I’m sitting in bed with a sore throat, feeling knackered and also cheated, as this is the second time I’ve been ill this month. Several lateral flow tests insist that it’s not covid. At this point, who knows anything? Other than how annoying it is to have limited energy when you just want to be getting things done.
Well, I have slowly been getting some things done. My protest comic is now with the printer.
Despite my rush to have it out in the world*, I have requested a single sample printing ahead of the first run, due to both my usual nervousness about colours replicating properly, and, this time, because of some particularly tricky placements.
There are a few drawings that run across two pages, and because it’s a fairly long comic it’s to be perfect bound (ie, it’ll have a spine) which means the spreads won’t open flat – some of every page will end up in the glued gutter. So I’ve been prepping those as best I can: it might be my current wooziness, but whenever I thought I’d got it all straight in my head, I realised I hadn’t at all… (fingers crossed) I got there in the end.
The other way in which I made things a bit tricky for myself was in having so many drawings of people who are cut off at the bottom of the image. Fine for Instagram, a bit more difficult on the printed page.
Rather than have their bottom margin floating awkwardly above a white space, I extended each and every drawing so that it bleeds a little lower – so, no matter where the printer’s guillotine falls, there still won’t be a gap.
Testament to digital drawing that you can do this so easily, I suppose.
If I’d been able to plan ahead, I could have drawn all the images onto the page templates ahead of time and saved myself a lot of faffing at the last minute and against the clock; but as usual with my stuff it came about more organically than that. I started it as an Inktober project, only intending to share on Instagram, and gradually came to realise I wanted it in physical form as well.
Still, it’s a learning for next time innit.
- I’ve been setting up an LDComics online event to coincide with Draw The Line’s UK publication date in March. You can’t book yet – it’ll be available after they’ve done the February meetup – but I am so very excited.
I invited five of the Draw the Line artists to join me speaking about comics for making social and political change. Amazingly, they all said yes! So we’ll each speak for 8 minutes and then there’ll be questions from the audience.
I genuinely can’t wait to hear all of them present their work: it’ll be me talking about Draw the Line and my recent comic. then Siiri Viljakka, Joan Reilly, Beata Sosnowska, Kane Lynch and Kate Evans, each talking about their own very different but really interesting work.
- Very early days yet, but quite excitingly I’ve also been talking to the Cartoon Museum about the possibility of an in-person event.
- I’ve been chatting with the local comics group, Cartoon County, about having a collective table at the Lakes festival next year – this will mean that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing in terms of spending the festival sitting behind a table, or getting out to see some of the talks and events, as we’ll be able to take turns.
The festival has moved from Kendal to neighbouring Bowness for this year, so there’s lots of talk around whether to book accommodation in Kendal and whether that’s going to be inconvenient and require extra early starts in the mornings; and whether we might miss out on evening events, etc.
- I read Red Winter by Anneli Furmark. I don’t always seem to be able to do this with comics – maybe it’s my sickbed status – but I lingered over and enjoyed every single frame, and really found myself immersed in this world of a Swedish winter in the 70s, with perpetual darkness.
This was an example of a graphic novel where I didn’t know anything about it, or its creator, before picking it up, but was drawn to the colours, art style and topic. I have often been disappointed by this approach before, but this time it all came together and I revelled in every page.
- I also read Notes from An Island, which is very short but equally transporting. I found particular resonances in the thoughts about ageing and the sad limitations it brings; while simultaneously enjoying Tove Jansson’s usual sideways and pointed accounts of the daily ups and downs. It was nice to consider the challenges and joys of living on a small island in an unwelcoming stretch of sea. among storms and gales, picking up whatever lost cargoes the waves would toss onto the beaches. The daily considerations just seemed so much more basic and surmountable with common sense than those in my own life! Both books are recommended for an escape.
- I’ve got 4 days to turn in a pitch to the Nib so that’s it for now. Better overcome this stupid weariness and get my thoughts together.
* It’s basically going to be out of date as soon as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passes through Parliament, which is looking to be within the next two weeks… “No, no, not out of date“, as my friend Michi kindly reminds me, “A record of history while it’s in the making“.