January Blues

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s now practically mid-January, and I’m sure we can all agree that it’s rather grey out there. It barely gets light up here in the Arctic North of Greater Manchester, and most days turn a bit soggy due to a whole bunch of downpours that seem to happen more regularly than the normal Manchester downpours that the North West is so well known for. But y’know, keeps us all on our damp toes.

Aside from the excitement of varying temperatures and yet more rain, something pretty incredible happened. I was somehow voted as the winner of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016! I was, and still am, incredibly honoured and blown away that enough of you voted for me to take away such a title, so THANK YOU to everyone who voted. I was absolutely sure Jade would win it, so imagine my surprise! This is what Andy Oliver had to say:

As ever, the Breakout Talent Award took the most public votes and was our fiercest fought category. This one is always a close-run thing but this year it perhaps fittingly went to Rozi Hathaway, one of the artists from our first 2015 ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch‘ coverage. Hathaway had a phenomenal year in 2016, becoming one of the most well-known new faces on the UK small press scene and self-publishing two acclaimed solo books. They included Njálla which gained high praise from no less than Warren Ellis himself who described it as “a remarkably pure piece of fabulist storytelling”.”

Huge congratulations to all the other award winners and to the nominees, it really was a whole bunch of amazingly talented people this year. You’re all the bomb.

Aside from that bomb-shell I’ve been working on a couple of different projects, first up being another comic for my collection of short stories being released with Good Comics in the coming months. I’ve mentioned before how much of a challenge short stories can be, but I’m really enjoying the depth of storytelling I can try and portray in such a short space. It’s super fun. You guys are all missing out, really. Here’s a sneaky-peek of another compete story, this time a two-pager!

I still have the words to do to go into this one, but for the most part that’s another one done. Hurrah! I still haven’t decided how many more stories I’m going to do, but the next one I’m currently still writing is a most likely going to be the longest one of the book, so that should take me a good long while to draw. To bridge the gap I’m continuing work on my entry for the third volume of Good Comics’ Dead Singer’s Society zine. I’ve had a bit of a palaver with this one, with my first efforts going firmly in the bin. But alas, I have picked a different musician and it’s going okay so far…. Have a peek!

I’ve been working a lot with pinks and purples recently, as well as a lot of blues and turquoises in Njálla and Ø, so I decided to go way out there and try some greens instead. I’m currently really enjoying the ‘old photo’ style colour palette with those green/yellow hues and browns thrown in there. So hopefully it works well! The call for submissions finishes up this Sunday, so get your comics in whilst you can! Check out the rules here, and get cracking.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! I have plenty to keep me occupied over the next week or so, and I will be back as always next week.. Now with my ‘Breakout Talent’ crown adorning my noggin, reminding me to keep on trucking even through the “I want to throw this in the bin” moments of life. Until next time, peace out.

 

x

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Hello, 2017.

Happy New Year!

So, it’s 2017. When did that happen? Somewhere between drinking prosecco in my sweatpants and hearing some fireworks going off outside, probably.. Not my most glamorous moment truth be told, but after the year I’ve had I opted to start the year as I mean to go on; no no, not drinking in lounge-wear (though I can definitely get behind that) but taking things a little slower. Maaaaybe.

And 2017 has started with a bang, as Njálla has been voted as one of ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ from 2016 by Broken Frontier! I’m incredibly honoured as 2016 saw a lot of fantastic releases from small press creators, and as Andy Oliver states in the article it is by no means a be-all-and-end-all of small press in the UK. I’m especially moved as the now out-of-print The Red Road was featured as one of the ten in 2015’s end of year review also, meaning I’ve now set a precedence with myself to keep going and keep making more. Oh, well, if you insist..

The release of Njálla back in June feels like a short lifetime ago, and I’m incredibly grateful to be one of the luck ten picked. Go us! You can read the full article here at Broken Frontier, and also check out previous year’s articles from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

With this wonderful news and that general new year feeling I’ve been contemplating last year’s achievements, most of which were listed in my reflections blog last week, and I have a good feeling about 2017 and what’s to come. As you can see from this handy diagram below I was RATHER busy with my own publishing endeavours as well as a lovely bunch of successful submissions for some great titles, including the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 and Dirty Rotten Comics #8.

But, 2017.. Well! It’s off to a busy start already. The call for submissions for the third Dead Singer’s Society from Good Comics is still open and will be until Sunday 15th January, so there there is still time to get something in for this third collection of music related comics, illustrations and essays. As stated in their call for submissions, there is a maximum of two pages per contributor, so it’s nothing too daunting. I’ve been scribbling away to make sure I get something done in time, though my first efforts have firmly gone in the bin so I’ll be starting from scratch this week.

Call for Submissions for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine!

Also, I’ve been working away on my fourth short story for the upcoming collection that’s being published through those Good Comics fellows! With this collection of stories taking root (Ha.. get it? Trees? Roots?) from the power of environment alongside feelings of love, loss and loneliness it’s been a far more all-encompassing task than I initially imagined. But, it’s going to be good. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on with exploring panels and borders:

Short stories are definitely challenging in their own right, but there’s something more poetic about them versus longer storytelling – not that I’m exactly an expert on longer form narratives, mind you. With abstract shapes and  a sense of movement through time similar to how I approached The Red Road, it’s an exciting challenge to be working on this and definitely something that a whole lot of my soul is going into. I’ll be sharing sneak peeks and progress as the weeks go on, so do keep an eye out for that and the lead up to this collection’s release in Spring.

And that’s where I leave you at! Until next time, keep finishing off those mince pies and cake, because err.. they don’t keep. And it’s a shame to waste those festive leftovers.

 

x

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Festivities

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s almost Christmas! With being ill on and off for what feels like weeks, it’s been a little longer between updates than I’d have liked! But with this lingering lurgy and working my new job, this extra week has given me some time to catch up before delighting you all with what I’ve been working on. So, low and behold, I’m back for my yearly pre-Christmas update! Last year I was in the depths of third year university stresses, so I’m definitely feeling more zen this year.. Still, as always I’m longing for my mum’s Christmas dinner skills and eating my body-weight in meat and potato which will be greatly appreciated in three days time.

Still, although my day-job Christmas holiday has started I’m still working away on my comics for the upcoming 2017 collection of short stories I’m releasing with British micro-publisher Good Comics! It’s been challenging to juggle a new full-time work schedule and commute with working on comics, but it’s all an adjustment period that I’m slowly refining. Hopefully, with another week and a half of time off I’ll make a nice dent in the rest of my writing and plotting for my remaining stories so that I have a couple of months to get everything drawn ready for it’s plotted release of mid-late March. The comic I’ve been hinting at for the past few updates has been painted up and is very, very near completion! Have a gander at some snippets:

 

I may or may not have said this before in the last few updates, but I’ve spent a lot, lot longer refining this 4-pager than any comic I’ve worked on before, hopefully making it the best thing I’ve done yet. Now just to keep up the pace with the rest of the short stories!

Speaking of Good Comics, did you know I’m tabling with those charming gents at Cheltenham’s True Believer’s Festival on Saturday 4th February? It’s sometimes hard to forget that the beginning of February is not that long away when it’s not yet Christmas.. But don’t forget that long, dark and cold January does eventually pass and True Believer’s will be here before we know it! You can find out all about the event from the website , or from the Facebook event page and tickets are on sale now! Good Comics did a short interview with True Believers too, and you can read that here.

The third volume of Good Comics Dead Singer’s Society will also be released at True Believers, and there’s still time to submit! What better things could there be to do than to draw your favourite singer of the past over Christmas whilst the family are in a food induced coma on the sofa in front of Shrek? I’ll be mulling over who my next piece will be about after my successful entries of Muddy Waters and Nina Simone in the previous anthologies.

CHECK OUT THE VOL. 3 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS HERE!

In other news, in case you missed it, a piece of mine has been published on the back of the latest Barnstromer Comics Star Jaws Issue #12! Robin kindly asked me if I’d like to get involved earlier this year, to which I jumped at the chance and my Boba Fett piece sits firmly on the back of the newest issue. Star Jaws Issue #12 is available to read for free online. Star Jaws, as you may guess from the title, is based loosely around the Star Wars universe but with some new faces and different stories. It’s an entertaining read, and you can read all of them for free from the very beginning here. A Christmas Carol on again? There you go – new reading material.

Finally, voting has now ended for the Broken Frontier Awards 2016. Thank you to everyone who voted for me for the Breakout Talent Award, and thank you to those who had every intention to but accidentally forgot, because lets face it – it’s a busy time of the year.. Results are announced on 5th January so I will be nervously awaiting to see what happens..

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful festive time whatever you’re celebrating, eat large quantities and be merry! I shall be back next week with the yearly round-up of what I’ve accomplished, and look back at the highs and lows of the year. It won’t be quite as moving as Google’s effort, but hey.. I’ll do my best. Until then, season’s greetings to you all!

 

x

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Merry and Bright

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

So, it’s very nearly December and even the bah humbug’s amongst us have realised that Christmas is almost upon us. I’ve had my first mulled wine of the year at the European markets here in Albert Square, whilst shoehorned into a corner amongst the Mancunian masses. There’s nothing quite like being uncomfortably sandwiched in between drunk strangers whilst trying to buy a bratwurst – that’s what Christmas is all about, right?

In some exciting news, the mail art I created for the Salford Zine Library‘s PENPAL exhibition that I mentioned last week is up on display! I popped to the Nexus Art Cafe last week to check it out for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my work there, alongside Alex Hahn‘s (Blop creator and continued Sneaky Business friend) submission too.

How cosy! Having never been to the Nexus Art Cafe before it was a really nice little cosy corner to find in the middle of the Northern Quarter, and I’ll definitely be heading back soon. It’s also conveniently right next to Manchester’s Travelling Man store! Although I didn’t manage to get any photos, Travelling Man Manchester now also has glittery copies of Ø alongside copies of Njálla and Sneaky Business vol. 2. So, pop on down and check out their selection of small press and mainstream comics if you’re in the area, then pop your feet up and read your new purchases in the Nexus Art Cafe next door. Perfect!

In other news, work has continued on the short stories collections I’ll be releasing in the Spring with Good Comics. After the year or more I’ve had of constantly creating something for either a submission or self-publishing, by the time I got to Thought Bubble at the beginning of this month I was all ready to take a long nap through winter and worry about creating something new in the new year. However, my brain doesn’t seem to shut off, and I got so excited at the thought of working alongside those Good Comics chaps that I’ve just been tackling this new collection story by story, piece by piece. I’m not sure how other people go about writing a collection of short stories, but aside from the ones I’ve written and am currently working on, I have no idea what the other ones will be yet. I think my brain currently only has space for one short story at a time, so I’m going with the flow and working hard to make this collection the best thing I’ve ever done, one bit at a time!

Honestly, there’s some bad habits I’ve gotten into in the past – mainly when feeling a bit rushed – in that I don’t refine my sketches enough or I don’t spend enough time working on poses and postures to make sure they’re absolutely correct. I guess it doesn’t help that I get a bit impatient at times, excited to move onto the next stage. But this time I’m actively making sure that all my pencil work is 100% before moving onto inking and painting, and I’m treating each short story the same way I treated Njálla – working on practice colours and tones, playing with size and composition, and trying to push my work to the next level.

It’s made for a lot of redrawing early on, and a lot of refining, but it’s only going to make everything I’m working on now stronger than anything before. It wouldn’t be right to be completely shroud my work in a veil of secrecy, so above are some sneaky shots on some of the things I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks! It’s going to be interesting to complete each comic I’ve worked so hard on and not be able to show anyone for such a long time, but all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Speaking of hard work, the speed at which I’ll be bashing out work will be decreasing shortly as I’ve finally rejoined the land of the working masses with a new job in the city! So, I hope you all haven’t gotten used to the amount of consistent work I’ve been making for the past 3+ years, as you and I are both going to be in for a bit of a shock. But, change is good and I’m excited. Hopefully this’ll also mean I’ll be far more efficient when I do get back to work on my comics… Instead of web-window shopping and getting lost down the research rabbit holes of the internet.

And, that’s where I leave you all for now! I shall be back next week with more progression news and some other bits and bobs, but until then have a good week everyone.

 

x

 

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Short Days, Short Stories

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, another week has passed and I’m bordering on just about being over my post-Thought Bubble blues. In fairness, it was one of the best weekends of my comic creating existence so I think I’m allowed to mope around for a little longer. But I should probably look at cheering up sometime soon, y’know, for sanity’s sake. I have, however, been a busy little worker bee up here and have plenty of things to catch you all up on, so put your feet up and carry on reading..

In some cheerful news, Ø has been reviewed! Big thanks to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier for saying some really nice things about my work – as always – with the highlight of the review being the opening statement: “You would think – given that she was one of our inaugural Broken Frontier ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch’ – that Rozi Hathaway would have made life easier for me with the name of her new comic. The work in question is called, simply, Ø. A title which made it less than easy to give a shout-out to when I was asked to point out a Thought Bubble debut comic by one of our ‘Six to Watch’ artists on the ‘Gosh! Comics Best Thing I Read this Year’ panel in Leeds last weekend.”

Whoops. Sorry Andy! Read the full review here or click the picture below!

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Ø has been getting some great feedback so far, and I’m so thankful to everyone picking up a copy online! Don’t forget it’s still available over on Etsy, and as we’re getting to that time of year.. *whispers* this and Sneaky Business Vol. 2 would make excellent stocking fillers!

In some other equally cheerful and very awesome news.. I am very excited to announce that the charming gentlemen trio of Good Comics will be publishing my next book! I’m not going to let on too much (you all know by now that I enjoy my shroud of secrecy and sneaky peeks all too much), but it will be a collection of short stories and it’ll be coming out around Springtime.. Ish. I don’t like to leave you all completely hanging in suspense, so here’s a couple of things I’ve been working on towards the final collection, with more to come in the next month or so. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but I’m really excited on what I have so far, and I can’t wait to work with the guys, push my work to the next level and make something marvellous. Here’s a peek!

Good Comics already have a really impressive repertoire of work by the founders themselves Samuel C. Williams (At War with Yourself published by Singing Dragon), Paddy Johnston (Long Divisions, Ballgame) and Pete Hindle (Really Pricey Jumpers) as well as a handful of other titles, given they’ve only really been established for the past year. Recent releases have included the highly regarded diary comics collection Every Life I Ever Lived: Volume One by Robin William Scott, Tales From the Nonniverse #1 by Faye Spencer and Chickenboy by James Howard, as well as their regular zine Dead Singer’s Society (featuring both my Muddy Waters illustration and Nina Simone comic). So yes, they’re rather cool aren’t they?

Thankfully they took pity on me and decided to publish my next comic, so it’s all thoughts to paper right now whilst I build up a collection of short, heartfelt and moving stories that sit together both as a continual narrative and their own standalone tales. So, watch this space!

Finally, in a far less thought-provoking and intense venture, for the past few weeks I’ve started taking on the weekly set Twitter challenge of the Colour Collective! Rebecca Bagley first brought this to my attention when I was swooning at her work on Twitter and Instagram, and after talking to her about it at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair I decided it was in my best interests to give it a whirl myself! Just to draw something, anything as long as it’s with a specific colour has definitely been a challenge (with some of them being far better than other week’s attempts..), but it’s good to get the ol’ brain working on something that isn’t a comic. Here they are, the good and the bad! Keep up with the #colour_collective hashtag on Twitter to see everyone’s amazing work, and see mine posted both there and on my Facebook page every Friday evening.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I shall be back as ever next week with more gossip, so keep your eyes out for that. Until then, have a good week everyone and send me warming and healthy thoughts if you have a moment; the autumn/winter cold has finally arrived.. Peace out.

 

x

 

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