit through it multiple times) I decided my better half’s excitable squealing was too entertaining to pass up on as inspiration, so I put pen to paper and made him this. Pretty spot on, if you ask me! Anywho, that’s it for now. I need to feed myself something magical to run this cold out of town. Until next time, happy Halloween and stay spooky! x

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