Draw The Line coverage

Draw The Line logo by Karrie Fransman

There’s been quite a bit of press on the launch of Draw The Line, which has really helped spread the word. Some of the more notable examples:

  • Broken Frontier were nice enough to let me natter on at length
  • Forbidden Planet's piece brought us lots of visitors
  • Standard Issue's Jo Neary, who was one of the Draw The Line artists, interviewed me too
  • Our aims obviously chimed very well with Positive News and they’ve been tweeting out the images as well as covering us in this piece

Thanks also to everyone who is sharing Draw The Line on social media — it’s been great to see the images get such wide coverage. As a reminder,they’re all covered under a Creative Commons licence, which means that anyone is welcome to share them on their own website or elsewhere, so long as the artist is credited and the use is non-commercial.

We’re also on pretty much every social media channel ourselves, so if you’d like to see the images at a steady pace of a couple per day, you can follow Draw The Line on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

I’ve already shared my own work for Draw The Line so here are a couple more that I really like (although in truth, it is hard to pick: I am fond of so many of them).

Image by Nicholas Sputnik MillerImage by Nicholas Sputnik Miller


Image by Karen Rubins
Image by Karen Rubins

And of course you can see all the rest at www.drawthelinecomics.com.

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.

My #HourlyComicDay 2017 in full

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

I’ve been absolutely up to my neck in the Draw The Line project (comic artists drawing positive political actions that anyone can take), but when Hourly Comic Day rolled around, I couldn’t bear the thought of not taking part.

I’ve participated for the past three years, and the concept chimes very well with my tendency towards diary-based comics. This year though, I’d be in Leeds with work, for an all-day meeting that would neither allow for the luxury of regular drawings and uploads, nor provide very interesting or varied content. So I cheated slightly, and completed my hourlies on the Saturday beforehand.

As with every year, it was slightly stressful and time-consuming, and I ended up feeling a bit unhappy about sharing rough work. But also as with every year, I believe that the narrative supersedes the quality of the drawing in the end.

Anyway, awkward preamble over, here’s my Hourly Comic Day. Click any of the images to see them at a larger size.

If I have time, I hope to do my usual round-up post of other people’s too, but it might not be as quick off the mark as it usually is.

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

Myfanwy Tristram Hourly Comic Day 2017 www.myfanwytristram.com

It’s really really soon now, you guys

Woah, those Finns are arriving pretty soon!

In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you might like to catch up on the history of my madcap idea to bring two complete strangers over to the UK to sleep on my sofa and talk about comics — hopefully to an audience, which is of course where you come in.

You can see Siiri Viljakka and Lauri Tuomi-Nikula speaking at four events in Brighton, London and Hastings, next week.

I’m pretty sure these are going to be the best Finnish-comic-and-FOI-related events ever held in the UK (and possibly the only ones) so I’d advise you to grab a ticket while you can.

The Myfanwy Tristram shop is updated

yay comics postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

I’ve just added new postcard designs and stickers to my online shop — the ones that have previously only been available at comics fairs.

Now’s your chance to send someone a hearty “Yay! Comics” message, or slap a “Comics totally count as reading” sticker on your laptop, so everyone knows exactly where you stand on that issue.

myf stikers
Stickkkkerrrrs!

Other designs include the girl-positive Girls Rock and Girls Rule images, taken from my comic ‘Everything My 10-year-old daughter wore in November” — which you can buy too. Go on, treat yourself!

girls rule postcard by Myfanwy Tristramgirls rock postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

Return to the low-tech zine

colouring book cover by Myfanwy Tristram

make a zine

Above is a picture of a print that my husband picked up at Comica London. Sadly, my pedantic side will not allow me to hang it above my desk until I’ve added that missing apostrophe, but the message is a good one nonetheless.

As it happens, in the week running up to Comica I was already rediscovering the joy of self-made comics, unprompted.

It is a lot of fun to have your comics made by a proper printer, and have them arrive with their lovely silky covers and their professional binding, that’s for sure. But it can be expensive too, and I wanted to have something on our stall that customers could pay a little less for.

And so the Slightly Annoying Animals colouring book was born. Quite what possessed me to go into production the week before Comica, while also trying to hold down a full time job and all the other aspects of a busy life, I’m not sure, but never mind: I did.

Don’t leave the house

I work from home during the week, so couldn’t easily go out to buy new materials. So I decided to see if I could make something with only what I already had at home.

When I looked into my stock of paper, it was clear that – even for a print run of just ten copies – I would need to mix and match. As I pulled out tracing paper and sugar paper, along with nice thick watercolour paper, I realised that this could be a deliberate design feature, adding to the book’s quirkiness.

Fortunately, the inks in my printer were pretty full (such is my faith in printer inks that I am always surprised when they manage to print a single page, let alone a project like this). I quickly drew several animals, not thinking too hard about the theme nor stressing too much about making them my best drawings ever. After scanning these in, I chose a limited colour palette that I hope is reminiscent of the so-trendy-right-now riso printer, and changed the line colours.

Then I made a small dummy book so that I could remember which pages backed onto which others. That, and a label I stuck to my printer many moons ago, to remind me which side of the paper it prints on and which way up is the top, were my saving graces.

To the joy of my inexplicably printer-obsessed cats (seriously – the three of them came into the room at a trot), I switched the printer on and then fed the pages through mostly singly, by hand, to ensure there were no snarl-ups.

colouring book by Myfanwy Tristram

Then the next night, I bound them. The household machines were still clearly on my side, because when I got my sewing machine out, absolutely certain that last time I’d tried to use it, it had been irrevocably jammed, it was working like a song. That meant I could do some really quick and really rather pleasing stitched spines, and while I was at it, I sewed a silly little label on the back, too:

silly label by Myfanwy Tristram

Overheads were so low on this that I was able to sell them for just £3 at Comica: well within pocket money budgets, I reckon. Most of the paper had been sitting unused in my drawer for years, so the price really just reflected the time spent drawing, scanning, and worrying.

OK: so you always learn from making anything, even if you’ve done it before. What did I learn this time?

  • I have to admit it – tracing paper is a fun material but it’s not really great for comics because (obviously) the picture on the next page shows through. Perhaps this could work if the subsequent pages were mainly blank, with an invitation to draw something for yourself.
  • Having said that, I think the mixture of different kinds of paper is really appealing and if I was going to do this again, I’d go and invest in some squared paper or something else with an interesting texture or pattern.
  • The pictures weren’t my greatest works of art. I’m not the sort of artist who does her best work within a tight timescale (unfortunately. I’m working on it) and in fact the whole concept could have been refined. I like the idea of ‘slightly annoying animals’; with a bit more time I reckon I could have worked up their personalities into something that would amuse adults while their kids enjoyed the colouring bit.
  • So maybe I’ll do that one day.
  • But the main thing that I learned was that, for low runs of cheap comics, it’s still totally practical to do it yourself at home. I mean, when you think about it, of course it is: the whole zine culture grew up before people had computers and printers at home, with copies made at print shops or on photocopy machines, so it’s a lot easier now.

So, here’s a pen and some paper and a typewriter scanner, printer, and sewing machine. Now what are you waiting for?

Come to Comica

Comics best thing ever Sticker by Myf Tristram

Don’t forget that it’s London’s comics festival, Comica, on Saturday.

I’ll be at the Comiket Market with my pal Zara, selling our comics:

  • Two Birds, our joint compendium
  • Everything My Ten-Year-old Daughter Wore in November, my collection of daily clothes drawings
  • If you are quick (I don’t have many left), Salon of Rejects, the anthology of non-winning Cape/Comica/Observer strips
  • Zara has a fantastic new comic out, Don’t Call Me A Tomboy
  • We’ll also have postcards and stickers, yay! Some of these are brand new designs, which I haven’t even put in my shop yet (and some are reprints of previous designs). I will add them to my shop, but probably not until after Comica.

Stickers

(available as a pack of 3):

comics literally the best sticker by Myf TristramComics best thing ever Sticker by Myf Tristramcomics totes count sticker by Myf Tristram

Postcards

yay comics postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

swimmers postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

girls rock postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

girls rule postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

booner postcard by myfanwy tristram

tins postcard by myfanwy tristram

iggy postcard by myfanwy tristram

muesli mountain postcard by Myfanwy Tristram

Hope to see you there. Swing by for a chat, even if you don’t buy anything: we’ll still be happy to meet you. :D

(But if you do want to buy, remember to bring plenty of cash: most sellers, including us, won’t have card payment facilities).

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…

 

Everything My Daughter Wore in November: now for sale as a comic

Drawing all my daughter’s clothes last November is one of my favourite recent projects, so I was keen to get it printed up into a comic for people to buy.

They arrived today! These are a lot smaller than the other comics I’ve recently been involved in (Two Birds and Salon of Rejects), because I wanted them to be the same size as the original sketch book that I drew them in. The result is a comic that’s small and sweet. You can buy one here.

At the moment you’ll get a pound off when you buy more than one comic in my online shop.

IMG_7562

Clovember by Myfanwy Tristram

IMG_7565

IMG_7563

 

I know I’ve been printing up a lot of comics lately – blame Comic Printing UK for making it so easy – and also the fact that I’ll be doing a few comics fairs this year, and need stock to sell.

As hobbies go, it’s an expensive one, though, so thank you for your support when you buy them!

What I said at Gosh Comics

The launch for Salon of Rejects last night was really fun. Thanks so much to Gosh Comics for hosting it, and for all the people that came out on a chilly Wednesday night. Since the pessimist in me was expecting an audience of two people and a pet dog, I was really delighted to see that it was standing room only (I expect the people standing up weren’t quite as delighted).

Here are the slides I presented, if you’re interested to see them. They don’t make much sense without the words to accompany them, though, so you can see those here.

Thank you very much to Tom Plant for putting the comic together, to Michael Lomon for organising the event, and to my co-speaker Sarah Ushurhe. You can buy a copy of Salon of Rejects at Gosh Comics or online here.

The night was part of the Process series, a monthly event where artists talk about how they make comics.

It was rather nice to realise that the Salon of Rejects project initially came about because of my habit of collecting together people’s entries to the Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story contest: a really good result.

 

Two Birds released; plus, Salon of Rejects event

It’s been months in the planning, but Two Birds is now a reality, and you can buy it online here.

A 40-page collaboration between me and Zara Slattery, Two Birds contains 15 full-colour strips.

If you enjoy the work I publish here on this blog, here’s your chance to own it for yourself – nicely collected together in print form (and here’s a shout-out for Comic Printing UK, who brought this glossy booklet into the world).

Zara’s work shares many of my own sensibilities but reflects her own beautiful, lyrical style. We think our strips go together rather nicely.

And why ‘Two Birds’ for a title? Because that’s what we are. Two chirpy birds.

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CeTm702XIAAePPK

Salon of Rejects event

Also – don’t forget that I’ll be at Gosh Comics in London this Wednesday night, along with three other creators who contributed to the Salon of Rejects comic.

I’ve put together a really fun talk and overall I think it’s going to be an interesting event – consider yourself invited!

Salon of Rejects comic

Salon of Rejects: grab your copy now

Salon of Rejects comic

Ooh look, what have we here? A lovely, shiny high-quality comic with one of my strips in it, that’s what.

It’s a sumptuous, perfect bound 28-page comic featuring cartoons by six creators, including me.

Buy it here!

Why ‘Salon of Rejects’? Because these are all entries to the prestigious Cape/Comica/Observer Graphic Short Story contest that didn’t scoop that top prize.

Or.. er, any prize.

But we still think they’re pretty fab. So, like the artists rejected from the Paris Salon, we’ve cocked a snook at the establishment and set up our own display. And now it can be yours!

In this volume you’ll find four-page cartoons by:

Huge thanks to Tom Plant, whose idea it was, and who did all the donkey work in getting it printed (via the ace Comic Printing UK, who are patient and helpful and recommended).

So, buy it online now. I also hope to be selling it – and the project I’m currently working on with my mate and AMAZING illustrator Zara Slattery – at a couple of comic fairs this year.

Nice timing, Comix Creatrix

(Image by the House of Illustration)

I know it’s already been said by everyone, but the opening of the Comix Creatrix exhibition, featuring cartoons by 100 women, could hardly have been better timed, given the controversial (and plain wrong) statement from Franck Bondoux, executive officer of the Angouleme International Comics Festival:

“Unfortunately, there are few women in the history of comics”

To which, you can either stare open-mouthed, or you can point to some robust evidence. Like, hmm, I don’t know, let me see, an exhibition which highlights the work of one hundred talented female cartoonists (past and present) in one big, stunning bundle.

Obviously, this exhibition has been some time in the making, so it’s not a deliberate riposte, but it is a delicious one.

Has anyone invited Franck over to take a look? That’d be a great GoFundMe, wouldn’t it?

Comics Creatrix poster by Laura Callaghan
Comics Creatrix poster by Laura Callaghan

I managed to visit yesterday, on the first day of the exhibition, and enjoyed a good long couple of hours poring over every exhibit.

It’s a very encouraging exhibition for any comics artist, because it presents such a massive diversity of styles, materials and subject matter. Clearly, there’s no ‘wrong’.

It was also fascinating to see what a variety of size paper people use for their originals, from tiny sketchbook pages to vast A1 sheets. And it’s particularly reassuring to see the amount of tippex and paper cover-ups some of the artists use if they are unsatisfied with their original work:

Cluster Bombs by Leila Abdelrazaq
Cluster Bombs by Leila Abdelrazaq

Apologies for the not very high-quality phone snaps: here are some other pieces of work I enjoyed, in no particular order:

Fay Dalton Reaper Files: Buddy Holiday
Fay Dalton’s Reaper Files: Buddy Holiday

 

Barbara Yelin: Irmina
Barbara Yelin: Irmina

 

From Girl In Dior by Annie Goetzinger
From Girl In Dior by Annie Goetzinger
Frame from Returning Home by Cat O'Neil
From Returning Home by Cat O’Neil

There were many, many more I could have highlighted, including some old favourites that took me right back to my earliest interest in zines and comics.

My only criticism is that there’s no (physical) catalogue. There’s an app, for which you need to have an iPad, but boy, I would have loved to buy a big volume and see all these strips reproduced to examine again at my leisure.

 

A week in Barcelona, part 4: giant heads, small press comics, and food colouring

This is part 4.

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

Click each image and then click them again to see them at a larger size.

Barcelona sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

That blue sketchbook ends up being the one I did my Clovember drawings in.

Barcelona sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Barcelona sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Barcelona sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Barcelona sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Barcelona sketch diary by Myfanwy Tristram

Tomorrow: the final installment.

Podcast: Erica Smith on Girlfrenzy

Girlfrenzy

Back in the 90s, when I was fairly new to Brighton, I had the good fortune to meet a woman named Erica Smith.

Erica was the force behind a feminist zine, Girlfrenzy, to which I contributed a few cartoons. There isn’t an awful lot on the internet about it, but what there is has now been bolstered by the addition of an interview with Panel Borders, the comics-themed podcast.

I listened to it at lunchtime today while I was on my run, and as I pounded past the i360 (Brighton’s stupidly-named viewing tower, under construction) I was gratified to hear a brief but complimentary namecheck about half way through.

Listening to Erica’s reminiscences, and those of the audience, I was reminded of how on the ball she was. I don’t think my (biro-drawn, unconfident) cartoons would ever had had such a wide audience without her energy and knowhow. A professional graphic designer, she put out comics that looked a whole lot more polished than the more usual photocopied, handwritten efforts of the time.

Not just that, but she organised accompanying events: spoken word evenings, gigs, exhibitions and comic fairs. All, like she says in the podcast, sorted out by face-to-face meetings or by post, for these were pre-email days. As I puffed along the seafront today, I castigated myself for not having even a fraction of her can-do attitude.

In the interview, Erica talks about time away from the comics scene. I also had time away. In my case, it was to do with full-time employment, followed by parenthood.

Now, Girlfrenzy made a point of highlighting female cartoonists, which at the time were rare. It’s been a bit of an adjustment for me, coming back to find that there are many, many vociferous, opinionated, talented, diffuse female voices in self-published comics today.

I mean, obviously it’s wonderful — but it certainly feels very different. These days I’m just one voice in a massive sea of women cartoonists. What? You mean suddenly I have to stand on my own merits?!

The funny thing is, I bet many of today’s young cartoonists haven’t even heard of Girlfrenzy. They should do themselves a favour and look out for back issues on eBay. Make sure you don’t get the DC Comics ones though. Therein lies a tale that I don’t think Erica covered in the podcast.

 

 

Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story contest – 2015 round-up

banner image by MyfanwyTristramAs usual, I’m attempting to gather as many links as possible to entries for the Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story contest. Apparently there were 200 of them this year. The Observer’s Rachel Cooke says: The standard was the highest it has ever been, and by some distance.

So much work goes into these, even those that are not placed that it feels like a good thing to compile them all in one place. So:

And the shortlisted finalists were (linked where I could find the strip):

The rest

This is a short list (literally short, not a ‘shortlist’) at the moment, but hopefully it will grow as I compile my usual list of links to every entry I can find.

Do let me know if yours is online anywhere, and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.

MOAR comics

While you’re waiting for more strips (do keep checking back), why not look at previous years’ entries?

 

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.

Graphic Brighton: Drawing in the Margins

On Friday night and all of Saturday, I was at Graphic Brighton, a conference about graphic novels and comics creation.

The overarching theme of the conference was “Drawing in the Margins”, and it brought together practitioners who represent some form of minority or marginalised group.

Brighton living up to its name

“I’m going out to a discussion on gay manga” may be the kind of archetypical Brighton sentence that makes most of the country mock us mercilessly, but it was very interesting, and I say that as someone with very little knowledge of the form.

mangapanel2sfwNote: I think I got Inko and Chie mixed up in this picture – apologies

There was quite a bit of talk about Yaoi, comics about gay men, usually drawn by women and aimed at a female readership.

One apparent contradiction I found very interesting: it was said that these comics grew from the longstanding cultural repression of women in Japan, and represent women taking control of their own fantasies.

I asked whether women who drew these comics would be frowned upon, but I was assured that that’s not the case; on the contrary, they are celebrated. The comics are available everywhere, even in corner shops.

And yet, I was told, although ‘everyone reads them, no-one talks about it’. I think there’s something cultural there that I haven’t entirely understood.

Difficult lives make good comics

After the panel, there were five-minute talks by 14 different cartoonists. These also acted as a series of enticing previews of comics I’d like to read (I’ve pinned many of the comics mentioned throughout the event on Pinterest, if you’re interested in doing the same).

5mintalkssfw

Subjects here included working with people with learning difficulties (Brighton’s own Joe Decie); having a child with Down Syndrome (Henny Beaumont, of whom more later); being brought up by a single mum (Wallis Eates); working with the elderly as a doctor (Ian Williams), and motherhood and birthing (kudos to Kate Evans for pointing out that this is not really a minority pursuit, although one can certainly see the case for calling aspects of motherhood marginalised).

fivemintalks2sfw

There was only one downside to listening to people talk about all these fascinating, human-interest topics for their work, and that was being left feeling that my own life isn’t troubled enough to base a graphic novel on!

karrieFreesmansfw

Hustling

The next morning, I met up with my friend (and super-talented illustrator herself) Zara for the luxury of another full day of comics chat.

This began with Karrie Fransman in conversation with Tim Pilcher. Most relevant to the topic was Karrie’s cartoon about a refugee, Over Under Sideways Down, but I also really want to read her The House That Groaned and Death of the Artist now.

I did find Fransman’s approach to getting work interesting: it could basically be summed up the single word, “hustle”. She describes sending her cartoons (which she says, in retrospect, were just scrawls in biro) to every national newspaper in the country, then following up with an email a week later. This bagged her a strip in the Guardian.

She also tried pitching for comic versions of newspaper standbys such as book reviews and articles, but found that papers didn’t want to pay any more than they would a written-word journalist, so that was a non-goer in the end. Pilcher also pointed out that these days, we’re used to a much quicker turnaround on a news story than an artist can provide.

Cartoons by the elderly, about the elderly, and for everyone

Next up was a sessions about the representation of old age in comics, with Corinne Pearlman (a cartoonist herself, and also Creative Director at Myriad Editions), Julian Hanshaw (The Art of Pho, mentioned in a previous blog entry) and Muna Al Jawad, who works as a Consultant in Elderly Medicine (the new word for Geriatrics?) and uses comics to educate both colleagues and the wider world about associated issues.

Books I’d like to check out following Corinne’s talk include Paco Roca’s Wrinkles and Roz Chast’s best-seller Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

“Ageing is the new black”, said Corinne, and made the point that a generation of comics artists is entering old age, having become used to chronicling every other stage of life. Meanwhile, Hanshaw pointed out that the subject need not have a limited audience: we middle-aged readers are happy to read comics from younger makers, and there’s no reason that that shouldn’t go both ways.

The Yes! project

yes projectsfw

After lunch, Laura Malacart and Dan Locke talked about a project they’d collaborated on. As you can see from the image above, I found Malacart’s look (and especially her hair) really beguiling to draw, but I just could not quite get it down on paper!

Malacart was commissioned to make a film about a real-life case of a non-verbal person with autism who was found to be able to vocalise through singing.

After filming the footage, she decided that actually, film wasn’t the right format. That’s when she found Locke and they worked together, instead, on a graphic novel, which can be read online at the Yes! project website.

 Challenging the motherhood narrative

motherhood panelsfw

In the final presentation of the day, three women came together to talk about representing motherhood in comics.

Henny Beaumont will shortly have a book out which tells her story of having a child with Down Syndrome. From the excerpts she read and showed in this session and on Friday night, it looks very funny as well as beautifully-rendered.

Beaumont used the Brushes app on her iPad to draw much of the book. Previously, she has worked as a portrait artist, and this showed. There were times when she was standing in front of one of her pictures of herself on the screen, and the posture, face and expression were identical.

This book, like the one about autism, has an interesting side-purpose in that it will inform medical practitioners about how better to approach such scenarios.

Evans (who, I ought to mention, I know from way back when, when we both lived in a Brighton housing co-operative) and Cassavetti both had a similar point to make, really, and that is that motherhood/parenthood can be a massive shock, a time of extreme worry, and an opportunity for everyone to prescribe the One True Way of birthing a baby, keeping them safe, and getting them to sleep through the night.

Given the harsh realities of everything from morning sickness to poopy nappies, it does seem extraordinary, they pointed out, that mainstream publishers still insist on selling us the image of motherhood as a constant source of delight. I have to say, if I’d read Bump instead of Gina Ford, Jools Oliver et al, I might have side-stepped a lot of misery and self-flagellation about the fact that my daughter barely went to sleep for about three years after she was born.

The day ended with a wrapping-up session (plus the question of what topic people might like next year – ‘war’ being mooted), and then I made Kate and Zara come home with me to eat cake and meet the kitten. These being modern times, I knew that the pair of them had hit it off when they followed one another on Twitter.

I could easily have sat through another full day of talks, but it’s probably a good thing that the event ended where it did, as this blog post is already probably longer than anyone will read all the way through.