Satin and Tat: study sketches

Sometimes it seems like the more you learn about how to make comics, the longer it takes.

While working on Satin and Tat, I’ve changed my habits a bit, placing much more emphasis on preparation. Now, before I even put the final strokes to paper (or screen, since it’s mainly digital work), I’m working on character development, research, study sketches and thumbnailing. I can see for myself the positive effects this all has on the final artwork, but if I used to moan that comic drawing is a full time occupation, well now it really is.

I’m lucky in that I find the details of Satin and Tat‘s era endlessly fascinating; well, I suppose I would, given that the Eighties were my teen years. It’s actually a lot of fun to find reference photos of goth hairstyles and makeup, more mainstream fashions, and the bands of the time, not least because I can now see it all in some kind of context rather than it just being the norm as it was when I was 15 and 16.

Here are some of the study sketches I’ve been working from. Click any picture to see it at a larger size.

Skinheads and eighties haircutsCharacter design attempting to show extroversion. Also – rah rah skirt!

Floppy hats, a crusty style of punk, the more dandified Steve Strange look, and t-shirts split down the sides.

Mosh pits at anarchopunk gigs.

Live Aid – attempts to pin down Bob Geldof and David Bowie’s distinctive looks – plus a backing singer.

Some of these are band members and some of them are people street fighting and it’s quite interesting how interchangeable they are.

Memories of a teenage goth

Satin and Tat by Myfanwy Tristram, work in progress

I’ve been pretty quiet on here of late, mainly because I’m working away on one massive comics project that will be another several months before it’s ready to share.

I do sometimes post work in progress over at Instagram though, so anyone who follows me there may already know that I’m deeply immersed in my Eighties memories — and in particular, my life as a teenage goth.

Here’s some work in progress (click any image to see it bigger):
Work in progress by Myfanwy Tristram - Satin and Tat

Work in progress by Myfanwy Tristram - Satin and Tat

Remember crimpers? All bunged up with Elnett hairspray…? I sure do.

But it’s not just set in the past; there are some present-day scenes too, and these have a different colour palette:

Work in progress by Myfanwy Tristram - Satin and Tat

Satin and tat by Myfanwy Tristram, work in progress

Talking of colour palettes: there was one image, in particular, which people on Instagram seemed to really take to; it’s a dream sequence right at the beginning of the story, when the main character (now middle aged) has been taken right back to her youth. She has a very graphic dream about cycling along the riverbanks in her goth finery.

The first version I drew of this was in these colours:

Work in progress by Myfanwy Tristram - Satin and Tat

… but I subsequently changed my mind, because I wanted to differentiate more between the past and the present within the story.

Work in progress by Myfanwy Tristram - Satin and Tat

I’m glad to say that people seem to like them both, and as I won’t have any actual new comics at the Lakes Festival this year I thought I’d offer both colourways as prints. They’ll be nice and affordable because they’re not fancy giclee or anything, just standard digital prints on nice card.

Also as a taster for the forthcoming comic (which SHURELY will be ready for the Lakes NEXT year…), I’m also going to be selling a paper cut-out doll based on all the clothes I wore back then.

So much of my memory of that time is hazy, but I can recall every single item of clothing with crystal clarity. I wanted to share the enjoyment I’ve had as I’ve drawn the leggings, split down the seams and laced back up, or the stripy mohair jumpers that everyone got their grans to knit them, and the pixie boots, oh, the pixie boots.

The dolls come with an extra cartoon (or more of a rant really) on the back — so you’ll have to buy a couple if you want to cut them up. But that’s ok, I’m also planning on making these super-cheap.

If you like these and you won’t be at the Lakes, don’t worry, I proooomise I’ll set up my online shop again after the festival. Just as soon as I’ve stopped having so much fun trawling through old copies of Smash Hits to find authentic hairstyles to draw.