Over egging the pudding, flogging a dead horse, etc

Sea collage WiP by Myfanwy Tristram

I haven’t shared any collages with you recently. There’s a reason for that, and it isn’t that I haven’t been making any.

No, I’m kind of stuck on one theme that keeps going down dead ends. With my previous collages, the stamp paddyfields, forest and valley, I had an excited feeling almost right away – I just knew they were going to turn out well.

I’m floundering a lot more with this one. Half of me thinks, if you keep on flogging it and you’re still not sure, it’s time to set it aside. The other half thinks there’s a glimmer of something.

While modern technologies such as Photoshop have brought amazing benefits to artists, I have to say that they’re also our worst enemy sometimes. With Photoshop, I know I can take out one blue and substitute it for something darker, or excise whole sections that aren’t working. It gives me hope that there’s still something worth saving in the image, where in simpler times I’d perhaps have screwed it up and put it in the bin.

Of course, the trouble with collage is that it takes forever, as well, so the longer I keep forging on, the more incentive there is to see it to the end. Hmm. Grumble, mumble, snip, glue, snip.

Life drawing at the Brighton Illustrators’ Group

Life drawing by Myfanwy Tristram

This is the year that I have resolved to look after my drawing. Coddle it. Fertilise it. Erm, make sure it wears a hat when it goes out into the cold?

Life drawing by Myfanwy Tristram

Life drawing is an important part of that, and something I have been away from for too long. Fortunately, as part of my membership of the Brighton Illustrators’ Group, I get a free monthly session.

Life drawing by Myfanwy Tristram

Two hours passed far too quickly. Jolly music, a  skilled model, and lots of memories (I used to model in the same room when I first moved to Brighton, many many years ago).

Life drawing by Myfanwy Tristram

Now I’m terribly afraid that monthly won’t be enough. It was as I scratched out my very last picture of the night  (the one at the top of this post) that I felt I was on to something. And then it was time to go home.

Life drawing by Myfanwy Tristram

The cream of Hourly Comic Day

In my last post, I shared the results of my Hourly Comic Day. I’ve been a mere husk of a person ever since, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. So, massive kudos to everyone who did it, and a regretful ‘nuh-uh’ to the nice friends who have suggested I should do something similar every day.

I wanted to post a few of the brilliant Hourly Comics by other people. You might remember that in a low point during my own day, I drew myself wibbling over how professional other people’s entries looked. Well, here are the superb comics that made me feel that way.

Feel free to leave me a comment if I’ve missed anyone.

Joe Decie

Joe Decie's Hourly Comics day

Joe’s local to my hometown of Brighton and Hove. His pictures are unusually ‘fine art’ for a cartoonist, and they often contain a delicate seasoning of surrealism. Here’s his entry in full. I notice that, as a concession to the nature of the day, he’s gone for pencilled panels rather than his usual watercolour, but just look at how adept they are.

Gemma Correll

Hourly Comic day by Gemma Correll

Gemma is a new artist to me, but, joy, she has a massive archive of daily comics just ready for perusal. I love this crowded but utterly clear and cohesive style. Also, I can relate about the dip pens.

Boum

Hourly Comic Day by Boum

All right now, what do I know about Samantha Leriche-Gionet (aka Boum)? Absolutely nothing: I discovered her stuff via Tumblr and the mighty #hourlycomicday hashtag. And I immediately liked her stuff because it deals, truthfully, with those weird months when you have a young baby in the house. Here’s the whole bunch from Boum’s day.

Ah! There’s an About page. Montreal. Cheese. Marvellous.

Dan Berry

My last two picks seem rather redundant – I get the feeling that they are most people’s gateway to Hourly Comic Day (in the UK at least?).

Certainly they were key players in stirring up interest, tweeting and blogging and linking and still having time to complete their own entries.

Dan Berry hourly comic day

Here’s Dan’s work. Perhaps I won’t feel so bad about how polished it looks, given that he’s both a published illustrator and lecturer on comics. Oh and he also produces Make It Then Tell Everybody which is a great podcast where he just chats to all kinds of cartoonists, a different one every week. I listened to all of them without stopping while I was doing my last collage, and I didn’t even feel like I’d over-indulged.

Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre hourly comic

Sarah draws a LOT anyway, and managed to complete this *while working to a tight book deadline*. You can see her full day here. I love following her blog because she’s always dashing around meeting people, drawing stuff, running workshops and dressing up in wild costumes. Looks like a fun life to me.

Lucy Knisley

As far as I can tell, Lucy didn’t participate this year, but her stuff from previous years is exquisite enough that it definitely deserves your attention.

One more thought

If I ever had the feeling that comics was a dying art (clue: sometimes I did), Hourly Comic Day completely disabused me of that notion. I have no idea how many participants there were, but (possibly due to my harried and borderline hallucinogenic state by the end of the day) it felt like immeasurable hordes.

Hopefully unrequired footnote
Of course, all the work above is the property of its original creators. Please respect their copyright.

All my #hourlycomicday posts in one place

February 1st is Hourly Comics Day, when (mad) people commit to drawing a cartoon every hour that they are awake. I saw this happen on Twitter last year, somewhat wistfully, because by the time I knew it was happening, my day was half over.

This year I was no better prepared, but I did at least see a tweet about it just a few minutes after waking up. Typically, my train of thought went:

– Nah, I can’t possibly commit to that. How do people DO things, AND find the time to draw them?
– Well, I might just draw ONE cartoon…
– Argh, this is ON – there’s no way I’m stopping now.

And that’s how I always get sucked into these things. Click on each of the images below to see them bigger.

MyfanwyTristram_Hour1_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour2_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour3_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour4_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour5_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour6_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour7_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour8_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour9_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour10_2014

MyfanwyTristram_Hour11_2014

Hourly comics day is huge

If you’d like to see what other people have produced, you could be in for a long read:

What I learned from Hourly Comic Day

  • It’s exhausting!
  • You don’t have to record every single thing that happens. I did, and that’s probably why I found it so tiring, but some of the best ones I saw just focus on one small event from each hour. Those cartoons tend to be funnier, too.
  • You have to let go of any desire to present perfect drawings. Actually, it’s quite liberating to discover that when people read a project like this, they tend to appreciate the content more than the fine art.
  • Use a smaller sketchbook, so that when you come to scan them at the end of a long long day, you don’t have to scan every page twice.
  • Don’t expect to set the world alight. I barely received *any* comments on Twitter – I guess there are so many people posting (and frantically drawing between times) that it’s hard to stand out. Conversely, things went down much better on Facebook – but then, the people who follow me there tend to be personal friends with a pre-existing interest in me and my life. :)

What I didn’t learn from Hourly Comic Day

  • How other people handle sex scenes. C’mon, people, really?

Will I do Hourly Comic Day next year?

Right now, I’d say ‘no way’. But when February 1st comes around again, you might just see me getting pulled in.

Buy a Myfanwy Tristram print

As you’ll remember, I had a few giclee prints made up for Spitalfields Market. I now have a few extras for sale – very few, so please act fast if you’d like to buy one.

Here’s what I have available (if you’d like a close-up look at the images, click on each picture below – or see the original artwork here.):

Meusli Mountain, small size, by Myfanwy Tristram

Meusli Mountain, large size, by Myfanwy TristramMuesli Mountain, large size only (small is sold out) (above). This drawing is based on the Hanover area of Brighton, featuring its trademark grid of terraced houses and the Pepperpot at the top. Now sold out

Skittle Cat small size, by Myfanwy Tristram

Skittle cat (above) – small size only (large is sold out). Here you can see the cat that the sketch was originally based on :). Note, the cellophane wrapping is still on the prints in these pictures, but once it’s off, your print will not feature those pesky diagonal wrinkles, promise! Now sold out

Animal Tea small size, by Myfanwy Tristram

tea-large

Animal Tea, small size only – large now sold out (above). In this image, a variety of animals take their tea in suitable ways – the penguin likes his iced, while the camel, of course, likes his with two lumps. Mr Beaver, meanwhile, likes a cup of builder’s… you get the idea.

framed-tins

Tins (above) – small size only (large is sold out). This one looks lovely in the kitchen. Now sold out.

Sizes, etc

The prints come in two sizes:

SMALL: 21cm by 30cm, (A4)

LARGE: 30cm by 40cm (the same width as, but just a bit shorter than A3)

These are both standard sizes which will fit into the sort of frames you can find anywhere – for example, Ikea’s RIBBA frame (£6) would fit the smaller or the larger size, with or without the mount*.

All prints come unmounted/unframed, wrapped in clear cellophane. They are giclee prints, and archival quality which means they will last for many years without fading or discolouration. I have to say that they actually exceeded my expectations when I first unwrapped one and took a look at the depth of colour and print quality.

Prices

Small prints are £15.00

Large prints are £25.00

Postage and packing is £3.50 in the UK, for one or more prints. International shipping? Please mail me for a quote.

Every pound I make from this sale will go into funding the next batch.

How to buy

I accept payment by PayPal. Drop me an email and I’ll be back in touch to confirm your print is still available, and to give you my payment details. As soon as your payment has cleared, your print will be on its way to you, safely backed by cardboard and in a padded envelope.

As there are only a couple of each design, I’ll be operating strictly first come, first serve.

But don’t worry if you miss out, because…

What would you like to buy next?

As I say, this sale will be funding the next print run.

I’d like to get some other images printed up, and I would love to hear if there are any images you particularly like. Consider it market research, on a shoestring.

One of these, perhaps?

Stamps landscape by Myfanwy TristramStamp forest by Myfanwy Tristramred-roaster-in-shade

* Disclosure: I have’t actually tried it! I’m going by Ikea’s measurements. But what I’m saying is, you won’t have trouble fitting them to a frame, ok? Ok. :)

Happy Birthday, Dude

Thanks to poor forward planning skills, our family suffers a quadruple whammy at this time of year. As soon as all the kerfuffle of Christmas and New Year is over, it’s our daughter’s birthday, and then, just a week later, my husband’s.

I spent the first few days of the year creating a winter wonderland birthday party fit for a nine-year-old. Then it was time to turn my attention towards my husband’s big day.

He’d just asked for money this year, as he’s saving for a new laptop. It’s hard to make a cheque exciting to open, so I thought I would put in some extra effort and let his card double up as a piece of artwork.

Dude birthday by Myfanwy Tristram

And here it is before I added the colour.

Birthday card line drawing  by Myfanwy Tristram

I think the likenesses were very slightly better before I put the colour on, but ah well, never mind. The dude in question didn’t seem to mind.

And now, maybe I can return to my normally scheduled artwork… until Valentine’s Day.

Doilies

This strip is based on a real conversation I heard while travelling on a Brighton bus. Click to see each section larger.

Doilies cartoon by Myfanwy Tristram

Doilies cartoon by Myfanwy Tristram

[Disclaimer: the cartoon was inspired by an actual conversation, but I make no guarantee about the likenesses of the people depicted]

I started a new piece for my collage project, and it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, so I put it to one side for a bit and thought I’d dash off a cartoon.

Insert a hollow laugh here. I honestly thought that it’d be a couple of evenings’ work. Will I never learn?

Cartooning is the most labour intensive form of illustration – well, it is the way I do it. I need to develop a looser, faster style, clearly.

Stamp forest

Stamp forest by Myfanwy Tristram

This is another of my aerial view collages – click the image to see it bigger.

Birds fly over a forest at twilight, taking messages to a loved one. Between the trees are little houses and lakes; on some of the lakes are boats.

This one is almost entirely composed of stamps; the sea and the birds are tracing paper, put through my printer* and superimposed with wavy lines from postcodes. The beach is made from manilla envelopes.

Notice that each bird is now carrying a tiny little letter, too.

It accompanies others in the series: Green Shield stamps paddyfields and Stamp Valley (which I am eventually going to redraw now that my style has developed a bit on this project).

* Yay for the uncomplaining HP 5524 – you might change your IP address far more frequently than anyone would think necessary, but you aren’t afraid of a bit of non-approved paper stock going through your innards.

On the other hand, if Santa is listening and has any extra space in his sleigh, I think an A3 scanner is currently top of my wishlist. Sorry HP 5524, I still love you, I just hate aligning multiple scans of a single picture.

My prints at Spitalfields Market

I went to Spitalfields Market yesterday and saw my artwork in situ.

The printing looks really good, and the colours have come out just as vibrant as I was hoping.

spitalfields2

That’s mine, top left – the tins watercolour. If you want to buy a print, the stall will be there all weekend – it is in a dedicated part of the market that is all art, on the west side nearest to Bishopsgate.

There’s loads of other great stuff, too. I was really interested to see a Christmas card made from collaging maps (bottom row, extreme right in the image above): the same idea as my recent illustrations, but executed so differently. It’s beautiful – and if I find out the artist’s name, I’ll link to him or her.

spitalfields

My prints are available in two sizes, with the smaller one costing a very reasonable £10 (larger ones £25; you can see both sizes in the picture above).

Green Shield stamps paddyfields

Stamps landscape by Myfanwy Tristram

In the last few days, I’ve put the finishing touches to a complex collage of paddy fields. It’s made of tickets and postage stamps (many contributed by kind friends) and maps (including one I used to navigate around Japan, before the advent of smartphones in my life). These elements symbolise travelling over great distances.

I also used Green Shield stamps, which don’t symbolise anything, but which seemed so right for the landscape. Then there’s a bit of ink.

You might remember my first drawing of these steppes, which was a simple version in painted inks, from this post.

Paddyfields by Myfanwy Tristram

Then came this valley, also populated with random stamps.

stamps landscape by Myfanwy Tristram

Now the two ideas come together in a new landscape. I’m really pleased with it: from a distance, I think the details of the stamps and maps make it look like an aerial photograph.

I’ve been fiddling around with placing birds over the top of it*, and then I went away for a while and had the idea of just showing their shadows.

Stamps landscape by Myfanwy Tristram

This is all still work in progress, and I am going to have to get the original collage scanned professionally. As you’ll see if you click and view it larger, this is a composite of several scans. Why don’t they ever match up?!

* These are drop shadows, created from the airmail label bird I showed earlier. That took a bit of thinking through: once I decided I wanted the shadows, but not the birds themselves (because the background is so fussy, it’s really hard to make out any detailed birds, no matter what colour they are), I had to figure out how to do that. Make the bird layer invisible, and the shadow becomes invisible too.

In the end, I expanded the canvas, put the birds outside the main frame, pulled the drop shadows way out from their ‘parent’ shapes, then flattened all the layers and chopped off the margin with the actual birds in it.

I bet there’s a more conventional way to do this. As a self-taught Photoshop user, I am aware I often go all around the houses to do something that a pro would be able to do without thinking.

Now you can buy my prints!

I’m very excited to say that my work will shortly be available at the Art Market in Spitalfields market.

You’ll be able to find prints of the following (and just in time for Christmas!):

Washing Up by Myfanwy Tristram“If you have to wash up the same things every day, make sure they are beautiful things” by Myfanwy Tristram

Animal Tea by Myfanwy TristramAnimal Tea by Myfanwy Tristram

Tins by Myfanwy TristramTins by Myfanwy Tristram

booner by Myfanwy TristramSkittle Cat by Myfanwy Tristram

Iggy by Myfanwy TristramIggy by Myfanwy Tristram

I haven’t seen these in the flesh yet, but they should be available on Thursday until Sunday (I’ll be going up on Thursday to take a look). If they go down well, I will be looking at selling prints online, too.

I’m hoping people agree that the tins, the tea design and the washing up print would all look excellent in the kitchen. The cat pictures? Well, if you’re a cat-lover, you’ll appreciate them anywhere in the house.

Meeting Gudrun and the women who wear her clothes

Yesterday, I had the very singular experience of sitting in the London Gudrun Sjödén shop, sketching away while customers came to greet Gudrun herself, who was in town for a flying visit.

Gudrun Sjoden by Myfanwy Tristram

As I listened to the women who queued up to speak to Gudrun, and as I chatted to her in between times, it became clear to me what a feat the Gudrun label represents.

Red hair by Myfanwy Tristram

Most of the women had one pressing sentiment to impart: a big, resounding ‘thank you’, for recognising that women come in all shapes and sizes, and that we need not stop wearing colour and pattern once we’re over a certain age. Gudrun, with her trademark bright green specs was one manifestation of that spirit; another was the broad range of ages who approached the table for a biscuit and perhaps a photograph.

Beret lady by Myfanwy Nixon

Old or young, slender or not, the customers all wore colour, and wore it boldly. It made for some interesting drawing (so would the shop itself: the colourful clothes all around, the artwork and lampshades, and the glorious coterie of shop staff provided almost too many potential subjects).

Just discovered Gudrun, by Myfanwy Tristram

Gudrun shop assistant by Myfanwy Tristram

I was glad to have a moment to thank Gudrun for including older women in her catalogues, and catering for women no matter what size they are. It’s one of my personal bugbears that anyone who is a different shape from straight up-and-down has to look at photographs of clothes online or in catalogues, an then do a kind of tricky mental leap to translate that into what it would look like on them.

bought whole shop by Myfanwy Tristram

“It’s what’s inside that counts”, said Gudrun at one point. She was talking to Amanda from the Womens’ Room blog, who had popped in to do an interview.

Amanda from the Women's Room blog

I like the Women’s Room’s premise, too – that women over 35 just aren’t catered for by mainstream clothes shops, and that that’s a jolt for women who have grown up expecting to be able to express themselves through fashion.

It’s probably a strategic business error, as well, if the women I saw yesterday are anything to go by. Put it this way: these people are not gracefully sliding into an age of polyester twinsets.

Blue and red by Myfanwy Tristram

Anneka by Myfanwy Tristramyellow and blue by Myfanwy Tristram

London

This couldn’t have been more strongly illustrated than by the woman I sat opposite on the train back to Brighton. In her seventies, or perhaps even her eighties, she sported a shock of snow white hair onto which she’d splurged a mix of bright pink and purple dyes. She looked magnificent.

Pink haired lady

A note about the drawings: In the end I took pencil crayons, which allowed me to make colourful marks, quickly and without mess. I haven’t used them for a long time, and it was good to rediscover some of their plus points, like how nicely the colours can blend.

Drawing people as they quickly came to say hello was difficult, so I have not tried for exact likenesses. In most cases, I was drawing and colouring in long after the customer had departed, so colours and details are often from memory, or completely made up. Please don’t feel offended if you see an unflattering rendition of yourself – chances are I’ve mixed you in with one or two other people! Likewise, I’ve mixed and matched the things I heard people saying to Gudrun, so they probably aren’t next to the people who actually said them.

Airmail bird

Airmail bird by Myfanwy Tristram

Here’s a little collage bird I made while I was at my illustration class last night. Next week is the last session. We’re going to the pub, so I guess my learning  has come to an end.

At least, the kind of learning you do in a class. One of the tutor’s maxims was that we should keep on looking, and learning, and finding stuff out about oneself, and I hope I can carry on in that spirit.

I recommend the tutor: if you’re local to Brighton, you might be interested in his upcoming course. And in fact, the Phoenix always has loads of exciting and inspiring courses going on. A Xmas present for the one you love, perhaps? Even better if you are the one you love…

Ask and it will happen

In a recent post, I mused about getting a gig where I could just sit and draw people. To my surprise, last week I received an invitation to do just that!

Gudrun Sjödén, the founder of the exuberant Nordic fashion label, will be visiting her London shop on Saturday, and they’ve invited me to come and draw her, and any brightly-dressed customers. Wow.. that’s like my dream situation.

I’m wishing I could take my inks, as they’re my brightest medium, but I think I’ll draw in pen and colour at home. It’s not that big a shop, and I can well imagine an ink catastrophe among all those lovely clothes.  Perhaps I’ll take some pencil crayons…

new20Nov12

Here’s a picture from my clothes drawings last November, just so this post has an image. I’m not drawing my outfits every day this year, though I have been photographing them. I think I was dressing a lot more brightly last year.. maybe a trip to the Gudrun shop will shake that up a bit.

Trying things out

Here is a small bird I made from some Brighton bus tickets.

We’re all switching to pre-loaded cards and mobile phone tickets these days, so it’s not as easy as it used to be to get hold of paper bus tickets. It’s funny to think that  maybe in a couple of years’ time, this picture will look really dated.

In any case, I need to make more of an effort to collect tickets while they’re still around. Our daughter still requires a 30p one for each journey, at least, so I can nab all the ones she hasn’t folded into paper boats.

bus ticket bird by Myfanwy Tristram

He stands pretty well on his own – I could see this image working for a simple Christmas card. But I have bigger fish to fry. I’m getting towards the point where I want to do some full pages for my children’s picture book.

Now, what follows is all still at the ‘trying things out’ stage; it’s not finished work, but it’s getting nearer to it. And nearer to saying ‘this is the style I’m happy with’. You’ve already seen a phone snap of the below:

Work in progress by Myfanwy TristramI’m enjoying the collage, but it’s flippin’ time-consuming.

Other things I am enjoying include:

– Ink (especially *on top of* the collaged paper – see how it seeps into the tissue, but misses out the gold birds?);

– Deciding the girl’s hair is pink because she’s *just that wild*;

– Loosely basing the dad on a Nick Cave type of figure, for all the mums who might appreciate that as much as I do (though a friend told me he looked more Frank Zappa-esque).

Oh, and although you can’t see it that well here, the girl’s top is collaged from this beautiful old shoebox I found. Triangles – they are very now, you know. I’m trying not to use it too fast, or maybe I just need to scan it so I can always sample from it. Or – here’s an idea – I could just buy more shoes. That’s always a good solution to most problems.

On top of that, lovely friends have been sending me tickets and stamps to cut up and glue and generally muck around with.

I got to the stage where I didn’t feel like I could go much further without having a text to work to, even if it’s not the final one. I’ve mocked up the dummy book, and that did help a lot in knowing where the double page image spreads should go, and where there will just be small vignettes, etc. So the next thing I did was to put together one of those spreads.

Bear in mind that this is very much just trying stuff out. Also forgive the scanner lines – it’s a big picture, my scanner is small, life is short, etc etc.

birds-carry[Click to see bigger]

There’s a lot I like about this picture, but for my money it isn’t doing its job.

To start with the positives:

– I like the window acting as a frame within a frame, and I like the extra 3D-ness the collage gives that effect.

– I rather like the colours, especilly the curtain rail being such an impertinent pink.

– And the curtains, despite being overly gothy (perhaps suitable for our Cave/Zappa dad?) are looking rather lush.

But what’s not working is the scene beyond the window. That little red ticket bird that was so clear in the first picture of this post just gets lost in all the detail behind. Faring even worse are his smaller pals on the telephone wires (which incidentally seem to be emanating from Dad’s mouth – layout fail). The idea is that birds will all be composed of tickets, but at this scale, they just can’t be read clearly. This page is a big reveal – birds! – so they really need to be much more prominent.

It all comes down to the background. I must say, I was having a lot of fun doing all those rooves and chimneys and smoke (tracing paper collaged on), but this isn’t the place for it. It doesn’t matter – it’s all a learning process, and perhaps I can use those ideas somewhere else.

I thought I’d try Photoshopping in some previous birds, and then cloning my little ticket bird, but I can’t say anything’s perfect just yet. Trying quick fixes like this rarely works – I reckon I’ll be better off taking everything I like about the picture, and using it to inform the next version.

Birds at the window by Myfanwy Tristram

Birds at the window by Myfanwy Tristram

In summary: it’s not perfect, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all good learning. And blinkin’ heck, inks are lovely.

sketch by Myfanwy Tristram

Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition

We’re lucky in Brighton: the city is home to Myriad Editions. Few British publishers really champion the graphic novel form as much as they do, nor take such delight in stretching the definition to embrace techniques such as embroidery and lino cut.

I’ve just come back from a talk, chaired by its Creative Director Corinne Pearlman. She, and the very personable Nye Wright and Hannah Eaton made a couple of hours pass very pleasurably, as they read from their own works, mused on the process of getting into print, and graciously took sometimes rather complex questions from the audience.

If you entered the Cape/Comica/Observer contest and felt like, actually, four pages wasn’t enough for you, you wanted to go on to, oooh, say, another 250, then you’ll be interested to know that Myriad will shortly be running their First Graphic Novel competition for 2014. Start drawing now, and you’ll have a head start!

As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t resist drawing people at events like this. Here are some sketches from tonight.

myriad event by Myfanwy Tristram

myriad event by Myfanwy Tristram

The woman in front of me had this great hair:

the woman in front of me's hair by Myfanwy Tristram

And here (below) are a few sketches from train journeys to and from London yesterday. As always, click to see them bigger.

traindrawings-nov13

I absolutely love doing this kind of drawing. I keep wondering if there’s a niche for it – like, I could get hired to go to someone’s wedding and draw all the guests (I’d hate that actually – it’d be so stressful and there’d be a terrible pressure to get flattering likenesses).

The most agreeable example of this type of work I can think of is when the Guardian sent Posy Simmonds to (I think) Paris Fashion Week. I can’t find any images from it online, though, so maybe I’m remembering the details wrongly. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story – update

Work in Progress by Myfanwy TristramJust a quick camera phone snap of some work in progress, so that this post has an image – it’s not actually relevant to the rest of the post : )

An update on my attempts to gather together entries for the Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story contest. Apparently 180 people entered this year. I have managed to find and link to 14 of them (including my own), which is not even 10%.

I can’t believe that anyone who’s a cartoonist or comics artist these days doesn’t put their work online – surely! So perhaps people aren’t labelling them in the same way that I’m Googling. Do let me know if you manage to find more.

I was in Edinburgh last week. For some reason, I was waking insanely early each morning, which did at least give me time to listen to a Guardian podcast about the competition, while my daughter slept.

One of the judges, Rachel Cooke, talked a bit about it. I was hoping for some stunning insights into how they chose the winners, or what sort of strips almost made the grade, but no dice. To be fair, it was very interesting listening to previous winners talking about the projects they’ve gone on to create: Stephen Collins’  The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, and Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopaedia of Early Earth.

One thing that was mentioned, and which I’ve also seen online, is that there were fewer entries than expected, and they put that down to people being intimidated by the professional-looking entries that won previously. I wonder if that’s why they chose a strip that is technically less polished this year.

Apart from that, I haven’t seen much analysis online, either. There are endless re-announcements of the winner, but I’m not reading people’s thoughts about it, really. Again, maybe I’m just Googlin’ in all the wrong places. I haven’t seen the shortlist yet, either, though there’s a lead in the comments to my last post

While we were in Edinburgh, we experienced a few full-on torrential downpours. One of these rather serendipidously put us through the doors of Forbidden Planet, where they had a special offer on selected books. I picked up Guy Delisle‘s Pyongyang, about his two months as an animator in North Korea.

Ahhh, it was brilliant. Like many, I’m already kind of fascinated by North Korea, and my goodness. People often say that books make you feel like you’ve been to a place yourself – well, this makes it clear that graphic novels can do that for you, too. I gobbled it up, and by the end, I also felt like I’d spent two months in this utterly surreal country.

Shenzen next then, I think.