Women Humourists at Gosh Comics 22 August 2016

 

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Hi there! It’s Lana Le here, and I’m chuffed that Rachael Ball asked me to be Laydeez Do Comics’ guest blogger for August 22’s meeting at Gosh Comics. (Though I may have hinted a bit when I doodled the previous speakers and posted their faces + quips on my online sketchbook.)

Last week’s speakers : Cath Tate, Angela Martin, and The Surreal McCoy are all women cartoonists who use humour to comment on social issues, politics or current affairs. “I saw humour as a weapon.” said Angela Martin, describing cartooning as perfect for someone like herself, who likes to draw and is opinionated, but is too scared to be a stand-up comedienne.angela_martinAngela had studied textile design, but was inspired by a Claire Bretécher cartoon, in the Sunday Times Magazine about what women do on Sundays, to write her dissertation on women cartoonists. This led to creating her own cartoons, which were later produced as cards by Cath Tate and Leeds Cards.

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Cath Tate’s postcards began as mini protest posters against nuclear weapons and anti-homosexuality clauses. Originally Cath used photo montage, a technique she learned from Peter Kennard, and sold her postcards at alternative bookshops. She didn’t shy away from politically-charged topics such as reproductive rights or equality for women in the workplace. cath-tate_2bcath-tate_3bcath-tate_4b

Cath later expanded to calendars, Christmas cards, and a series of Fanny comics, a collaboration with Carol Bennett. Today Cath Tate Cards are greeting cards instead of postcards and are sold online and in bookstores.cath_tateThe Surreal McCoy (TSM) introduced herself by adding “You can call me ‘The.’” A self-proclaimed “gag artist”, TSM (I never learn her real name) tells us that it’s essential to know a little about a lot to be funny.

the_surreal_mccoyTSM, actually a musician who became an “accidental cartoonist” when she doodled while travelling on tour busses and it led to a second career when they started getting published in magazines and newspapers such as The New Yorker and Sunday Times. “I wish I could’ve chosen a more sensible second career like accounting.”the_surreal_mccoy_2

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Catch The Surreal McCoy doodling in public at The 1066 Country Cartoon Festival in Hastings on 16 October.

Perhaps see Angela Martin directing a theatre festival (her current focus).

Next year, see more of all of their work in Cath Tate’s passion project at the Cartoon Trust — an exhibition showcasing the work of women cartoonists from its beginning to the present. We can’t wait for another excuse to celebrate Laydeez Do Comics.

 

Laydeez Do Comics: Saturday 27th June, Hebden Bridge

My name is Eleanor Hollindrake and I am an artist from Bradford. I am fairly new to the world of writing and drawing comics but I am currently working on a couple of quirky all ages’ books involving plenty of fun and dragons. I have a Tumblr where I blog some of the things that I draw and I will be at the Thought Bubble convention at The Royal Armoires in Leeds this November,  so if you are there please stop by and say, hi.

projects_0002 - Copy - Copy (2) The Leeds meeting for June actually took place in Hebden Bridge as part of the Hebden Bridge Art Festival. Louise Crosby introduced the evening and as there were a lot of new people at the meeting she started with a quick introduction to more autobiographical comics.

projects_0002 - Copy - Copy (3)The first speaker was Jacky Fleming who is a feminist cartoonist known for her postcards and comic strips. She talked about feminism, and how she attempts to make it accessible through simplistic and humours drawings, which draw on people’s collective experiences. We were treated to some of her later political cartoons, which were more about politics in general, and a glimpse at a new project about science, inspired by viewing may documentaries about the “great men of history” and wondering where all the women where.

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Second was Kate Charlesworth who talked us through the process of making her new graphic novel, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, which she worked on with Mary and Bryan Talbot. Her talk fused on the artistic process from Bryan Talbot’s layouts, to sketches, through to the finished watercolour pages. Many things inspired the look of the characters and the portrayal of the suffragette movement, both from historical research, as well as their portrayal in TV dramas and other media. She talked briefly about the use of colour, how the colure builds as you progress though the book and also how important it was for Sally’s character to be recognisable on every page and so has red hair.

She finished with a short overview of how she originally became involved in comics and cartooning through the LGBT press, drawing and writing about things she believed needed to be written about. It was an interesting look at comics tackling topics which were not talked about in the general press.

London, 15 June 2015

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Candy Guard Illustrator, animator and comics artist  http://candyguard.co.uk

Sharon Morris (UCL) Professor of Fine Art at Slade, UCL, Poet and Artist http://www.ucl.ac.uk/slade/people/academic/profile/SMMOR81

Kiriko Kubo Cartoonist http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_fb_0_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cynical+hysterie+hour&sprefix=Cynical+Hysterie%2Cstripbooks%2C144

Elizabeth Querstret Comics artist http://www.querstret.co.uk

Laydeez Do Comics: London, February 2015

Hi there! I’m Rowan Manning and I’m lucky enough to be the blogger for LDC London February 2015. I’m a developer by trade, I spend my week days making websites look pretty; but I love illustration and keep a regular diary comic which boosts my creativity. This is my fourth Laydeez, and it’s easily the most friendly and welcoming group of people I’ve found in London!

The question this month was: Have you had a “first experience” recently? The response was varied, though there was a definite focus on food. First kebab, first steak, first Nando’s, and first day having double fish and chips; the latter being something I definitely have to try! A less delicious-sounding first experience was “picking up a dog poo without a bag” – it put an end to my stomach rumblings.

Philippa Rice

The first speaker was Philippa Rice, I was really pleased when I found out she was speaking – I’ve been a fan for a little while. Also it was great to hear the story behind her latest book, Soppy (which you should definitely buy, it’s lovely).

Personally I was interested to hear that Soppy started life as rough daily sketches of Philippa’s life with her boyfriend. Most of my diary comics start in a similar way – as a doodle to help me remember what happened. The style of the finished book seems to take inspiration from Philippa’s hourly comic day drawings, which use cut-out elements similar to My Cardboard Life.

Philippa also spoke about her other work including My Cardboard Life, and comics like Recyclost. It was nice to hear about the transition from web comics to physical books, and the challenges this poses when your work isn’t in a standard format.

Carol Adlam

The next talk was by Carol Adlam, who spoke about The New Wipers Times. The original Wipers Times was a renowned trench magazine published by Nottingham’s Sherwood Foresters whilst fighting in World War I; it was a satirical look at the war, and managed to find irony and humour in some of the most dire situations imaginable.

The New Wipers Times is a graphic anthology which gives a glimpse into army life. It tries to retain the spirit of the original and commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Developed with the current army families based at Chetwynd Barracks in Nottingham, it was really interesting to hear some of their stories.

Sophie Herxheimer

I remember thinking at several points during Sophie’s talk: “How the hell am I going to document this on the blog!?”: The talk had a focus on “talking to ghosts” (life and death making up a lot of the subject matter), but it felt more like a wonderful rambling insight into the life of a very creative woman.

The first of Sophie’s projects mentioned was Hurricane Butter – a collection of poems and drawings acting as a memorial to her mother. It was lovely to listen to readings from the book, and to hear about a woman who’s obviously been a great inspiration to Sophie.

Another of the works that was spoken about in detail was an enormous table-cloth for Feast On The Bridge, where each place setting was screen-printed with another person’s food story; this was supposed to work as an ice-breaker before the meal. These stories were collected by Sophie, who spent 10–15 minutes talking to people and coaxing tales about food out of them.

Sophie covered many other interesting projects during her talk, I’d recommend exploring Sophie’s Website for a better idea of what she’s working on.

Laydeez Do Comics, April 2015, London

I am Peter Hindle, you can see my diary comics here http://petehindle.com/post/90149848764/i-didnt-even-know-bees-could-poop  I’m sure that, like me, you’ve often wondered what type of radio the presenters at Laydeez Do Comics would be and I thought I would be able to answer it in this short blog-post.

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Laydeez Do Comics was introduced, as ever, by Nicola Streeten, but Sarah Lightman sadly couldn’t make it. This is sad, because Sarah bakes the cakes, which are excellent, but also because I had worked out what kind of radio would be: a Blaupunkt Bristol 27 car stereo. Compact, functional, and excellent typography.

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First up tonight was the indie comics powerhouse, Elizabeth Querstret, who talked about finding her way into the comics community, why she makes the individual comics that she makes, and why creativity (and actually making things) is so important to her. Obviously, Querstret would be a Yaesu FT-60E, a portable handheld unit that can both receive and send ham radio communication.

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Next was Nicola Streeten herself, who gave a fascinating talk about the history of feminist comics. This forms the basis of her PhD research, and she talked us through some of the forgotten and hidden gems of these politically important comics. In terms of radios, Nicola would be the groundbreaking Beolit 600, a radio designed so far ahead of it’s time it looks good next to an iPhone.

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Finally, Ian Williams came back to Laydeez Do Comics to tell us about his dual career as a comic book author and doctor, and how Laydeez Do Comics had been essential to helping him realise his comic-making ambition. He talked about his excellent new book The Bad Doctor out now with Myriad Editions.  He also talked about how graphic narratives are incredibly useful for explaining medicine in a way that reached out to a larger audience, and he explained the graphic medicine movement that he has been at the heart of. Ian is, of course, a Sony ICF-SW100, the famous Sony radio that is practical for international travel, useful in an emergency, and has the smooth clean lines famous of 1990s Japanese design.

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Finally, I’d like to give an honourable mention to Keara and Wallis, who’ve been so patient with me (and such excellent behind-the-scenes organisers). If they were turned into radios, they would be a matched pair of Regency TR-1’s, the shirt-pocket transistor that made it fun to listen to radios everwhere.

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Laydeez do comics: London December 2014

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Created by: Evie Fridel Illustrator www.eviefridel.com blog: http://fridels.tumblr.com/

Guests:
Will Brooker  
writer and academic, Professor of film and cultural studies, Kingston University, http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/faculty/staff/cv.php?staffnum=354

co-creator of My so called secret identity http://mysocalledsecretidentity.com

Chris Geary comics artist, illustrator and designer http://www.chrisgearyonline.com

Elena Vitagliano and Asia Alfasi comics artists talking about their collaborative project http://cargocollective.com/elenavitagliano

http://asiaalfasiart.com

Laydeez do Comics Leeds, November 17th by James Norris

I am James Norris, I am an artist and there is some information about me at the end of the post. I was invited to blog for the Laydeez do Comics Leeds meeting on Monday 17th November that boasted talks by Rikke Hollænder, Miss Heather and Lizzie Boyle. Each of these talks were delightful in their own way, starting with Rikke http://cheesopath.blogspot.com/  who gave a funny insight into the making of her new graphic novel Travels With Albert. She remarked that her brother had had the idea and she got the work load. Interestingly she is currently undertaking a forestry degree.

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Lizzie Boyle  www.disconnectedpress.co.uk then discussed her new compilation graphic novel CROSS which she described as a politicized novel but ‘in a British way’. She divulged her passions for helping young artists make their work as she believes, as do I, that graphic novels (I would just say art) can change the world. She also led an interesting thought to questioning the gender qualities of content. Like many, she has recognised the poor writing of female characters in works of fiction, with the idea of a “strong female character” being a personal bugbear of hers. This reminds me of the Bechdel scale, a term coined by Alison Bechdel.

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Finally Miss Heather www.missheather.co.uk gave a heart-warmingly shrewd talk on comics for young females. She marked that she, as a child and indeed now, would like to see a person in a graphic novel that represented her. She amusingly remarked that most commercial magazines for girls seem to simply make something pink then tape a lip-gloss to it – well done, now it’s for girls. Miss Heather called for more work for girls, girls that look like her and talk about things that she is interested in! Her talk complimenting Lizzie’s towards a more empowered female impression on the graphic novel industry which I support wholeheartedly.

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Whilst brief, I hope you can enjoy this write up on my experience (of my second Laydeez meeting) which was as dynamic and exciting as their clothes were colourful!

Written By James Norris.

James Norris is currently working through his first graphic novel ‘A Mother’s Trace’ that uses his childhood experiences and the suicide of his mother. It is an autobiographic graphic novel that aims to unpick a devastating mess and attempt to understand such an all encompassing void that suicide leaves behind, underpinned (hopefully) with humour and an academic outlook.

If you would like to see the first chapter (part one and two) of his book ‘A Mother’s Trace’ then please see his tumblr account here: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/a-mothers-trace

Alternatively you may wish to read an article written about James and his new book here: http://www.oneandother.com/features/211-a-mother-s-trace-james-norris

If you have any questions or comments to pass onto James please feel free to message him on the tumblr account or his twitter account @amotherstrace

Thanks!

Laydeez do Comics London November 2014

Hi, my name is Olga Hendel and I am the guest blogger for the November meeting of London’s Laydeez Do Comics. I work with an art collective called Negative Space and am attending my third year at Camberwell College of Art, BA Drawing. You can find some of my work here; http://olgahendel.blogspot.co.uk

I decided to create a comic strip to illustrate the presentations of the amazing artists that showed their work at the event – Jill Gibbon, Liz Greenfield and Brian Sanders. Firstly, because I’ve always wanted to make a comic strip as for now I am just a drawer. Secondly, because even though I don’t really see myself as being a good writer, I saw this as a great opportunity to experiment with new ways of telling stories.

Before the presentation, Nicola and Sarah usually ask the audience a question to give everybody the opportunity to introduce themselves. This time, Nicola wasn’t there as she had family commitments to attend to, so Sarah presented the event one her own, and asked everybody to “Talk about something you have missed in life because of a family issue”.

After we heard interesting answers all around, Jill Gibbon was the first to take the microphone: Jill Gibbon send

Then it was Liz Greenfield:Liz Greenfield send

Brian Sanders was the last guest speaker. In the illustrations I made him narrate his own story, so you can feel the same way I felt when was listening the presentation; as if we were all children hearing a beautiful bedtime story to smile and dream about.

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Blog post created by Olga Hendel Illustrator http://olgahendel.blogspot.co.uk
Guests:
Jill Gibbon Artist http://www.jillgibbon.co.uk
Liz Greenfield Writer and cartoonist www.lizgreenfield.com
Brian Sanders Artist and Illustrator http://artofbriansanders.blogspot.co.uk

Laydeez Do Comics Glasgow – Monday 11th August 2014

Guest blogger: Tara Williamson

Hi there!

My name is Tara Williamson and I’m a Canadian illustrator living in Glasgow.
I was invited to do the blog for the Glasgow edition of the Laydeez do comics talk on August 11th. You can find my work on tumblr or my on my website.To start off, I’m a terrible person. I was late. As a Canadian, and a relative newcomer to Glasgow. I still manage to totally misjudge transit times and mess up connections. luckily, they hadn’t gotten much further than initial introductions and I hadn’t missed anyone speaking (phew!)
Gillian (from Team Girl Comic) had asked me to share my experience of the August 11 Glasgow Talk back at the beginning of summer and I agreed almost immediately. I checked out the blog and it looked like a lot of fun.
Comic creators in a ted-talks setting? I’m so in. I did some sketches and rough notes while each speaker was talking, hurredly jotting down notes in the semi darkness.
I then compiled these along with my recollections of each speaker and their talk into these 3 Gouache panels depicting each Artist.

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First up was Graham Johnstone (gjohnstone.net). A long-time comics creator and the editor of the zine Dead Trees. He spoke mostly about his new ongoing project The curse of the yellow book.
Graham’s talk was as long and twisty as his proposed epic, weaving elements of mythology, literature and a myriad of other influences into a complex story that he was attempting to explain to us. He spoke briefly at the onset,about his start in comics and some of the projects he’s already completed. My favorite bit of his work is Tangled tales, an apt metaphor for Graham’s talk and a genuinely interesting comic, It consists of six panels with six variations per panel, with endless permutations the reader can alter the comic at will. Its hard to describe, I encourage you to check it out.

His talk mostly focused on his new project, which Graham is clearly passionate about. True to the title, the story features an incendiary  yellow book,
the narrative follows a boring sort of civil servant who’s life is irrevocably changed by the discovery of this book.
Beyond that I remember Graham’s talk as a series of fragmented images, and references to literature. Maybe it was intentional.
The whole talk had a dreamlike quality like much of his work.
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Second up we heard from Louise Crosby illustrator and coordinator of Laydeez Do Comics in Leeds. http://www.lindenartstudio.org/artists/louise-crosby/
Louise comes from a background of Fine arts as an Illustrator and Printmaker. She introduces herself as a fine artist that sort of drifted into comics organically through illustrating the poems of her friend and collaborator Claire Shaw. They call their collaboration Seeing Poetry. She describes her work as a fusion of fine-art and comics, a sort of hybrid form, both and neither. Her early work featured prints with poetry and collages of words and images an early blending of the mediums that led to her later work that more closely follows the comic page format. She talks about the unique constraints of working with complete poems, the challenge and joy of her chosen format. She is passionate about the work of her counterpart, and throughout the talk it is obvious that they are a good team. Dedicated to showcasing the voice and vision of Claire, the poetry is always clear. I took away a sense of passion and consideration, an artist to the last.
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I already know MJ Wallace from Glasgow drink and draw, she is part of Team Girl Comic and a well known member of the Glasgow indie comics scene. She has a webcomic: Roller skates and breakfast dates http://rollerskatesandbreakfastdates.tumblr.com/ a simple and poignant 4 panel strip layout telling stories from her day to day life. Her comic is full of references to classic tabletop gaming comics and genuine human interactions.
Her work and her life are deeply intertwined one reflecting and influencing the other. She is a charming and enthusiastic speaker, describing how she got into comics, the challenges she overcame in accepting and showing her work. Rollerskates and breakfast dates is  a humorous and at times deeply personal account of MJ’s life.
MJ’s talk was brief but really encouraging to new creators. She talked about her shift in perspective that allowed her to show and print her work, developing a process that allowed her room to improve. MJ ended the talk on a fun and lighthearted note, a welcoming and encouraging outlook on the medium, the freedom of self publishing and the acceptance of the independent comics scene. I came away inspired re-vitalized  thinking about my own process, a perspective shift of my own.

All three speakers reflect such different voices in the Indie comics world. Different approaches culminating in a landscape for comics that is vastly different from the dated stereotype of mainstream comics. Demonstrating again that the game has indeed changed. Comics are for everyone, and creators can come from any skill level or background, there’s something for everyone out there, reader or creator.

inspiring stuff.

thanks guys!

Laydeez do comics are 5

I am Simone Lia. I am a comics artist and illustrator and the author of Fluffy and Please God Find Me a Husband! Both published by Jonathan Cape. You can find out more about me and my work from my website and blog http://www.simonelia.com I was invited to be the guest blogger for the big birthday…

What better to place to celebrate the Laydeez Do Comics 5th birthday than in the brand new swanky flagship Foyles store. I oohed and ahhed upon entering the building in the welcoming environment with its wide staircases and open spaces that allow you to read books in an informal and buzzy setting.

Taking the lift up to the 6th floor I was surprised when Guardian journalist Laurie Penny stepped in. I think it was her. She’s quite famous for being a feminist and having lots of opinions.  I didn’t want to gawp but from my peripheral vision I could see that she was standing right in my face looking at me. A bit intense.  I thought perhaps this was a method that famous people use to intimidate normal people.

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In the end it turned out that I was facing the wrong direction in the lift and was blocking the door. Classic lift faux pas.

The events room on the top floor is extremely slick and modern.  It wouldn’t have been a surprise if the evening had kicked off with Sarah and Nicola arriving on the stage on rising podiums in a fog of dry ice. They didn’t do that but instead emphasized the essence of what Laydeez Do Comics is about. And that is a place where the audience matters, everyone feels connected and a community is created.  Thanks to Nicola and Sarah; Laydeez is a welcoming forum for inspiration, creativity, sharing and learning.

Nicola made a rousing and inspirational speech that acknowledged the humble beginnings in 2009 in a place with a leaky roof.

Nicola, opening speech

Personally, I remember it as a cold, concrete floored room on Brick Lane, with rain filled buckets and dirty faced children, wearing rags who sang about pick-pocketing techniques and Nicola singing, I dreamed a dream.  At least I think that’s what I remember…

Laydeez has kept it’s integrity of connectivity and has flourished, impressively growing in numbers with branches throughout the UK and Internationally. Look at how many places it’s popped up at!

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Tonight was a celebration of this and bringing together some of the organisers that run Laydeez here and abroad.  Before the speakers spoke we viewed Sarah’s epic home made birthday cake.  It would be the last of those cakes. From now on it’s going to be Foyle’s fodder.

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Anna Brewer artist and the Glasgow Laydeez organiser, was the first speaker. Anna is from London, she lives in Glasgow and was in the States for 25 years. Through her work she explores areas that she lives and does very unusual and playful research as to what kind place it is that she’s living in.  She finds out the kind of chickens that live there and what kind of farming machinery is used.  Through making artwork she is able to connect and share her experiences with others and convey her own emotional experiences.

Anna Brewer

I loved Anna’s unusual outlook and the way that she, for example can compare combine harvesters to a line of chorus girls. You can see her sensitive and beautiful drawings here and more drawing here.  What resonated was Anna’s drawings of a little frog who sometimes, she describes, is a devil frog who voices what is going on in her head.  The inner critic.  I used to try and ignore him but now I let him say everything and it takes away his power. 

Anna makes artwork for her HP who, like a loving parent appreciates and values what she does.  At first I thought HP stood for Hewlett Packard.  Perhaps it was time for me to switch printer brand?  Epson just doesn’t do that kind of empathy.  But then Anna explained that HP stands for Higher Power.  My thoughts were that her work then not only becomes a gift to her HP but also a gift to the audience. It did feel like that upon viewing. Thanks Anna!

Next up was a slide presentation about the F Word project from Maureen Burdock, presented by Sarah and Nicola. Maureen Burdock runs Laydeez do Comics in San Fransisco. To see more of her work about and the F Word Project take a peak here

Louise Crosby who runs Leeds Laydeez do comics was next up to show us her work.  I had a massive blog fail at this point as I decided to draw in my sketchbook without taking notes/photos and listen properly on the recorder afterwards.  My recorder didn’t work and this drawing is horrible (!)

Louise Crosby

It was a great presentation, Louise talked about her work and accidental start into comics from her print making background and her new arts council funded project Seeing Poetry.  Louise has been illustrating the poems of Clare Shaw.  What struck me whilst listening and making awful drawings in my sketchbook, was the sensitivity that Louise brings to the relationship of image and poetry, particularly, I felt, honouring the silent and unspoken words of the poem.  You can see Louise’s seeing poetry website here.

We watched a video interview between MK Comic Nurse and Nicola. Comic nurse runs the Chicago Laydeez.  MK is a nurse, a comic artist, illustrator, photographer and she talks a lot about comics. You can see that video here.

Paula Knight, who runs Bristol Laydeez do Comics talked about her upcoming book The Facts of Life, that will be published by Myriad Editions.

Paula Knight

Paula had been to a comics convention in Bristol in the mid-naughties.  She’d felt too female and too old but had found that there were similar people at Laydeez.  Old? Nicola asked. Everyone laughed heartily.  Paula found more than she identified with the type and content of work being made and shown at Laydeez do Comics.

Paula’s artwork is engaging, accessible and brave. She’s widely been exploring themes of fertility particularly with her own, in her artwork.  She showed us some drawing that she’s been making for The Facts of Life. Rather cleverly Paula made spin off comics to take to conventions, this got her involved in the event and she received feedback for the longer form of her work. She is very brave, I think, exposing such personal subject matter to a broad and potentially undiscerning audience. “I received interesting feedback” she said one man pointed at the artwork, pulled a face and ran away.” Another woman read through the whole book and pulled disgusted faces through out. Paula thinks she might have been offended but I wonder if that was the case, there was clearly something about the quality of the artwork that compelled the lady to read straight through.

Sarah Lightman, co-founder of Laydeez do Comics, artist, and curator is researching a PhD in comics at the University of Glasgow in autobiographical comics; “The Drawn Wound, Hurting and Healing”. She is also a new mother to Harry.

Sarah showed artwork from The Book of Sarah, her memoir that will be published by Myriad Editions in 2015.  It’s the unwritten book of the bible, “there is a book of Daniel, and there is a book of Esther, but not of Sarah,she says commenting that her siblings have the same names and she is the youngest child, wants what the others have. In her work Sarah draws parallels between herself, late(ish) motherhood and baking. Her biblical namesake and her book will intertwine the two characters, contemporizing and positioning her Sarah in the centre.

Sarah also talked about her touring exhibition of autobiographical artists –Graphic Details coming to London this September that will be showing work from artists that that you might not know of. Sarah’s desire is to change the culture so that as artists we are referencing each others work in talks and the papers that we write, and in doing so creating an art history that hasn’t been written yet.  She has a solo show in America September and October.  Last year Sarah was working on the Graphic Details, Jewish Womens Confessional Comics in Essays and interviews, published by McFarland later this year. Sarah is doing this to fill the spaces in the libraries with voices that have never been recorded before.

Maura McHugh (Splinster) Laydeez organiser from Dublin who was not there in person, had a powerpoint presentation. She has a life long interest in sci-fi and horror fiction and is among many other things, the co-writer of Witchfinder which is a five issue mini series published by Dark Horse Comics.  Maura says “horror has been good to me”. You can see Maura’s work here.

Finally we had the other co-founder of Laydeez do Comics, Nicola Streeten.

Nicola asked the question in 2008 – where are all the women in comics?  This is the issue that bonded her with Sarah Lightman and prompted them to start up LDC.   Nicola talked about her latest work which is a commission from The Collection Gallery in Lincoln.  They asked her to work with people who wouldn’t usually visit a gallery and Nicola chose to work with offenders in HM Lincoln prison. Working with other peoples’ stories rather than her own narrative brought about new writing challenges.

Paula had touched on this subject earlier. She’d been working with the transcript of a cancer patient for a research project called The Phoenix Project.  The man was suffering erectile dysfunction due to the treatment that he was receiving – having not met or spoken to the man, Paula’s question was whether she had pitched her sense of humour at the right level. Whether she was being sensitive to his story.

Nicola had a different set of difficulties of a more practical nature.  She’d planned to work with the children who were visiting their fathers. Everything was set up but she found that it was difficult for the children to participate. It was partly the age difference of the children (from 1 to 12) but mostly it was because the children had come to visit their Dads. Nicola had to adapt her approach and the angle that she was coming from, and was invited instead to work directly with a small group of offenders.

As part of Nicola’s PhD research she is setting up Graphic Cultures. It’s a website that will be a platform for comics works that engage with social and political issues. It’s being launched  with Dr Nina Burrowes, who has created a free comics book online telling stories of people who have experienced domestic violence and rape.

The evening was concluded with some chit chat and then being booted out by Foyles staff. It was a brilliant craic, a proper celebration. I came away feeling very inspired and impressed by the artwork that I’d seen and was really impressed at the bold, yet humble vision of Sarah and Nicola.  They have succeeded in executing with confidence and excellence bringing people together and giving those who might be on the fringes, or unnoticed –  a voice and a platform.

So from everyone who has experienced Laydeez do Comics and been inspired or made friendships or been helped in any way,  a massive thank you!  Thanks to Sarah and Nicola and all the Laydeez do Comics organisers. Thank you for all of the hard work that you’ve put in.  We very much appreciate it.