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

Cosmos & Other Stories

COSMOS & OTHER STORIES

Available now from Good Comics
Also available on my Etsy Store!

Launched on Saturday 25th March 2017 at Leamington Comic Con
Published by Good Comics

Praise for Cosmos & Other Stories

..Cosmos is a wonderful collection of work that we genuinely wish had more in it because what is there is really rather wonderful.

– Alex Thomas, Pipedream Comics – Indie Comics Round-Up: Leamington Comic Con 2017 Special

Good art rents a room in your consciousness. Really good art plants roots in your subconscious. Cosmos & Other Stories is a piece of art does this – and also enables you to step out of your rush, rush, dopamine-fueled day and rest happy in a second of time.

– Tony Esmond, Down the Tubes – In Review: Cosmos & Other Stories

A collection of a handful of comics shorts, it’s Hathaway at her economical but profound best; a book that displays that remarkable ability she has to bring us so fully into the lives of her characters with a recognisable emotional resonance.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Cosmos & Other Stories – Rozi Hathaway Explores Loneliness and Isolation in a Fragile and Beautiful Collection from Good Comics

Press release:

Good Comics is delighted to announce that we will be publishing a new collection of short stories by award-winning cartoonist and illustrator Rozi Hathaway, winner of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award for 2016 and author of The Red Road, Njálla and Ø. Cosmos and Other Stories examines themes of loneliness and longing, with Hathaway’s uniquely expressive and dreamy paintwork taking the reader on a journey through various cities, towns, bedrooms and celestial realms. If you’ve ever been lost in a crowd, stayed up all night to talk to someonelong distance, or felt the ache of an absent love, then this collection will speak to you. Cosmos and Other Stories will debut at Leamington Comic Con on Saturday 25th March 2017, and is available to pre-order from the Good Comics online store (http://goodshop.bigcartel.com) now!

Out 25th March 2017 | 36 pages | Perfect Bound | A5 | £6

Download a copy of the full press release here

Pipedream Comics Interview – ““Colour gives far more of a feel to the story than my words ever could.” Rozi Hathaway talks Cosmos, Njalla and more!”