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 ºC, 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! :)

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 Pokémon (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. :)

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! 😀

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

See you guys soon!


Cottonstar on Patreon

The rest of May

Hello guys!

We have a busy chunk of month coming up so we figured we’d touch base.

As mentioned on twitter and facebook, we have a very patient and kind client who has allowed us to put their project on the back burner in order to prepare for FCBD. In turn, we are now setting aside extra time to work on their project. It’s only fair! And they have been one of the best clients we’ve ever had, so we are more than happy to put in extra effort for them.

We also have some family stuff coming up soon, which will take up another week of this month, which means no work then either.

In light of all this, it looks like we’ll be taking a hiatus until the end of this month. Hopefully things will settle down after that, and we can continue with the story. We’re itching to do so because this chapter is going to be really cool! 😀

A few other things: To those folks who ordered the reprints of Chapter 4: The printers have told us that they aim to have the books ready by the end of next week. Only, we will be busy with said family stuff, so won’t be able to collect them until the 26th. We greatly appreciate your patience. We’ll let you know as soon as anything changes.

I’ll be in a show opening on the 26th of May. It’s called Speechless and will be showing at the Erdmann Contemporary Gallery in Cape Town. Here is the press release in case you are interested in attending. Come along, there are some really talented folks in that show and I’m quite excited to be showing alongside them!

Then as mentioned last time, we are going to be tabling at EGE at the end of this month. For more information, go here.

That’s about it for now.

Thanks as always for sticking around. :)

<3

Ben & Danelle

FCBD 2015 bits and bobs

Hey guys! Blog post time!

I know, FINALLY, right?

A few things you’ve probably noticed by now:

We have a swanky new site! Many thanks to our friend John, who helps us with the CSS and hosting of Cottonstar. We thought it was about time to move to a more accurate depiction of the comic’s feel. The old site was nice but it had a distinct parchment-and-wood feel, where the Cottonstar ship is in fact made of metal, and the story is set in the future as opposed to ye olde fantasy pirate days. We took the opportunity to fix up a bunch of other things too, like layout and alignment issues, navigation button errors, and a couple of other bugs. We also cleaned up the cast page.

If you notice anything that seems buggy/broken, please let us know!

Then, our gorgeous cover for Chapter 5. We’re so happy with it. Daniël Hugo did a fantastic job on it, and we can’t wait to get going on this part of the story! These were the prints we were talking about. We’re not exaggerating when we say that they are of immaculate quality. We bought one (number 1 of 20, naturally!) and it’s so beautifully printed. No matter how hard you squint, you can’t tell that it’s printed. It looks like you peeled the image straight off an HD screen and turned it into paper somehow. We’re definitely going to use the printer that he used when we do limited edition prints in future.

FCBD was pretty good! We had a bit of a printing disaster beforehand, with most of our comics being misprints. It was really crushing and we were really upset. We ended up having only 23 we could sell. There wasn’t even an option to reprint because the printers’ machine broke and could only be serviced on the Monday. It was far too late to find, proof and print with another printer, so our hands were tied. There were friends and fans who were kind enough to put in preorders though. We sold out of Chapter 4 fairly early on so we’re really thankful for the nice folks who were willing to wait. Many people were buying chapters 1-3 as well, which is great, because it means there are new readers. :)

Apart from that, people didn’t seem to want to buy as many prints or buttons this year. I think we sold maybe two of each, which is rather unusual for FCBD. Many books sold though and that’s great. We’ve covered our printing costs. The printers are collecting the misprints on Monday and will be replacing them.

Attendance was amazing this year. The venue is bursting at the seams, and we’re all hoping that a new, bigger venue is on the horizon… but we’ll see! There are plenty of photos on facebook and some videos on Youtube. Our friend Rowan was awesome enough to compile it all in a blog post over on his pop (nerd) culture blog called Geek Ink. You can view that post here: clicky!

Ben and I don’t have a decent camera between the two of us, but here are a few fuzzy-ish pics (click to enlarge):

fcbd4fcbd5fcbd6fcbd7 fcbd3 fcbd2 fcbd1

You may have read on our Facebook page that we’ve had a bit of an adventurous week. We spent a day or two recovering from FCBD, then when I turned on my PC, there was a loud bang and a flash, and my power supply was no more. RIP. We were really worried that other components may have gotten damaged (especially since I had JUST put in a brand new SSD), but the universe was merciful, and it was only my power supply. Still, it’s an unexpected expenditure which we’re rather bummed about. :( Fortunately the nice folks who took care of my machine have returned it and are giving us until the end of the month to pay, so at least I can carry on with work.

Then on Saturday we had our engagement party, which was really more of a laid-back picnic than a party, in the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. There was champagne, family, friends and a mountain of apple turnovers. It was nice.

Lastly, there’s an expo at the end of the month that we got a kind of last-minute invite to. It’s called Electronic and Gaming Expo and they would like for there to be artists there too. So Readers Den will have a stand there, and so will we! It’s the first of its kind in Cape Town so the organisation was a little last-minute. Hopefully that won’t be the case in future. However some decent names will be there (Lego, Playstation, Microsoft, Corsair etc) and it looks like it’s shaping up to be a really cool event. There will also be some gaming tournaments. It’ll run from the 29th to the 31st. You can follow their facebook page for more announcements. Since the expo has a strong focus on gaming, we’re considering supplementing our usual fare with some fan art mashup originals to sell, and possibly some postcards. We’ll see!

Thanks as always for reading, commenting, talking about, and supporting us.

<3

Ben & Danelle


Cottonstar on Patreon