It is the new year

A woman holds a sign saying 'sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to save the world'. Illustration by Myfanwy Tristram.

…and I am experiencing the unfamiliar sensation of having finished a comic.

No, don’t get excited, of course it’s not Satin and Tat. I’ve finished the far smaller project of my protest comic, which I have been working at day and night in the hope of having it available while the pertinent legislation is going through Parliament this month.

Kill The Bill protest by Myfanwy Tristram

Well, I say I’ve finished it – I’ve got the final two pages to go, and I’ll probably tweak some lettering, having decided that my own handwriting gives less of an impression of lovable quirkiness and more one of amateurish scruffiness.

But I’ve printed it all out on my home printer and had that moment of muted pride (who among us can allow proper, unalloyed pride these days? Not me, apparently) where, suddenly, there it is. Having seen it in all its 84-page glory I can now see why it’s taken quite so much effort, even given the fact that many of the pages feature just a single image.

I’d been pleased to have the Christmas break from work to spend time on it, but my original estimate that I’d be able to pootle away for a couple of hours here and there proved quite wrong, and I ended up pulling some serious 11-hour days at my desk. Not quite what I imagine when I wish I could spend more time on my comics!

I’ve requested a quote on printing costs and am now awaiting the bad news around Brexit/Covid/supply chain issues and rising prices with trepidation. Don’t tell my printer, but if it’s really expensive I think I’m going to get it done, even if I have to sell it at a tiny, or no, margin. I just really want it out in the world.

Looking ahead to the new year

I’m quite a fan of resolutions: they seem to work well for me as a motivator, at least to kickstart me on things. But while I’d like to say I’ll finish Satin and Tat that’s actually not too likely, and in fact is in direct contravention of my other ambitions for the year:

  • To be published more
  • To give the UK launch of Draw the Line proper attention, and
  • To somehow, at the same time, spend fewer hours at my desk.

I was on page 66 of Satin and Tat when I started regular blogging on June 26. I haven’t even touched it recently thanks to the protest comic, but last time I looked I was on page 81.

That’s 15 pages in 6 months, albeit interrupted by various other projects, but… I mean, really.

What have I achieved?

On a perhaps more celebratory note, let’s look back at what I have actually managed in 2021.

  • I contributed a strip to the Nib
  • I had Draw the Line accepted by Street Noise Books, spent quite a bit of time on edits and saw it launch in North America
  • I completed (my own version of) Inktober, then conceived and drew the protest comic
  • I presented at one in-person conference, one online conference and was interviewed for one video project
  • I completely redesigned my website, stating more clearly who I am and what I want to do. I don’t really subscribe to the ‘ask the universe’ belief system but I do see the sense in at least setting out clearly what I’d like to work on, so I have somewhere to direct the people who might make it happen.
  • I published 25 blog posts: at the beginning of the year, I was finishing off documenting Draw the LIne’s path to self-publishing, little to know that Street Noise would pick it up and publish it professionally. Then in June I made the decision to make a fast and furious post each week to chart my progress, and I… mostly did that.
    Yeah there were a few gaps, but I don’t think my readership anxiously awaits my weekly output, or even notices if one is missing (do shout if I am misrepresenting you!)
    In these posts I’ve shared inspirations and links and the successes/publications of others as well as my own progress and frustrations, and I hope they are of some worth.

In summary

I thought that ending with a list of achievements would be quite a positive way to wrap up, but I can’t say I am feeling hugely enthusaistic about launching into the new year. What with covid, the climate emergency and a government determined to make things ever worse for those in need, it’s hard to raise a smile. At least I feel that this may put me well in step with the majority of society at the moment.

But I will say that I do appreciate everything that my work in comics gives me, despite the many woes it also brings. And I do appreciate you for reading. I wish you the very best for 2022.

In the circumstances.

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.

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