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.
… 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.”
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!
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!
As a submission to the Creative Conscience Awards 2016, I created a 24-second animation for the Unilever Bright Future campaign. Although my entry was unsuccessful, this project has been my first longer length animation project and I’ve learnt a lot that can be applied into future projects.
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.
“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!”
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!