First up – Rachael Ball
Illustrator, comic book artist and blogger. Rachael Ball began her webcomic ‘The Inflatable Woman’ after treatment following a diagnosis of breast cancer.
At her Laydeez do comics presentation, she described how her zoo keeper, Dr Doolittle-like heroine ‘Iris Pink-Percy’ came about.
The story is “loosely based” on the author’s own experience, Iris too has received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Through Rachael’s surrealistic pencil drawings we see how Iris deals with this day to day (on first hearing the bad news, for example, she turns the volume control down on the world around her), the people she meets, the nightmares she has and her talks with the sympathetic penguins who come and serenade her beneath her window.
Currently Iris is about to begin her cancer treatment and her alterego ‘balletgirl42’, an internationally successful prima ballerina, has begun an online romance with ‘sailorbuoy39’.
Rachael uploads a new episode each month.
Follow ‘The Inflatable Woman’ and see more of Rachael’s work here:
French speaking, Amsterdam based, translator and editor Canan (pronounced Janan) Marasligil is a multi-linguist of Turkish extraction and passionate reader of comics. She introduced us to comics and graphic novels from Turkey and the international comics festivals she’s helped to arrange. She believes that comics are a strong medium for freedom of expression.
As she grew up in Belgium, she said she saw the world “euro centrically”. This changed when she travelled to Algeria and discovered some of the “other great stories happening out there”. This also fired her interest in comics when she fell in love with the work of an Algerian comics artist and translated her comic from French to English.
Canan spoke about the comics workshops she ran in schools as part of Islington Word Festival and how effective the medium was for helping young people to tell stories. She also showed us the comic she has written called ‘Muted’ which was illustrated through an online collaboration with an artist in Poland.
She is currently translator in residence at Free Word Centre in London and links to her work can be found here: http://cananmarasligil.com/
The final speaker this evening was Isobel Williams who presented a work in progress called ‘Pearls and Pills’. This is an autobiographical work which describes her experience with suicidal depression. “By the time I was 10 I knew I was depressed. I just didn’t know what depression was. It’s just something you can inherit”.
Growing up in the early 60’s she interweaves the news stories of the day such as the Cuban missile crisis (“Most people stock-piled tea and food. Mummy stock-piled sleeping pills”), Christine Keeler and the Profumo affair into her own family relationships and her inner thoughts of suicide by overdose.
She spoke of her early experiences with doctors and the drugs that made her hallucinate, a second suicide attempt at University (which resulted in her being unable to open a copy of Fahrenheit 451 for decades afterwards) and her decision in adulthood to get treatment.
Her life drawings can be seen here:
She’ll be presenting ‘Pearls and Pills’ to Graphic Medicine this July.
I’m Jessica Cheeseman. I make films (animations, documentaries, experimental), illustrate and paint. Currently I’m cinematographer on a horror feature.
Making the leap to comics and graphic novels felt right and easy, I guess because they’re both sequential art. Last year I finished illustrating a collaborative graphic novel called Winterland. This year I’m planning a new one, probably drawing on paper instead of exclusively digitally.
Most of my work is available here: www.jessicacheeseman.com
It’s been great being this months guest blogger and I hope this short introduction to these three speakers will inspire you to check out their respective websites and substantial bodies of work.
I’ve always had a fantastic time at Laydeez do Comics and this month was no exception.