The art of throwing your work into the void

three pages by Myfanwy Tristram

test drawings by Myfanwy Tristrampencil rough by Myfanwy Tristrampainted in by Myfanwy Tristrampage 2 coming together by Myfanwy Tristrampage two complete by Myfanwy Tristrampage three complete by Myfanwy Tristramframe closeup by Myfanwy Tristramthree pages by Myfanwy Tristram

The last time I shared a drawing with you was on the 30th of May. That is not because I haven’t been drawing. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Since then, I have been dedicating all my free time to creating a four-page comic strip for the Cape/Comica/Observer competition. Every night, I put in between an hour and three hours’ work, depending on whether it’s my turn to put my daughter to bed or not. At weekends, I fit in as many hours as I can between the demands of family life.

I’m not pulling my weight with the housework or with childcare.

This has been going on for four weeks, and the end is in sight. I’ve pencilled, inked and painted three and a half pages. I need to go back and probably redraw the top half of one of those pages, and I also need to do the lettering. After that I’ll also need to do a quick tidy up in Photoshop, and get the darn thing printed out physically, because they only accept entries on paper.

It is a bit scary, how much time it’s taken – but that’s another post.

And what will happen now is this:

  • I will take it to the post office and send it off.
  • I won’t hear anything for a couple of months.
  • Occasionally I will worry about whether my entry even got there safely.
  • One day, I’ll open the Observer (or see a tweet from one of the participating organisations) and see that someone else has won.

Which is fine! Really! Because the only way to go into this competition is with the knowledge that it’s not about the winning. The best reason for doing it is to have another 4-page cartoon in your portfolio, one that is hopefully the best you can do.

Well, that’s my thinking, anyway.

Last year, I and a few of my illustrator pals talked about bundling our unsuccessful entries together and publishing them into a zine. We haven’t done that – but guess what? Now we’ll have double the number. Heh.

BUT. If there’s one thing I wish that Cape/Comica/Observer would do, it’s to send an email to confirm that your entry has arrived.

Assuming that they already collect entrants’ data on some kind of spreadsheet, this needn’t be a lot of effort, and it would at least go some way to making it feel like I was putting all this endeavour into something, before posting it into a black hole where I would never hear from it again.

Published by Myfanwy Tristram

I am an illustrator, situated in Brighton on the south coast of England, and with a special interest in comics and graphic memoir. I also work for a non-profit which encourages people to be active in democracy and to exercise rights such as the right to information through FOIA.

5 thoughts on “The art of throwing your work into the void

  1. I couldn’t agree more in regards to the acknowledgement thing – people put a lot of hard work into this and its hard thinking that your work might have just disappeared into the ether!

      1. I’m not sure to be honest – I got rather disheartened with it last year. However, as you say its quite good to have something to work towards and focus your efforts on, even if its unlikely you’ll even get an acknowledgement! I’m doing a lot of illustration in my work now so irrespective of the outcome doing this and my graphic novel has definitely paid off even though I only did it for the fun of it initially

  2. Your comic strip looks superb, time and effort well spent. Love the page with people on the bus! Fingers crossed for you Myf.

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