aboutButtercup Festival started back in 2000 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and continued until 2005, when it began a three-year hibernation. Series 2 began in 2008 and continued until 2013. Series 3 started in February 2019. Every strip is drawn on paper with pencils and pens. More information can be found in the Wikipedia article. I didn't write it.
Who creates Buttercup Festival?
I do. During Series 1 I used the pseudonym Elliott G. Garbauskas, but I reverted to using my own name with Series 2. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and currently live in northern England.
What do you draw with?
I am loyal to Zig calligraphy markers, and use these for most of my black and white drawing. I use Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens when I want a more consistent line, a Pentel .7mm rollerball pen for frames and lettering, and Sharpies (or sometimes India ink) for filling in large black spaces. I have a few different white gel pens for drawing white-on-black (especially star fields), and correction fluid pens for larger white marks (and for correcting mistakes).
What else do you do?
I have published two collections of poetry, now both out of print, and my work has appeared in journals such as Nimrod, Hayden's Ferry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, PN Review, Ambit and Dark Mountain, and anthologies such as Wretched Strangers and New Poetires VI. I have also produced poetic projects and collaborations with illustrator/printmaker Laurie Hastings: see the poetry page for more details on all of this.
I collaborate with composer Joel Rust on operatic work. In 2016 we were awarded Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowships from Aldeburgh Music, and are now looking for partners to help us bring our latest creation, The Conifers, to the stage.
In 2018 I finished a PhD at the University of Sheffield. My research explores the theological dimensions of the work of Ted Hughes, and a book grown from this research, Ted Hughes and Christianity, is now under contract with Cambridge University Press, to be published in summer 2019.
What is Renaming of the Birds?
Renaming of the Birds is an illustrated storybook about a young clerk who is assigned to rename all the birds in his town. I self-published Renaming of the Birds in 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign, and it has now sold out. The book takes the form of a journal kept by the clerk, and proceeds through a whole year, as he ventures farther into the woods, looking for new birds to rename. He ends up sleeping outdoors, travelling all around, building a winter den and going a bit crazy. The same character appears in a little two-page color piece I did for the poetry-comics anthology Over the Line.
Any plans to reprint Renaming of the Birds?
Not right now, though I’m open to the possibility.
How can I support Buttercup Festival?
If you enjoy Buttercup Festival, please tell people about it on social media, at laundromats and cocktail parties, and consider buying a shirt or print from TopatoCo, or a piece of original artwork from me.
Can I publish Buttercup Festival in my student/indie/non-profit thing?
Sure! Buttercup Festival has appeared in many print publications down the years, and I'd be happy to help it appear in yours.
Can I email you?