Inspirations and Comics up Close

Podcasts are a great accompaniment to drawing – you can enjoy them without having to look away from the page – and sometimes they can even inform your work.

This week I listened to a long chat with Wayne Hussey, who as a member of Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and Dead or Alive was one of the pillars of the 80s goth scene, on Post Punk podcast.

He seems like a nice guy, and anecdotes about the various musical figures of the era are surely good research material; but mainly the whole thing reminded me that despite my rather lazily describing Satin and Tat as being about my time as ‘a teen goth’ I was never deep into all the proper goth music as represented by The Mission, with its grandiose swirling synths, themes of death and passion, and a surfeit of crushed velvet.

The Cure and Siouxsie were more my scene, and, as my book attempts to explain, there were a variety of other musical influences, from the Smiths to the Velvet Underground to Bowie, that I found just as exciting.

For me, half of the allure of the goth scene was about wanting to look different. The big hair was something I definitely did have in common with them (Wayne Hussey’s anecdote about a band mate being sick into his backcombed barnet was rather entertaining), but when it came to clothes, I certainly wasn’t sticking to strictly black lace and velveteen.

We were pretty inventive, before the age of mail order goth outfits, and drawing the clothes I remember is one of the great joys of the project.

So it’s fitting that I’m also enjoying some fashion history podcasts, most recently Dressed: the history of fashion. This morning while mopping the floors, I was listening to an episode on clothing for protest, ticking off two of my interests with one fell swoop.

Similarly, I loved this video in which one woman (Morgan Donner) recreates a haircut from every decade since the 1500s. She does eventually reach the 80s, and it was a useful reminder to see the shape of the ‘big perm that was so popular amongst my sixth form classmates.

Fashion history, sigh! If I ever get Arts Council funding and want to tie in some outreach events, or if I ever finish Satin and Tat and can think about a launch event, the UK’s fashion museums would be ideal.

Lastly, inspiration came in a rather tangential form from Nick Cave’s musical collaborator Warren Ellis, who has produced one of the most surprising books I’ve ever read.

In it, he describes pocketing a piece of chewing gum that Nina Simone took from her mouth and stuck to the piano before a concert, and goes on to explore the terrible weight of being a custodian of something at once so insignificant but with such immense personal meaning. He refuses to consider it as anything less than monumentally important, taking his duties to a laborious extreme.

I suppose what I took from this book is that if you pursue an idea – no matter how ludicrous – to its end, others are compelled to come along with you. And that meaning can be found anywhere. These are both useful beliefs in the face of trying to complete a lengthy graphic novel about a period of one’s own life.

Comics Up Close

This week I learned that my submission for the Comics Up Close conference was successful, so I’ll be traveling up to the Lakes Comics festival a day early to take part in this academic conference.

The theme is ‘Comics Can Change The World – how comics are delivering positive change in education and society’ and I will be focusing on the tangible impacts that the Draw The Line project engendered.

With that in mind, if you’re reading this and were actually inspired by Draw The Line to take a specific action or even to set up your own project – please do let me know. I’d love some more examples to include!

Progress

Last week I was finishing up page 75 and this week I am on the final frame of page 76.

To do list: Now that I’m blogging every week, the website really needs rearranging so that it’s not just a mass of posts on the homepage. I know what to do but do I have the time to do it? Sigh.

I suspect that ‘time’ is the most used word across this entire blog. And with that in mind, I’d better go and do some more drawing.

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