FanCon 2018 excitement & life update

Hey guys!

Long time no see! (We know that’s on us. Sorry. There just hasn’t been much Cottonstar news. </3)

FanCon 2018

Readers Den are back at it again with FanCon 2018 promising to be the biggest and best so far! Following the great success of FanCon 2017, Readers Den have applied for space in the new section of the CTICC and we are excited to see the venue. It was completed only in the last few months, so we have never been inside that section. We’re very glad the event is in a space with air conditioning and ample parking. The air con is not just great for us and the customers, but also for the cosplayers and fursuiters, who always suffer the most in the stuffy heat of exhibition halls.

You can buy tickets at Computicket here! Tickets prices are as follows:

Saturday 1 Day Pass – R 150.00

Sunday 1 Day Pass – R 130.00

Weekend Pass – R 230.00

Children 12 and under FREE with accompanying adult (limit 2 children per adult)

All one day tickets will also be for sale at the door (unless pre-sold).

Note: Weekend Passes are limited and will only be available for pre-purchase. No Weekend Passes will be available at the door.

You can view the floor plan here!

Now I know what you’re all wondering…

What’s new for FanCon 2018??

I’m glad you asked. We have:

– A werewolf colouring book by Ben!

– A bunch of new stickers by myself!

– 8 super cool sparkly prints by myself (yes, really! They’re printed on sparkly paper!) including some designs never seen before!

– A lot of new originals from both Ben and myself!

About The Werewolf Colouring Book:

Ben didn’t have time to work on new prints for this event, nor has he had time to do any Cottonstar stuff. The werewolf colouring book was compiled from werewolf art he already had, with some minor tweaks. It is A4 in size (that’s 21cm x 29,7cm) and has 16 pictures for you to colour, two of which are double page spreads. We wanted people to be able to cut out the pictures they’ve coloured without losing an image on the reverse side, so we’ve put a bunch of (mostly spurious) “werewolf facts” in there for some added entertainment. Thanks very much to the werewolf community for helping us out with these! You guys are the MVPs (that stands for Most Valuable Pshifters).

We got our proofs on Wednesday 11/04 and we are super pleased with how it’s come together. In field testing the proof for different media, we’ve determined that the paper is really nice for coloured pencils, and holds up fine to light-handed watercolour use. We wouldn’t recommend using a ton of washes on it all at once, because the surface is not sized (a special coating to prepare watercolour paper for paint) and the paper weight is quite light, which means your paint will soak the page fast and you’ll get a lot of buckling. If you paint over a single area too much, you will also get paper disintegration. However, as shown in the samples below, small areas of wet media at a time works perfectly fine! Markers also look really nice on this paper, but be warned that because this is porous cartridge paper, your ink will get soaked up faster than on coated paper. When working with markers, it’s best to keep a sheet of coated paper behind your piece to prevent bleed-through on the pages underneath.

You can PREORDER YOUR COPY HERE! They are $10 each (add $10 to ship internationally). South Africans, contact us for postal rates and alternate delivery options!

Here are some sneak peeks:

Werewolf Colouring Book by Ben Geldenhuys

Werewolf Colouring Book by Ben Geldenhuys

And some previews of how it looks when coloured by different media:

Werewolf Colouring Book by Ben Geldenhuys

Werewolf Colouring Book by Ben Geldenhuys

About My Stickers and Prints:

The sticker designs I’ve put together consist of four sets and a couple of single stickers. The sets are A5 (15cm x 21cm) sheets that come with a whole bunch of individual stickers. There are two leaf sets (Loamy and Autumn Crisp), an Origami Dachshund set, and an Inky Shrooms set. The loose stickers include Stag Skull, Dogpile and three different Eevees which I’ve never made available before. There’s also a sticker that I’ve made to give away and not sell, but that’s for my online orders mostly. :3 Here are the designs:

FanCon2018 Sticker Sheets by Danelle Malan

FanCon2018 Sticker Sheets by Danelle Malan

FanCon2018 Sticker Designs by Danelle Malan

FanCon2018 Sticker Designs by Danelle Malan

And here are the prints (minus the secret one I won’t reveal yet):

FanCon2018 prints preview by Danelle Malan

FanCon2018 prints preview by Danelle Malan

General Life Updates:

In case you’re wondering what we’ve been up to…

Ben finished his 6 month contract with Shattered Realms, the brawler being worked on by Kopskop Studios. (You can download the demo here!) Unfortunately the game has not been picked up by a publisher, and Free Lives were unable to continue incubating the project, so Ben has been unemployed from October 2017 to March 2018, which meant he had to do so much freelance that his cintiq practically caught fire. Guys. It’s been stressful. 8) But we made it somehow, thanks to buyers of both our work, and family who were kind enough to feed us when we had nothing. THANK YOU! Ben has now been hired by Studio Muti in town, and so far so good.

Our housing situation is changing, too. We have been fortunate enough to rent from family for the past 8 years, who have given us a really good rate, but the time has come for all of us to move on from that arrangement. The flat we stay in has been put in the market, and we have been told to find alternative accommodation. This is pretty tough, because in SA we have something called the Consumer Protection Act. This in general is a good act and does protect the consumer. But it also means that according to legislation, we are not allowed to rent anywhere that costs more than a third of our total household income. Furthermore, we need to provide three months of bank statements, and credit checks apply. These are all good things for people who rent out property. For two people whose bank statements are a total mess due to unemployment, not so much!! A typical two bedroom place in the area we stay in costs anywhere from R14k a month and up. That means we’d have to earn R42k a month (around US$3500). Where the heck do people find these insane paying jobs?? I guess it’s all a part of climbing that art career mountain. We’re hoping that our income stablises enough in the next three months that our bank statements won’t make potential landlords just throw our application forms straight into the trash. 8′)

Once things calm down and we no longer need to spend every waking moment thinking of ways to earn money and sell our art, we will get back to Cottonstar, which we miss dearly and long to get back to! We already have the next page roughed out. We both really hate how long this hiatus has been. Life just gets in the way of love projects sometimes and it sucks, but we just have to keep on trucking.

Last but not least, since we’ve both been in dire need of cash, we’ve opened up commissions for the first time in a long while. Ben does just about any kind of piece, from twitter icons to multiple character scenes with complex backgtrounds. You can contact him for a commission on his Twitter or Furaffinity or Facebook.

I am still struggling with my dominant hand, so have decided to try doing pet portraits, which I can produce at a rate of around 1 per week, as it is all my dominant hand is capable of at the moment. If I push myself hard, the pain and weakness come back instantly. I’ve discovered that by maintaining a slow, calm pace of work, I can in fact make some right-handed work that doesn’t look awful. You can order your own pet portrait here! Or, if you want something ready made, there are a lot of original artworks eager for new homes. :3 Leftover stickers and prints from FanCon 2018 will go up in my shop early next month.

That’s all from us for now. Thank you so much for sticking around, buying our work, liking and sharing our social media posts, and just being awesome. You guys are the best.


Danelle & Ben


Shattered Realms

Hey all! Just a quick post to show you what Ben is currently working on in his nine-to-five!

He is doing protagonist sprite animation for Shattered Realms, a scroller/brawler that plays like a fighting game. Think Golden Axe meets Street Fighter. You can download and play the pre-alpha here! It is being developed by Kopskop Games, incubated by Free Lives – ie the people behind Broforce – and will hopefully be picked up by a publisher soon after the incubation period ends.

And this is the intro video:

Disclaimer: it already looks a lot different, because the new sprites have been introduced, and will keep changing significantly as the development progresses.

Here’s the sprite that Ben has been working on for the past two weeks or so:

lynx sprite shattered realms

So far his hours seem good. FOR NOW. Anyone who’s ever worked in game dev knows that the hours can get long and grueling, but at this early stage it’s still calm enough to leave Ben time for freelance illustration, and yes, for Cottonstar! We’re currently roughing out the next few pages.

You can follow more Shattered Realms development process via their Twitter, Facebook Page or their Make Games SA thread.

Talk soon!


Danelle & Ben

Cottonstar on Patreon

FanCon 2017: The Best SA Comic Con Yet

The title of the blog post is pretty much a summary. FanCon 2017 was absolutely wonderful! The people from Readers Den are absolute heroes. We would never have gotten this far as a local comics industry if it wasn’t for you guys. So from the bottom of our hearts… THANK YOU!


Artist Alley FanCon 2017

Artist Alley during setup vs. at the end of Day 3. Click to enlarge!

From a vendors’ perspective certainly one of the best upgrades from previous years was the venue – CTICC is a premium venue with ample parking, loads of clean, easily accessible toilets, very effective aircon, a great view (even if it included the SARS building) and lots of space for customers and cosplayers alike to move around without hindering each other. I know aircon might sound like a silly thing to rave about, but honestly, if you’ve ever done an expo while overheating, you will never take it for granted again. I’m pretty sure the cosplayers and fursuiters were also very grateful.


Cottonstar at FanCon 2017

Us behind our booth. Aw yeah

Also. We have the best friends ever. Ky and Eagle came from afar to join in the FanCon festivities, and brought us a pirate chest filled with cool stuff, including a tube of Deep Heat, two containters of Berocca, a large bottle of hand sanitiser and a pack of anti germ wipes, which I feel is probably the main reason that we didn’t get con crud this year. We cleaned our hands obsessively and avoided touching our faces. THANK YOU FRANDS!


FanCon 2017 care package

Our chest full of amazing loot <3

EZ Studios and Kyrelimit at FanCon 2017

Our heroes Eagle and Ky wearing some of our official tees!

Sales wise, we did okay. We covered our costs and turned a small amount of profit. Trinetta Sky’s reception was really good, and we sold just under half of the stock we had printed. We still have a bunch of shirts and patches left over. I’ll be putting them on my personal Etsy store soon, as managing the Cottonstar Etsy and my own on separate accounts is frustrating. There have been hangups with so we’ll be sticking to Etsy for now.

The crowd was great this year, too. People were (mostly) nice, enthusiastic and interested. We even had some new fans who came by and said how they just found us just recently and how they really like the comic, which is always a great feeling. We also had some people who have never heard of us before also buy sets of comics, which was also pretty darn great. Overall it stayed consistently busy. We were worried that Monday was going to be very dead, but it ended up having a steady flow of people. This is possibly thanks to the fact that there were still panel discussions and performances happening, as well as the advanced cosplay competition.


Artist alley day 3 at FanCon 2017

View of a part of the artist alley on day 3

Of course another highlight of the expo was meeting John Layman (Chew) and Eric Powell (The Goon) and having books signed by them. We also gifted them each a copy of Trinetta sky. They were really friendly and we were very happy to have met them! Eeee! 😀


John Layman and Eric Powell at FanCon 2017

Meeting John Layman and Eric Powell! EEE

There were really cool stage performances and panels too, most of which we missed because we didn’t want to leave our booth. I did get to see a belly dancing performance at least. The cosplay was also incredible! Everyone brought their A-game and it was just so cool. There were also three really good partial fursuits, which is a first for SA (or is that furst… heh heh). Even though there are quite a few furries here, they never seem to have good quality fursuits beyond just gloves and tails and ears. We couldn’t get pics of nearly enough of the cosplays, but here are a few of our favourites:


Ain’t no fam like a batfam! Family cosplay by our friends Nick & Bruna and their adorable kid Michaela. And my buddy Donavan cosplaying a character I don’t know…


Undyne and Alphys cosplay at FanCon 2017

Our friend Ruth cosplaying an excellent Undyne, with Alphys joining in!


Ciri cosplay at FanCon 2017

This Ciri was really incredible! Cosplay by nic_pickles


Fursuits at FanCon 2017

Eylon and Umuntu the fursuiters, as well as a Stay Puft lady whose name I didn’t catch!


Gandalf the Sexy and Galadriel cosplay at FanCon 2017

Gandalf the Sexy (nymphurycosplay) was amazing, I asked for a photo and the next thing I know this leg pops out!


Lamar the Headcrab cosplay at FanCon 2017

Lamar the headcrab was made from a repurposed bicycle helmet.


Road Hog cosplay at FanCon 2017

Road Hog by kizurazgubai!


Doctor Who cosplay at FanCon 2017

This Doctor Who group cosplay made my day, especially the Dalek and River!

The only downside to the show was the catering – or rather lack thereof. The food was not great, folks. Neither was the coffee. However, having exhibited at CTICC before, I was aware that this would be the case. The CTICC doesn’t easily allow outside catering. They basically force shows to use their own catering, which as you can imagine is maximum profit for minimum effort/portion food. This I do not hold against the FanCon organisers because I know how difficult it is to get around the CTICC catering rules. However next time I will make sure we don’t keep forgetting to pack snacks… >_>

For more photos and videos of the event, you can keep an eye on the FanCon facebook page.

In the meantime, here are three videos to tide you over:

To everyone who came around to buy things, to chat, and to meet us: Thank you! We had a fantastic time!

Until next we meet!


Danelle & Ben

Cottonstar on Patreon

FanCon 2017 hype!

Readers Den FanCon banner

Cottonstar will be at FanCon 2017! We’re really excited for it! FanCon 2017 runs from the 29th of April to the 1st of May. It’s a long weekend, so you don’t have to take the Monday off to attend. Tickets are available from Computicket. They’re R120 for a single day pass, and R240 for a three day/weekend pass. If you want a weekend pass you’ll have to pre-order, as they are limited in number and won’t be sold at the doors. Children 12 and under get in free when accompanied by an adult.

International guests this year include Laura Braga, Ron Marz, Eric Powell, John Layman, Calssara, Somto Ajuluchukwu, Mike Kayode and Matt Hawkins. Local guests include Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorssen, Loyiso Mkize, Warren Louw, Sean Izaakse and Kinpatsu Cosplay. Jason Masters was due to attend, but had to cancel due to work engagements.

The program is busier than it’s ever been before, with a lot of talks, workshops and presentations. You can check out the full line-up of events here!

You can find us at booth A20, sitting next to our buddy Deon de Lange. Download the full version of the floorplan here.


We are really excited about to introduce… Shirts and patches!! Yes, for the first time ever we will have shirts available, in sizes S to XXL. We will have charcoal unisex tees as well as black ladies vests with a classy, screenprinted design. We also have a very limited supply of kiddies sizes, which will be white with a coloured variant of the adult print! You can see a mockup below. We uploaded the designs to Redbubble and picked approximate matches for what we’ve ordered, just to give you a basic idea of what to expect. The patches are 7cm in diameter. Click the image to enlarge it! (The thumbnail embedding options for WordPress are a bit meh)

Click to enlarge!

Shirts will be R280 each, and if we run out, we can take back orders. The official FanCon shirts come from the same shirt supplier that we use, so you can go and check their unisex shirts out for sizing. Patches will be available for R60 each.

Then, even more excitement: Ben has been working on a short 25 page silent comic called Trinetta Sky. He started working on it during Inktober 2016, doing panels during his lunch hours at work. The project has finally seen completion and will be making its debut at FanCon. Here is a sneak peek of the proof:

Trinetta Sky comics will be R80 each.

We will also be selling sticker and button packs, our regular A3 prints, as well as experimenting with A5 mini prints. We made limited numbers of the latter and are keen to see how they do.

Important note regarding comics: As of this event, we will no longer be selling comics separately. We made a self-publishing-rookie mistake. We printed chapters 2-5 without thinking that people who don’t own Chapter 1, probably won’t want to buy the other chapters. So what ended up happening is that we’ve been selling odd numbers of all the chapters, leaving us almost sold out of chapters 2-4, and an excess of chapter 5. This means that once the small amount of Chapter 1 we have left is sold out, the rest of the comics become dead stock, as we won’t be reprinting any of the comics, in favour of printing volume 1. This is why we have made up packs of chapters 1-5 and will be selling them as bundles at FanCon. There will be a bundle discount, and there is still a limited number of loose Chapter 1 available for those who want to check out the comic but don’t want to commit to buying all five chapters. If you have all the comics except Chapters 2, 3 and 5, it’s your lucky day, because we have some of those left too, and will sell them at a discount.

We hope to see you there!


Danelle & Ben

PS, in case you haven’t read it, here is an update on our current situation in the form of a public Patreon post.

Cottonstar on Patreon

Life and work update!

Hello everyone!

Yes, we are in fact still alive! Sorry for leaving you all hanging! We thought it was high time for a post on how things stand and what’s been going on with us.

For the past year or so Ben has been working as a storyboard artist for Sunrise Productions, a local animation studio. The series he works on is called Jungle Beat and it’s really fun and cute! Jungle Beat has a couple of sub-series, including The Explorers and Munki and Trunk. Ben storyboards for the latter.

Sunrise Showreel – 2016 from Jungle Beat on Vimeo.

If that video embed doesn’t work on your browser, you can check out the Sunrise Productions’ showreel here. I think the series is great, and I’m not just saying that because Ben works on it! It’s really funny and appeals to all age groups. The show recently got kicked up a notch when it was picked up by Aardman. As in, Wallace & Gromit, The Pirates!, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, Flushed Away Aardman. Exciting right?? So you can understand why Ben has been putting a lot of time into this project. His contract ends in February, and although we are hoping hard for a renewal, it’s not guaranteed.

My hand is still not great. At this point surgery looks inevitable. That will probably only happen next year though.

In other news, I now have my own Patreon page! Cottonstar is amazing, and I love working on it with Ben, but my art career extends far beyond a single collaborative project. Things you can expect: timelapse videos, WIPs, exclusive previews, discount codes for my Etsy store and more! You also gain access to my private twitter.

We’re not sure how things will pan out from here but we really, really want to get back to the comic ASAP. It’s still our baby and we miss updating and chatting with you all.

Thank you as always for sticking with us. We really appreciate you.


Danelle & Ben

Cottonstar on Patreon

Open Book Comics Fest & new update schedule

Hello all!

Open Book Comics Fest was great! While not the most lucrative event, we really enjoyed the vibe and vendors. The crowd was also interesting and friendly. We saw a bunch of new faces and there was some amazing work on show. The turnout was quite good and we look forward to being involved again next year!


Our little booth all set up!


As you guys have no doubt noticed, we’re lagging behind on pages again. Ben has some hectic deadlines at the moment, both for his day job as well as freelance work, and my hand is still in a lot of pain from the injection. The surgeon said to give it another week, and if things don’t improve, we need to do some neural testing in to see exactly where the problem lies, and the next step would be surgery. Things are a little crazy work wise, and if we’re going to save up for hand surgery and pay our bills, we can’t say no to freelance work, especially for our long-standing return clients.

Thus, until further notice, our update schedule is just “when we can.” We will of course still push hard to put up a page once a week, but Ben’s workload is just too intense at the moment.  With my hand having caved in, we need to be extra careful not to let the same happen to his, or we are royally screwed for income.

We appreciate your patience and continued support, and apologise that we can’t work any faster for you guys.



Cottonstar on Patreon


Anthroculture, Comics Fest, hand repair, etc

Hey there!

Phew, we have had a busy few weeks since the last blog post.

We know we promised you guys a blog post on EGE. Truthfully though, the event was such a disappointment this year compared to 2015 that we didn’t really know what to say about it. The traffic flow to our booth was really bad, and we ran at a loss. We were positioned right by some trash cans and the most exciting part of our day was watching people sort their recycling correctly (though most of them got it wrong). The crowd was kind of half-hearted too. All the other vendors we spoke to also reported that their sales were way down from last year, even the ones with good traffic flow. None of us could understand why this happened, because the event was twice as big this year, with even more people through the doors than last year, and it was after payday. With the jump in booth prices, we’re not sure if we’ll be doing it again next year. We might instead just focus our energies and finances on FanCon 2017, and make it a really great one!

The next event we will be attending is Open Book Comics Fest! We are much more involved with the fest this year than we were last year. We have been helping out with marketing and such, doing some art for ads as well as doing a really fun window mural for The Book Lounge, which organises Open Book Fest. We worked with Deon de Lange for our design, and Luis Tolosana and Mak1one did the window adjacent to ours. Mandy Watson from Brainwavez teamed up with Doane Smuts and documented the whole thing. The result was a really cool timelapse and some interviews on our process. You can view the article, videos and photos here! And yes, Ben was holding my butt to help me remain steady while standing on a narrow ledge, working with my arm above my head. Open Book Comics Fest will take place on the 10th and 11th of September at the District Six Homecoming Centre, adjacent to the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. You can check out the programme for the rest of the fest here.

The finished product!

The finished product!

We also did a fun podcast interview with Wogan May (aka Tetsudra) from Anthroculture, a brand new furry community for South Africans. It was great to chat with him about our comic and he did a great job of editing the interview and made us sound cool people. You can check out the podcast here, and if you are a local fur, you can sign up for the Anthroculture forums here!

Lastly, after 8(!!) years of struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome, I’ve finally gotten a proper diagnosis to confirm it, and a very gross/painful cortisone injection into my carpal tunnel to try and fix it.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is what happens when the large nerve running through your carpal tunnel (called the median nerve, which runs through your wrist/carpal bones and controls your thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of your ring finger) becomes entrapped due to pressure within the carpal tunnel. This is usually due to inflammation from a repetitive strain injury, which in my case was caused/aggrevated by writing, drawing and using a PC mouse. This pressure causes weakness, numbness and pain in my fingers and wrist, and essentially ruined the extra fine motor control that used to be my pride and joy while drawing. It’s essentially ground my career to a halt because I can’t stick to deadlines and can’t promise consistent work because I have no idea if my hand will let me do those things. I have also been unable to work on Cottonstar as much as I needed to. I’ve tried physiotherapy, improving my working posture, getting an orthopaedic chair, exercises, and rest. I thought I’d give it an extra long rest over our wedding and honeymoon, and see what happens, but even after almost two months of doing minimal drawing, even just drawing for half an hour made it hurt and go numb again. I was so fed up that I decided to get over myself and just go see an orthopaedic surgeon. He confirmed that what I have is definitely carpal tunnel, explained the condition to me in more detail, and outlined the treatment plan.

This was the first of (potentially) three injections. Each one takes about a week to start working properly and the slow-release cortisone lasts for six weeks. If the problem persists after the first injection, we try twice more, and if that fails, surgery will be on the cards. I am hopeful that the injection will work. This is day two after the first injection. I could hardly move my hand yesterday. Today it’s much better, though any wrong moves, pressure or sudden position changes remind me loud and clear that my hand had been messed with! In any case. I hope to take part in Inktober this year without my hand completely caving in. Keep your fingers crossed (because I can’t right now, ha-ha)!

This turned out to be quite a long blog post. Thanks for reading it all! Here’s to you >–| (that’s a martini glass, lying on its side, because I’m not sure how to do an upright one)




Cottonstar on Patreon

Back from honeymoon!


It us!

Hey guys!

Yes, it is us, your favourite newlywed comic creators. We have arrived back from honeymoon! If you want to see a whole bunch of photos from it, the best place for that would be my instagram account. I also added a few bits and bobs of info regarding some of the places we visited and the stuff we saw.



Including this!

We had such a great wedding, you guys. It was just magical. Everyone always tells you that stuff will go wrong, and that you mustn’t let it get to you – well, I think ours was as close to perfect as dammit is to a swearword. There were things I was massively worried about going wrong – none of them did. In fact, considering all the stuff that could have gone terribly wrong, I feel like we pulled off a miracle! It was fantastic. We felt loved and happy, ate tasty food, took awesome photos, danced like maniacs, and had a lot of fun. We made sure that Sandstorm was on the playlist. Sure, the Neil Cicierega weirded out a few people on the dance floor. But it was so worth it. A whole glass of red wine did end up on my dress during the Trololo song… but that was at the end of the evening, after all the photos were done. It is currently at the dry cleaners, and they are doing their best to get the red wine out of the silk. Luckily my bridesmaids and various friends were on me like a flash and were soda-water-ing and white-wine-ing all the spots, which really helped. To see our photographer’s blog post about the day, go here! Recommended, seeing as the ones we post here will be smaller, and lower resolution than hers! We are so thrilled with the preview and can’t wait to see the rest.



Bridal squad!


We just love this photo.


I forgot half of my speech


Booyah! (We both really struggled to get our left ring fingers into that position!)

We’ll get back to updating soon, but first we have to wade through the enormous amount of admin that has filled up our inboxes since the beginning of the month (actually, to be honest, it’s been piling up since late June). There’s quite a lot we need to do. EGE is at the end of this month, too, and we need to kick into high gear to prepare for that! Here’s our post on last year’s event, in case you missed it. Since we had such a great response last year, we figured it would be a shame to miss out this year, wedding madness or no. If you want to help us recover financially, you can buy some art off my Etsy store, or tip me on stream via Paypal!

See you lovely folks soon.

Much love <3

Danelle & Ben


Come see us at FanCon 2016! Also please donate!

The good, the bad and the wedly

Hello everyone!

This blog post is to chat about the things we didn’t manage to cover in our FanCon post, namely life things.

Life thing number one: Mawwiage!


Yes, those are our feet! Photo by the amazing Grethe Rosseaux /

Yes, those are our feet. Photo by the amazing Grethe Rosseaux /


(Ten points if you just started reciting the wedding speech from Princess Bride!)

We actually put quite a bit of our wedding planning on the back burner to focus on making a success of FanCon, and to see the comic through to its print deadline. We’re glad we did, because it worked out wonderfully! However, that means that it is now Cottonstar’s turn to take a break. We’ve got some freelance things in the pipeline which we need to get done ASAP, because it will be funding a good chunk of the wedding. We also need to make sure to get enough downtime in, because we are both quite burnt out. We really want to enjoy the last few weeks of planning our wedding, and not be sick and grumpy and stressed out the whole time. So, to avoid this, we will be taking a three-ish month hiatus from Cottonstar, starting today. Updates will resume in August.

We want to put up some filler content if we can. We are planning a new wallpaper and some other goodies for our Patreon supporters, which means the older stuff will get released to the public. Yay! 🙂 If we do put extra stuff up, it will likely be from now until the end of June, but not after that, because we will be taking a few weeks off for our honeymoon. And then, shortly after we get back from that, it’s time for EGE 2016! We’re still finding out what the booth prices are for artists, and if it’s do-able, we’ll do it.

Next, as promised, we have new stock available online! Mugs and print copies (sketched and regular) of Chapter 5 are now available on Indiecomics. They’re still running the ACEO special: Spend R200 or more and you will receive a free ACEO card by a South African artist! I did one card and Ben did two cards. Go git ’em!

And lastly… we’re in talks with our printers regarding Volume 1 of Cottonstar. It would be 140-150 pages long and will contain some nifty extras like art, process work… we’re still deciding exactly what the extras will be, but there will definitely be bonus content. We’re trying to figure out what our options are, and if we could realistically pay for a print run that large. We’d love to print in time for Open Book Comics Fest in September, but that might be a bit too ambitious. We’ll see. We’re hesitant about crowdfunding, as we’re not sure we have a big enough following to make a success of it at this stage in our career. What do you guys think? We’d appreciate any suggestions!

That about covers what needed covering. As always, thank you to everyone for reading, commenting, and sharing our comic with your friends.

And extra special thank you to our wonderful Patreon supporters! You have no idea how much your contributions help us.

Stay safe and healthy.

See you guys soon!


Danelle & Ben

PS: Yes, we will post some photos of the wedding!

Come see us at FanCon 2016! Also please donate!

FanCon 2016 afterglow

Hey everyone!

We’ve been scrambling to catch up with admin and freelance work while fighting off con crud, so this post is a bit overdue.

But here we are!

The TL;DR version: FanCon 2016 was really, really good, and we plan on attending future ones! We’re also very proud of Readers Den and the local comics community.



Behold! Our little booth… with the last ever appearance of the Wedding Fund jar! It had a good run.


The longer version:

The inaugural FanCon was really good. The organisers mentioned beforehand that they were expecting around 3000 people, but just over 4000 people ended up attending. Although these numbers might not seem that impressive when compared to overseas cons – trust me when I say that this is a healthy amount for South Africa. This is the first successful official comic con we’ve ever had as far as I am aware. Other well-attended nerdy events here are mainly generalised geek cons, focusing mostly on video games, electronics, audiovisual entertainment and other multimedia related things. FanCon is 100% focused on comics and although there is a gaming and media element, it is by far outweighed by comics culture.

What we really loved was the strong focus on local IP and self published works. Local creators have long been encouraged by Readers Den to sell their own art and publications, and the market response to this has been great. In turn, we are seeing a rise in the quality as well as the quantity of local IP/publication. It’s very validating to have someone invest their money in your work. Any content creator will be able to tell you as much. It’s one thing to have tons of people tell you they like your work, and another thing entirely to have the same amount of people do the talking with their wallets! It’s a great feeling.

We saw a lot of new faces at the show, and there was a healthy amount of new stuff being launched. We were able to get the new issues of Sector and grabbed the first instalment in Milo Wildcat and Rowan Govender‘s new Kowa Kawaii series. We didn’t manage to buy a whole lot of stuff as we were trying to save money, and our booth was swamped with people most of the time, which was great, except when we needed to pee or eat! There was so much stuff we wanted. Fortunately/unfortunately a lot of it sold out before we even got to it, which is great for the vendors, and we are very proud of/happy for them! 😀 We also got a FanCon mug because there’s no way we were going to NOT get some inaugural FanCon merch. We couldn’t afford to buy a shirt each so we decided to get a mug and take turns using it. (Spoiler: I take a lot more turns than Ben because it stays here at home when he goes to work. hue hue hue)


Heyyy buddy! Let's Earl Grey it up in here!

Heyyy buddy! Let’s Earl Grey it up in here!


The cosplay was also amazing – we saw a whole lot of insanely good cosplays by both newbies and veterans alike. We saw a Dipper and Mabel, who were so perfect because they were twins in real life too! We also saw a few Undertale cosplays, a really great Bravestar, a tiny adorable Rey who was really into her character… the list goes on! We tried to get pics but honestly there was so little time to just walk around and document. Plus I was trying to save my phone battery for our wireless card reader. We’ve got links to loads of photo albums at the end of this post. Go check those out.


How awesome is this?!

How awesome is this kiddo?!


Mabel and Dipper cosplayed actual twins! One of the highlights of the day!

Mabel and Dipper cosplayed actual twins! One of the highlights of the day!


We also heard that the international guests had a positive experience with their panels, signings, etc. and will be vouching for the show should others ask them about it. This is excellent news as guest speakers and interesting panels are such an integral part of what makes cons work. We have our own wishlist of who we’d love to have over but since Readers Den funds all guests out of their own pocket, we’ll be patient and hope for the best. It was also really lovely to finally meet Jason Masters in person! We’ve been chatting on twitter for a long time and he is just a great human. You can follow him on Twitter here and on tumblr here.  I felt like a dingus though because I said hi to him not knowing it was him. Only later on did I click that the familiar looking bearded guy I greeted earlier at the door was actually Jason. Fail.


Sneaky shot of Sean Izaakse and Jason Masters being interviewed... which earned me a glare from the crew. Sorry crew!

I snuck a shot of Sean Izaakse and Jason Masters being interviewed… which earned me a glare from the crew. Sorry crew!


Of course, the con was not without hiccups. The huge attendance was a pleasant surprise with a few unpleasant side effects. We were very fortunate with weather, it was sunny but cool and pleasant on the first day, because otherwise I doubt people would have waited out the 45mins-2hr INSANE MOFO OF A QUEUE that had formed… seriously, it stretched for about a block! I think even Readers Den were surprised at the turnout. There was some confusion in the queue too – people who already had tickets were queueing along with people who wanted to buy tickets at the door. This resulted in said insane mofo queue, and at one point I think they ran out of arm bands and then the queue was told they ran out of tickets, and a whole bunch of people just ended up leaving. The problem was resolved later and the next day, however, as they set up marshals to deal with the ticket confusion and queues. I chatted with one of the organisers, and he mentioned that they will definitely be better prepared for the huge influx of people next time. After all is said and done, we were all extremely pleased that there were so many people. It’s a sign of a healthy local industry, and a community excited about where things are headed. Most of all, they prove it by financially supporting the event and vendors.



Seriously. This queue was nuts. I took these shots panning left from the entrance. The queue extended around that building, and turned a corner and continued along the street.


Our profit margin wasn’t huge, but it was decent, and the fact that we had one at all was great. Our expenses for this con were quite high as we had to print Chapter 5, order mugs, do poster prints, as well as purchase a wireless card reader to take card payments. We were really nervous about that purchase, because it was a lot of money to put into something which we weren’t sure would pay for itself. We ended up just pinching our eyes shut and going through with it. And we are so glad that we did! The card reader was responsible for about a third of all our takings. We wrote a little info thing about the reader at the bottom of this post. You can check it out down below.



Thank you, you beautiful little gadget!


We really needed this show to work in our favour because we have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of deposits due this month for the wedding. We essentially put a big chunk of our wedding deposit money into FanCon, because of our faith in Readers Den and our experiences with their extreme competency in the past. It was like 80% faith and 20% blind hope that the crowd would not disappoint. And both delivered! We are so grateful to everyone involved. Really we are. You are all wonderful.

We do have a bunch of stock left, including lots of Chapter 5, posters, and a very limited number of mugs. You will be able to purchase these from Indiecomics soon. We are delivering stock to them tomorrow so it should become available within the next few days. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter account for announcements.

And now, links!

Photo albums: Official Readers Den/FanCon albums can be found on their Facebook page.

Videos: Grant Hinds did two videos; and we quite liked this one from Flip Side Vlog.

And More: Zombiegamer did quite a thorough job of rounding up all the articles, videos and  photos of FanCon. You can check all that out here. You just have to scroll down a little bit until you get to the FanCon section.

That’s all from us about FanCon 2016. We have some more stuff to talk about, but we’ll make a separate blog post for that as this one is already super long!

Once again, a huge thank you to all involved! FanCon was awesome, and so are you.


Danelle & Ben

CARD READER INFO: To fellow vendors: It’s called a Yoco and we cannot recommend it enough. It’s a once-off purchase, no rental fees. The app is straightforward and quick and easy to use. The rates are good at only 3.5% per transaction or R3.50 for transactions under R100 (This makes it not ideal for smaller amounts, so we might refuse to swipe for purchases under R50 from now on). You only need a phone with Android, or an iPhone (we use the Android version), bluetooth and wireless internet access. We used 3G because there was no WiFi at the venue. If you want to get one, you can use our referral link! It will get us a discount on transaction fees. To check Yoco out, click here! The only thing we were unprepared for is that if you leave the bluetooth on your phone on, it drains your battery like crazy. We ended up having to borrow The Modern Dragon‘s mobile power bank on Saturday. They were lifesavers. Thank you Lynton and Lizelle!)

Come see us at FanCon 2016! Also please donate!