Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition

myriad event by Myfanwy Tristram

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.


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?

The Perfect Storm

star fishnet tights by Myfanwy Tristram

Blue tights with green tops by Myfanwy Tristram

bright pink tights by Myfanwy Tristram

green tights by Myfanwy Tristram

Remember that film where George Clooney grabs an unexpected eBay bargain, finds a sketchbook with unusual dimensions, and follows an Instagram account that suddenly gives him an idea for an art project? It’s called ‘The Perfect Storm’.

Oh, wait. That wasn’t a film, it was real life. And it wasn’t George Clooney, it was me. However, I’m sticking with the title: a ‘perfect storm’ is when a combination of events create the ideal environment for something to happen.

In George’s case, that saw him looking noble in a slicker, square-jawed and pushing against adversity while sprackled with a light sea spray (I’m guessing; I haven’t seen it). In mine, it sees me happily noodling around with inks and watercolour paper.

To explain, my perfect storm came together like this:

EVENT 1: I’m looking for something on eBay. I can’t remember what now; we’ve just moved house, so there’s been a lot of eBaying for furniture and random stuff.

I come across a job lot of tights in my size – 14 or so pairs of them. Tights in my size are quite rare, as I’m far too tall for a lady, apparently. They’re going for something silly like £2.99. I put in a low bid and forget about them. A few days later, ta-da! I’m now the owner of a ridiculous number of colourful tights, some with fancy designer names and packaging.

EVENT 2: In said move, I’m unpacking my sketchbooks when I find the landscape watercolour sketchbook I bought at the Tate while we were on holiday in St Ives. Coals to Newcastle, incidentally, as it turns out it was made by Seawhite of Brighton.

This sketchbook is 29cm x 15cm. Long and thin. Ideal for landscapes, seascapes and… do you see where I’m going?

EVENT 3: I can’t pretend I wasn’t partly inspired  – even if subliminally – by an Instagram account I’ve been following with fascination: Stace-a-lace photographs women on the streets of New York – but only from the waist downwards. The results are intriguing.

And KABOOM! Perfect storm all up in yo face. New art project: I’m drawing my legs every time I wear a pair of these tights.

Oh, is that all? Why didn’t you say so at the start?

More of these as they happen.

November 2012: clothes project

Everything my daughter and I wore in November 2012

Everything my daughter and I wore in November 2012

In November 2012, I decided to draw the clothes I wore, every day, for a month.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I also drew my daughter’s clothes. At the end of the month, a good friend commented that the illustrations would make a great comic.

She said one thing that really struck me: that these clothes may seem pretty ordinary now, but in a few years’ time, the picutres could stand as a historic document.

So I cleaned all the sketches up and started putting them into a printable format. What you see here is me playing about with ideas for the cover.

In my day job, my boss has a penchant for extarordinarily long blog titles – I think that’s influenced my choice of title here.

My summing-up post at the end of the whole project – complete with pie charts! – can be seen here, and clicking here will take you to all the pictures on Flickr.

Everything my daughter and I wore in November 2012

A surprising thing

Gudrun Sjoden tunic by Myfanwy Tristram

Gudrun Sjoden tunic by Myfanwy Tristram

All right, so this lovely thing happened.

I’ve had this Gudrun Sjoden dress pinned to my wish I could justify that Pinterest board for.. well, for 25 weeks, according to Pinterest itself.

Something about the pattern and the colours really appealed to me, and the cut is one of the few that actually suits my frame.

It had become a benchmark in my mind – I’d see a cheaper dress that I liked, in a shop, and think, ‘yeah, but if I buy two like that, I might as well buy the Cirkus dress, and the Cirkus dress is definitely twice as nice as that, so..’

As we know, it’s quite easy to justify any purchase with this sort of logic eventually. ‘Ooh, I’m so good, I didn’t buy these fourteen things I briefly liked the look of, so now I can definitely reward myself with the thing I really want’.

And that’s the stage I’d reached last week. The Gudrun sale was on, my resolve had weakened, and I was going to buy the dress.

Until… disaster!

The tweet says it all. The leggings were still available, the tunic was there, but there was no dress to be had. And that’s when the amazing thing happened. Gudrun Sjoden tweeted me to say they’d look out for a dress and send it to me, if I’d draw it here.

Talk about an offer you can’t refuse – why, even if I’d bought it with my own money, you know I’d be sitting down to draw that thing.

Now in the end, they couldn’t actually locate a dress in my size, and they sent me the tunic. I have to say, I wouldn’t have chosen the tunic myself, BUT, now I’ve tried it, I’m sold. It comes with a belt, and you can wear the tunic Robin Hood style, a little bit pulled over the belt, which – rather than emphasise voluminous post-baby tummy, which I suppose was my fear – actually looks rather nice. This tunic is going to be paired with black skinny jeans and boots all autumn long.

It *was* fun to draw – though you’ll note that I didn’t draw the whole pattern. Artistic licence!

Gudrun Sjoden bag by Myfanwy Tristram

To make the whole thing even more special, it came in not only a floral-patterned envelope, but a polka dot tote bag. It’s as if they knew about me and polka dots.

And there you are, my first ever ‘sponsored post’. Almost certainly my last, though, y’know, if Fat Face, Bravissimo, Boden, or *breathes* Marimekko would like me to draw myself in any of these, I am right here, and, evidence shows, fully amenable. :)