Beaked whales and a recap

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while! With a gap of this long since my last website update, it’s hard to know where to begin. Thirteen months is a long time, and most of it has been spent with my nose in books, journals, articles and other sources of information. And I’ve been loving it, too.

You’ll see from scrolling through the last couple of posts before my hiatus, I’d been working on a bigger, longer project in the background, about whales. I don’t think it was long after my last post that I started putting all my energy into this. There is something oddly addictive about researching a fairly broad group of animals… I recommend giving it a whirl if you have some spare time.

The thing I’d forgotten about researching something so intensely – which I last did at university – is how every single article, book, or piece that you read then leads you to another thread to follow, and before you know it, you have a Miro board that looks like a stationary store has thrown up. (And the below screenshot isn’t even half of my notes.)

And that’s probably how I lost a year.

Well, kind of.

I did bring out a short comic about the changing of the seasons at the very beginning of this year, so if you’re interested in seeing more of that you can check it out on my Etsy store. It’s called This won’t be forever and it’s inspired by very old Japanese travelling poetry and the changes that come with the difference in weather and fluctuating daylight.

With Good Comics, I’ve also been fairly busy. Earlier this year we worked with the local University’s Zine Society, to do a talk about comics publishing, and then opened submissions for their own anthology comic with the students. We’ve also done comics shows, getting straight back into the wonderful atmosphere of talking comics with people after the pandemic brought it all to a close.

So, enough of this catch-up, let’s talk whales. Beaked whales to be precise, and even more precise – Sato’s beaked whales.

Whale go on then

It’s been nearly three years since I started researching whales for a longer-length comic I knew was going to be bigger than I could dream of. And after spending all this time researching so many avenues, species and areas of history I was starting to get completely and totally lost in academia and writing. With not much to show for it, though I have been keeping a sketchbook going.

And then in May, one of the many articles I absorbed kind of stuck with me as something I could do as a short comic. This article was about Sato’s beaked whales, posted by the fantastic Hakai magazine (they always have great articles, so check them out if they align with your interests). And, it got me thinking. Isn’t it nuts that we’re still discovering new species of whales? How did they even do this?

So, as I’d been elbows deep in researching, I thought it might be fun to just make a short comic to get some of these thoughts out. I read what I could of publically-available journal articles and internet articles and just started writing, re-writing and editing a short script for a comic about these mysterious guys.

And now, a few months later and a lot of exciting emails back-and-forth with one of the co-authors of the scientific paper, I am nearly NEARLY finished with this comic. It’s 6-pages long, but it’s changed my whole perspective of what I’m doing with this whole longer-length comic I want to make. And I’m so excited.

I could go on and on, but we all probably need a break from looking at the screen and I need to curb my excitement with some camomile tea. But keep an eye out for the finished comic. Even if you don’t, I probably won’t shut up about it, so you’ll see more soon.

Thanks for reading!

Rozi x

Autumn light

Hi all,

We’re already halfway through October, three-quarters of the way through the year, and I’m about two-thirds of the way through my second coffee of the day. How poetic!

After the madness of the school summer holidays, I’ve spent the last couple of months getting my priorities in order – trying to focus on looking after myself and my goals, whilst juggling work, kids’ school, my relationship and not being an inactive blobfish. I’m in a pretty good place right now, which is a bonus considering the days are closing in and I got rained on yesterday. So here’s a little recap of what I’ve been up to.

Zanna submission

Back in early September, I spotted a call for submissions from a magazine/art collective called Zanna. I first heard of them from an alumni talk by Taya Martin (where I also presented) back in March this year. And I’ve been following them on Instagram ever since!

Zanna has some great opportunities out there, and its ethos is all about breaking down barriers to art and promoting affordability and fun initiatives. This is absolutely necessary, and I am a big supporter!

Back to the submission: as some of you may know, I’ve always been a huge fan of short comics – a lot of my first work was published in places like Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies and the Good Comics Dead Singers Society zines. So this seemed like a fun opportunity to mix things up a bit and work to a new theme/brief: Candyland. I submitted my 2-page comic just in time for the deadline, and I’m thrilled to have been accepted into Issue 10!

It’ll be on sale soon, so keep your eyes peeled and follow Zanna on Instagram for all the latest.


Whales, whales, whales

As you may have seen in my last blog, I’m currently working pretty intensely on a new comic. It’ll be far longer and in-depth than anything I’ve published to date, and all I’m willing to tell you about for now is that it’s about whales. The big, beautiful mammals that are so admired and yet so alien to our everyday life.

Here are a few more sketchbook pages for now, but rest assured, things are brewing in my ol’ headbox. Big things cometh soon.

A mural for our community garden

Finally, full-admittance that I’m now officially a crazy dog lady. Or, I care about our community garden. Or both!

Earlier this year it was proposed that our local nature-filled community garden should be concreted over, along with adjacent paths and a public car park to make way for more unaffordable flats. Thanks, capitalism. I use the garden a lot with my fur-child Malibu, so as well as petitioning against the proposed development, I decided to make a mural to spruce up the garden and show what it means to me and my dog.

The chipboard I used for the project was free from a neighbour, so all I needed was the primer, paint and waterproof varnish to protect it against the elements. It was pretty new for me to work on a larger scale and with acrylic, but I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s been out in the garden for a couple of months now, and we’re waiting to hear the outcome of our neighbourhood-wide opposition to the building work. Check it out:

And that’s it for now! As always, be sure to check out what we’re up to over at Good Comics and keep my pens and coffee fund well-stocked by visiting my store.

Stay warm and cosy, folks. Until next time.

x


Recent soul-warming books to recommend:

Autumn Light by Pico Iyer
The Day the Whale Came by Lynne Cox
Home Body by Rupi Kaur
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
(please buy books from your local bookshop, hire them from your library, or failing that, Hive is great)

An Ode to Sparenting

Good morning all!

Welcome to November. I have something special for you all today, a new comic that I’ve been creating on-and-off since June. Although it’s not that long in pages, it took some time to finish purely because of the subject matter and its personal nature.

Also, it’s in a new format for me. One long, continuous comic that is available online for free, and as of yet I have no plans to print.

For anyone outside of close friends and family, I don’t often talk about the struggles of being in very close, emotional proximity to an ongoing and often unpleasant argument over separation and childcare. Some days I manage just fine, and some days I don’t. But, being in this situation for a couple of years now means I’ve been able to reflect on who I am and what my job title should be.

There’s probably not a huge amount I can say as a foreword to my newest comic Sparenting, but here’s something nice from my good friend and fellow comrade at Good Comics, Dr Paddy Johnston. He wrote this to share Sparenting on the Good Comics blog, but it seems perfect for here too:

This week’s Good Friday is something very different, and very personal for the three of us as publishers. I’m lucky enough to have Sam and Rozi not just as co-publishers, but as close friends too. We all met through comics, but if we were to stop doing it, we’d still be close friends, and there’s so much that we share and have shared on the journey of friendship over the last few years.

As such, I was really touched when Rozi let me be the first person (apart from Sam) to see her latest comic, which totally floored me, and not just because it tackles her own personal emotions and a subject I’m aware of contextually. If I didn’t know her at all this comic would still have really affected me, because it nails the art of sharing the personal and emotional whilst still offering an accessible story. Any one of us could be the person she describes, the exhibit in a museum she draws, the empty name tag stuck partially to a shirt not made for name tags to stick to. 

This is why we do what we do, and why comics are often the best kind of medium for what we at Good Comics want to share. Rozi’s words and her pictures are for all of us here. If you’ve enjoyed Rozi’s previous works such as Cosmos, you’ll be familiar with her style and tone, but I’ve never known her work to be this open or this raw. I really hope you enjoy it and connect with it as much as I did.

Paddy

Without further delay, here’s Sparenting.

x

Now you sea it, now you don’t…

Good afternoon all!

This week I’m going to talk a little about digital painting. Now, as I’m sure you’re all aware by now, I’m a linework-and-paint kinda creator. I have a very set way of working which I’ve used for the past few years, which has made now a perfect time to try something new. Change is the spice of comics, as the saying goes.

Being a sea-dweller, what better to try out digital drawing on than the source of inspiration for so many, and my nearby natural neighbour. Check out the process shots:

The process of making artwork stayed largely the same, aside from using zero paper to create it. It’s definitely a quicker process as there’s no light-box involved and it’s incredibly easy to erase any mistakes or resize elements that aren’t quite right.

I started drawing with a digital file size of A4 but I found the quality of the digital brush I used at that size to be a bit too fuzzy, so I used the first ‘inked’ drawing I did (image 2) and resized it and traced over it onto an A3 digital file. Much better!

LHS: New version / RHS: First inked drawing

Block colouring with flat colours (“flatting”) is a useful tool I’ve used in digital drawing before, although as it doesn’t give the true effect of a nice slap of paint I used a digital watercolour brush over the top to add in some grit.

There are some really amazing benefits to digital painting that I’ve found so far. For one, there’s no buckling effect from wet paint on paper. This usually makes scanning difficult, and involves a lot of post-scan editing (also, digital painting = no scanning!). Also, being able to work on the same document, adjust layers and get rid of things that haven’t worked it a massive bonus. This cut down my creating time massively.

6. Final page

I’ve also been really impressed with the new software I’ve tried. The most common creative package is the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) which is around £50 a month for an individual (gulp), and I can safely say there is nothing I spend that much a month on than household bills. Yikes. Instead, I opted for the Affinity Photo which is a flat licence fee of £50 – though it’s currently on offer with 20% off. I used pre-loaded brushes plus the DAUB Watercolour & Washes set to finish it off.

So.. what do you guys think? Cool, right? It’s definitely been a fun process and I think I’m interested in trying out a few more comics in the same style. Who knows, maybe my next book will be full digital – after I’ve printed my rocks, of course. Which reminds me, I have some printing to do…

Until next time!

x

Moon

Moon preview

Moon – Newspaper comic – 24 pages

Based on a conversation with a four-year-old, Moon is an original comics story with plenty of imagination, a look at familial relationships, and a nod the Chinese legend of Chang-e and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Moon was successfully funded via Kickstarter, printed by The Newspaper Club and released on 22nd-23rd September 2018 at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, UK.

Available to buy here

…Our first port of call was to catch up with some familiar faces, and we started off with Good Comics’ Sam Williams, Rozi Hathaway and Josh Hicks who were all bunched in on a row together. Rozi was showcasing her new book Moon and this was our first chance to see it in print and the newsprint finish really made the most of Rozi’s beautiful artwork.

Alex Thomas, Pipedream Comics – Show Report: Bristol Comics & Zine Fair 2018

Moon preview

 

Inktober 2017

#Inktober 2017

This year I’ve been lucky enough to buckle down and find time to do Inktober, the social-media led daily drawing challenge for the whole of October. For my Inktober, I’ve been posting daily(ish) pictures of a narrative on Twitter of a fox and a butterfly engaged in some kind of chase-battle. Think Duel meets Mad Max: Fury Road, but fluffier and ending far more happier. So, actually not anything like Duel. Or Mad Max. Whatever, you get my point.

On 1st November I’ll be posting the whole series on my blog, and shortly after turning it into something really cool – so keep an eye out!

Self-Care & Vegetables

Self-Care & Vegetables is an autobiographical zine detailing my recovery from the fallout of a long-term relationship, after relocating far away from friends and family.

Printed at on Cyclus recycled paper at ethical, local Manchester printers MARC, Self-Care & Vegetables is 40-pages of anxieties and progression, printed at A6 on their economical inkjet printer. Created without paint or textures, the zine was drawn with just two Kuretake brush pens.

Details/progress can be found on my blog.

You can order Self Care & Vegetables here!

Launching at Thought Bubble Festival on Saturday 23rd September 2017, with all pre-orders shipping on Friday 22nd September.

Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017

The Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017

Published by Broken Frontier, and launching at ELCAF, 16th-18th June 2017. From the Frontier itself..

This year’s book has the broad theme of ‘New Horizons’ and will mix comics from our first two generations of ‘Six to Watch’-ers with the usual collection of shorter tales from UK small pressers who went on to be picked up by publishers. We’ll reveal the names of some of those creators further down the line but, in the meantime, enjoy some pages from some of the 2016 Broken Frontier ‘Six’ as well as our very own British Comic Award-nominated EdieOP.

You can still order the first Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbookonline here. Pre-orders for the 2017 edition will open shortly…”

Cover art by Ellice Weaver:

Broken Frontier Small Pressganged articles about the project can be found here.

Blog posts talking about my work for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbooks can be found here.

 

Dirty Rotten Comics 10

Dirty Rotten Comics 10

The tenth issue of the comics anthology series Dirty Rotten Comics is in full colour! Released in May 2017, with 92 pages of brightly coloured comics’ genius, here’s what the DRC guys have to say..

“In full-colour for the very first time, our landmark tenth issue arrives with a bang! With strips from some of our favourite past DRC contributors and an extra thirty pages of content, you can’t say we don’t know how to celebrate in style!”

Dirty Rotten Comics website

You can purchase your physical or digital copy online from Amazon, or from selected stockists in the UK.

Blog posts talking about my work for DRC 10 can be found here.

Reviews:

Pipedream Comics – May 2017
Broken Frontier – May 2017

“Another ‘Six to Watch’ artist who continually surpasses her previous work with each new offering is Rozi Hathaway. In ‘Aquarium’ (above) we witness a young girl’s wonder at the sea life she is observing with Hathaway playing with the space between panels to emphasise two worlds coming together. It’s quite brilliant in structure and is the finest piece of pure comics in the issue.”

– Dirty Rotten Comics #10 – Celebrating Ten Issues of Throwaway Press’s Pivotal Small Press Anthology in Colourful Style! – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier