My daughter’s 2017 stocking

It’s become my own personal tradition that each year, I draw my daughter’s Christmas stocking: a record of all those gifts of chocolate, stationery and small toys that Santa brings. He’s a clever man, that Santa: each year, his choices seem to accord directly with my daughter’s changing fads and preferences.

In this, her 13th year, I can’t help noticing that colours are duller and much less exciting to draw: less hot pink, more black.

stocking 2017 by myfanwy tristram

Click the image if you’d like to see it slightly larger.

In the ultimate mash-up of looking a gift-horse in the mouth and being a bad workman blaming my tools, I might also say that I got the most amazing box of watercolours for Christmas. They’re so good that the colours are deeper and more vibrant than I’m used to, and the whole picture came out a bit darker than I intended.

For comparison’s sake, here are previous years’ paintings:

stocking, 2016--by-myfanwy-tristram

Everything in my daughter's stocking by Myfanwy Tristram

Christmas Stocking by Myfanwy Tristram

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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.

Florence sketch diary: last day in Florence, and thoughts about sketch diaries

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

This is the last part of the series. If you want to start from the beginning, page 1 is here.

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on my trip to Florence.

I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my last sketch diary for a while. While I love to make them, and am pleased to have them as mementoes of our family holidays, as my ambitions grow in terms of how much detail I want to include, so they take more and more time.

I’m still only able to dedicate around 90 minutes a day to artwork, on top of the dayjob, household duties, etc. This Diary took six months (pretty much – the time was interrupted by a couple of other deadlined comic projects which I recorded here) to draw, followed by a further month or more cleaning it up, and there’s still tons I’d redraw or tidy if it was headed for publication anywhere more formal than my own blog. That doesn’t leave much time in a year for any other kind of work. I’ve even been on another three trips since Florence (including an eminently diarisable and puffin-heavy trip to Berwick and surrounds) which I can’t record with this amount of detail. And that’s what I’d want to do. One solution would be to pull out small strands or record less, I suppose, but I don’t feel massively inclined to do that.

So unless someone can find a way to conjure up more hours in every day, that’s it for this particular artform, for now at least. Hopefully that will mean more smaller projects and in turn that will mean more frequent updates on this blog, so it’s not all bad!

Florence sketch diary, day 7: you will not believe what we can do with balloons

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Here’s day 7 of our trip. If you want to start from the beginning, page 1 is here.

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Come back tomorrow when the conference begins.

Florence sketch diary, day 6: switching to work mode

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Here’s day 6 of our trip. If you want to start from the beginning, page 1 is here.

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy TristramFlorence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram(Apologies for the wavy text, here and elsewhere: it’s because these pages are photographed rather than scanned, and not always perfectly flat)

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram(The usual apologies to my colleagues – and any other *real people* I might represent — for my failed attempts at capturing a likeness)

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy TristramCome back tomorrow for a big surprise at the conference venue!

Florence sketch diary, day 5: the holy grail

alt="Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram"

Here’s day 5 of our trip. If you want to start from the beginning, page 1 is here.

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Read on to Day 6, when I switch over into ‘work trip’ mode.

Florence sketch diary, day 4: deluxe cakes, gardens and posh frocks

Here’s day 4 of our trip. If you want to start from the beginning, page 1 is here.

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Read the next entry for a big discovery, plus the only cat in Florence.

Florence sketch diary, part 1: the one-trouser strategy

Florence banner by Myf Tristram

In April 2016, I took a trip to Florence, Italy. This is my sketch diary. I hope you enjoy it.

Intro page. In case you don’t recognise it(!), the dark lumpy thing that one of the cherubs is holding is supposed to be a truffle.

Florence diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Joe’s concern is very British:

Florence diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy tristram

Florence sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Florence diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Now read part 2: a sweary neighbour and some desirable stationery.

Jeremy Corbyn and El Gato cartoon

Corbyn and el Gato header by Myfanwy Tristram

Judging by some of the comments online, a lot of people find Jeremy Corbyn rather upsetting.

Personally, I find him quite comforting, and it was only recently that I realised why this is: he has a lot in common with my mum.

My mum rides a bike, tucks her trousers into her socks so they don’t get caught in the chain, is an active member of CND, and, for many years she had an allotment.

On balance, I think I’d far rather Jezza than Theresa May, both as a parent and as a PM. If your mum is more into asymmetrical necklines, holding hands with US presidents and running through fields of wheat, I can see how you might feel differently.

Such was my train of thought when I found out that comic publisher SelfMadeHero was calling for strips on the theme of Jeremy Corbyn for a compendium book they’re planning on selling at the Labour Party conference.

In the end, though, I went for a storyline featuring Corbyn’s famous cat El Gato. I just learned yesterday that it hadn’t been selected: it looks like SelfMadeHero had a really whopping response, so although I am sad that Corbyn, not to mention El Gato, won’t get to see my work, I’m not entirely surprised (and besides, I’ll forgive them anything given that they’re about to bring out a graphic biography of my favourite singer of all time).

So never mind: here’s my submission anyway — click each page to see it at a slightly larger size.

If you’re similarly one of the unselected and you’d like people to see your work anyway, do feel free to link to it in the comments below. I’d love to read it!

el gato by Myfanwy Tristram p1

el gato by Myfanwy Tristram p1

The Inking Woman

The Inking Woman

Go Cross Country by Myfanwy Tristram

It’s quite an odd feeling to package a picture up and hope that it arrives at its destination safely, but I’m delighted to have been asked to loan a drawing to the forthcoming exhibition ‘The Inking Woman’, at the Cartoon Museum in London. Not least because of its excellent name: extra biscuits to whoever thought that up!

The exhibition will show cartoon and comics work by women artists from the 19th and 20th centuries to the present day: I haven’t seen the full list of exhibitors yet, but I know that it will feature lots of my comics friends and associates including the brilliant Zara Slattery, Karrie Fransman, Kate Evans, Paula Knight and Hannah Eaton. It looks like it will also travel briefly, as I’ve loaned my work until the end of 2018.

I’m pleased, because this bright drawing didn’t scan brilliantly and so the version I show on screen isn’t as satisfactory as the original. Those who encounter it in the real world will also be able to see where I stuck paper over messy bits of wording, for a second attempt!

(And yes yes, I’m also pleased because it’s an exhibition that celebrates women in comics! More of this sort of thing).

Illustrated Women In History exhibition

Kathrine Switzer by Myfanwy Tristram banner

I’m really pleased to say that I have a small illustration in the Illustrated Women in History exhibition and the accompanying zine.

The exhibition is up in Swindon Central Library now, and runs until the end of April. You can buy the zine here.

Its maker, Julie Gough, has for some time now been doing a great job of collecting pictures and short biographies of women from a variety of artists — this is the third issue of Illustrated Women in History. She herself is on a mission to draw a woman a week: the project was prompted by the scandalous story of a London museum which gained planning permission on the grounds that it would celebrate the lives of women. When it opened, it had somehow transformed into a Jack the Ripper ‘attraction’.

Julie’s exhibition and zine profile women as diverse as Tove Jansson, Banana Yoshimoto, Boudicca and Grace Jones. For my own submission, I chose to draw Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon. I could identify with her a little, as I enjoy running myself — albeit on a much less ambitious scale — and I found her story interesting (and, it should be noted, not entirely without controversy).

In reading up on Switzer, I discovered that running, like so many other areas of life (and even those which seem so obviously gender neutral in the present day), was once a far more male-dominated pursuit. Suffice to say that the sports bra wasn’t even invented until 1975.

This is my illustration (along with genuine quotes from other runners, journalists and race officials of the time); it takes some liberties with colour and clothing, as I wanted her to stand out. It was in fact raining on the day, and in Switzer’s own account she notes that she was annoyed at having to wear a grey full-length sweat suit, the only weatherproof running gear available in those days. Again, rather different to today’s picture when the sports shops are bursting with lycra running gear with a different colour for each season.

If you’d like to see the accompanying biography, and many more pictures of interesting women by lots of talented artists, you’ll have to swing by Swindon library, or grab a copy of the zine for yourself. Thanks to Julie for bringing so many women, some obscure and forgotten, back to light.

Kathrine Switzer by Myfanwy Tristram

My daughter’s stocking, 2016

This is the third year running that I have drawn everything my daughter received from that very generous old fellow, Santa Claus.

It’s a great way to fill the days between Christmas and New Year, and while I know it’s not exactly Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, it’s also the closest thing I’ve got to a recurring theme.

If we remove Santa from the equation, it even becomes a great chance for me to meditate on over-indulgence. Yes, since you ask, she is an only child.

As I always draw these images from a photo, they sometimes feel a bit less like drawing and a bit more like copying, especially with all the lettering and branding to be drawn. Still, copying can be educational, a lesson I learned anew by reading Linda Barry’s fabulous book Syllabus this year.

When drawing the contents of an 11-year-old girl’s stocking, what you mainly learn is how to make things look cute, but that’s a valid lesson too.

Click if you’d like to see it larger.

stocking, 2016--by-myfanwy-tristram

And here are the previous years’ ones. As you can see, the quantity of goods, and my concerns, haven’t changed much year on year. Nor, I note, has the time of waking on Christmas morning, sigh.

Everything in my daughter's stocking by Myfanwy Tristram

Christmas Stocking by Myfanwy Tristram

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday diary, part 6: in which we break everything and go home

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

This is the very final episode in our Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday. If this is the first page you’ve seen, you probably want to start at part 1, actually.

 

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Ha! I only wrote that page (above) out a few days ago, and several new things have happened in politics. It’s as if someone has pressed the fast forward button by mistake.

This map (below) was available free, all over the town, for tourists to pick up — and it was drawn by Hugh, our B&B proprietor. Taking a proper look at it, it’s clear that there is still plenty to do in Lyme Regis, so we will have to return.

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

We were sad to come home, but drawing it all has, as always, helped me relive the holiday. Hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary, part 5: Beatrix Potter’s windswept hair

Myfanwy Tristram sketch diary - Totnes and Lyme Regis

This is part 5 of our holiday in Totnes and Lyme Regis. If you haven’t seen prior episodes, you’ll want to begin from the beginning, so start here.

We’re nearly at the end of the holiday now: just one more installment after this.

As before, click on any image and then click again to see it at a larger scale.

Myfanwy Tristram sketch diary - Totnes and Lyme Regis

Myfanwy Tristram sketch diary - Totnes and Lyme Regis

Myfanwy Tristram sketch diary - Totnes and Lyme Regis

The final episode is here.

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary, part 4: cows, worms, moles & other animals

The image at the top of this post is a happy accident which happened on Photoshop, as I was trying to clean up the picture of the bookshop that appears in the third page below. I like it better than the actual painting, so here it is as a header.

Part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here. If you’d like to see the pages at a larger scale, click on the image and then click again.

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

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Totnes and Lyme Regis sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

Totnes and Lyme Regis sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

Totnes & Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Episode 5 is here.

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary, part 2: otters, steam trains and Ballardian dystopias

This is the second part of a holiday sketch diary in which we stayed in Totnes and Lyme Regis. Probably best not to start on day 2: you can read part 1 here.

As ever, click on the images below, and then click again if you would like to see them at a larger size.

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

More in part 3.

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Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary, part 1: one man and his gluestick

So, here it is! Every time we go on holiday I swear I’m not going to bother with a sketch diary — and every time, I end up spending more time and attention on it. I suppose I have to admit that there’s no escape now. This is what I do.

So here’s part 1 of 6, chronicling our recent family trip.

We started in a part of Devon we know well, Totnes, before a few days in Lyme Regis, which was new to us. As usual, the whole holiday was by public transport — well, it had to be since none of us can drive. :)

Click on each image, and then click again, if you’d like to see the page at a larger size.

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

Apologies about the next page; I know the wording is badly placed for reading – but it turned out to be difficult to fit it in any other way, so in the end I left it as it is. I hope you can still get the gist.

Totnes and Lyme Regis holiday sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

 

More in part 2.

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