Darryl Cunningham, Robin Ince and Draw The Line in Brighton

Wondering how to cope in an increasingly depressing world? Well, one thing you could do is come and see some people discussing comics which are all about that depressing world.

I’ll be talking about Draw The Line at an event in Brighton on November 3, run by Myriad. But I’m just the support act:  top of the bill is Darryl Cunningham, in conversation with Robin Ince about his newest book Billionaires.

In a nice contrast, once Darryl has thoroughly depressed everyone with his exposé of the super rich elite and the neoliberal capitalist/consumerist system, I’ll be explaining how you can fix things with the positive political actions outlined in the Draw The Line project.

Or, ok, fix things a bit. No guarantees that Draw The Line can make everything better.

An assurance we can make, though, is that this will be a pleasant way to spend a November Sunday afternoon, so book now – tickets are here.

 

Draw The Line at Sunday Assembly Brighton

I had the great pleasure of talking about Draw The Line to the Brighton Sunday Assembly last weekend.

As I’ve previously mentioned, Sunday Assembly is a monthly meet up that encourages attendees to “Live better, help often, wonder more”. It’s a bit like a church service in format, only instead of hymns you have pop song karaoke, instead of prayers you have conversation and a few minutes’ silence, and instead of sermons you have people giving talks. People like me.

Also on the bill were Extinction Rebellion, who share many of our messages about going out there and getting things changed (in their case, acting on the climate emergency).

I thought I’d keep it relatively simple, so most of my talk consisted of going over some of the many and varied political actions depicted in the Draw The Line project, but it did seem to go down well and I got lots of invitations to speak at other places afterwards, which has to be some sort of endorsement.

I’m always happy to talk about Draw The Line, first to spread its message that anyone can take a small political action and make the world a better place, and secondly in the hope that people will pledge for the Draw The Line book, helping that message reach ever more folk, and especailly those who may never have thought of themselves as activists.

If you’re interested, you can see my slides here and the rough notes to what I said are here. You’re welcome to adapt them to use in a talk of your own, so long as you include all the links to our website etc… and of course, invite your audience to pledge!

Draw The Line: hooray for publicity

Like buses, they all come at once. I’ve had three excellent opportunities to speak about Draw The Line recently, and now you can choose whether to enjoy your update via the medium of print, podcast or in person.

What is Draw The Line, do you ask? Well, you can find out through any of the links below, but the short version is, it’s a project which brings together more than 100 comic artists, each showing a political action anyone can take if they want to make the world a better place. We are currently crowdfunding to publish it as a book.

On air

Panel Borders

Firstly, you can listen to this week’s episode of Panel Borders which broadcast on Resonance FM and is now available in podcast form, titled Comics Activism. It’s split into two parts: in the first section, I chat with presenter Alex Fitch all about Draw The Line, about the connections I made prior to this project with the Finnish comic scene, and about my own work in progress exploring my teen years as a goth down in the rural county of Devon.

In the second part, you can hear an interview with Joe Sacco, king of graphic reportage: it does feel slightly bizarre to be on the same show as such a lauded artist, but I am not complaining!

In print

Then A Place To Hang Your Cape, which as its name suggests, started as a place to discuss the superhero genre but now covers the whole comics scene, has published an interview which you can enjoy here. If you enjoy comics of any kind, there’s plenty more content to enjoy while you’re on the site.

In person

Finally, for those local to Brighton, I will be speaking at Sunday Assembly on March 24th as part of an event themed around Activism. Just five days before Brexit is scheduled to take place, it should be an interesting one!

For those who don’t know, Sunday Assembly is a non-religious monthly gathering which gives you all the community side of church – fellowship, interesting talks, music, charity, cake and tea – but without any religion. The Brighton chapter’s website is here, and you can also follow them on Facebook to be alerted of events before they happen.

I’ll be sharing a number of the Draw The Line images to show some of the more unusual ways you can make political change.

I hope one or more of these updates takes your fancy.

Spreading the word about the project like this helps us attract more pledgers so I’m always keen to hear of any other opportunities. If you know a journalist, publication or event that might be interested, please do let us know on drawthelinecomics@gmail.com. Thanks!

Draw the Line book – update

The crowdfunder for the Draw The Line book is still running. You can pledge on the Unbound page.

We’ve had a great start, but now we need to get the word further afield, so if you know anyone who a) is into comics, b) worries about the current political climate, c) would like to do something to help the refugee crisis (or perhaps all three) do please share the link with them: http://www.unbound.com/books/draw-the-line.

The Draw The Line book:

  • presents over 100 positive political actions anyone can take, from the obvious to the frankly unusual
  • has brought together over 100 comic artists from many countries, including some big names like Dave McKean, Fumio Obata, Kate Charlesworth, Hunt Emerson and Lucy Knisley
  • will be available as a gorgeous first edition hardback book
  • has waived all creator projects – 50% of all income will go directly to the charity Help Refugees.

As an extra sweetener, there are various add-on options which give pledgers the opportunity to benefit from really unique rewards like commissioned bespoke drawings, original artwork, talks and workshops from one of the Draw The Line artists, and even your own show from the star comedian (and artist) Jo Neary.

And now, please take a few minutes to drop an email, tweet or Facebook message to a person or group who you think might not have heard about Draw the Line. Thank you!

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.

Broken Frontier Awards 2017

I’m delighted and surprised to discover that Draw the Line has been shortlisted for ‘best web comic’ in the Broken Frontier Awards for 2017, which seek to celebrate indie and alternative comic-making.

Read all about it and see the nominees in various categories here — and then click the blue button to cast your vote. There’s no minimum to how many categories you can vote in, and it’s anonymous: you don’t have to register, so it couldn’t be easier.

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.