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!

 

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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

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!

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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.

We did it! Finnish cartoonists incoming

The crowdfunder to bring the Finnish cartoonists over to the UK was successful. Thanks so much to everyone who donated or helped spread the word — every tweet, email and penny helped. We launched the campaign at 13:53 on Thursday, and actually hit target on Friday at 16:17, which was a much speedier result than I dared to anticipate!

I’ve been in touch with Siiri and Lauri and they are delighted. In fact, we basically exchanged emails which read as variations of “Wooooooarrrghhhh!”.

We’ll be consolidating all the plans over the next couple of weeks, and contacting anyone who qualifies for one of the rewards.

The crowdfunding page is still active, for a couple of reasons. First, the final donation came from the Hastings Cartoon Festival, and was paid directly. Secondly, I’ll be happy to raise a bit extra just to cover any fluctuations in flights and train prices, and if there’s still some left over, we can use it to fund food and drink at the events.

Now, if you want to see Siiri and Lauri speak, which of course you do, here are the penciled-in dates. Once we’ve had absolute confirmation regarding travel arrangements and venues, I’ll advertise these again, with links to proper event pages, but for now it’s probably looking like this:

Monday 24 October – Cartoon County in Brighton

Tuesday 25 October – Citizen Beta in London

Wednesday 26 October – Gosh Comics in London

Thursday 27 October – Cartoon festival in Hastings
Image by Siiri Viljakka and Lauri Tuomi-Nikula

Help me do one of the strangest things I’ve ever done

siiri-and-lauri - image by Siiri Viljakka

Bear with me while I introduce this story, because it needs a bit of explanation. It’s worth it, though! It has everything, well, if by everything you mean Finnish people, cartoons, and crazy ideas of international collaboration.

For, much to my surprise, I find myself fundraising, with the aim of bringing two Finnish people to the UK. <- Click there if you don’t want to read the whole back story, because that’s the important bit. But read on if you want to see some lovely comics.

A crazy idea is born

As regular readers will know, I have an interesting job with a charity named mySociety. One of the areas in which we work is Freedom of Information – that’s the concept that we all have the right to ask for information from the authorities that govern us.

Now, for those people outside a small group of enthusiasts — many of whom I work with or know through my job — the phrase ‘Freedom of Information’ is almost guaranteed to provoke a blank stare, and possibly even a sudden desire to nap.

But there is an interesting side to FOI. Several, in fact. I tried to capture some of that in the sketch diary I created when we ran an FOI conference at work.

One interesting aspect of FOI is that someone had to invent it. And that person was Anders Chydenius, a Finnish priest, and he did it exactly 250 years ago. Which is why I found myself Googling to see how other countries were celebrating this landmark year — we at mySociety wanted to mark the anniversary, so I was looking around for ideas.

And what did I find?

A comic book, that’s what I found.

Not the only one

Now, bear in mind that when I was making my sketch diary, I was convinced I must be the only person in the world to have ever married comics and FOI. But no! Here were two others who had done exactly the same.

Before I knew what I was doing (and I mean that literally; I have never appreciated the full weight of that phrase before) I had located the comic artists on Facebook and written them a note, along the lines of:

Oh hey, you have no idea who I am but I saw your comic and I work for a charity that’s big on FOI and I was just wondering… I don’t have any funding or anything… but IF, just IF I was able to get some, would you consider coming to the UK to talk to some friendly comics and FOI type people?

Ever since then, we’ve been writing back and forth and we’ve formulated a plan.

The plan

We’d like Siiri and Lauri (for those are their names) to come over to the UK in the week beginning 23 October. Being easy-going types, they would *rather* sleep on the sofas of comic creating people than stay in a hotel, so that keeps costs down.

I have agreement for them to speak at four events: at the Cartoon County group I attend here in Brighton; at a similar group in Hastings, at Gosh Comics, the wonderful indie comics shop in London’s Soho, and at Citizen Beta, which is where people doing mySociety-type work meet for fun times.

The promo comic

To accompany our fundraising guide, I asked Lauri and Siiri to make me a short video clip. rather fantastically, they came back and said that they thought a comic would be more suitable. They were right, of course!

Here’s what they sent me:

myfcomicpage1

myfcomicpage2

myfcomicpage3

 

myfcomicpage4try2smollmyfcomicpage5

myfcomicpage6

 

That just makes me want to meet them all the more!

So, that’s basically it. Now for the big request.

If you can donate, please do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/FinnishComicFOI

If you can’t donate, please help by sharing the campaign everywhere you can.

THANK YOU!!!

 

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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…

 

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.

CeTmZDvWsAA2dnc

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

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.

Comics Unmasked, Posy Simmonds and Steve Bell

Comics Unmasked poster

Comics Unmasked poster “Have you read Posy?” asked the elderly woman who slipped into the seat beside me. “How did you first hear of her?”

I thought back: “Well, the Webers were part of my childhood – my parents took the Guardian”, I said – but I could have added how, later in life, once I’d discovered a passion for illustration and cartooning, she became a hero of mine.

Or how, during the early years of parenting, when it’s hard to fit in any art appreciation, I was still able to admire Simmonds’ deft characterisations, when I read to my daughter from Lulu and the Flying Babies, or Baker Cat.

What I particularly noticed in those years was how she captured the blank, podgy face of a toddler so well, or a baby’s form, all wrapped up in winter layers- representations so pertinent to my own life that I could see how truthful they were.

I might also have mentioned that ‘Posy’ had been high on my list of names, should a second child ever have made an appearance – but by that time the lights had dimmed and the event – a chat between Posy and her contemporary, risqué political cartoonist Steve Bell – was beginning.

 

I travelled up to London on one of the hottest days of the year, leaving the slightly more bearable coastal temperatures to step into the hot soup that was passing for air in the capital. Thankfully, my destination was the British Library, meaning only a five minute walk between air-conditioned station and air-conditioned interior.

I’d booked to see the Comics Unmasked exhibition – an in-depth history of British publications – followed by this talk. The exhibition took, as publicised, a good time to view. With comics, you’re not just glancing at each exhibit, but reading it, a few minutes for each one – and there were hundreds on display.

It was an interesting selection, featuring those comics which loomed large in my own life, from Spellbound and the Beano to Deadline and Crisis, and giving due deference to the UK’s acknowledged masters Alan Moore and Grant Morrison – and introducing many publications that were completely new to me.

Exhibits included political comics through the years: sexually permissive editions from the Seventies, and a strong strand of women’s liberation from the Suffragettes onwards (I would contend that the Suffragette material wasn’t ‘comics’ as such, but it was still interesting to see).

There were two high points for me: seeing plenty of original artwork (just for mundane comparisons with my own work, like whether artists worked at double size, and whether they stuck down the lettering after the artwork was complete), and – a bit of a surprise, this – a fifteenth century bible, done in woodcut cartoon form.

Sometimes you see an ancient artwork that still speaks to you as clearly as it presumably spoke to its intended audience all those centuries ago: the hand-painted colour choices and the thick lines, were just like one of the pulp comics from the Seventies, although they showed angels hovering above dragons, rather than tanks or Action Man.

I had time to bake a little more in the still-oppressive heat before heading into the auditorium for Bell and Simmonds’ talk. It was a genial chat, and they generously spoke for over 90 minutes, accompanied by a dual slideshow of their work, from juvenalia to the present day. posyandsteve bed of watercressAs with the exhibition, the parts I found most fascinating were when Posy (in particular) described her working methods.

She showed many character sketches: “I always work in sketchbooks first”, and spoke of going on location to research not just scenery, but vocabulary too: “I try to get their lingo right, which usually means riding on buses… drawing a graphic novel, you do location, props, make-up… it’s like doing a film”.

And, she said, you can’t just draw a location once: you’ll need it in different weathers – what does it look like in the rain? – and at night.

Simmonds says she works on an A2 pad, and showed us a page divided into three. She writes the dialogue and narrative in one column, then tries to condense it down as much as possible, sometimes going through this process three or four times, because space is so precious: her favourite panels are the ones where she can tell the story without the need for speech balloons.

For stories like Tamara Drewe, she sketches out the floorplan of the houses and a map of the village, so everyone’s always entering from the right direction, etc. posy workings Bell was clearly as much a fan of Simmonds as any of us: “You were the only reason I bought the Guardian” was one of his opening lines, as he revealed, to disbelieving laughter, that his family had always read the Daily Mail.

Steve has drawn all his life – zombies, trains and war as a child, then ‘every station in South Buckinghamshire’ as a teenager.

He puts his early employment as a cartoonist down to ‘dogged persistence, taking my wares around”, and the way he tells it, that certainly seems to be the case, as he went back to see editors several times with his work. The back of Post Simmonds by Myfanwy Tristram (Here’s my sketch of Posy: as you can see, I picked a really lousy spot for actually seeing her face)

After the talk, I bought Tamara Drewe and got it signed – then travelled all the way home to Brighton on a hot train, revelling in it.

I think that Posy Simmonds has just about attained the highest peak of the graphic novel form. When you look at her work, it’s incredible what she’s done: she plots as well as a novelist, but then has to unfold this story, with all its subtleties, through drawings so accurate that you can tell what characters are thinking through the cast of their eyes, or the slant of a mouth.

Often, cartoonists rely on great artwork carrying a weak story, or vice versa – and it’s nice to know the form  can actually still work under these conditions (there were plenty of examples of both in the exhibition, many reassuringly badly drawn, yet still compelling).

But my goodness, when one woman does both, well – you wonder why she hasn’t been elevated to some sort of national treasure status. Maybe because it’s “just cartoons”.

Illustrators in Conversation: Oliver Jeffers and David Mackintosh

Mackintosh and Jeffers2

Last night, I went to see children’s picturebook illustrators Oliver Jeffers and David Mackintosh in conversation, here in Brighton. It was a fun event – there seemed to be real rapport between the two writers and their Editor (whose name I can’t find online, sorry, Editor!).

bookstall

You could buy all their books, of course. Here’s the bookstall – a good opportunity for me to loosen up my drawing before the main event.

Mackintosh and Jeffers

One reassuring thing that David Mackintosh said was that he draws many many pictures before selecting the ones he uses. So that’s how you get that ‘every one’s a winner’ carefree drawing style…

Mackintosh and Jeffers3

I hope this doesn’t make the Editor look too awful – more of a cariacture than a likeness. She was very attractive, as it goes.