Life update!

Hey everyone!

We hope you’re doing well. The year is really flying by. For us this is in no small part because we are planning our wedding… Everything suddenly seems terrifyingly close, with terrifyingly large amounts yet to be arranged… not to mention paid. *sweats* >_>’

BUT enough about that (for now).

We have a couple of things to touch on. Firstly, the Animation Festival artists alley was really small and not very well attended, so we did not really make a lot of money. I was sick for most of it as well so Ben had to run the booth alone (sorry Ben!). As a result we didn’t really end up taking photos, sorry. ūüôĀ Regardless, it was the first of its kind for Animation Fest, and we’re looking forward to seeing it grow and will likely remain involved in future events. We have high hopes for its future development.

Secondly, we know we’ve been skipping updates again. This is due to several things, including but not limited to Ben’s wisdom tooth surgery. He’s going in for another round later this month to do the other side, but that will hopefully be the last of it and he can go back to eating¬†whatever he likes soon. We also had some freelance things to attend to, and I have been adjusting to new medication, and the doctor found a lump in my breast for which I had to get ultrasound (I went for that on Monday and am very¬†relieved¬†to report that it is nothing serious!). So my headspace¬†at the moment has been oscillating between “no,”¬†“ugh”¬†and “make it stop.” I’m sure things will normalise soon but at the moment things are a little bumpy. People have mostly been very understanding at least, so thank you for that! It really is appreciated!

Thirdly, I am¬†featured in Marie Claire SA this month! The feature is called “The New Guard” and is all about women shaking up the status quo in their respective fields. They reached out to¬†me because of my involvement in¬†Cottonstar and¬†the South African indie comics scene. I still can’t quite believe that they included me along with such prominent SA women. I’m really honoured¬†and extremely flattered. Thank you to Sarah Koopman for involving me in this! Sadly the magazine is not available for purchase overseas,¬†but I did scan the pages and put them up on my facebook art page. You can check it¬†out here.

marie-claire-mag

Aww, baby’s first magazine feature! ^3^

Fourthly… FANCON. Guys, we are so excited. Things are coming together. There is now an official facebook event page and tickets are available via Computicket. Also remember that you can follow them on twitter! We RT things from them on our own twitter too. If you’re not following us yet, why not?? We aim to have Chapter 5 done before FanCon so that we can sell it there. This will mean some knuckling down and late nights, but we are looking forward¬†to seeing it in print! We also have the next cover artist lined up and we are SO EXCITED. We can’t wait to show you. But that will only happen after FanCon… unless you are AT FanCon, then you can get a sneak peek. >:)

Lastly, Ben has written quite a nifty blog post for Indie Comics SA about the process that goes into creating our comic. You can check that out here!

That’s about it from us for now. Until next time!

<3

Ben & Danelle


Cottonstar on Patreon

Cape Town International Animation Festival

Hey everyone! Short notice, but time has seriously crept up on us with this one. We will be at the Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF) starting tomorrow! It runs from Friday to Sunday and we will be there selling mostly prints and other merch, as we are saving our comic stock for Fancon (We can’t afford to reprint, unfortunately).

You can go to the site ( http://www.ctiaf.com/ ) for more info, or join the Facebook event!

The Artist Alley is free to attend, unlike the ticketed events for the rest of the weekend (though those are worth checking out, too). There will be food and drinks available to buy, and it will run from 15h-20h on Friday, 09h-19h on Saturday, and 09h-16:30 on Sunday.

Here is the floor plan (click to enlarge):

FloorPlan_Assigned

Ben will have four new prints on sale, but we won’t have a lot of comics as we are saving them for Fancon.

Of course, this means a skipped page. Sorry all!

We’ll report back after the event with some photos and a roundup.

<3

Ben & Danelle


Cottonstar on Patreon

December update schedule

Hi all!

This is just a note to tell you that we are taking a break from the comic until the 8th of January.

Unfortunately Ben’s dayjob contract was cut short by three months, so we are scrambling to earn money. Any freelancer can tell you that December is a really difficult month for work – no one is hiring, and projects are all being wrapped up for the year. Other than that we have a lot of family commitments and admin to sort out, and after UCON we are rather burnt out. My carpal tunnel is still causing trouble, so I can’t take any commissions. Ben has been working really hard to keep us afloat. He is finishing up a freelance project and then we need to focus on other things for a while.

We still have plenty of Inktober pieces for sale, which you can see here and here. If you want to support the comic, you can contribute via Patreon here. Or if you just want to leave us a tip, we have a tip jar here! You can also buy our comics from Indiecomics.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who has been donating and buying art from us. You are all amazing and we couldn’t keep doing what we do without your help.

See you guys next year!

Much love

Ben & Danelle

 


Cottonstar on Patreon

UCON 2015: done and dusted!

UCON 2015 has come and gone! Here are our impressions trading at the show for the first time:

The event was held in December this year, at the start of our long, hot¬†summer. The hall was sweltering! According to the weather forecast, outside temperatures ranged into the 30s¬†¬ļC, with¬†all of us inside a hall with very little ventilation, no aircon, and tons of skylights. The result was akin to sitting inside¬†a hothouse. A few of our fellow traders foresaw this, and requested plug points to plug in their electric fans. We really wish we’d done that, because the heat was unbearable! There was a stand selling fans, and I am pretty sure they sold out on the first day.

 

Milo Wildcat

Our friend Milo was smart enough to bring her own fan!

Heat aside, we were very pleased with how our new display and pricing turned out. It looked great! Could do with some more streamlining though, but that can be refined over time. We were lucky to have a good spot on the end of one of the rows, which allowed us to make full use of our second table. We could prop up our new display grid there to get some height. We were very happy with the results.

 

Display at UCON

Our rollup banner and display grid looked really nice together!

 

Display at UCON

We made new price tags attached to tiny clothespins. It worked really well!

 

Display at UCON

Our rotating original art stand was eye catching and practical.

 

Display at UCON

Our sticker stand is a rotating jewellery display, and the perspex container is from a shopfitting place.

 

Sales wise, unfortunately we didn’t make any money. We barely broke even on printing, but considering what we spent on new display things, we actually ran at a loss. However, the display stuff was a good business investment for us, so hopefully we’ll make that back at the next show.

We think the heat drove a lot of customers away. When you’re baking in your own skin, the last thing you want to do is stand in a crowd and deliberate over purchases. You want to get out as soon as you can, and sadly we saw a lot of that happening. The heat also sapped our energy and made it difficult to be upbeat when customers came by. It was also a quiet time of year, with most international students already gone home, and others on vacation. The organisers seem to agree with us, and have mentioned their intentions to move UCON to a more suitable time of year.

But, all that aside, UCON was a good learning experience. We got to test out new display items and layouts, and tested the market on some new products. Our best selling items by far were the posters. There are still plenty left, by the way! We will be taking orders online now. They’re not listed on Indiecomics, but you can message us to order. They are $10 excluding shipping. No promises to deliver on time for Christmas though, the postal system is already overstuffed by this time of year.

Despite the heat, there were some really good cosplays! We felt extremely sorry for the ones in full suits and/or covered in paint, but they are champs for sticking it out. Hopefully none of them got heatstroke.

Ok, enough talk, here are some more photos!

 

Valentina Phillips

Valentina Phillips aka Veelocity Art had some amazing work on dispaly. We own one of her Geralt of Rivia prints!

 

Valentina Phillips

Valentina also had the most beautiful originals at a complete steal. We would have bought them all if we could.

 

lorraine-cards

We just loved these cute reindeer cards by Lorraine Alvarez Posen.

 

So cute

Lorraine also had these adorable chameleon magnets which ended up being our sole purchase from UCON!

 

Fridge chaos

Here they are, living on our chaotic fridge!

 

Missy Mad Hatter

Our lovely neighbour from EGE, Juley, was also at UCON!

 

Faun Cosplay

This faun cosplay was impressive but looked a bit difficult to walk in!

 

Oh hai Ben!

A high angle shot of our stand!

 

That’s it from us about UCON 2015!

Have a great December, all.

Love

Ben & Danelle


Cottonstar on Patreon

UCON 2015

Cottonstar will be at UCON 2015! :3

Firstly, an important note about www.indiecomics.co.za – the shop will not be closed for December, as previously stated! However, the shipping deadline for Christmas is over. ¬†Apologies if you were hoping to order something in time for Christmas!¬†Thank you for your understanding, and¬†a¬†special thank you to those who have been buying our stuff from the site. You guys are great! ūüôā

Yes, it’s almost time for UCON!¬†If you are in¬†Cape Town on the 5th and 6th of December, make your way to the UCT Sport Centre to get in on the action. Ticket prices are R35 (1 day) and R55 (2 days)¬†for students, and R55 (1 day) and¬†R80 (2 days) for non-students. If you want to skip the queues over the weekend,¬†members of the Genshiken team will be at UCT Sport Centre between 1pm-5pm on Friday the 4th to presell tickets.

We will be here:

UCON floor plan

We have¬†never been involved with UCON as merchants. Since its inception in 2013, UCON has seen exponential growth, which has convinced us to give it a chance this year! Of course, since it is not strictly a comics event, we have a whole lot of other merchandise that we will be selling alongside Cottonstar. Some of it is merchandise we’ve had for a while, but much¬†of it is brand new. Here are some things you can expect:

Original art in a range of sizes

This includes a range of work by myself and Ben, everything from sketches to paintings, and a large chunk of our Inktober work, too!

original-art

Our usual stock of A3 prints, as well as two new designs!

We can only show you one of the new designs because we are still working on the others, but trust us, they’re going to be great! Other prints that will be on sale include: The Great Wave off Cape Town, Chat Noah, Reka With a Pearl Earring, Cottonstarry Night, Punk Rock Pok√©mon (as featured on Pixalry), SMB vs The World, Mulleted Fury, The Armoury and the Chapter 2 cover, done by Lynton Levengood from The Modern Dragon. One of our brand new prints will be…¬†Future Finn!

poster-selection

 

Stickers, including a few best sellers and several all-new designs!

We’re pretty excited about these! We’ve revamped our collection, taking out some of the designs that were less popular, and adding a bunch of cool new ones! The sphynx kitties are now available in: Yellow/pink, Blue, Dark, Turquoise, Calico and Galaxy! We have three new winged weenie designs and we have made our cast portraits into stickers. Lastly, we now have stickers of the Cottonstar logo! All stickers are printed digitally on vinyl, and are UV coated so you can use them outdoors. That makes them perfect for your car!

Our usual buttons & magnets

We still have plenty of Party Starter and Keep Calm and Let Me Cook magnets left!

stickers-and-buttons

Hand-made greeting cards

I’ve had these cute little cards for quite a while! I made them for a craft market a few years back and never got around to selling the remaining stock, so it went into storage. They will be for sale once more at UCON, at a special discount! They are available in an assortment of designs and are about 74 x 105 mm in size.

little-cards

All stock left over from UCON will be made available for purchase online.

What else can you expect from the expo? Besides lots of vendors with interesting wares, there will also be a Maid Café, cosplay contests, belly dancing and martial arts demonstrations, raffles, and lots more. Our friends Readers Den will also be there. Many of the vendors will have Snapscan available, but there will be no card facilities, so be sure to bring lots of cash. There are ATMs from all major banks on campus, too.

You can find a complete list of vendors and activities/contests on the UCON Facebook event page. You can also follow the UCON on twitter.

We hope to see you there! Swing by, support local creators, buy original creations, nerd out, stay hydrated, have fun!

<3

Danelle & Ben


Cottonstar on Patreon

The birth of Cottonstar

This is just a quick note to let you guys know that we’ve recently written a blog post for Indiecomics.co.za (You know, the place where you can now buy our comics and prints¬†*ahem* *ahem*) about the story of how Cottonstar came about! We’ve touched on it before in some of our older blog posts, but this time it’s a more thorough explanation. Read it here!

 


Cottonstar on Patreon

Exciting news: Our comics and prints are now for sale online!

YES! AT LAST!

Deon de Lange  is spearheading something really exciting, that Ben and I are really happy to be a part of! Finally we have a central place to sell/distribute curated, self-published content from! Not only books, but also limited edition art prints, original art and posters.

This is great news for our overseas readers, too! At last you can order comics and prints from us without worrying about emailing first, and all that currency conversion and scaling shipping pricing stuff.

Hopefully this will grow into something far bigger. We will be focusing on quality vs. quantity for now and see how it goes.

Check it out, share it, hype!

www.indiecomics.co.za


Cottonstar on Patreon

Cottonstar at Open Book Comics Fest 2015

Open Book Comics Fest is upon us yet again!

We know we’ve been rather quiet lately. That’s largely because Ben has started a new job working longer hours, and we have both been working hard to get things organised for our wedding. I did not realise that we would have practically no weekends off until this wedding thing is done and dusted. I guess it makes sense but I never considered that this might happen!

So, onto business:

Cottonstar will be at Open Book Comics Fest again this year. If you don’t know what that is: Open Book Comics Fest¬†forms¬†of the Open Book Festival, which is a Cape Town based literary festival which is held each year in September. You check out our posts from previous years here, here and here.

We don’t have anything new printed for this event, unfortunately – but we still have stock of Chapter 1-4, as well as posters, magnets, buttons and stickers. We will also be selling a few original art pieces, and a little birdie told me that Ben might be taking one or two on-the-spot commissions.

I will also be on a panel discussion chaired by Mandy J Watson, along with Kay Carmichael and Tauriq Moosa, discussing gender and race in comics.¬†It’s from 12pm-1pm on Sunday the 13th of September, at the District Six Homecoming Centre workshop.¬†Entrance is free, but you need to RSVP on the Open Book Fest website here.

If you’re planning to come along, here’s a map of who will be stationed where:

ComicsFest2015Floorplan

As you can see, this year there will be a kid-friendly zone! Both of us have contributed art to be used as colouring pictures for the kidlets (or actually just anyone who feels like colouring them). Look out for Ben’s Brolloks & Bittergal, and my Jakkals en Wolf pictures. They’ll be floating around there.

See you guys at Comics Fest!

<3

Danelle & Ben


Cottonstar on Patreon

EGE

So EGE¬†(pronounced “Eggy*”) was pretty cool!

We arrived on Friday not really knowing what to expect. Ben helped me set up and then go to work, as he didn’t manage to get the full day off. Friday was pretty dead. We expected as much because the marketing for EGE was done rather¬†badly and at very short notice, and people had no time to put in leave or make arrangements for¬†the day. We made a couple of sales but nothing major.

Saturday more than made up for it! There were thousands of attendees.¬†According to iafrica’s¬†blog post on EGE, there were over 5000 people on the floor on Saturday! I also heard that EGE presold around 1000 tickets online, but not sure if that’s fact. ¬†Even so, that’s pretty great for a first time, smallish event. These numbers prove that Cape Town has been starved of this kind of event for far too long. We saw a photo of the queue of people waiting to get in the door and it was about seven people wide and stretched along the entire CTICC to practically¬†out the door. Crazy! But awesome. ūüôā

We had some really lovely neighbours on either side too: Santosh Moses (SANARCHY) and Valentina Phillips (Veelocity Art) on one side and Juley Aron (Missy Mad Hatter) on the other side. It was great to meet and hang out with them.

Our friend Rowan did also did a nice write up of the day. It’s more in-depth than the iafrica one, which is more of a summary. You can read his post and see his photos here.

And now, some photos! Click the thumbnails to enlarge. (Edit: If they display weirdly, we apologise. This custom CSS does not play nicely with WordPress’ WYSIWYG editor. It makes photo display a bit tricky.)

booth-day-1

Our booth, day 1!

Zombiegamer-EGE2

Yay we’re at EGE! Photo by Zombiegamer.

pokemon

Ben made a punk rock pokémon print featuring Ash and charizard, especially for EGE. It was our top seller!

naked-noah

Poor Noah, it keeps happening.

friday-vs-saturday

The crowd on Friday at opening, vs. on Saturday at opening.

essentials

Expo/con essentials.

dawn-of-the-hoff

Zombie Hoffman trading card done for Mandy Watson!

booth-day-3

By day 3, our booth had spread out to occupy half a nearby empty table.

The only direction from here is up! See you next year, EGE.

*Not really. But don’t leave it to a few days before the expo to start telling people how to talk about your brand, claiming it’s pronounced “edge.” :B

Printing success!

Yes, that’s right! The reprints of Chapter 4 are finally done, and they are perfect.

To everyone who preordered, thank you so much. Your comics are ready for collection, even the sketched ones. We’ll be at EGE this weekend, so you can come and collect them there, or, if you prefer, we can drop them off at Readers Den in Claremont. Either way, they’re ready! Yay! ūüėÄ

We can’t wait to get started on Chapter 5.

See you guys soon!


Cottonstar on Patreon