The Inking Woman

The Inking Woman

Go Cross Country by Myfanwy Tristram

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

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

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

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

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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

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.