It seems to be fully-loaded cold and flu season in my neck of the woods, and everyone is sniffling and coughing near constantly. Including me. I’m not sure whether mine is down to autumnal hayfever, a low-lying cold that’s waiting to emerge or my entire head being taken over by a goop monster. Who knows?
Anyway, it’s a busy time of year in the run-up to that yet-to-be-mentioned gift-giving holiday that occurs at the end of the year. I’m finishing up a web-comic, launching a top-secret community-based project and tending to general life tasks which now also include catering for my three new gerbil assistants: Peach, Nugget and White-Knuckle Rog (more on them another time). But still, I have things to show you all!
Firstly, the autumn-winter sketchbooks I announced a couple of weeks ago are selling fast! There aren’t many left, so if you’d like to join the club of seasonal strugglers, you can pick up your sketchbook here. Each order is lovingly wrapped in brown wrapping paper and posted in a card envelope so it reaches you safely and can be recycled easily.
If yours arrives and you want to share some of your autumn doodles, please do email me as I’m planning on setting up a gallery to share our autumnal feelings. You can contact me here.
Did you know it’s August next week? I did not. Where is this year going and what am I doing with myself?
All of these questions and more sponsor this week’s blog, seeming as the panel-a-day comic I started back in LATE-FEBRUARY is finally going to print. Sheesh! Autumn is only a stones-throw away. Wouldn’t it be gneiss to have a new comic out? It’s all too easy to take these long days of summer for granite. Granted. Geddit?
Okay, I’ll stop.
So, as I mentioned, my panel-a-day experiment comic-zine Rocks is finally going to print! It took me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to print this (mainly because of my ‘art n’ comic stuff’ cash fund being dangerously low…), and in the end I opted to lay the spreads out by hand and have a local printer print the pages onto A3 sheets for me to trim and bind myself.
I went to check out a proof copy last week, check it out:
I’m really excited to have another zine coming out into the world. Self Care & Vegetables feels like so long ago now (and it was: it came out in 2017!) and it’s really nice to have another more handmade book to add to my collection. The final layouts are still hush-hush for now, and I have some other tricks up my sleeve… so watch this space for the big reveal! Of quartz, you’ll be the first to know. Ahahaha. Haha.
Okay fine, you can stop rolling your collective eyes.
In other news, this weekend is the hotly anticipated Swindon Zine Fest! On Saturday 27th July from 12pm-4pm the Central Community Centre in Swindon will be overrun by zinesters and comic creators… and Good Comics.
Sam and I will be there with our newest title Novelty by Mohar Kalra (check out our interview with Mohar here), as well as some newer distribution titles like Storm Clouds and Ghost Beach by Australian creator Ben Mitchell (who also chatted with us on the latest episode of the Good Comics Podcast). Take a look at our blog to see what we’ve been up to and get a flavour of what amazing stuff is happening in comics – and, if you’re in Swindon on Saturday, come by and say hello!
Lastly, I’d just like to point you in the direction of our Paddy’s new baseball-and-life themed weekly newsletter, Stealing Home. Here’s one of my favourites. Paddy, ⅓ of Good Comics, is an incredibly gifted writer and even if you’re not that into baseball, his newsletters are insightful and interesting. Plus, Sam, the ⅔ of Good Comics does the beautiful illustrations for it. And I, as the third-third (apparently there’s not a keyboard shortcut for that one) of Good Comics feel like it’s my duty to tell you all how fantastic it is. You can sign up for his newsletter here.
And that’s about it for now! Keep your eyes peeled for Rocks being out in the open, and keep tuned for what’s coming next… (hopefully this one won’t take 5 months to finish)
This week I’ve been reading:Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson. It’s really good. This week I’ve been listening to: my newest favourite podcast, Sh*gged, Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey. The married couple talk about life, relationships, arguments, annoyances, parenting, growing up and everything in between. It’s hilarious. This week I’ve been watching: my muscles grow. Went and got a gym membership didn’t I! Healthy body = healthy mind.
Welcome to May (though, we’re a chunk of the way through already…) and the latest update from HQ. It’s been a busy couple of months as always, but I have plenty to get you up to speed with. So, get comfy and enjoy another creative journey through the workings of my brain.
After my panel-a-day started, I managed to vaguely keep it to a panel-a-day for two-or-so weeks until life came and sat right on my lap, demanding all of my attention. I’d already progressed with a chunk of the text, and in the end, I pushed life aside and sat down to write the remainder of the content. I sketched it all out, inked it, and then painted it in batches. In short, whilst it started as a panel-a-day it definitely ended in a more “normal” way of batch drawing, inking and painting.
Here are some pictures of the process:
As it stands, in true juggling style, I finished the comic and scanned it, but then it took around 2 weeks until I had a chance to piece it all together. However, I put it up on Patreon last week for my subscribers to finally see!
From the very beginning I wanted to create something that was more factual but still keeping that ethereal feel that I like to have in my stories., I also wanted to throw myself out of my comfort zone by avoiding thumbnailing or extensive planning, and drawing everything on the one piece of paper from scratch – even without rubbing out the pencil marks!
It was definitely a different tactic, and at times I really enjoyed it (when I wasn’t worried about finding time TO do it). I’d love to turn it into a DIY zine to get people interested about rocks and just how fascinating natural history is, so my task now is to see if I can take my scans and make them look cleaner for printing; the cheap paper I drew on buckled when I applied watercolour, and it’s left lots of ridges in the scanned artwork which need cleaning up, if possible.
After that, I’ll source for quotes on printing to see how cheap I can make the zine, as ideally, I’d like to have some in schools and libraries as well as sending some to the geology expert at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS) for his expertise on the local rock formations. Maybe it would be a good idea to sell them with the profits supporting the BNSS or other local charity? What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, and watch this space for updates!
In other news, the skate poster my gnarly step-daughter and I created is now out in the world! Assembly Press did an amazing job printing it for us on their risograph printer. Check it out!
There were a couple of colour options we could’ve gone for, but we decided to go for the black, yellow and fluro orange inks.
I’m so, so pleased with how’s it’s turned out, and it’s definitely something I wish I could’ve helped with when I was 9. I wasn’t even brave enough to go to a skate park until I was 28, so feeling like I can maybe help future generations of girly-girls, quiet-girls, bookish-girls, loud-girls and any type of girls grab a board and give it a go gives me all the warm feelsies inside. If you’re in the area, come skate with us!!
What else? Well, back on 31st March Good Comics and I tabled and presented at the Laydeez do Comics Festival at Free Word in London. Paddy and I had the opportunity to talk about Good Comics and how it’s evolved in the last few months, and where we’re going moving forward. I’m incredibly excited to be working in a hands-on editing role for one of our next releases, Mohar Kalra‘s Novelty. We released a preview back in March which was beautifully risograph printed, and the whole book will be out soon!
Finally, at the tail end of last month, I put forward my application to take part in a Japanese creative residency as advertised by the British Council. Now, I’ve not tried applying for any residencies before as I’ve always been waiting for the right one… And this, my friends, is it. I’m incredibly excited at the thought, but I’m also well aware that it’s a slim chance I’ll be chosen as there are so many incredibly talented creators out there who deserve to go too. If you could all keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that’d be lovely.
And that rounds it up! You can still keep an eye on my Instagram for vaguely more regular updates than on here (I’m trying to be better!) and subscribe to my Patreon for full access of everything I’m up to. You can also check out Good Comics on Twitter for what we’re up to there.
It’s that undeniably exciting time of year again; the tin of Quality Street is finally dwindling, there’s a new calendar on the wall, and it’s time to look ahead to a new year and everything that could possibly be. Daunting for some, the start of a new year is my very favourite time of the year.
It wouldn’t be a new year without looking back at the previous, so get comfy with a cuppa and join me in some light New Year’s Day reflections.
This year kicked off in style with Cartoon County in Brighton, hosted by Alex Fitch. Cartoon County is a monthly meet-up of comic creators, and I was honoured to be the January guest. Other guests this year have included Rachael Ball, Julian Hanshaw and Wallis Eates. I’ve been in good company! Cartoon County still hosts its monthly meet-up, and for more information on their gatherings, you can follow them on Twitter.
I also started working on my long-form story which will be coming out in the next couple of years. The decision to start working on a longer story came naturally and is something that will be slowly plugging away for a while. You can catch up on some of my early sketchbook work here!
Other goings-on included the launch of The Inking Woman book by Myriad Editions, based on The Cartoon Museum exhibition from 2017. Myself and other female creators are published in this first-of-its-kind book, and was truly an incredibly experience.
Whilst Moon may dabble in deities, it’s message is intimate and unassuming. Set against the backdrop of a Chinese shipping docks, Moon tells the story of an inquisitive grandson’s discovery of what his grandfather hides from him in one particular shipping container. More akin to a snapshot than a story, Moon‘s warm colours and dockside setting lends it a detached, melancholic flavour. Printed in a bespoke, mini-tabloid format, Moon is a small, enchanting read.
Fred McNamara, A Place to Hang Your Cape
Finally, 2018 drew to a close with the announcement that I’ve officially joined Good Comics. Keen to support grass-roots creators, establishing and developing themselves in a growing community, Good Comics aims to be a hand-up for a handful of creators. I’ve been working alongside the co-founders of Good Comics a lot this year, and I’m thrilled to be joining them in the Good cause for 2019 and beyond.
And that rounds it up! It’s been a busy year, and I’m so grateful for everything that has come my way. A huge thank you to all of you who support my work and speak to me at shows, who backed my Kickstarter, or who just dig my work. You’re all the best, and here’s to another year of making new stories!
What’s that I can hear? The soothing sound of a free calendar? That’s right, the last two festivals of the year have been and gone, and what excellent festivals they were.
Thought Bubble Festival was held over the weekend 22nd-23rd September in central Leeds, it’s newer location for the second year running. This year I was in the very large ComiXology marquee, with David B. Cooper (colourist: Alex Automatic, Sleeping Dogs, Pirate Fun) to my left, and my dearest Good Comics on my right. I felt particularly smug this year as normally I travel up the morning of Thought Bubble feeling ridiculously tired and worn out before the 8 hours of day one tabling begins. This year, however, as I was driving from Bournemouth to Leeds, Sam and I travelled up on Friday and spent the evening in Leeds with the other half of Good Comics – Dr Paddy. We ventured across to the pre-Thought Bubble party gathering at Travelling Man in Leeds for the Avery Hill launch of Katriona Chapman’s Follow Me In and Kristyna Baczynski’s Retrograde Orbit, which was fun!
Thought Bubble itself was excellent; I had the opportunity to meet so many new people and see some regulars, with people who bought comics from me last year coming back to see what was new and say hello. I also had a nearly tear-inducing moment when one person bought a few of my books, went away and read them both in a café before coming back to tell me how much she enjoyed them. This, folks, is why I do what I do.
As you may be aware, Thought Bubble was also the official launch for my newest self-published newspaper comic, Moon. I’ve had so much positive feedback so far, I’m really glad everyone’s enjoyed seeing something a little different. Creating Moon in such a short space of time was incredibly isolating and also meant I didn’t have the time to talk about it in blogs or beam about its progress on social media, so launching it at Thought Bubble and being able to sit back and listen to people’s feedback was really, really nice.
Speaking of Moon, it’s now available on my Etsy store with additional stickers and temporary tattoos! Have you been plastering yourself with Moon temp tattoos? Send me some photos, I’d love to see how they turned out!
Moving onto the last festival of the year, one of my all-time favourites Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) was this past Saturday 5th October, held at The Station in Bristol. BCZF is excellent for many reasons; for one, it’s free entry for the public so anyone can wander in and discover the breadth of different comic genres around. Secondly, it’s in Bristol so the creative scene there is always great, and finally, they have some of the best food around. Again, I had some really nice chats with people and the atmosphere is always friendly. Thanks so much to both the teams at Thought Bubble and BCZF for all their hard work in putting on excellent shows!
Whilst in Bristol Sam and I stayed with Mike, who has recently started Assembly Press, a risograph printing studio in Easton, Bristol. We played around with his older risograph machine in years previous, but this year he has upgraded to a two-colour machine, meaning we could quickly and easily try out some two-colour prints! I reused a design I previously ran through the riso, with amazing results. Check it out! (fluoro orange and yellow; fluoro pink and fluoro orange).
If you’re into creating work on a risograph printer or if you’d like to give it a try, Assembly Press has a special offer running until the end of August for 50xA3 prints for £30. Contact AP via Instagram for any enquiries!
That just about rounds it up for now. Phew, it’s been a busy one!
This humidity/hayfever combination has me all a’funk. Even more so when I sit down to write my blog, and can’t recall what I ate for dinner two days ago let alone what I’ve been doing for the past nearly six weeks. I can hear you all now, reading this, muttering affectionately… “ah, that’s what happens when you start getting older”. Thanks.
Thankfully I’m a lady of lists, so here I am to look back through them all and get you up to date at what’s going on at HQ.
Since we last spoke:
I’ve been researching and writing my keynote speech
My sketchbook for codename: The Biggest One Yet (TBOY) is becoming plumper
I went to Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning
I’ve been on a copywriting course through my work (expect jazzier headlines in anything I write from now on)
And, drove around my living room swerving to avoiding Pokemon and wild animals*
So! Keynote speech. It sounds impressive, it feels impressive, and a solid 10% of me is not nervous at all.
Genuinely, I’m really looking forward to speaking at the International Graphic Novel and Comic Conference; it’s something I couldn’t have ever dreamed of doing a few years ago, and really, to talk about comics for half an hour to a keen audience is practically a dream. Try introducing yourself as a comics artist to anyone who isn’t a comic artist – it’s exhausting. Even trying to answer the question of ‘what kind of comics do you make?‘ is a tricky one, as really, people only know of a very few genres. Superheroes, political/newspaper cartoons, and possibly if they live in a metropolitan city with an excellent bookshop, they may also know of autobio/biographical and journalistic comics. All-ages-anthropological-sociological-travel-fantasy is a bit of a jumble, let’s face it. So being able to talk to a semi-engaged audience sounds delightful!
The theme of the conference is Retro! Time, Memory, Nostalgia. My speech is on Retrospective Storytelling: From Childhood to Characterisation, on Wednesday 27th June. So if you’re booked onto the conference please do come and say hello! You can find the full programme here.
Next up, I’ve been chugging away slowly at a sketchbook I picked up specifically for working on my next comics’ project in. For The Biggest One Yet (TBOY) I really wanted to grow an idea though sketching and external inspiration, rather than starting with an idea. I have a few things I’d like the story to encompass and a route for it to take, but the finer details are something I’d like to stumble upon during the process. I’ve been posting regular updates and sketchbook pages on Patreon, so if you have FOMO of TBOY then YKWTD: https://www.patreon.com/rozihathaway
I couldn’t possibly leave you with nothing, so here’s a taster:
This past week I also made a special trip on the number 17 bus to Bournemouth University for their Festival of Learning. They’ve had a whole host of interesting events on, but the only one I could make it to was the fantastic Storytelling from India talk from Tara Douglas. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the screening of the animations that the talk was based on, but it was still incredibly interesting all the same. The talk of India’s caste system reminded me a lot of an exhibition I went to a couple of years ago at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool; which, FYI, is a fantastic museum and if you haven’t been there already I highly recommend it. Back to the talk – Tara led us through the process of making a series of animations based on tribal stories, myths and legends. Using local storytellers, narrators and artists it made for a really interesting and beautiful project. If you’re interested, you can see a full article from Bournemouth University here, or check out the website here.
And that just about wraps it up! As I said above, I have been lucky enough to go on a copywriting course with my day job – so have I convinced you through my words? I’m not sure what I would be trying to convince you of… Maybe I need more practice.
Until next time!
*driving around my living room swerving to avoid Pokemon may or may not be in the imagination of myself and four-year-old Saul.
Did you know that New Year is my favourite time of the year? I mean, Christmas has it’s perks.. homely feelings and spending time with family, friends and loved ones; being able to treat the ones you love; eating way too much delicious food and having a great excuse to. But can also be a lot of pressure, and it can be tough if you miss your nearest and dearest, and all around us there are harrowing reminders that there are a lot of people who are cold and alone on a day that is meant to evoke the opposite. New Year’s Eve, however, is a beacon of hope.
2017 was an incredibly and challenging year for a lot of people, myself included. I moved home twice and relocated yet again, and produced some of the most honest work of my career so far. So, let’s have a look back:
Last year saw the release of my fourth standalone comic book Cosmos & Other Stories, released in March by micro-publishers and all-round-excellent-gents Good Comics. Cosmos is really a collection of stories from the soul, and I was thrilled and relieved to see it flourish. So much so, that it came out and sold out within 9 months! The reprint of Cosmos will his shelves this year, so keep an eye out..
Speaking of reprints, in summer Njálla sold out of 250 copies in just over a year and another run went to print! Thank you so much to everyone who has bought my books, read my stories and kept the magic alive.
It hasn’t all been joy and butterflies, though. 2017 saw pain in my personal life and the birth of Self-Care & Vegetables, a zine about the aftermath of a break-up in real terms. It was a difficult project to work on, mainly from opening up in such an honest way, but the zine has done really well and I’m glad to have put it out there. That Comic Smell have recently put up a podcast talking about Self-Care & Vegetables and discussing it’s honesty. Check it out here, about 45 minutes in. Other shout-outs to campaigners of small press go to Pipedream Comics who featured me in their Pull List, A Place to Hang Your Cape for interviewing me, and of course, Broken Frontier for their continued support – including this time last year winning the Breakout Talent Award for 2016.
Another huge honour this year was being included in The Cartoon Museum‘s Inking Woman Exhibition, featuring past and present women comic artists and cartoonists in the first exhibition of it’s kind. It was a superb exhibition and a huge honour to be a part of. I also created a print for Emily B Owen’s Brain Shoodles launch, which has gone on to sell independently to raise funds for 42nd Street Manchester, a charity which works with young people experiencing mental health difficulties.
Finally, I sold work at seven comic shows around the UK last year. Seven! No wonder I’ve been feeling tired.. I even went to a comic art show as a punter for the first time in longer than I care to admit, and a pretty fantastic show it was.
2017 was also a year of experimenting with my work, from digital illustration to lino printing I had fun with it all, and it’s set me up for another year of creating things in new and interesting ways. I learnt a lot in ’17, and although it was definitely challenging and character-building at times, I feel stronger and more passionately about things than I have for a long time. And a lot of that is down to you – you, who reads my blogs, purchases my comics and listens to my words. Without an audience I’d have nothing, so here is a gigantic thank you and Happy New Year to each and every one of you who has ever taken the time to look at my books and/or art. You’re all marvellous.
And on that note, I wish you a farewell for now. I’m going to continue to reflect on this all whilst examining the inside of my eyelids, and be back with you soon to see how 2018’s shaping up. Until next time!
So, Christmas is busy huh? I guess I shouldn’t be quite so brazenly surprised that I’m struggling to find time to work on comics projects – after all we moved into our new home less than a month ago, and most of my spare time has been happily rediscovering the fun of a sewing machine whilst running up cushions and curtains galore. Only yesterday evening was I crawling around the floor with a roll of calico cutting out boot shapes for a set of Christmas stockings. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love working with my hands and some fabric, but my list of to-do’s for Christmas make me a little sad for the lack of drawing time I get. However, there will be time, and soon I need to hot-tail it to finish up the reprint of Cosmos & Other Stories coming in early 2018 – so that’ll stop me missing comics when I’m working to deadline!
I did get a chance to brush off my brushes this weekend and paint something up just for the sake of it:
I’ve missed working with paint, and I’d almost thought I’d forgotten how to do it (which would’ve been super awkward, considering most of my work relies on some intense paintwork). Thankfully it all came flowing back – and it’s always nice to make something from the heart! Christmas and getting ready for the season has the tendency to make us all reflect on those who aren’t here to share it with us. So, I wanted to make something to reflect that feeling of knowing a loved one may not be around anymore, but is still with us in spirit. Slap my knee and call soppy, it was still nice to do regardless of the sads involved.
In other more happy/panicked news, last posting dates are ebbing closer for my Etsy store! Have a look:
UK: Wednesday 20th December
Most of Europe: Thursday 14th December
Most of the rest of the World: Saturday 9th December (already passed, yikes!)
I will still be posting out orders as quickly as I can when they come in, so get in quick if you want to grab a copy in time for the holiday! Visit my store on Etsy here.
Anyhow, I’d better get back to my beautiful machine and that stack of material and curtain tape I have looming in the corner. Hard to resist, huh? I shall be back soon with more when everything settles down – I promise! Until next time, peace out.
It’s been a little while, huh? Apparently my limits of multitasking are, a) starting a new, demanding day job and b) moving home… again. Hopefully, this time moving has been for good, and we have been hard at work for the past fortnight to make our home everything we have ever hoped for. For the first time in too long I have a peaceful space to call my own, and a working space that is nice and far away from where I sleep. I have a list of things to work up to before the new year, and 2018 is going to be more exciting than ever..
I’m so happy to be re-releasing Cosmos & Other Stories in early 2018 with Good Comics, complete with a bonus story – so keep your eyes peeled for more information on that in due course! The online stores are now totally sold out, but you can possibly still pick up a first print edition of Cosmos at a few stories in the UK: Orbital in London, Dave’s Comics in Brighton, Gnash Comics in Ashburton and the Travelling Man stores – if you’re after one in time for Christmas it’s worth giving those stores a call.
In other news, I haven’t had much time to do any work, let alone write a blog about how little comics’ work I’ve done. I have, however, managed to throw all of my inktober pieces together into an animation, so check that out below:
It’s a bit rudimentary, but it’s really nice to see it all in motion as I imagined it. Inktober feels like only yesterday yet also forever ago since I sketched my fox and butterfly pals. In my drawing hiatus (thanks to all my belongings being packed in boxes for at least two weeks) I have however excelled in cushion cover making and even made my first pair of curtains last week. AND a net curtain! Possibly not as exciting to you all, but I promise it’s been every bit the roller-coaster and incredibly satisfying. Almost as satisfying as taking down the visually abhorrent curtains that were here when we moved in… but that’s a story for another day. Blergh.
Anyway! Keep your eyes peeled as I endeavour to be back next week with something more to show you. Until then, have a picture of my new squirrel friend and the beach that’s a 10-minute walk from home. Peace out!