Top Secret Project

Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016

 

As a part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch 2015‘, I created a 10-page comic entitled Afloat, which was released on 29th April 2016, with accompanying signing at Gosh! Comics in London. Including work from Emma Raby, Adam Vian, Danny Noble, Alice Urbino, Jess Milton and a host of other successful comic creators, the Yearbook is the first of it’s kind in supporting the Small Press comics scene.

Here’s what Page 45 had to say about my story in the Yearbook, Afloat;

Two other escapees are Rozi Hathaway’s young protagonist in ‘Afloat’ and Alice Urbino’s ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, but what they are escaping is very different: abject poverty and loneliness; the sensory overload of society’s non-stop judgementalism. The former is a deeply melancholic affair of isolation, neglect, broken windows and threadbare socks until a vision floods onto the page in oceanic colours which are fresher, more healthy and hopeful. What actually happens is open to interpretation but if there’s a whiff of mortality is still as wondrous and magical as a Studio Ghibli or Tillie Walden affair, with the child’s own origami taking on a life it its own and attracting company to boot.

Page 45 Comic & Graphic Novel Reviews May 2016 Week Four

And from Pete Redrup at The Quietus;

… It’s followed by Rozi Hathaway’s Afloat, a strikingly beautiful wordless tale of a child’s loneliness and imagination. Her art is terrific here, with wide panels working to place the child in small and large spaces, but always alone, with stunning colouring, sombre except for the sea and the sky.”

Behold! June’s Quietus Comics Round Up Column

The Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook is available to buy online, as well as from Gosh! Comics and Orbital Comics in London priced at £6.

 

PRESS:

Announced at Laydeez do Comics on 18th January 2016!
The Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook – Championing our 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch’ in Print!
BF Small Press Yearbook: Rozi Hathaway – “Use Every Single Moment of Glory to Create New Things”
Broken Frontier Launch at London’s Gosh! Comics – BF Anthology and Small Press Yearbook Creators Get Their Moment in the Spotlight

Orbital Comics – Staff Picks of the Week
Page 45 Review
Forbidden Planet Review
The Quietus Review

 

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

x

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The Half-Way Mark

Good afternoon radiant readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

x

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Success! Njálla is Funded!

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

x

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The Laydeez Who Comic

Good morning laydeez and gentlemen!

So, another week bites the dust and Laydeez do Comics has been and gone! It was possibly one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my feeble existence; standing in front of a room full of eager-eyed people actually wanting to hear what I had to say (or at least pretending to, anyway). Even with my neatly arranged cue cards I’m sure I probably missed something important, but overall it was a really fun evening – more about that shortly. In other news, university projects are getting busier than ever and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be starting to draw up the final pages of The Next Big Thing! I’m keeping my working title under-wraps for now, though the reveal will be coming shortly. I’m also debating at the moment whether to move the blog to a fortnightly effort instead of weekly for the duration of this term, just to give myself an extra bit of time to work on my incredibly long to-do list, BUT I’m still mulling it over. So, I’ll let you all know! Now, down to business..

As you may remember from last week, I spend Sunday 10th creating the window display at Gosh! Comics in readiness for the LDC night this past Monday. Somehow the week between doing the windows and turning up to talk went past like a lightening bolt! I settled onto the warm and cosy train to London on Monday night with an 300-man army of butterflies in my stomach – no, not some strange new recipe, just nerves – and bolted across to Soho to meet with Andy Oliver (Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and Danny Noble (Munday Morning, Ollie & Alan) for a calming beverage before the evening’s fun began. Gosh! Comics were wonderful hosts yet again for the Laydeez do Comics evening, and there were many familiar and friendly faces bobbing about. Andy Oliver took the reins for the evening and spoke first about the wonderful work he does at Broken Frontier, and the small press/independent creator focus they look at compared to the largely mainstream comics industry. Next up was my turn, and armed with my carefully designed presentation I managed to bumble on for probably far less time than I was meant to – aside from shaking like a leaf the whole way through I probably spoke at lightening speed too. Agh! After a short break, the last speaker was Danny Noble who entertained us all with her honest and witty comics, whilst talking about her practice and how she uses panels in a really interesting and diverse way. Inspiring stuff! HUGE thanks to Keara and Wallis for having us, and everyone who came out to see us talk!

One of the main focuses of the evening was Andy Oliver’s announcements.. Sadly, after almost a year, the title of ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ is being filed away and the new Six have been announced! Us 2015 lot are being flung into the wide open world with our belongings in a bindle and are shunted out in to the cold harsh realities of life. Or, something like that. The new Six have been announced at LDC and will be announced officially on Broken Frontier in the coming days. They’re a talented bunch!

In the second batch of wonderful news that was announced by the Patron Saint of Comics, the Broken Frontier Yearbook has been revealed! Here’s a snippet from the press release yesterday on Broken Frontier, which sums it up far more eloquently than I possibly could:

Last night at London’s Gosh! Comics a very special announcement was made to the sell-out audience at the Broken Frontier special edition of the monthly Laydeez do Comics meeting. We’re very excited today to share that news on the site with the extended BF readership.

Currently in pre-production, our inaugural Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook will be available in the early part of this year. A near 100-page publication, it celebrates the work of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian – in both colour and black & white. Each creator has contributed an 8-10 page story on the theme of “breaking frontiers” and interpreted that broad starting point with their own ever distinctive artistic voices.

A natural extension of a year’s worth of dedicated coverage of these six very talented creators, the Yearbook is the ultimate expression of this column’s philosophy of “unearthing the gems of the small press”, and of bringing the work of comickers we have championed to a far wider audience. In due course you will be able to buy the book both online and from certain UK stores. But the prime philosophy of the Yearbook is to provide a promotional showcase for last year’s participants in our ‘Six to Watch’ initiative. To that end we’ll be sending out copies to selected publishers, micropublishers, and comics commentators as we seek to raise the profile of 2015’s half dozen stars-in-the-making across the medium.

Andy Oliver – Broken Frontier: Announcing the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook – Championing our 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch’ in Print!

Follow the link to read all about it and even see a sample page from each of us! Which now means (for those of you avid readers who remember my ramblings) THE TOP SECRET PROJECT IS NO LONGER SECRET. WOOHOO! From May to September of last year I was working on this project, and although I could hint at it and show some images along the way, I couldn’t really say what it was for or when it’d be released. Low and behold, the 10-page silent comic which Andy kindly spoke of as my ‘best work to date’ will be released in coming months in the bumper Small Press Yearbook alongside the talents of Danny Noble, Emma Raby and more. Alongside the ‘Six’ are other top-name creators who have supplied work to support the project, being announced in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out on Broken Frontier’s Twitter and website for all the details.. Here’s a reminder of some of the work I created, and you can read more about the project from my previous blog post here.

Top Secret Project - announced!
Top Secret Project – announced!

With LDC behind me it’s now full-speed with University work in the run up to Easter (I know, it’s only January.. I have a very busy few months ahead). My dissertation needs finishing, the Next Big Thing needs drawing up, a couple of other competitions need doing, written assignment work needs completing, another commission needs doing, and somewhere between all that some kind of sleep would be marvellous. Oh, and I’m making a lávvu. More about that in a couple of weeks, though! For the meanwhile, here’s another sneaky peek of some development/practice figuring out the best composition before I start on the final pages. Exciting!

And that wraps it up for this week! Back to the grindstone for another week of fun-times, and I shall be back next week with hopefully some more bits ticked off my very large list and more things to show you. For now, over and out.

x

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Hello, October

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, with a sweep of windy and rainy weather we are now knee-deep in October. University has thrown me into the cold, harsh realities of becoming a final-year student, and with an entire eight months of work laying in front of me it’s all to easy to be intimidated. However! Now I have unshackled the responsibilities of part-time paid shelf-stacking work I am feeling somewhat stressed but also somewhat Zen. I will survive this year. I will. (I hope) -sob-

After a small editorial brief which will conclude next week, most of the work I’ll be producing is long-term projects. With that in mind, I will shortly be taking off my top secret cape! Meaning, you can expect a lot more of the work-in-progress kind of posts from me, along with quiet-yet-public-mental-breakdown posts and drunk-on-camomile-tea posts. Although I have to give a fair amount of concentration to all projects and briefs this year, the main focus of the next eight months is The Next Big Thing. My yet-to-be-named longer length comic will be the final push, incorporating everything I’ve learnt over the past two and a half years since I really started my comics career with HOAX: Psychosis Blues, up until the Top Secret Project which is due to be revealed next month.

First things first, this past rainy Monday I headed on down to The Big Smoke for half a day to visit the bees knees of comics shops! Sneaky Business is now available at both Orbital Comics and Gosh! Comics in London – yay! Don’t forget that Sneaky Business is still available from my online Etsy shop for just £2, perfect for those people who have everything, yet you still need to get them something for Christmas. Cuh, you know, THOSE people. Awkward souls.. Anyway, whilst I was in Gosh I dropped off the final five copies of The Red Road in a proud yet slightly sad moment. My children have flown the nest, and are all out there in the great wide world! So, that’s it folks. All one hundred copies are gone, with a few remaining at Gosh!, Travelling Man in Manchester (and last time I checked, there was one copy left at Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham).

Final Page Image

Do not fear, though; Bear, Coyote and Lark are far too special to disappear forever. Keep an eye out on my social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) over the next couple of weeks for some exciting news, and of course here on the blog you’ll get all the insider gossip too!

November is turning out to be a pretty exciting month, with Thought Bubble on the horizon and Top Secret Project’s grand reveal.. and now some The Red Road news? Well, who needs Christmas! On that note, time to get back to the grind! Don’t forget to back the Nepal Art Aid Anthology if you haven’t already – the clock is ticking. For now, as always, over and out.

x

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I Amster-back.

Good morning Friday fans!

So, although a little later than normal, I am dutifully back with this week’s update on what’s been going on at the HQ. After returning from a short break to Amsterdam yesterday, I barely feel like I’ve been away for one day, let alone three. As my company for the trip were not particularly interested in the art side of things and the weather was a good eclectic mix of tourrential downpours and drizzle, we ended up just having a good ol’ wander around the city and stopping to eat as much incredible food as possible. Not bad, right? Oh, and the pancakes.. Be still, my beating heart.

Down to business, as some of you may or may not have seen, I gave my website a bit of a refresh last weekend. It was rather over-due, and if you waltz on over to my homepage you’ll see it looks a bit more snazzy and full of comic goodness. I changed some of the links and information too, so the Contributions page is a little more streamlined, with more information linked elsewhere. Phew! It was in desperate need of bringing up to date, and yet another thing crossed of my pre-University list.

So, we now have sections for the Top Secret Project (to be announced in the coming months… And it’s going to be REALLY good, I promise.), Sneaky Business, Rejsen as a part of Dirty Rotten Comics, and Locomotion as a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato. One of the good teaching points of University was that keeping your website alive and rejuvenated is very important.. If the homepage stays the same, it looks like I do nothing for months on end. And I can promise you, from my premature ageing and stress lines, that is most definitely not the case. Anyway, head on over to the home page for a little explore, and tell me what you think! It’s very comic-centred right now which is great, though I’m definitely looking forward to flexing my illustration muscles soon.

website

Speaking of which, I arrived home from rainy Amsterdam to a wonderful message from Eastfield Academy to say that they’ve received my Bullfinch! For those who are unaware, back in June I signed up for the Access Art Share-a-Bird project; the project was aimed at artists to create a bird in any medium, and donate it to the Access Art charity which would then send the birds out to schools in the UK who signed up for the project. As artists, we also got to write an inspirational message to the younger generation about how important art is, and it’s not all about stuffy old textbooks and things that happened centuries ago. It’s about making cool stuff and enjoying it, and a decent arts education helps. As I’ve said before, art in school pretty much bored me to tears; there was nothing engaging about drawing a still life of an apple as an 11-year-old Game Boy fanatic. Though, I’m lucky really, as those afternoons as a very young person drawing things in the garden with my mum taught me how much I wanted to be better (that same stubborn and competitive child is still inside somewhere). Here’s to hoping that my Bullfinch might inspire some small person, if only for a few hours.

 

 

Finally, last week I completed a piece for a friend of mine who is creating his own zine of comics, text and images around the theme of Dead Singers. The zine itself is being released to coincide with Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, from 14th-15th November which I shall be attending with bells and whistles on. After some careful consideration and pondering, and having lists of names sent to me from my better half, I settled on Muddy Waters. Here’s a sneak preview of my finished stand-alone illustration for the project. Thanks to Sam for letting me be involved!

Anyway, that’s it for now! I have an exciting project coming up to get my teeth stuck into, and the third year of university awaits.. Until next week!

x

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Top Secret Project

Good morning you lovely people, you!

So, it appears to be autumn. I’m not quite warm enough, University is looming once more and my list of jobs to do before third year starts is slowing depleting.. Though I keep thinking of things to add to it, which doesn’t help. Thankfully, stress is low and my stocks of camomile tea are high, so here’s to a good few weeks before the teeth-grinding, alcohol comforted, crying into sketchbooks era of Third Year begins.

Amongst the delights of laughing at my own history of terrible drawings last week, and celebrating the wonders of MancsterCon, you may have seen mentions of the Top Secret Project having reached completion. Now, the Top Secret Project started back around May, though it still feels like a blur of thinking and drawing, with the final painting of my 10 pages taking a week to complete. I still can’t divulge any more details about the Top Secret Project (in case you hadn’t already guessed from the title), but if you can all hold onto your hats for just a couple more months, all will be revealed… For now, though, here are some of the final images; from final inks to varying stages of painted completion. I’m still resting in that uncomfortable zone of “is-this-actually-terrible-and-people-will-laugh-at-me-and-I’ll-have-to-change-my-name-and-become-a-hand-model-and-move-to-a-village-and-hide-forever”, but I’ve come to realise that the fears and worries are a good thing. Emotional investment equals fear of other peoples opinions, and emotional investment means I’ve done the best I can. So, let’s just hope it’s not a flop.

Similarly to The Red Road, I drew all my pages out in pencil, went over them in fancy ink pen, and painted them in varying shades of gouache. Unlike The Red Road, however, I drew everything 100% larger than it’s due to be printed; it’s something my lecturers at University kept telling me I should do to improve my figure drawing, and I actually listened. I’ve been drawing double the size of print since Rejsen, with my comic in Sneaky Business also being double the size of print too. I’m not sure if it’s making me a better illustrator/artist or not, but it works well enough and doesn’t take any extra time.

The one thing I did do different this time, is that I worked on all the pages from rough form on separate paper first, then once the pencils were done-ish I used the light-box to draw everything up on the final fancy paper in pencil again, tightened it all up and inked. The good thing about doing it like this, is that the paper wasn’t left with a multitude of rubbed-out mistakes, and no pencil indents too. I IS LEARNING, LIKE. But yes, with every new project comes a new set of wisdom, and the completion of the Top Secret Project has left me feeling comfortable in the set of processes I have for my upcoming Final Major Project at University (cue: fear).

Last week also saw the review of Down to Your Skivvies #1, by Broken Frontier in Andy Oliver’s new Zinewatch feature! DTYS#1, created by Kamala Roberts, Zara Ward and myself earlier in the year is about celebrating women in the arts, and though #2 is in the making, it’s great to have a little boost with this review – thanks Andy! You can read his review of DTYS here, and purchase a copy on Etsy, here.

Old school zine-style in presentation, Down to Your Skivvies! is an eclectic mix of material that, nevertheless, retains a consistent thematic approach and voice.
– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier.

Aside from this, the past week has actually been pretty busy with non-work related things, although a couple of lovely new shiny projects have come my way which will give me plenty to do this week, along with that damn pre-uni, ever growing check-list. So, I shall leave you all rest-assured that I am continuing my delicate balance of staying warm, drawing lots, and doing my very best not to go into hibernation mode. I am off on a few day escape to Amsterdam next week so I will be back with my blog on Friday instead of it’s usual mid-week presence, but picture me happily cycling around canals in the rain whilst stuffing my face full of poffertjes and wheels of gouda. Until next week!

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Return of the Blog

Good afternoon ladies and gents,

So, it’s been a while! Two weeks of adventuring around Norway, Sweden and Denmark had a wonderfully calming and refreshing effect, with the 8-10 miles of walking a day leaving me with a svelte lady Viking figure. My partner and I had a wonderful time, it was physically tiring at times but the amount we saw with only a couple of days in each city is pretty remarkable. And, even better, I have LOTS of photos and ideas mulling around in my break for The Next Big Thing..

Mt Fløyen – Bergen, Norway.

Before I left for the Scandi-lands, I left you all with the visions of Sneaky Business zine and what was to come. Well, last week I picked up a lovely box of Sneaky Businesses from the local printers and pre-order is officially open! Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier kindly reviewed Sneaky Business for me, and you can see what he says here!

There’s something incredibly appealing about the almost ephemeral zine-like approach of Sneaky Business; something smaller scale that, nevertheless, acts as a concise showcase for a number of self-publishing talents in one affordable and welcoming package.” – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier review of Sneaky Business.

Sneaky Business is now available for pre-order from my Etsy store, with official launch this coming Saturday 29th August at MancsterCon!

Talking of MancsterCon, it’s now only three days to go until the event itself! I’m really excited to be attending as a seller rather than a viewer this year, and the organisers kindly have adopted me as an honorary Northerner to Manchester’s celebration of indie sequential art in the North West. There are a whole host of events going on between 10am-5pm, and if you’re in Manchester you should definitely pop along and say hello! I’ll also be sitting alongside Tom Ward, Chris Welsh, Andrew Tunney and Debbie Jenkinson on the “So you want to get into comics?” panel! Here’s what they say about it..

“We’re all here because we love indie comics, but how do you actually become an indie comics artist? Where do you start from? What’s the mark of success (or failure for that matter)? What exactly is a non-repro blue pencil? These talented, award winning indie comic artists reveal their secrets and bestow some advice for the up and coming comic artist.”

Should be fun! If there’s one thing I can talk about to no end, it’s my own work. Because, y’know. It’s all I do. So in case you’d forgotten, MancsterCon is this Saturday 29th August 2015 at the Salford University, Media City campus in Salford Quays, Manchester. Pre-holiday I’d also been busy ordering new supplies and goodies, so hopefully it’s a really successful day for all of us.

 

In other news, in my last update before holiday I talked about my Top Secret Project! Low and behold, in three days I managed to fully ink all nine pages and spend my evenings with an ice pack on my wrist – but I did it! Hurray! On return from the lands of blondes and Vikings, I’ve been hard at work painting the pages up, so here are some more sneaky progress shots from my current work.

 

 

The deadline remains as 1st September, so I have my work cut out to finish this and prepare for MancsterCon this weekend! But it’s a really exciting project, and although I’m nervous as to how it’ll be received I’m also excited to see it finished, bound and in people’s loving arms.

Finally, I was thrilled to arrive home last week to a shiny copy of Dirty Rotten Comics sitting on my desk! Don’t worry, the postman didn’t break into my home, my well trained flatmate carefully positioned it away from any pots of paint and water containers. It’s been a wild ride to see my work in print, from the first time in June 2014 with HOAX, to my first self published works in The Red Road earlier in the year. The feeling of pride and excitement never dwindles to see my work in print, almost more-so when hand-picked by someone else. Thank you so much to the guys at Dirty Rotten Comics for putting Rejsen to fame! My dreams were made even more so by being highlighted as one of the top comics in the anthology by Richard Bruton at Forbidden Planet and Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier;

“And finally, last but certainly not least, Rozi Hathaway. Her ‘Rejsen‘ tells a simple 2-page tale of meeting up, of waiting, of longing, of counting the days. It’s a fragment thing, each panel disconnected from the text that recounts the reason the woman is dragging a case around a railway station, but the interaction of text and Hathaway’s lovely artwork is spot on…” – Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet Blog

Rozi Hathaway – another of that now legendary six – also goes the slice-of-life route with her account of a long-distance relationship. It’s a beautifully personal piece that has a haunting, almost lyrical quality to it – the weary passage of time and the inhospitable nature of public transport fading into insignificance in a heartwarming, joyous final panel.” – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

 

Success! Though I shouldn’t get too used to these kind things people say; it’s coming up to a month until my third year of University starts, and I need to be prepared to be thoroughly verbally destroyed by several lecturers whilst weeping into my fifth coffee of the day. However, I have a month of peace and quiet until all hell breaks loose and I wonder why I spend £40k on a degree. And peaceful, quiet and busy it shall be. Until next week!

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