2014 in Review: Gregory Mackay

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?
The biggest focus of my year was the completion of my first comic book for children for Allen & Unwin. It's titled Anders and the Comet, will be released early next year and comes in at 160 pages of grey toned art. The readership is 6-9 years, which has been a welcome change.

I really enjoyed the editing process over a long story, and problem solving as I went. Working with editors is a great experience and I'm super proud of my book. It's going to be part of an ongoing series of books featuring the same characters.

Working on Francis Bear comics for VICE United States was also great, it kept me thinking of short stories for my old characters. Publishing existing work for the the French Turkey Magazine was also good, as was coming up with new work for Squishzine Brunswtown called  An Architectural Tour within the Confines of Brunswick Victoria, which I think is some of my better work for the year and I'm hoping to develop this style into a broader project.

Working on a book cover for a separate upcoming Allen & Unwin book from a different author was also great, as was doing spot illustrations for various websites and projects.  Exhibiting with and designing the poster for the art studio show I'm a a part of was also a highlight.

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?
I've enjoyed some rare Miyazaki stuff, including Tiger in Schlamm, the entire Nausicaa Saga, his weird collaboration book Mushime To Anime. I also liked 'Best American Comics 2014', Logicomix, The Comics Journal 2013, as well as the ongoing minicomic of the month books. I also liked reading old copies of St. Nicolas and books by Hansi. I  liked Black Paths by David B. and the story boards book for The Wind Rises. Honestly, most of this year was spent focused on writing and drawing my own stuff and expanding what I'm trying to do with my work.
 I enjoyed learning how to make resin figures of my comics book characters as well as working on numerous short films to promote the book.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?
 I traveled to Perth, Sydney, Alice Springs and Hobart. Mainly for work, but I'd always seek out odd or fun things to do. These include seeing 'Rubber Duck' by Florentijn Hofman in Sydney, photographing Hobart from a distance with a telescope as well as visiting the closing night of Dark Mofo and hanging out in the replica Space Shuttle. I saw the beaches of Mandurah and Coolongatta within days of each other, taking long ocean swims. Seeing highlights of the Adelaide festival was fun, as was traveling to Alice Springs and seeing the West McDonnell Ranges. I enjoyed seeing the 'Behind the Myths' tour with my nephew and also building the newly tooled 1/72 A6M2b Zero model plane from Tamiya.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?
I'm looking forward to working on the next Anders book, as well as numerous other book projects and illustrations. I'm also looking forward to traveling more and producing more figurines and short films.

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