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.
…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.
Crikey, it’s mid-July already. It’ll be Christmas before we know it. It’s been busy as ever over the past four weeks, with my first ever keynote speech done and dusted, another comics’ fair under my belt and a short zine lovingly crafted, printed, stapled and bound in my own living room. But, I’ve still had time to enjoy the summer months down in Bournemouth with plenty of swimming in the sea and running around on the beach! Here are the highlights:
Since last time:
I attended and spoke at the International Graphic Novel and Comics’ Conference
My sketchbook for codename: The Biggest One Yet (TBOY) is becoming plumper still
I tabled at the South London Comic & Zine Fair with Good Comics
Sam and I made a new zine together
I was accepted into Bristol Comic & Zine Fair in October – woo!
And, I picked up an old car called Billie. Road trips!
First up, the International Graphic Novel & Comics Conference (IGNCC) was a blast. Julia and the other organisers did a wonderful job, and once I’d stopped shaking from my speech, I had a fantastic time listening to other people present their papers and keynote speeches, all on varying subjects within the field of comics. Having studied illustration at university I’m fairly well rehearsed in listening to comics’ being talked about in depth in such a way, but it was still such a powerful, inspiring experience to hear about so many subjects within a few days.
Mid-speech at the IGNCC
Sadly I did miss a few things I really wanted to see; Woodrow Phoenix’ exhibition and talk on She Liveswould have been spectacular (but the downside of a new car was the pre-booked MOT taking up valuable conference time…). But overall it was an excellent few days! Thank you so much to the whole IGNCC team for hosting such a great event – and right on my doorstep too.
Next up, I spent this last Saturday in the overly muggy climates of Croydon, at the South London Comic & Zine Fair (SLCZF)! Between Paddy, Sam and myself we managed to eat a Caribbean feast whilst selling comics and zines to the throngs of people strolling past our table. Although, the heat did seem to affect my brain so my apologies to anyone who felt like they were talking to a spongy wall – that was just me!
The Hathaway Corner
For SLCZF, Sam and I decided to make a little hand-printed zine together as we haven’t had the chance to make one before. As Sam is a parent, we have split custody and both work full-time jobs, the time we actually have alone together is precious. Before I relocated to the coast and we were long-distance, we had a sketchbook that we posted back and forth to each other with all the things we’d like to do together when we finally lived in the same place, and this new zine felt like an extension of that idea, and finding peace in the time we get which is truly ours.
We hand-picked some G. F Smith paper and printed it all up on my laser printer, then Sam stapled and trimmed each one by hand. You can pick one up from my Etsy store for £2 plus postage! And yes, the cover is one example of me balancing things on Sam’s head whilst he sleeps.
Finally, my sketchbook is still well underway for my new project under the codename The Biggest One Yet (TBOY). Although with the conference and the zine I’m a little behind, you can still find all my progress over on Patreon. I also have another project coming up which will be really exciting, so sign up now before you miss anything.
And that’s about it for now! Me and Billie the car will be planning our next research adventure… watch this space.
But, don’t despair. I have plenty of illustration-led projects in the pipeline and I’m gently nurturing the beginnings of some ideas for future comic projects, so me and my ramblings aren’t going anywhere!
In other exciting news, I’ve stocked up on some more postcards for selling at events and online! A little while ago I sold some postcard packs on my Etsy store and they sold straight away, so in the coming week or so I’ll have a fresh pack going up including these five designs! So keep an eye out…
Indie creator Rozi Hathaway is back for more on AP2HYC with her latest offering Cosmos & Other Stories. Those of us fortunate enough to have read her previous entry here, Ø, will know that Hathaway is more than capable of bringing out the lonely 11-year old inside all of us, and her newest book is no exception. The story is a collection of comic vignettes that run the gambit of human loss and anxiety before leaving the reader on an uplifting note about seeking the wonderful things that exist in the world.
This review sits nicely next to AP2HYP’s coverage of Ø, which went up on the site last month. Thanks guys! Don’t forget, you can still pick up all my titles over on the ol’ Etsy store, and at selected small-press friendly stores around the UK.
And that rounds it up for now! Keep an eye out next week for the release of the new Dirty Rotten Comics… I might even show you some pictures of my comic in it’s colourful glory.
So, another week has vanished and it’s now almost December. When did that happen? All these Christmas adverts keep coming out and all I can think about is how I’m pretty sure it was October last time I looked.. Apparently not. It seems to be getting much gloomier day by day, and Manchester is living up to it’s stereotype of raining all the time – which would make you think that I’d managed to buy an umbrella by now instead of getting rained on all the time. Ha. Well. Maybe tomorrow.
A few weeks ago when I first moved up here I was doing some scooting around, looking for different creative endeavours I could get stuck into. Low & behold I re-stumbled across the Salford Zine Libary, who describe themselves as “a unique archive of self published materials, currently housed at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street in Manchester. It seeks to preserve and provide access to zines from around the world, as well as promoting zines and DIY culture through workshops, exhibitions and other events“. They had a call for submissions up for a Penpals themed mail-art exhibition, so in the blues-infested week of getting back from Thought Bubble when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I wrote a little love story on an envelope and sent it off! I haven’t managed to get down to the Zine Library yet to see if my work has been selected to be up, but I’ll be getting down there as soon as possible to check it out. The exhibition runs until the end of the month, so if you’re in the area you should pop down and check it out!
Next up, I also spent some time in the recent weeks on a guest strip for Alan Henderson’s Penned Guins, which is his daily comic strip full of dad jokes, bad jokes and everything in between. There have been a few guest appearances in the past, most recently from my good friend of Good Comics, Samuel C. Williams. It took a while to single out a particular pun, but in the end I went with this one.. Which went up on Sunday 13th November!
Ha.. Penguins. What lovable oafs. It was an absolute pleasure to be a guest on Alan’s Penned Guins, and if you want to keep up with the comics you can keep up with them on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. There’s a lot to be said for being able to smile at daily gag strips, and I highly recommend you supplement your diet with them.
In other news, if you’ve been on Broken Frontier‘s Facebook or Twitter this week, you may have noticed that a guest piece I wrote for State of the Small Press Nation went up on the site! Andy Oliver kindly asked me whether I wanted to write an article a while back, to which is gratefully agreed and then took way longer than I should’ve done to actually get it back to him. Better late than never, my journey into small press is now up on Broken Frontier’s site, and you can read the article here. It was a bit strange to go back through my old blogs and pick out the highs and lows of my journey into comics, but hopefully my ramblings come of some use to someone.
Probably not, but you never know.
And finally! If you follow me on the array of socialmediachannels then you may have noticed that I’ve released my 2016 Christmas card design! I opted for a more subtle, wintery design this year with the hare and the moon, with the card being available to buy on my Etsy store along with last year’s Christmas robin design, and all the usual comicy suspects. Postage for UK orders runs right up until mid-December, so have a gander and order early to make sure you’re not disappointed!
Anyway, that’s about it for now! I’ll be back as usual next week with more progress on my short stories due for release with Good Comics next year. Until then, I hope you all have a good week – and if you’re in England, keep dry, yeah?
So, apparently summer has arrived here in England; pondering over what that burning ball of light is in the sky? Yep, that’s sunshine! As ever, it’s been a pretty busy week over here at HQ. Between prepping, planning, painting, photographing and the odd Pokémon Go-ing, another week has flown by. On Friday I took the day to hop skip and jump over to Birmingham, with my first call being to pop into see the lovely folks at Nostalgia & Comics to drop off some copies of Njálla. On sale for £8 you can also get your hands on some remaining copies of The Red Road there too (priced at £5), amongst some very talented company in the comics of Jessica Martin, Sammy Borras and the new sell-out-and-reprinted success of Joe Krakec and Angus Medford’s Blood Vol.1.
My main objective for the day in Birmingham however was to start taking photos in an effort to revamp my Etsy store! As a soon-to-be-graduate moving to the opposite end of the country in four months time, funds are on lock-down until I can start earning some money – so having a professionally lit place to take photos in my home is not feasible right now. Thankfully I’m incredibly lucky to have independent business owners as parents who DO have a professionally lit place to take photos, and they let me use their set-up and camera! Check out these excellent new photos:
It’s immediately clear that this is very skilfully constructed. Early on, a speech bubble is draped across two panels like a sound bridge, the way overlapping dialogue in a film can be used to establish a connection between two shots or scenes. Cinematic is an overused term, but undeniably one which applies here. This is not just because of Hathaway’s tendency towards full-width panels, but also as a result of the visual language used to connect them, and the utterly convincing lighting that she creates.
There’s nothing quite like a lovely review to warm the soul – thanks so much, Pete!
Moving away from the world of comics, as promised last week I finished up the illustrated maps I was hinting at, and I’ve been posting them over on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram in the latter part of last week. If you’re subscribed to updates you’ll have been sent the post already, but if not.. Let there be maps!
You can read all about the Maps over here on the main article, but the basis behind wanting to do these is from my travels last year. As you all know, Njálla was the ultimate take-away from the backpacking adventure my partner and I had in August 2015, but there was so much more to that trip which I haven’t had the time to work on until now. These three maps are just the beginning, with this ongoing personal project continuing as and when I have the time – with Bergen, Malmö, Aarhus and Gothenburg still to go. Keep an eye out for the rest of the cities appearing throughout the year!
I think that’s about it for now. I have a residency proposal and four submissions to work on in the coming month, as well as illustrations here there and everywhere, so it’s all continuing at full steam ahead! Have a good week everyone, and send positive thoughts my way for graduation on Friday. Until next week!
So, it appears February has arrived, as has the week of my NN Residency alongside my fellow students from the University of Northampton. I shall be taking a break from all comic and other projects business to create my tent/lavvu, and then proceed to hide in it when times of extreme stress arise. As of today, we’re collectively gracing Northampton town centre with our talents and wit at the NN contemporary project space and gallery on Guildhall Road. Different things are going on each day, and if you’re local to the area you should definitely pop round and pay us all a visit.
As I’m in all day tomorrow, I’ve taken some time to make sure I get the basics of my structure prepared today to avoid any unsightly setbacks.. As, you know, I’ve never made a Sámi lavvu before. I know what you’re thinking: who HASN’T made a lavvu?! Although I may well be behind the times I’m using my highly refined organisational skills and coloured markers to be able to recreate the structure in situ at the project space tomorrow, and have my measurements and calculations ready to cut out my fabric for the inner and outer shell. Exciting! Although I mentioned it before, thanks to my wonderful parents for collecting sticks out of their garden for me and helping with the fabric, otherwise I may have been arrested by now for chopping off branches at the local park with a bread knife.
As I mentioned last week, this lavvu I’m creating is related to my upcoming comic release, so far with the name under-wraps and being referred to solely as The Next Big Thing (not in an egotistical way, in a ‘this is MY next big thing to come out’ way, just to clarify that I’m not an uppity plonker). Progress has been going well, and with my schedule set for the next two months I’ll be drawing at least 4 pages per week alongside other final projects for my degree. Busy, busy! I completed my six prelude pages last week and later on today I’ll be continuing progress on pages 7-10, with the hope of making a head start on the next four too. Things are really starting to get moving, and in the coming weeks I’ll be announcing my fundraising campaign for the project!
I’m not sure how aware people are or not, but smaller print runs are cheaper initially, but in the long term far more expensive than getting a bigger print run to begin with. For The Red Road I tentatively printed 100 and ran out in 9 months, meaning my costs were far more than they needed to be – whoops! This time, I’m learning from my errors and planning to create The Next Big Thing in a print run of 250 copies. Unfortunately for me, it’s going to be a rather expensive venture, and after some umm-ing and ahh-ing I decided my best course of action is to crowd-fund the total online. This means I’ll be offering not only an option for the book, but also prints, originals and other limited edition goodies that won’t be available after the release in Spring/Summer of this year. So, keep an eye out for my announcement on this soooon… On here, on Facebook, Twitter, all the usual channels!
Finally, in very exciting news Down to Your Skivvies Issue #2 has been printed and is almost ready to go! In case you missed it last week, DTYS is being launched this coming Saturday 6th February at the NN Project Space from 4-6pm in Northampton, so come on down and say hello if you’re out and about! This issue is all about writing, writers and the arts, and we have some very special work in there including an interview from a lovely talented gentleman and a short story from a skilled friend of mine currently studying in Liverpool. Crossing the north/south divide one zine at a time! Here’s a sneaky view of the pile of paper I have yet to fold and staple, with the front cover and font designed by yours truly. DTYS #2 will be available to purchase online from Monday 8th February from both Zara’s and my online Etsy shops.
I think that’s about it for now! I’d best get back to my fabric trimming business, which is quite a nice change from the usual work of being stooped over a desk for hours on end. Now I’m stooped over fabric, huzzah! I shall be back next week with more updates from The Next Big Thing and some lovely launch photos from Saturday afternoon at Skivvies. And hopefully a successful lavvu! Until next time..
Well, it felt as if this week would never come, but here it is! Just one more presentation at University to go, and the second year of lectures will be over. Sure, there will be some work to do over Easter to improve some assignment work, but no more caffeine-chugging sessions of working 12 hours a day! Well. For a little while, anyway.
This past week has seen the completion of the first ever zine I’ve worked on! Zara Ward, Kamala Roberts and myself created Down to your Skivvies as a part of a University assignment that we’re hoping can be carried forward and continued over summer and into next year! This first issue we’ve looked at celebrating women in illustration and the arts, and touched upon areas of feminism and understanding what it is to be feminist. We have interviews, an article, our own work and also our first submission coming from a first year illustration student. Below is a picture of the zine, and also of the interview I did with Hannah Berry – unfortunately my interview with Hannah was conducted over email so I had to rely on my imagination of how our interview would look if we were face to face. We both agreed that there would be balloons.
The zine will be available for sale shortly via my Etsy site, for three whole Great British pounds sterling. Which, when you think about it, is pretty good for 28 pages of content printed with love*. I shall keep you all posted with when the zine goes up for sale online.
* more like, with increased anger at how the University printers are absolutely, ridiculously awful and drive me insane.
In more zine related news, I’m very happy to have finished my one-page black and white comic for Keara Stewart! I’ve been referring to this project as a zine for a little while as my heads been buried in projects galore, but due to all the interest Keara is making it an anthology – how EXCITING! I’m absolutely honoured to have been asked to contribute, and I had a lot of fun creating my piece for Keara. I believe there will be some Broken Frontier coverage coming up before the anthology is released, so keep your peepers open! Naturally, I’ll allow a little sneak preview….
Also, in the world of fairness, I found out last week that I was unfortunately unsuccessful for my application for ELCAF, the East London Comics Arts Festival in June. You can’t win them all, sadly, and although I was really looking forward to this one, they received over 400 applications and only had about 70 tables, so I’m not taking it personally! This morning, however, I received an email from Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds in November saying I’ve been successful. YAAAAY!! Thought Bubble has to be one of the biggest of the comic art festivals in the UK, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to have a nice half table selling my work! This makes for MancsterCon in August, and Leeds in November, so I’m just waiting to hear back about Alternative Press TAKEOVER 2015 in London, in May! Busy busy busy. I’m really excited to meet some of my idols and acquaintances I’ve made over the past few months, so once I’m back off holiday I’ll be making up my Game Plan for summer 2015. Work Hard / Eat Biscuits Hard. Am I right?
Speaking of holiday, this time next week I’ll be sliding down the French Alps face-first with my snowboard in the air (woooohoo!), so I will be unable to grace you all with my presence. Rest assured, I will be waffling away on my return, and I’ve taken extra precautions this time and have invested in some uncomfortable wrist guards to fit under my snowboard gloves so I don’t damage my hands in any way whilst falling on my bum every 5 minutes. I’m confident that some fresh mountain air and some Jägermeister will rejuvenate the ol’ brain cells, plus people keep saying that relaxing is.. good? What is this ‘relaxing’, thing.. PFFT. I’ll give it a whirl, anyway!
For now, I wish you all a happy Easter! I hope you all manage to have successful egg hunts in the garden whilst trying to chase the dog. Oh wait, that’s just my family?
So, the turkey has run out and the mince pies are slowly vanishing, and Christmas is well and truly over. Next stop, New Year! This strange void between Christmas and New Year seems to be a time of self reflection, and particularly for myself, looking back at the last couple of years brings me to a rather scary cross-roads. 2012 was the year I succeeded in getting accepted into University, 2013 I had my first exhibition in Northampton and spent 6-months working on HOAX: Psychosis Blues, and in 2014 HOAX: Psychosis Blues was launched alongside the theatre show and signings in both Manchester and London. As I sit here looking back, I can’t help but feel a little anxious as to what 2015 will bring. Will I continue to charge ahead and find a way to successfully launch my own comic? Or will I fall at the first hurdle? An analytical and creative career such as illustration has the ability to make you feel constantly on edge. Whilst having a yearly catch up with my dear friend Katie earlier, we discussed the cross-roads of being in our mid-twenties and where to head next. Really, this is a crucial time. Crucial, exciting, and terrifying. Ahhhh!
Anyway, on a lighter note, a promised post with more of an update than my last. This festive season I offered to design my parents Christmas cards based around their passion for the dog breed, English Bull Terriers. They’ve rescued two from unhappy homes in the past, most recently Jack the Dog who seems to be oddly comfortable in almost any sleeping position possible. So, I decided to use a clean line drawing with limited colour, mainly to save on printing costs as I added colour by hand afterwards. They seemed very happy with the cards and I’ve had a few compliments since, so I figure it was a success! And from that, and making my own Christmas cards year sent out to family and friends, I will be looking at selling cards online in the foreseeable future, by summer at the latest and going forward. Yippee! The card designs are pictured below;
I think one thing I’m definitely aiming for in the coming 12 months is a larger online presence, point and example being an online shop. In Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier‘s eternal wisdom (in this article – How *Do* I Get Coverage for My Self-Published Comic?), to have reviews you need a website, and a place for people to BUY your work from. So whether I’ll build something through this website or whether I use Etsy, I have some important logistical decisions to make when I return back to Rozi HQ. Another thing I’m considering is how to publish my comic, whether to sit at the uni laser printers for hours on end to keep costs down, or to go to a printers and have my work professionally printed. Though, with that costing an arm and a leg, something like Kickstarter may be my only choice. In other words, I have a lot of thinking to do. Maybe I should have another slice of Christmas cake first, though..
In the past month or so I’ve also been making personalised Christmas gifts for friends, which has included painting on mugs which is something new! Looking at Isabel Greenberg’s ceramics, this is definitely something I could get on board with, as they really do make nice gifts. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the mugs, or the mini-comic pages I made, but I have plenty of ideas for upcoming items to sell. Anywho, I believe that’s it for now. The fire is crackling away and the dog is snoring, how peaceful! To all my marvellous readers, I hope you all had a wonderful festive time and a marvellous New Year! Here’s to 2015! x