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.
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!
It’s May! When did that happen? No, seriously… Answers on postcards, please.
The last month or so has flown by as usual, and it’s been a busy time working on comics ready for submission and projects anew. I’ve also recently changed day-jobs into something far more interesting – in the field of marketing and copywriting, ooh err – so be prepared for my grammar and sentence structures to slowly improve (we hope).
I finished up another four-pager to be included in the brand-spanking new BBE Collective anthology; Barriers
I took a romantic comics’ trip to Brussels for a long weekend, and
…I’ve begun preliminary sketchbook work on my first full-length comic book. Agh/eek/woo, etc.
My favourite time of the year is a busy time of the year. The Good Comics Reader was officially launched at Leamington Comic-Con on Saturday 14th April. The festival was a huge hit as always thanks to Dan and Lisa’s tireless work to promote small press comics. The Reader is beautiful; risograph printed on recycled paper, and it is good for the feels as 50% of the profits go to the charity Young Minds. Here are some previews of my comic;
Drawing for risograph printing involves working in layers for colour separation, so it was working in a totally new way for me. Here’s one of the spreads; this was for the red/burgundy layer on pages 1-2:
Next up, last month I finished a comic for BBE Collective on the theme of ‘Barriers’. I created an illustration for their last anthology Habitat (which you can buy here, priced £7) and they’re such nice and encouraging people that I couldn’t resist creating something again. Plus, their anthologies are the some of the most tenderly colourful and beautiful around on the small press scene, so I recommend you check it out. I’m not sure when Barriers will be coming out in print form, but you’ll be the first to know! Here’s a sneak peek of my comic;
Next up, after what felt like a long time of lots of serious adult things and working a lot, Sam and I took a mini-break to Brussels, Belgium to ignore our phones and get some fresh air and fresh ideas (and fresh kriek). We somehow managed to book to go away when the weather was absolutely incredible; normally Brussels is a rain-haven. Alas, with blue skies and warm hearts we ventured around the city taking in the sights and sounds, visited the wonderful Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée and took a trip out to Louvain-le-Neuve to the Musée Hergé. I’m not going to inundate you with tourist photos, but here are a few gems from a wonderful trip away.
I came back from Brussels with a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh imagination.. that promptly got a little squashed by a few very busy weeks. Regardless, now things have settled down a bit I’ve been studying my photos and the small pile of books* we brought back from Brussels. Slowly but surely I’m working away, both in my head and in sketchbook form, on ideas for my next comic.
I’ve debated for a while now what my next step would be; do I continue creating short work? Do I try to be published by a big-name publisher? Do I carry on self-publishing? I’m still not entirely sure on those last two, but I have decided the time is right to create a much, much longer book. A full length comic, with story arcs and everything. The wonderful thing about short stories and submissions is that I get to try out a new idea and process or medium every single time, and now I’ve had some time exercising different methods of painting, colouring and drawing, I’m ready to put all this knowledge into practice and work out a longer story.
I’m really, really excited.
Though don’t you go getting too excited just yet; we have a long journey ahead of us, you and I. Writing a full-length book is no walk in the park, and it’ll take me well into next year to complete. But the cogs are working away and the sketchbook has started. And here I introduce into the world my newest code-named project; The Biggest One Yet.
I’ll be sharing sketchbook pages on my Patreon a couple of times a week, so if you’re keen to watch the story develop at the same time I do, you know where to go.
And that’s it for now! Keep your peepers peeled for next month’s news, and until then – peace out.
*It was not a small pile. It was, in fact, pretty large.
That’s right; just like Leo in The Revenant or Michael Myers in Halloween, I have returned. Though luckily for me I haven’t been mauled by a bear or shanked by a rather upset Ripley… though sometimes the morning commute sometimes feels like a combination of the two. It’s been a while since my last post, and although unintentional, sometimes life just gets in the way and something has to give. And, seeming as my blog doesn’t have a deadline attached, this is the one thing that had to go to the bottom of the pile for a while. Alas, I’m back with you for the long run with a lot of exciting news, so without further ado..
Last time I was filling you all in on my upcoming plans with Cheltenham True Believers Festival, risograph printing and writing the rest of my short stories. Well, a lot has happened since then, and in the interests of efficiency I’m going to break it down, as otherwise this will turn into a thesis-length blog which no-one will want to read. Woo, efficiency! Here it goes.
THOSE COMIC FESTIVALS:
Five-and-a-half long weeks ago was the fairly fresh-faced OK True Believers Comic Con held in my old stomping ground of Cheltenham, at the infamous Cheltenham Racecourse. It was the first con of the year and I had the pleasure of squeezing on the end of the Good Comics table with Dr Paddy Johnston and Samuel C. Williams; although it was a fairly quiet day trade-wise, it was great to have a weekend away and spend a load of time with some comics people. And.. we got to play with a risograph printer on Sunday which was pretty excellent. And when I say we, I mean Paddy and I stood watching whilst Sam and his buddy Mike did all the work. Thanks guys!
I also joined in the fun at Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday 25th February on the Good Comics table with Paddy, because.. why not? Sheffield Zine Fest was held in the Students Union and had a really nice down-to-earth and homemade feel to the event, suiting the Good Comics releases and my kinda work a lot more to the ground than the more commercial-based events like Cheltenham True Believers and the MCM events. It was also great to hang out and push other people’s work rather than my own, and there was burritos involved which always makes for an excellent day.
That’s right! My comics collection I’ve been working on since November is finished and off to print, ready for launch in a week and a half. Cosmos and Other Stories is a collection of short stories exploring humanity and loneliness; packaged up into a lovely 36-page face-strokingly-soft matte laminate product of love, Cosmos tells the stories of different people dealing with the different ways we all feel lonely in this big ol’ world. The book was formally announced on the 24th February via the Good Comics press release;
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 someone long distance, or felt the ache of an absent love, then this collection will speak to you.
You can read the full press release here! It’s been a whirlwind four months of writing and drawing up this collection, and although I always put everything I have into my stories, this one is particularly close to my heart. Plus, Sam from Good Comics has been an excellent and supportive yet critical editor, and really pushed me to make the best work I possibly could.. So with all that in mind, I really hope it goes down well otherwise I might just crawl into bed for a while to recover. Pre-order Cosmos and Other Stories here, and even more exciting, every pre-order gets an A5 print of artwork from the book with their order.. So act quickly and get that pre-order in!
A5 Print from Cosmos & Other Stories, now for sale on Etsy.
I quite literally have just finished up the book, with the files being sent off to Rich at Comic Printing UK on Monday night before I crawled into bed. Tuesday evening was (am) spent writing this gem of blogging genius for you, so I am finally going to celebrate finishing this book by drinking a large glass of wine and collapsing in a corner (I’m lying, I started the wine before I even started typing. YOLO!). I will be back in the normal swing of things next week with the pre-con post about Leamington and everything it has to offer, so keep an eye out for that! And until next time.. have a good week all, and thanks for being patient!
So, it’s almost February! Which means that even though there’s some sort of ominous freezing fog loitering around parts of England at the moment, and many of us get to partake in the good ol’ icy pavement dance in the mornings, the days ARE getting longer and the very beginning signs of comics festivals is on the horizon..
First festival of the year is going to Cheltenham’s True Believers Comic Festival next weekend, on Saturday 4th February! I’ll be there on a table with two of the micro-publishing mega-team Good Comics, Dr Paddy Johnston and Samuel C. Williams. Propped up on caffeine behind table #L4, Good Comics will be selling an array of their recent publications including Robin William Scott’s beautifully engaging autobiographical Every Life I Ever Lived, and the delicate yet entertaining Tales From the Nonniverse #1 by Faye Spencer. Both of these I picked up shortly after Thought Bubble, and both of these you should get your hands on if you can. I’ll also be there with a my usual suspects Njálla and Ø, and talking to anyone who’ll listen about the work I’ve been doing for the new comic collection Good Comics are releasing in Spring.
Those Good Comics gents, Paddy and Sam. Photo credit: Good Comics.
I’m really exited to be behind a table again, with the last tabling adventures of Thought Bubble in November feeling like a very long time ago. Equally exciting is a small side project in the form of playing around with a risograph printer (thanks to Hato Press for the handy guide!) for the first time next weekend, so I’ve been able to take a break from some serious writing to draw up a short wordless comic to play about with in this totally new (to me, at least) way of printing. But more on that as it happens.. Here’s a peek of the inks I’ve been working on, for said short wordless comic:
In other news, the night before True Believers is my good friend Naomi has her first private view and exhibition at the Stantonbury Gallery in Milton Keynes! I’ll be going along on Friday night for an exclusive view of her incredibly life-like artwork on show. I’m always blown away at the detail she manages to get into her illustration work, and if you’re a fan of beautiful artwork you should get yourself there whilst her exhibition is on.
The exhibition itself will be open from Monday the 30th January till Sunday the 19th February 2017 (Monday-Friday from 10am – 10pm, Saturday-Sunday from 10am – 6pm) and you can find full details of the private launch on Friday 3rd February on the Facebook event page here.
And that’s about it for now! I’m still writing and drawing away for the next of my short stories along with writing for a top secret project that will be revealed in the coming weeks. It’s all go here at HQ, so I’m looking forward to a break next weekend! Until then, think of me banging my head against a desk whilst I try to get these damn stories finished off.. See you next week!