28 October 2008

The Hawthorn Zine Fair is a small fair/market that is FREE for exhibitors to sell their works to the general public. And... FREE entry to the public.... it's ALL FREE! Setup in the main town hall of Hawthorn... its quite nice.

(An art exhibition was on at the same time around the corner, so it would potentially draw in a few extra people this year.)

Last year I dropped into this event, and was impressed by the setup & intent of it (ie. local/small press). My only minor disappointment this year, was that only half the hall was used. I thought last year's set up was much better where all the tables were in one main place... and even though it still looked like a intimate event compared to others - it felt that this big hall was just waiting for you (the self-publisher) to FILL it next year... which made me eager to contribute the following year. This year's felt a little 'dislocated' and smaller due to the separated/smaller layout. But, I'm just being pedantic, and I think its still enormously worthwhile and a great opportunity to sell your self-published stuff. Do it.

This year's Zine Fair was a short Sunday event between 11am-4pm. It was very relaxed and was a chance to get local people (who may not read or be interested in comics, though possibly interested in 'art') to see my work. It turned out to be a really worthwhile thing. The books I had on sale were $1, $2, $5 & $7. By the end of the day I had made about $70.

So it was good.

Memorable moments:
  1. A nice long chat with my fellow creator Jason Franks about the craft & motivations of making comics. He also brought in his newly printed KAGEMONO#2 for me to hold & smell (ah, fresh print.)
  2. Seeing/chatting to familiar local faces like Bernard Caleo, Joe Waite, Ive, Greg Gates & Philip Bentley.
  3. Grabbing Philip Bentley's latest WORD BALLOONS magazine. A nice publication... and you can get it from Philip's blog here.
  4. Chatting to non-comic folk who bought my books. I was surprised how they knew about certain comic 'novels' & 'authors' (like Dave Cooper's RIPPLE, and Dan Clowes' EIGHTBALL) - but people were surprised that there were local Australian authors publishing comics too. It's still an ingrained perception that comics are U.S superhero material aimed at teenegers. It just goes to show that this medium of comics (done well) has a broader audience out there just waiting to enjoy it if we can only produce things that they'd be amenable to. There just needs to be enough diverse genres for people to choose from (read: Not just spandex) done in this medium to a professional standard... and be placed in the market for them to buy.
  5. The free coffee and muffins. (thanks Mardi!)
  6. Contributing a panel to the day's 'jam' comic.
  7. Zora's help, snacks & badges.
So... I highly recommend you get a stall at general/art events such as these (ie. Fairs, Markets, etc) - because its a way to get your work in the hands of people who haven't been exposed to comicbooks before... and hopefully put a smile on their face, and a few gold coins in your pocket.

For more... check out John Retallick's account of the day over at
The Comic Spot.


24 October 2008

Some three years ago, I published 300 copies of WITHHELD (my first self-published effort) - and recently, got down to my last seven copies, so it was time for another print run. It's now got a new cover, but the book is as solid & well printed as the last. Maybe better? Thanks to Baden at Jeffries Printing who did an amazing job on it.

WITHHELD means a lot to me, as this little tart was the first time I went for it as a complete book. I'm happy it's sold steadily over the years, and in the spirit of 'do-it-yourself', I'm able to keep it in print.

New printing of WIHHELD | A5, 40pgs (ONLY $7)

So if you haven't bought it yet - you can get it at my website www.bluetoaster.com. Or even if you have a copy of the first printing (which is probably worn out by the 523rd reading), or if you need a spare incase someone breaks into your house and steals it, or you want to give someone a wonderful gift, or...

uh... you get the picture.

Anyway, I'll be at the Hawthorn Town Hall's ZINE Fair this Sunday where you can pick up a copy. I'll even do a sketch inside the front cover for FREE!.

See you there.


06 October 2008

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Some great points to consider... and I am.

I was just snickering to myself, thinking, "What if, by the time I'm ready to go to print, I've drawn a completely different cover?... won't you all be pissed off with me?" - :)


In light of Jo Waite & Bernard Caleo's organisation of the 'Ugly, Drunk & Stupid' exhibit as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, this month's meetup was shifted to the Hawthorn Town Hall Gallery to take part in this event.

Colin Wilson & I arrived early and sat down at a nearby corner pub and talked shop as people walked by in the sunshine. At about 1.45pm we made our way across the road to the gallery.

Some of our comicbook locals were already there, as well as new faces. Given that there was about 10 minutes before Bernard began his talk on the exhibit and it's themes, it gave us a chance to look at the artwork and say hello to a few people.

Then Bernard began his talk about the exhibit and the themes of 'Ugly' drawings in comics. From memory, he used the examples of Basil Wolverton, (some other guy), and Peter Bagge as the main focus of the talk. It was a nice presentation with examples of work handed around during the talk. There was plenty of back-&-forth with the audience as everyone joined in with their interpretations and opinions. A lot of fun.

After the talk, everyone was invited to sit down behind a long table and draw their most 'ugly' character on a beer coaster. People walked around, drew, viewed & discussed the artwork and its themes, and indulged in sweet sherry.

Thanks to Jo & Bernard for their efforts. It was a lot of fun.

More details of the event can be found at Bernard Caleo's website, and more photos at Mardi Nowak's website (Gallery Curator).


03 October 2008

Don't mind me... I'm just pulling my hair out trying to figure out which direction to go colouring the next issue. I swear, B&W is easier sometimes... so few choices that it's comforting.


Jason Franks, a regular at our monthly meetups, was under the pump to finish the second issue of his comic series KAGEMONO for the upcoming 'Armaggeddon' convention (in November). Jason, being the smart person that he is, realised that it's safest to leave 1 month for the printer to proof, print & deliver his book, and so needed to compile/complete the issue this week. Well, he worked his ass off like a sweatshop worker & did it. Just... isn't that always the way?

Anyhow, I offered to help him out with a drawing for the cover (so he had 1 less thing to do), and here it is...

Jason will be selling it at the upcoming Armaggeddon Expo in Melbourne, as well as from his website Black Glass Press. Check it out.

Reminder: I'll be at the Festival-pub thing this Saturday. (Details in the post below.) Come down if you can and say hello.