I lived on Twitter quite a bit this week.
First, while waiting at the opticians for an eye test, I happened to see playwright Molly Naylor tweeting about the new book she authored for Lizzy Stewart to illustrate.
On an impulse, I ordered Lights, Planets, People right from the opticians. Apple Pay makes it so easy. Too easy perhaps?
Well, the book arrived a few days later and it turned out to be a very good decision. I love the style of drawing, and overall I found it a more satisfying book than Walking Distance, as the addition of a playwright as author has resulted in a clever narrative structure with subtle interplays of plotting.
Second, I pored over this thread about tracking down the original cost of Kurt Cobain’s cardigan. It’s from 2019, and I can’t remember how it was redelivered into my Twitter feed; perhaps by its author who seems to be promoting a followup book.
A satisfying thread, though, anyway, for people interested in pop culture and recent fashion history.
Third, this lovely and surprising picture by Hien Pham which uses light to make an oft-ignored body type look attractive, lovable, heroic even. Also worth nothing that, unusually, the face is entirely in shade, with the light highlighting the hands’ action. Masterful!
Draw The Line comes out with Street Noise Books in November, and I guess the publicity machine starts revving up just about now. They posted on Instagram and Twitter (please feel free to give those an extra share or RT, thanks!) with the big cover reveal, which riffs on Karrie Fransman’s original logo for the project.
Graphic memoir progress
Well, that was a lot of stuff about comics with no mention of how far I’ve progressed with Satin and Tat.
I haven’t really progressed this week; I’ve had one of my frequent crises of confidence and stepped back for a little bit. The problem with working on a longform comic work like this (or perhaps I should say one of the many problems) is that when you’ve worked on it for ages, it’s very hard to see it with fresh eyes.
My worries about it are seemingly endless. Is it too vacuous, the topic too inconsequential? Do I actually have things to say that are worth hearing? Has the drawing style noticeably changed as I progress (yes)? Is my drawing even good enough?
I’ve written before about how half of the art of drawing a longform comic is the ability to ignore concerns and plough on regardless, but where does that line begin? If one ignored all concerns, the risk of putting out something completely rubbish would be high.
Anyway, my attempted solution is to print pages out on my home printer and glue them together into a dummy volume, which I hope will help me see it with new eyes. I’m never going to be able to experience it as someone completely new to it (unless I follow my dad’s recent rapid decline into dementia, I guess), but this feels like it might help.
And then the fear is… what if I see it with newish eyes, and it’s crap? :)
The shark hits the West End
Currently more exciting than my own artistic endeavours are my husband’s. A play he cowrote has been picked up by Sonia Friedman productions — actually, was picked up a couple of years ago, given a green light and then of course suffered the same fate as all entertainment ventures during lockdowns 1 & 2. But it’s now back and will be opening in a West End theatre a week tomorrow.
As the opening date becomes nearer, thrilling things have begun to happen – like posters springing up in the London Underground, appearances in broadsheet newspapers’ lists of the ‘plays not to miss’, and the theatre displaying his name in big letters.
For the purposes of this blog, which of course is all about my currently far less exciting and successful creative journey, I will say that it is a welcome reminder that success comes when the right pieces fall into place, in this case after decades of less heralded ventures.
And of course, I’m very glad for Joe as well.
Inktober’s been cancelled
We all know that, don’t we?
All the same, it can be useful to give yourself a challenge and so I am drawing every day this month. Not in actual ink. I should, and would like to, return to ‘real’ media for a bit, but this month I am travelling a lot and even keeping up with the daily drawing digitally is going to be a stretch, without trying not to spill a pot of ink all over the train.
Anyway, I’ve chosen my own theme: I’m drawing some of my favourite protest banners.
So far I’ve remembered exactly what happens every time I try Inktober: the first few pictures are rubbish (and a few subsequent ones are too) but you don’t have time to redraw them because it’s just supposed to be a quick exercise, not take up your entire drawing time for the day.
But at the same time it is a good discipline to share them anyway and try not to care. And then, once the whole thing is done, all the drawings together always look so much better than they each do singly.
Having completed only two pics, what I’ve enjoyed so far is looking at (and replicating) the impassioned wording on the signs.
Usually these are just made out of flattened cardboard boxes and marker pen. People have a sense of what lettering and fonts do, even if they don’t always have the expertise to apply it, so you see the words needing emphasis are slightly bigger, or italic, or a different colour, even while the spacing is misjudged or the letterforms are squished. Replicating these is as much fun as drawing the people holding them.
Anyway, as you might have guessed, I’m not overly proud of my first two drawings but if you want to see them and follow along with the rest of the month, maybe give me a follow on Insta.