The Inking Woman: print edition

The Inking Woman, cover

You may remember my mention of the Inking Woman exhibition back in April last year. Well, now the accompanying book is out!

The joint authors are Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate. Among many other achievements, Nicola co-founded the Laydeez do Comics initiative, and Cath was the publisher behind the feminist postcards that graced many a kitchen in the 1980s.

I was unable to attend the launch party as I was (ahem) taking part in a feminist comics residence in Helsinki (about which, more to follow in a future blog post). However, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy the night before my travels, and it was just the thing for the three-hour plane trip — always assuming you don’t mind reading sometimes rather explicit comics while squeezed next to a stranger at a height of 35,000 feet, which apparently I don’t.

Here’s the page with my work on it. Of course, that’s the one I turned to first, but take my word for it that there are 138 other pages all bursting with comics by fantastic female creators, accompanied by that all-important thing, context.

Myfanwy Tristram in the Inking Woman

My lasting impression was that, as well as being a lot of fun to read, this book has done something very important in recording the history that led up to the current explosion in women making comics. It has cemented and legitimised the work of both professional and grassroots female comic makers, and people like me, who draw comics as a sideline*.

Now this history is in book form, it is ‘official’. It can be put in libraries and cited in academic papers. It provides an easy way for researchers, journalists, and anyone who’s interested to understand what a diversity of women there have been, and still are today, in this ridiculous and often time-consuming endeavour. And, because it’s a lovely hefty hardback volume, it may be just the thing for knocking some sense into all those who shrug and say, ‘Well, there simply are no women making comics’.

It turned out that this was the absolutely ideal book to have read on the way to a feminist comics residence. I’d had the 250 years of history: now here was the future. But as I say, lots more about that later.

*I had to stop and think for quite a while here, over what would be the best word. ‘Hobby’ seems too lame and ‘passion’ seems a bit, well, un-British. I feel as if there may be a French word for something which you are driven to do, out of love for the form. Do comment if you can think of it!

Top image: Myriad Editions

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).

The cream of Hourly Comic Day

In my last post, I shared the results of my Hourly Comic Day. I’ve been a mere husk of a person ever since, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. So, massive kudos to everyone who did it, and a regretful ‘nuh-uh’ to the nice friends who have suggested I should do something similar every day.

I wanted to post a few of the brilliant Hourly Comics by other people. You might remember that in a low point during my own day, I drew myself wibbling over how professional other people’s entries looked. Well, here are the superb comics that made me feel that way.

Feel free to leave me a comment if I’ve missed anyone.

Joe Decie

Joe Decie's Hourly Comics day

Joe’s local to my hometown of Brighton and Hove. His pictures are unusually ‘fine art’ for a cartoonist, and they often contain a delicate seasoning of surrealism. Here’s his entry in full. I notice that, as a concession to the nature of the day, he’s gone for pencilled panels rather than his usual watercolour, but just look at how adept they are.

Gemma Correll

Hourly Comic day by Gemma Correll

Gemma is a new artist to me, but, joy, she has a massive archive of daily comics just ready for perusal. I love this crowded but utterly clear and cohesive style. Also, I can relate about the dip pens.


Hourly Comic Day by Boum

All right now, what do I know about Samantha Leriche-Gionet (aka Boum)? Absolutely nothing: I discovered her stuff via Tumblr and the mighty #hourlycomicday hashtag. And I immediately liked her stuff because it deals, truthfully, with those weird months when you have a young baby in the house. Here’s the whole bunch from Boum’s day.

Ah! There’s an About page. Montreal. Cheese. Marvellous.

Dan Berry

My last two picks seem rather redundant – I get the feeling that they are most people’s gateway to Hourly Comic Day (in the UK at least?).

Certainly they were key players in stirring up interest, tweeting and blogging and linking and still having time to complete their own entries.

Dan Berry hourly comic day

Here’s Dan’s work. Perhaps I won’t feel so bad about how polished it looks, given that he’s both a published illustrator and lecturer on comics. Oh and he also produces Make It Then Tell Everybody which is a great podcast where he just chats to all kinds of cartoonists, a different one every week. I listened to all of them without stopping while I was doing my last collage, and I didn’t even feel like I’d over-indulged.

Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre hourly comic

Sarah draws a LOT anyway, and managed to complete this *while working to a tight book deadline*. You can see her full day here. I love following her blog because she’s always dashing around meeting people, drawing stuff, running workshops and dressing up in wild costumes. Looks like a fun life to me.

Lucy Knisley

As far as I can tell, Lucy didn’t participate this year, but her stuff from previous years is exquisite enough that it definitely deserves your attention.

One more thought

If I ever had the feeling that comics was a dying art (clue: sometimes I did), Hourly Comic Day completely disabused me of that notion. I have no idea how many participants there were, but (possibly due to my harried and borderline hallucinogenic state by the end of the day) it felt like immeasurable hordes.

Hopefully unrequired footnote
Of course, all the work above is the property of its original creators. Please respect their copyright.

All my #hourlycomicday posts in one place

February 1st is Hourly Comics Day, when (mad) people commit to drawing a cartoon every hour that they are awake. I saw this happen on Twitter last year, somewhat wistfully, because by the time I knew it was happening, my day was half over.

This year I was no better prepared, but I did at least see a tweet about it just a few minutes after waking up. Typically, my train of thought went:

– Nah, I can’t possibly commit to that. How do people DO things, AND find the time to draw them?
– Well, I might just draw ONE cartoon…
– Argh, this is ON – there’s no way I’m stopping now.

And that’s how I always get sucked into these things. Click on each of the images below to see them bigger.












Hourly comics day is huge

If you’d like to see what other people have produced, you could be in for a long read:

What I learned from Hourly Comic Day

  • It’s exhausting!
  • You don’t have to record every single thing that happens. I did, and that’s probably why I found it so tiring, but some of the best ones I saw just focus on one small event from each hour. Those cartoons tend to be funnier, too.
  • You have to let go of any desire to present perfect drawings. Actually, it’s quite liberating to discover that when people read a project like this, they tend to appreciate the content more than the fine art.
  • Use a smaller sketchbook, so that when you come to scan them at the end of a long long day, you don’t have to scan every page twice.
  • Don’t expect to set the world alight. I barely received *any* comments on Twitter – I guess there are so many people posting (and frantically drawing between times) that it’s hard to stand out. Conversely, things went down much better on Facebook – but then, the people who follow me there tend to be personal friends with a pre-existing interest in me and my life. :)

What I didn’t learn from Hourly Comic Day

  • How other people handle sex scenes. C’mon, people, really?

Will I do Hourly Comic Day next year?

Right now, I’d say ‘no way’. But when February 1st comes around again, you might just see me getting pulled in.