Get your hands on the Draw The Line book!

Draw The Line logo by Karrie Fransman

Draw The Line is approaching its next phase, as a printed book — here’s how you can get your hands on one.

You may remember the Draw The Line project, in which more than 100 artists from 16 different countries illustrated positive political actions that anyone can take. Draw The Line launched as a website, but the plan was always to also offer this toolkit of political activism in book form: in fact, my original vision was that you’d be able to read a page a day, get inspired, and then go and try out the action!

From the beginning, one of the nicest things about Draw The Line has been the wonderful community of artists who have generously contributed their time and skills. Now we’re crowdfunding to make the book a reality, and that same generosity means that there are some lovely rewards up for grabs when you pledge.

As we’re working in collaboration with the publisher Unbound, you can be sure that the finished product will be a high-quality, full-colour, hardback first edition. Additionally, you can opt to receive bookplates; prints of your favourite Draw the Line images; original artwork; or even commission a new piece.

The most unusual rewards, though, are those where one of the artists will give you and your friends a talk or a workshop, sharing their skills and knowledge (and you get a bundle of the books as well). These are dependent on where the artists live — each has stated how far they are willing to travel from their home — but as there are Draw The Line contributors in many areas of the UK, and in North and South America, Australia and Europe, we cover a lot of ground. We’ll contact anyone opting for this pledge to sort out the details.

In fact, we have so many different artists all offering so many different rewards, that we’re going to stagger their release. So, if nothing takes your fancy right now, keep coming back to see what’s new. Or pledge anyway, because you can change your pledge at any time during the fundraising period, if you see something you’d rather have chosen.

I’m really excited to see Draw The Line becoming a concrete reality. I hope you’ll also want your own copy of this book to inspire you not to give up hope in the current political climate, with work by Lucy Knisley, Kate Evans, Steven Appleby, Kate Charlesworth, Hannah Berry, Hunt Emerson, Karrie Fransman, Siiri Valjakka, Joe Decie, Nye Wright, Fumio Obata… and me! Not to mention all the many other amazing artists. Here’s where to make your pledge.

Talking about Draw The Line: Laydeez Do Comics, 9 April

Herding Cats by Myfanwy Tristram

Nothing planned this Monday? Then come and hear about the Draw The Line project! I’ll be one of two speakers at the regular Laydeez Do Comics meet-up in Vauxhall, London.

My talk is an extended version of the short one I gave at Caption last year: I’ll be offering practical tips for anyone else who’s thinking of running a big comics project like Draw The Line. Come and find out how to get 100+ artists to submit their work on time, to brief, and in the right format, a process that has been likened to the art of herding cats.

Also speaking will be the French comic book artist Camille Aubry. All are welcome — and in case you’re not familiar with Laydeez Do Comics, it’s important to note that you don’t have to be any kind of lady to attend. Free tickets can be reserved on Eventbrite.

2017 – a year in drawing

Myfanwy Tristram cards

No matter how much time and energy I put in, I never feel like I’m doing quite enough drawing, so it’s always good to look back over the year and realise quite how much paper (and pixels) I’ve stacked up! Here’s a quick run-through of how 2017 looked.

February

On the 1st, I took the Hourly Comic Day challenge, where you draw one frame for every hour you are awake.

Inevitably, my piece reflected some of the day’s political events:

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

I’ve definitely got the Hourly Comic Day bug now, and I hope to participate again on Feb 1st next year.

Draw The Line logo by Karrie Fransman

On the 21st, having been beavering away since October 2016, we launched the Draw The Line project website.

This is the biggest comics project I’ve ever attempted: it brought together 114 artists from many different countries, each depicting a positive political action that anyone can take.

I’m still hoping to put out the print version of Draw The Line, and in the new year I’ll be looking at ways to make that happen.

April

Draw The Line safely launched, I spent the next few months finishing my comic Ladies of the Lakes. Follow that link to read it all online in installments.

Ladies of the Lakes by Myfanwy Tristram

I also had it printed up so I could sell it at various festivals and stalls over the year – as you might expect, the Lakes Festival was where demand was highest.

Julie Gough’s Illustrated Women in History project mounted an exhibition and I contributed a small image of the Boston marathon runner Kathrine Switzer.

Kathrine Switzer by Myfanwy Tristram banner

May

The Inking Woman exhibition opened in London’s Cartoon museum, and I was honoured to have a piece included in it. This coming March, an accompanying book will be published.

I was away so I couldn’t make the opening night, but here’s a picture from Myriad publishing’s Corinne, featuring many of the exhibitors (click to see it at a larger size):

and here’s a bit of my exhibited image from when it was still in progress:

go cross country by Myfanwy Tristram

April

This is the month when I shared some life drawing I’d done in pastels. I’ve been going along to life drawing sessions most weeks though, so there are plenty more where that came from. Here are a few (click to see them larger):

life drawing by Myfanwy Tristram

Some weeks I still come away with some awful drawings (and my attempts at the quick 3 or 5 minute poses seem to be getting worse and worse) but on the whole I do feel like I’m making progress.

August

I entered a strip into SelfMadeHero’s Jeremy Corbyn comic. Sadly it wasn’t selected for publication but at least I had fun drawing cat of the moment, El Gato.

Corbyn and el Gato header by Myfanwy Tristram

September

I designed some nice postcards to sell alongside my comics at festivals. I still need to sort out a shop so I can sell these online too! Click to see them bigger.

Myfanwy Tristram cards

October

My love/hate affair with the Comic/Cape/Observer Graphic Short Story contest continues and this year I once again submitted a strip. Needless to say it didn’t elicit even a quiver of notice! As usual, I did my round-up of other unsuccessful (and successful) entries once the shortlist had been announced.

I also spent every day of October doing an ink drawing in the name of Inktober, something I enjoyed (mostly, though it was occasionally a bit of a squeeze finding the time every day) and which I think taught me quite a bit about composition. That was my vague aim so I’ll count that as a win.

November

‘Only’ seven months after returning from a trip to Florence, I finished the sketch diary I’d been drawing. I also sadly concluded that I probably won’t do any more of these in the near future – they just take up way too much time and the result, while very nice to have, doesn’t really help to further my work.

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

This month I also spoke at the Graphic Brighton / Caption event. My topic was Draw The Line and specifically how to organise a large comics project from a distance. I’d like to do more talks like this so I’ll be actively pursuing a few opportunities next year.

herding cats banner image by Myfanwy Tristram

December

Recent readers will recall that I made, and blogged, a four-colour linocut Christmas card. Despite a few hairy moments (literally in some cases, when the cats wandered past still-drying ink) I enjoyed this and would love to have time to get better at working with this medium.

Lino cuts by Myfanwy Tristram

I received the very welcome news that Draw The Line had been nominated for a Broken Frontier award. The results will be revealed in January.

And in my last drawing task of the year, I made a party invitation for my daughter:

It’s been a great year, and one aspect which perhaps isn’t reflected in this account of solitary work sitting at my desk, is how sociable and supportive comics people are. It’s been a pleasure to meet and chat with so many of them this year.

Deserving a special mention are Zara Slattery, who has been my accomplice at pretty much every comics event I’ve attended (not to mention all the lifts home from life-drawing classes!), and Simon Russell, who was on a one-man mission to make small press comic-selling more viable with his pop-up stalls.

And now… forward into 2019! Hope it’s a goodie.

Graphic Brighton/Caption 2017

herding cats banner image by Myfanwy Tristram

I’ll be one of several comic artists giving a short talk as part of the Graphic Brighton/Caption event this Friday evening. Do come along if you’re local; it looks like it’s going to be fun.

What?

Well, Graphic Brighton is normally a full scale academic comics conference; and Caption is usually an Oxford-based comics festival. I don’t know the reasons why, but I do know that neither of them is running in their normal format this year. Instead they’re coming together for this evening of talks and panels.

Where and when?

At the Phoenix, Brighton’s office-block-turned-artists’-studios, from 6:00 to 10:00 pm on Friday. Admission is free but a £2 donation is appreciated.

What are you talking about, Myf?

Well that’s a question I’m asked often, but let’s assume you meant it literally. I’ll be giving one of the ‘lightning talks’ (we each have just a few minutes) and my chosen topic is the Draw The Line project.

Specifically, I’ll be talking about how to manage a big comics project, a process which more than one person likened to ‘herding cats’, ie quite difficult and potentially chaotic.

Myfanwy Tristram

 

Who else?

This is where it gets really good. You can see the whole programme here.

As you may notice, the rundown includes many of the artists who contributed to Draw The Line, including Rachael Ball, Jaime Huxtable, Daniel Locke, Michi Mathias and Hannah Berry.

What should I bring?

A bit of cash, because all the artists (including me) will be selling their comics, and there may not be a card-paying option. I imagine drinks will be available on the night too.

See you there!

 

Cape/Comica/Observer Graphic Short Story contest – round-up

This Sunday, the winner of the 10th annual Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story contest will be announced — the (extra long – I’m sure it’s only been 6 previously?) shortlist can be seen on Paul Gravett’s Facebook page or in Orbital Comics in London, and is as follows:

(Edited to add)
The winner: If You’re So Wise, How Come You’re Dead? by Tor Freeman

Runner-up: Dennis and June by EmilyBob

Shortlist:

My first thought? That there are more professional and previously-published comic artists that previously. Also — why do artists never update their blogs? Only one of the above has actually mentioned being on the shortlist as far as I can see.

(Edited to add: I’ve now heard from two of the shortlisted artists that they didn’t know they were on the shortlist – and in one case, only found out when it was too late to see their work on display).

The non-shortlisted entrants

I like to recognise the not insubstantial amount of work and hope that has gone into every entry, even those that didn’t dent the shortlist. In previous years, this exercise has brought to light a wonderful, long list of diverse and highly readable strips that might never otherwise have been evident to many readers. It’s also brought invitations to artists for at least one (that I know of) collaborative comic.

Here are the entries I know about so far. I’ll add more as I find them — and if you would like me to add yours to the list, please send me the link.

Get me, I’m in a podcast!

I don’t think I’ve ever been reviewed on a podcast before, so it’s thrilling to have been featured on the Lakes Comic Art Festival one – you can hear Ian and Nikki struggling with my name here, just after Nikki declares that she’d like to keep Darryl Cunningham locked up in a dungeon… dangerous stuff for me to have been listening to while out for a run, because running and laughing are not terribly compatible.

I’m in good company, what with reviews of the Corbyn comic and Darryl’s latest in the same segment. That all comes pretty early on, but if you keep listening you also get a run-down of festival highlights from real insiders, so I recommend that. Heck, you might as well go and listen to the entire back catalogue, since they’ve covered many top-quality comics makers across the 13 previous episodes too.

Oh yes! I’m in the Thought Bubble anthology

Underdog by Myfanwy Tristram

Sadly, I won’t be at Thought Bubble this weekend — just jealously reading the tweets of everyone who is there, instead. I’m fascinated to know how the new citycentre venue works out, and not least whether the proximity to cashpoints (not a strong point of the previous venue) results in more sales all round!

But I digress. I’m posting because it just occurred to me today that of course, my strip Hashtag Underdog, is in this year’s official anthology. It was actually way back in 2015 that it came second in the Thought Bubble Comic Art competition, but last year’s anthology was a special commemorative edition and didn’t include the winners as it normally would have.

But, wait a year, and here it is (now perhaps you can see why I had forgotten until today).

There’s lots of other good stuff in it as well of course, AND the proceeds go to Barnardo’s, so make sure you pick one up if you’re going to be at the festival. If you’re not, you can buy a digital version here — and it also sounds like they will be available via the major comic shops too.

Meanwhile, you can peruse this year’s entries to the competition on the Thought Bubble website, and that’s just what I’m going to do now, to see if I can figure out who is most likely to be featured in the 2018 anthology.

Draw The Line is live: 120+ artists show positive political actions that anyone can take

As you may remember, back in October, I went for a run and came back with a glimmer of an idea.

Remind me not to go running again: that little seed grew into a project that has taken up every spare moment since then. But today, most of the hard work is over. Today we launch Draw The Line.

Draw The Line

It’s been astonishing to watch, as what I’d conceived as a modest small press project blossomed, and more and more comic artists came on board (139 of them at the final count). Every single one of them is a superstar in my books, but it’s perhaps worth mentioning the bigger names, just to underline how the project grew so much bigger than I’d imagined. So, look out for work by Rachael Ball, Hannah Berry, Kate Charlesworth, Hunt Emerson, Kate Evans, Karrie Fransman, James Harvey, Lucy Knisley, Dave McKean, Fumio Obata, and Nye Wright among many, many other equally deserving but less-known comic artists.

What’s it all about?

The project was a reaction to the nasty politics that is prevalent right now — politics that is leaving ordinary people feeling hopeless, voiceless and powerless. The original aim has stood fast through the project, even as this large group of comic artists worked together to brainstorm the content: every action would show a way to make things a little better, to get your voice heard, to counter the negatives in the current political environment, or to offer support where government is whipping it away.

Draw The Line logo by Karrie Fransman

Each artist was allocated a single action to draw (some took 2), and then came the fun part, as image after image flooded my inbox. Some artists interpreted the brief in a surprising way, some chose to draw a single image, others went for a full-page comic strip, and every one showed thought, attention and intelligence in the way that they translated the action into something visual.

At launch, what do we have? I hope, a toolkit for political action that is also immense fun to dip into. We’ve arranged the actions so that there are ones kids can take, ones you can take if you’re skint, ones that will help women, refugees, minorities, and many many more.

Many of the actions are, of course, obvious: everyone knows how to sign a petition or wear a badge — these will serve as a reminder. Some of them, like the Raging Grannies, were new to me, and a real delight to discover.

Finally, the Next Steps page is where the real action is: that’s where we link out to the many organisations doing solid work in these areas, to learn how you can support or even join them.

On a personal level, I have something too: a new network of comics friends and associates; an understanding of how simple (if time-consuming) it is to devise and actualise a project like this; and something approaching optimism, thanks to this concrete proof that there are many others who feel the way that I do.

Share it around

Please do tell everyone you know, via your blog, social media, email and in the street. we’d love this project to reach everyone who needs it. And, after a little break, we’ll be moving onto phase two, which is to see how we can create Draw The Line in book form.

If you’d like to follow Draw The Line elsewhere, we have a Facebook page, a Tumblr, an Instagram account and a Twitter feed.

Many thanks to my co-administrators:

Karrie Fransman
Graeme McGregor
Simon Russell
Zara Slattery
Martin Wright

And now, since this is my blog, I’m going to share the two pieces I drew. If you’d like to see everyone else’s work, of course, you’ll have to visit the Draw The Line site. :)

Eschew the New by Myfanwy Tristram, from the Draw The Line comic project at www.drawthelinecomics.com
Buy second hand. You’ll be benefiting a charity if it’s from a thrift store, or helping out the seller if you buy direct. Either way, you’ll be circumventing big business and shrinking your carbon footprint.

Go Cross Country by Myfanwy Nixon, from the Draw The Line comic project at www.drawthelinecomics.com

Taking fewer flights can be a reward in itself, if you take time to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Work in some extra time to go by train, boat, bus, bicycle, or a combination of all the above.

See you at Thought Bubble

Thought Bubble

Things are moving much too fast at the moment: I need to tell you about so many recent events. First though, let me remind you about the massive comics festival Thought Bubble, next weekend in Leeds.

If you’re planning on coming, do drop into the New Dock Hall, where you’ll find me and Zara on table 96a:

dockmapfinal-719x1024

Here are your instructions:

  1. Go to cashpoint. Take out lots of lovely comics dosh (yes, BRING CASH – most stalls won’t have card facilities)
  2. Take out a bit more. You know you’ll always come across that one comic you really wish you still had money for :)
  3. Proceed to New Dock Hall. Follow the nice yellow dotted line that I’ve helpfully added above, direct to table 96a.
  4. Look for these faces (you may need to add further bags under the eyes and some heavy yawning for total accuracy, given the rate and intensity of the past couple of weeks…!):

Myfanwy Tristramzara slattery

5. Engage chat facility while browsing our selection of lovely comics, postcards, posters and stickers. Buy them all (optional but highly recommended).

6. Check out all the other wonderful comic makers in the hall. Here are my top picks for this room (but there are also plenty I haven’t come across before and I’ll be enjoying exploring them too):

  • Felt Mistress Monsters made of felt and Jonathan Edwards Amazing illustrations. Table 140
  • Joe Decie Fellow Brightonian and subtly surreal comic artist. Table 123
  • Katriona Chapman Delicate comics about travel and gentle pleasures. Table 160
  • Lucy Bellwood Stateside boat enthusiast whose recent interview on Make It Then Tell Everybody had me astonished at so much comics wisdom being contained within one so (as it turns out) young. You should listen to that. (It’s possible I’m being stupid but I can’t actually see what table Lucy will be on – however I’m sure it will be findable)
  • And of course that very Dan Berry himself. Table 122
  • Phillipa Rice Paper cutout comics and more. Table 126b
  • Jade Sarson Recent winner of the Myriad first graphic novel prize. Table 61
  • Wobbly Rock Next door to us! Large scale, intricate comics. Table 97
  • Hanna-Pirita Lehkonen Thanks to my recent visitors I have a whole list of recommended Finnish comic artists to share, and that’s another post — but I have already gobbled up Hanna-Pirita’s wonderful Immortal Nerd web comic and will be hightailing it to table 68 at the first opportunity.

7. Go home and enjoy reading all the lovely, lovely comics you bought.

See you next weekend!

Save

Rooooooadtriiiiip! (Or, where you can buy our comics this year)

A few months ago, my compadre in comics Zara Slattery suggested to me that we apply for a stall at a comic festival or two.

“Hm”, I said, “Maybe we should start off with something local and low-risk.” Seemed to make perfect sense for two creators just dipping their toes into the world of self-published comics.

So I’m not quite sure how we’ve ended up with a schedule that takes in FOUR festivals, from our hometown in Brighton (safe, sensible) to the far away Lake District (reckless, budget-blitzing).

The good news for YOU is that there are four opportunities to buy our comics in person, to get them signed, or just to hang out and have a wee chat.  And the good news for Zara and I is that we get to put our friendship to the test by sharing transport, accommodation, and festival tables for several days.  Ehh, I’m sure we’ll be fine.

So, come and see us at…

Comica, London

14 May

House of Illustration, Granary Square, near King’s Cross station

ComicaComica coincides with the penultimate day of the Comix Creatrix exhibition showcasing 100 great female comic artists, so there’s potential for a really excellent day out.

Central to the Comica festival is the Comiket, a market of delicious coooomiiiics. Bring lots of cash and a big bag to put your treasures in – not least, Two Birds, the Salon of Rejects and my Clovember comic.

Brighton Illustration Fair

29 May

One Church, Gloucester Place

Brighton Illustrators' fairWell, actually, only Zara will be at the Brighton Illustration Fair, because I foolishly booked our family holiday before the dates were announced.

She’ll be selling Two Birds, her own work (and, if I manage to impose on her good nature) Salon of Rejects and my Clovember comic.

She’s there for the Sunday only — however, BiF is such a good event (and this year features amazing guests like Luke Pearson of Hilda fame) that I highly recommend getting the two-day ticket.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival

14-16 October

Kendal, Cumbria

lakes festivalWe’ve watched with envy in previous years, as all our Twitter comics heroes take the long road to the Lakes — well, now it’s our turn to join them.

This is Zara’s home turf as well, so expect her to slip seamlessly into the local accent, while I run around cooing at the beauty of our surroundings.

Thought Bubble

5-6 November

Leeds

Thought Bubble

Last year I hoofed it up to Thought Bubble at short notice, because I’d been lucky enough to win a prize in the comic art competition. This year, my winning strip will be in the official festival anthology, so you might like to get your mitts on one of those, as well as swinging by our stall to buy all our other comics.. and see how Zara and I are holding up, friendship-wise.

Or get in early

That’s it! Busy schedule! Hope to see you at one or more of these events… and if you want to make sure you get one of our comics before we sell out, remember you can buy them online here.

I am actually looking at them now and wondering, in the light of all the above, whether we should have done bigger print runs…

 

Eeek, it’s nearly Hourly Comic Day again

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2015

February 1st is Hourly Comic Day – a day when foolish people make a cartoon for every hour in which they are awake.

It presents you with two options:

If you are smart, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy as cartoonists around the world post up a rich deluge of comics on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Flickr.

If you are a maniac, you can take part yourself.

I already know what I’ll be doing. Although, I am a little perturbed by the fact that, this year, Hourly Comic Day falls on a Monday.

For the main part of the day, I’ll be at my desk, working – which won’t make for very entertaining comics, and may also provide subject matter that I just can’t use if I want to keep my job.

We’ll see though. In the meantime, if you’d like to see my previous efforts, here’s last year’s, and here’s the one from 2014.

I also gathered together the best examples from other people, in 2014 and 2015.

The hashtag across all social media is (mainly) #hourlycomicday, although you may also find people using #hourlycomicsday.

Let me know if you’re going to take part… and good luck!

 

Brighton Illustration Fair

BIF wristband by Myfanwy Tristram

I’m really feeling the pressure of time at the moment. It’s a fine old thing to have a drawing blog, but that becomes a bit problematic if you find yourself having the choose between updating it and actually doing some drawing!

So this is a bit of a fly-by post.

I just wanted to tip my hat to the organisers of the Brighton Illustration Fair. This is a brand new event which had its debut couple of weeks back.

The focus was mostly on comics (just the way I like it). I’d just been bemoaning Brighton’s lack of a sizable comics fest with a number of other local cartoonists,  and for us visitors, the event just materialised, like manna falling effortlessly from heaven.

In reality, it must have taken tons of preparation. The hall was so busy for the whole weekend, with talks, screenings and activities, as well as the table top sale of zines and artwork. I think we can safely say that the illustration/graphic novel/zine scene is booming here in Brighton, and rightly so given its famously high-quality art school.

I mean, look at it! Heaving first thing on a Saturday morning (Click to see this picture bigger; yes, guess who just discovered the panoramic function on her phone camera).

BIF panoramic by Myfanwy Tristram

Here are some of the artists I met, listened to or bought stuff from, together with some links so you can find out more.

Catherine Faulkner

catherinedoart

I’ve been following Catherine’s pun-filled Instagram account for a while now (typical example above), so it was lovely to  meet her in person. You can see her website for more.

Lizzy Stewart

Lizzie Stewart travel diaries

I’ve mentioned Lizzy before on this blog, because she does gorgeous sketch diaries. I wish I’d bought more from her, actually, but reading Four Days in Marrakech and Swim was a real treat.

You can buy them on her website.

Maria Herreros

Marianna madriz at Brighton Illustration fair

This was a bizarre thing: I was recently in Madrid with work, and one evening I was very pleased with myself for scouting out a little shop with a back room full of indie comics.

I bought a handful of the most interesting-looking ones (another blog post I haven’t written) and what do you know? The very same comic was sitting on a table at BIF, along with its gracious creator.

This could be a story about how annoying it is to buy something unique while you’re abroad, only to find it’s readily available in your home town, but I’m choosing to think of it more as a beautiful coincidence.

 Luke Drozd

Luke Drozd

Luke had some funny patches that really tickled my Brownie daughter, but I was more taken by his gorgeous poster-size prints, like this one for the Handsome Family.

Eleni Kalorkoti

Elena Kalorkoti

I bought a couple of cards with this grey cat on them, because he looks like our cat Sushi. More here.

Laura Callaghan

I found myself listening to a panel featuring Laura and Marianna (above) and Donya Todd (whose work I hadn’t come across before, but who must be well-known as she was given top billing!).

Laura’s work really won me over when I saw it on the big screen: lots of very detailed interiors which look like they’re done in felt pen, although it’s actually watercolour.

Laura CallghanThis talk really gave me pause: I was sitting watching comics creators who were evidently in their early twenties, saying how comics have changed in the last decade. I thought to myself, argh, I was creating comics *two* decades ago!

The whole scene is different now, though: as with every other sector, the internet has allowed people to organise, to self-publish and to market themselves, and this new generation of young cartoonists have a much brighter prospect. That must be part of why the whole scene seems to be blooming at the moment.

Matt Taylor

Matt taylor

Matt’s comic shows how to create a comic in monotone and still have it come out beautiful.

In summary

That’s not even all. There was a film; there were activities to keep children busy (my daughter loved drawing on the 3D Exquisite Corpse and designing a t-shirt); and there was Warwick Johnson Cadwell talking an audience through how to draw his particularly loopy imagining of Tank Girl. There was Joe Decie (mentioned in blog posts passim) and nice fox pendants.

If you’d like to see more people that I haven’t even mentioned, all exhibitors are listed here.

Yep, that really was a fun weekend. Next year, my supremely talented illustrator and comics friend Zara and I pledge to have a comic PRINTED and FOR SALE so we can be on the other side of one of those tables.

Bid on some artwork, and contribute to something amazing

The short version

You can bid on a whole variety of artwork, including a couple of my prints, at http://www.bidforboat.com. Bids are open until Saturday 14th March, and there are a few ‘flash sales’ where certain pieces are offered for 24 hours only.

The proceeds from this online auction will go to fund an open air theatre here in Brighton, a project that’s very close to my heart.

Here are the prints I’ve donated:

Tins by Myfanwy TristramStamp forest by Myfanwy Tristram– and if you don’t like them, well, there are lots of pieces of work by other artists up for grabs, including original comic strip art, paintings, and even a couple of vases. Go and bid!

The longer version

Back in 1990, when I finished my BA, I moved to Brighton to share a house with my best friend, who was in the final year of her degree course. Everyone else in the house was in the same year of the same degree, so naturally, I made quite a few friends from that course.

As it was a fine art and performing arts course, as you’d expect, they were a pretty creative, outgoing, energetic bunch of people: putting on theatrical performances, club nights, stand up comedy, and exhibitions. There was never any shortage of entertainment.

Among the wider group of friends was a guy named Adrian, who was a fairly rare mix: a writer, a performer, and also a builder. This latter skill, as you might imagine, came in very useful when people needed a set building.

Fast forward twenty-something years, and… Adrian was the first of our peer group to pass away. Pancreatic cancer is, apparently, generally late to be diagnosed, and quick to progress, and there’s very little that can be done about it.

Now, I can’t pretend that Adrian was still a great friend of mine by this time, but he was certainly a very great friend of a lot of my great friends, if you see what I mean, and I’ve seen the ripples that his death has caused.

His death has caused great sadness. It’s also done something amazing, which is probably the best possible outcome for a death, and something we should all be so lucky to bring about.

Because apparently, Adrian was still as ambitious, and still thinking on a grand scale right up until the end. And he trusted his friends – one of whom is the husband of that friend I shared my first Brighton house with, if you follow me – with… well, what shall we call it? A legacy? A crazy plan? A millstone round their necks? I’ve heard it called all of these things at various times since.

He wanted them to build an open air theatre for Brighton.  He had the site pinpointed (a disused bowling green within one of the city’s parks) and he had used his building knowledge to draw up detailed plans for a grassy amphitheatre with special acoustics incorporated within it.

“Oh yeh, easy”, said his friends, of course. I mean, you’re not going to say no, are you?

And then of course, the reality turned out to be much harder than you’d have thought. In the last few months, that small group of friends has formed a legal charity, created a board of trustees (chosen, before his death, by Adrian), fought for – and won – planning permission, raised money with a variety of events, run a publicity campaign, and seen the construction work begin.

It’s not as if those friends lacked a purpose in their lives at all, but by gosh they’ve certainly got one now. In retrospect, as well as being obviously hard work (I say, as a bystander who has done little except attend those fund-raising events and offer the occasional retweet), it’s actually a brilliant legacy because not only does it give a new performing space to the city, but it allows all of the trustees to contribute to it in a meaningful way.

I think that’s about the best outcome you can hope for from an untimely death. And that is why I would encourage you to go and look at the artworks on offer and see if there’s one you fancy, and then bid for it.

Some of the best Hourly Comic Days, and my thoughts

Bwahhaha, I’ll lure you in with the thought of reading some excellent COMICS, but then I’ll make you wade through my THOUGHTS before you get there.

What do you mean you can just scroll down? Oh well, whatever you want.

What did we learn?

So, yesterday I posted my stab at Hourly Comic Day, the fun (fun! It’s fun! Not just hard work) exercise where you’re supposed to draw a comic (or a frame) every hour that you are awake.

Them’s the rules, and I broke them, by drawing the final three pages a day later because, as always, it was a balance between actually doing stuff to draw, and drawing the stuff.

And since comics about drawing comics are the worst, it’s important to at least do a bit of stuff. Unless you’re willing to take that pronouncement and prove it completely wrong, of course.

Next year, Hourly Comic Day will fall on a Monday, which will make it a very different beast for me. It’s a work day, so there is no way that I can take time out to draw every single hour. Plus, a lot of what I do at work can’t be shared, due to our privacy policies, and quite right too.

It might be a blessing in disguise though: I can imagine a M.O. where I set my alarm to ping and jot down one idea every hour, then draw just one frame (just one, you hear that, me?) for each. Could work.

This year, I definitely over-stretched myself. And even the amount of work that I put in didn’t make me immune to the insecure feeling of putting out imperfect, unfinished work. Just like last year, though, I was touched by the way that people respond far more to the content than the quality of the artwork, so long as they can tell what you’re trying to depict.

Towards the end, my line became looser and I depended less on having done a pencil sketch. A day of enforced drawing is like a whole month of drawing lessons – and you see the results much more quickly, too. That’s why, despite the effort, the tiredness, the frames that I wish I could redraw, I’m glad I did it.

Read more comics

And now, here’s your reward for wading through all that prose: here are the hourly comics that I liked the best.

Let’s start with the obvious contenders. These are the same as the people I picked out last year. They were good then and.. well, they haven’t stopped being good!

dan berry

Dan Berry teaches comics, and he puts out a great podcast about making comics, and he organised the 24 hour comic event at the Lakes annual comics festival… so Hourly Comic Day is all par for the course, no doubt.

joe decieJoe Decie is a fellow Brightonian and I still love his pencilled style.

boum

Boum is good at depicting life with a toddler.

sarah mcintyre

Sarah McIntyre decided to depict the day of a dinosaur policeman rather than her own… well, why not?

And now here are some people that were either new to me, or were doing HCD for the first time:

Kristyna Baczynski

Kristyna Baczynski – aw love and stuff.

Boulet

Boulet made a 24-hour comic while he was at the French comics festival Angouleme. It is *so* accomplished that it makes one wonder why any of the rest of us bother!

eleanor davis
Eleanor Davis on life with a cat on anti-depressants.

Lizz Lunney

Lizz Lunney briefly wondered whether to draw herself as a human instead of a cat, but naaah.

Danny
Danny Noble has put all her entries together in one Facebook post.

If that’s not enough for you, it’s easy to find loads and loads more, of many different styles and degrees of accomplishment. Look for #hourlycomicsday or #hourlycomicday (there’s some confusion every year).

That’s enough to be going along with: but please comment below if you a) made an Hourly Comic yourself or b) found a good one that I haven’t mentioned!

Cartoon competitions update

by Myfanwy Tristram

As you may recall, I’ve entered three illustration/comics competitions in recent weeks:

(I’ve also entered the competition to design a new pound coin, just for fun! And so did my daughter. But that’s another post for another time).

It’s interesting to compare and contrast the entrant’s experience for each of these contests.

Thought Bubble: After submitting my strip by email, I had an acknowledgement to thank me for entering.

I just had a look at the competition page and to my surprise they have put all the entries online. I’m also surprised to see how few entries there apparently are – 38 in the over-18s category and just eight in the 12-17s. Still, that’s a nice wodge of comic strips to browse if you feel so inclined, and several of them are excellent.

Thought Bubble will be displaying every single entry over the course of the festival, which also gives a good incentive to enter, whether or not you think you might have a chance of winning.

Cape/Comica/Observer: The date that the winners will be informed is clearly given on the contest website, and that has now passed (sorry to break it to you gently if you are still hoping!). In fact, run out and buy your Observer on Sunday because that is when the winning strips will be printed.

There’s no acknowledgement email, or indeed any other communication to the entrants until then… but then, of course, there are far more people submitting entries to this contest. Last year I remember seeing that they’d had 180, and this year they’ve announced that the number had gone up. So perhaps it would be impractical for them to put all of them online anywhere.

Luckily, as you know, I’m making it my mission to collect together as many entries as I can, and you can see the results here. Please let me know if you have seen any I’ve missed, or have one to add yourself. So far I have found 23, which is already more than I managed the year before, though clearly only a small proportion of the complete set.

Prize for Illustration: I got an automated email on upload of my entry, and today I’ve just had an update to tell me who the judges are and that they had an “overwhelming” number of entries (ulp!). They will be judging on the 29th of October and hope to tell everyone the outcome shortly after that date.

As 100 entrants will be selected to be exhibited, this also feels like a competition where the odds are a little kinder. Plus, among the several judges there are an agent and editors of magazines: it has to be a good thing that your artwork is passing under their eyes.

That’s my summary of how it feels to be an entrant in one of these illustration and comics competitions. In short, from the entrants’ point of view, a little communication goes a long way.

Have you entered any of these? How are you feeling about it?

Observer/Comica/Cape Graphic Short Story contest – round-up 2014

Giddy_Heights by MyfanwyTristram_FIHere are links to every entry I can find online. I’ll keep adding more as I find them, and please do feel free to let me know in the comments if you have one I can link to (or if I’ve linked to your WIP below and you have a more finished version).

Fellow contest-obsessives-watchers might be interested to see this comment from Paul Gravett, one of the judges, which was part of an interview with Andy Oliver:

“I helped out again with the judging last Friday and the standard this year, the 8th year, was markedly better, some brilliant entries, many names new to me, and more entries than in the last few years. The challenge with a four-page story is to create enough mood, story and characterisation and to devise a surprising, or at least not familiar conclusion or twist or even open ending.”

Hope we’re all feeling like we did that… :/

Here are some other related bits and bobs to explore:

When illustrators speak instead of draw

satoshi

Above: one of several quotes from illustrators I’ve collected together in a single browsable interface.

You can learn a lot about drawing by looking at the work of your favourite illustrators. Certainly you can make conscious deductions about their use of colour, composition, or media.

But there are some things that no amount of staring at pictures is going to tell you. While you can guess at things like inspirations or working methods, only the illustrator’s words are going to tell you the answers for certain. Perhaps it’s ironic that we need the written language to understand a visual artist properly?

In any case, I’ve found myself reading a lot of interviews with illustrators lately. I suppose it’s the same instinct that makes me pay for a ticket to go and see them speak: I want to lap up their thoughts, note down their insights, and learn more about their processes.

Every artist has different inspirations, methods and routines, and so it’s not – it can’t be – a hunt for the magic formula. A great deal of it may just be reassurance: these people have doubts, too. They have pictures that go horribly wrong, and days that they hate everything they draw. Sometimes there are nuggets of advice, ways of dealing with setbacks or generating ideas.

With all this in mind, I have started a collection of spoken snippets from my favourite illustrators, and you can see it here. I hope you’ll have a sniff around, and find a quote or two that interests you.

In short, it’s a collection of statements with an emphasis on working methods, inspiration, and truths about the art of illustration. These are statements I’ll want to visit again and again, and read for reassurance, enlightenment, or even my own inspiration. And I’ll be adding more snippets regularly.

 A note about the software I used

As with my Chile sketch diary, this post represents a fortuitous link between my day job and my interest in illustration. The software that I’ve used is called SayIt and in its current iteration, it’s a bit like a Pinterest for the spoken word: it was developed by my workplace as a piece of civic/democratic software that would enable people to publish transcripts of the spoken word.

It is envisaged that it’ll be used for publishing what was said at council meetings, or major trials, et cetera. The great thing about it is that, once transcripts have been imported, they can be searched, browsed in different ways, and linked to easily.

It certainly wasn’t developed for collections of quotes from illustrators, but it’s beautifully flexible and it certainly works for my needs in this respect.

More about sketch diaries – from Katriona Chapman

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Since finishing my Chile sketch diary, I haven’t drawn a thing.

That’s partly because I am thinking through exactly what I am going to do for the Cape/Comica/Observer graphic story competition. For the first time, I am very consciously examining where my ideas come from, too – it’s hard work, creating a cartoon world out of nothing! No doubt I will write a bit more about that once my concept is a bit more fully-formed.

To make up for the lack of drawings, though, I am sharing a great post from someone else. I think I came across it via Twitter, and the correct phrase to use here would be relevant to my interests.

Katriona Chapman is a London illustrator who recently made a cartoon diary of a trip to the Scottish Isles with her mum. Not only that, but she published a post sharing her inspirations for the project, and thoughts about how she approached it.

Here it is – if you enjoyed my recent post on ‘everything I know about sketch diaries‘, you’ll love this.

Once you’ve read that post, be sure to go to the beginning of the Scotland comic and read it all. The photos are breath-taking too!

Scotland Comic b y Katriona ChapmanImage: Katriona Chapman

Lizzie Stewart travel diaries
Image: Lizzie Stewart

As an extra bonus, that original blog post also introduced me to the stunning travel diaries of Lizzie Stewart. Why, this holiday sketch-diary malarky is a whole movement! And a very inspiring one, too.

Graphic facilitation course

eindhoven_1-430x318

My recent post happened to bring together my day job and my illustration work. By coincidence, I saw something today that would also straddle both parts of my life – a course in graphic facilitation, right here in Brighton.

Regular readers might recall my slight sense of unease when drawing in work meetings – now here’s a professional skill that completely validates such a practice!

Fantastic, imagine being able to say “Oh, I’m just a visual thinker’, or “Oh this? I’m just graphically facilitating” if challenged over your compulsive doodling.

I’m seriously considering putting in for this course; maybe you should too (it needs a minimum number of participants to run)!

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(Images taken from Nixon McInnes’ post about the course)