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.

projects_0002 - Copy - Copy

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.

Advertisements

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.

Rikke

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.

IMG_0001

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.

Miss Heather

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 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.

ldcAugustGraham

 

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.
ldcAugustLouise
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.
ldcAugustMJ 

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.

Laurie Penny1

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!

international

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.

cake

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.

Leeds. Jan 2014. Joanna Wilkinson. James McKay. Chella Quint.

Leeds. Jan 2014. My first ever Laydeez Do Comics meeting. I jumped on the train in Manchester – my heart aflutter. I am new to the world of graphic novels. I am a little bit frightened; I am a whole heap excited.  My name is Sui Anukka. I am writer. I am currently developing MIRA – a comic about a female, Asian Superhero saving the day in Manchester.

Speakers on the night were printmaker Joanna Wilkinson, comic artists James McKay and comedy writer, performer, designer and artist Chella Quint.

Jo-2JOANNA WILKINSON shared her influences and gave us an insight into her creative process when producing her exquisite, limited edition micro books (Zines), including  ‘Oranges are the only fruit’, ‘Bingo Voyeurism’ and ‘The Lady Garden Book of Holes’.

A bit about Joanna:  She is the daughter of a Vicar. She is half-Scottish. She grew up in Cumbria – spectacular views, but not a great deal to do. Life was austere. Her mum had strict rules about the television; no tele before 4pm = lots of time to for reading, drawing and flights of fancy. Little Joanna used to make her own comic strips and books. Joanna has a sister.

Early influences: Beryl the Peril, The Orr Wullie comic strips from The Sunday Post (The Scottish paper), The Family from One End Street and Posy Simmonds.

Joanna’s working processes:  She draws – a lot, experimenting with line, with capturing the moment at speed – in the car (when being driven), at the theatre. She keeps all her sketchbooks, building up a visual library. She takes over the kitchen table. She becomes obsessed the project at hand – the housework is ignored.  She collects ephemera uses household found objects – scanned.

Method and madness: Relief prints. Monoprints. Collage. Handmade. Textures. Whimsy. Real life. Batches of ten. Little narrative. Flaps. Doors. Discover things. Interactive. Engaging. Shocks. Surprises. Details. Quirks. Beauty. Musing subconsciousness.
jo-work

Joanna brought a collection of her work for us to look at. To attempt to describe them is to do them a terrible injustice. They need to be picked up, held, touched and explored.  Each piece is a visual treat.

Oranges Are The Only Fruit: The basis for Joanna’s first Zine was the tissue papers used to wrap supermarket oranges in Italy. With their vibrant colours and screen printed logos, to Joanna, they are things of beauty.
Bingo Voyeurism developed out of a series of sketches done with friends at a Bingo Hall in Brighton. The characters she observed are collaged, drawn and interwoven with images inspired by bingo calls.
How to drive emerges from sketches done whilst a passenger in a car. Images are meshed with lyrics of the tunes played in the car.
Gabriella and Orlando is a more straightforwardly narrative based piece. A couple fall in love. The postcards and letters they send each other form the basis of the book. Their relationship cannot continue as they are both married to others, but their love transcends. They arrive at the astral plane in animal form, an owl and a pussy cat, and here they continue to love.
A Chronicle of the Last Journey records the final days of Joanna’s parents’ lives. Joanna undertook this project as part of the sketchbook project. It is a visual meditation on how we deal with death and dying in this country. http://www.sketchbookproject.com/sketchbookproject
The Lady Garden – The Book of Holes was triggered by memories of drives and walks with Joanna had made with her dad, when each member of the family would be given a polo mint, and they would have competitions to see how long they could make the polo mint last. Joanna riffs on the idea of circles and holes. The book is (literally) full of holes – 230 to be precise—smelling holes, looking holes, halos, sound holes, milk holes, cake holes.

Joanna’s latest project:  Joanna is currently working on illustrating sonnets written by her sister.

jo-cu-work

jamesJAMES MCKAY introduced us to Dreams of a Low Carbon Future a graphic novel that highlights issues around energy use and climate change.

James McKay is a comic artist. He illustrates for 2000AD and works on the science fiction title Flesh. He describes his work there as sometimes being ‘very blood thirsty and adolescent, but also it’s really fun.’ His day job, however, is as the manager for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Low Carbon Technologies at Leeds University.

How did the Dreams of a Low Carbon Future project come about?
Royal Academy of Engineering runs an initiative called Ingenious, which is set up to support projects that enable scientists and engineers to communicate their research and findings with the General Public. The Centre of Doctoral Training in Low Carbon Technologies in Leeds received £30k funding from the Ingenious scheme in April 2013 to produce a graphic novel about climate change and to distribute 5000 copies to the public, at festivals and through schools’ workshops.

Just seven months later, in Nov 2013, James McKay and his team launched ‘Dreams of a Low Carbon Future’ at Thorpe Bubble.

Who was involved in creating the graphic novel?

  • 370 school children from 10 different schools
  • 25 artists of all descriptions – illustrators, comic artists, writers, fashion designers, activist artists.
  • 40 Phd researchers
  • A dozen or so senior academic staff (international thought leaders in their field)

The Creative Process

  • Workshops took place with the researchers to explore how comics work and how they could use text and images to tell a story. The researchers were also trained to communicate with children so that they could effectively raise awareness of the issues in the schools’ workshops
  • Between May and June the project was taken to schools and ideas and images created by the children brought back to the labs. Themes began to emerge. The scientists were then asked to engage with the pool of ideas and examine if/how they could work.
  • During August the graphic novel was put together. The result was a cross fertilisation of ideas that came from 10 year old kids on one end of the scale, and eminent scientists, on the other.

james-work

The resulting structure
When visioning the future, three themes emerged which shaped the resulting graphic novel:
1.   The vision of the bad future – where we get to, if we keep on going as we are.
2.   Good Future 1 – a technotopia in which humans have employed technology, at vast cost, to solve all our energy problems.
3.   Good Future 2 – a low demand utopia in which everyone has changed their behaviour to solve the environmental challenges.

‘The oldest task in human history – to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.’
Aldo Leopold.

‘Unless you change direction, you’ll end up where you are heading.’
Old Chinese proverb.

These two quotes, which are on the title page of Dreams of a Low Carbon Future sum up the governing ethos of  this project really beautifully.

Hannah, one of the Phd researchers on the project accompanied James in his talk. Hannah talked about how the project was very much about encouraging people to take ownership of the future and fostering the idea that changes can be made on a local and micro level.
future-cityfuture-city-2
We then took a break. Chat. Chat. Browse. Sip. Sip. Chat. Chat. Nice.

chellaCHELLA QUINT @chellaquint
The final speaker for the night was comedy writer, performer, designer and artist Chella Quint, who talked about her work and passion for Zines. She also talked about the Sheffield Zine Fest – 15th March 2014. She has teamed up with Leeds Zine Fair to create her zinester dream festival, the Yorkshire Zine Weekender.

We were running a little over time, and I had to go catch my train back to Manchester so I sadly missed most of Chella’s presentation. Chella, I beg your forgiveness and hope that people will refer to the podcast to hear your full presentation.

Chella started her presentation with a really important point re. the correct pronunciation of the word ‘Zine’ which is ‘Zeen’ as is ‘Magazine’ and not, as some would have it, Zyne, or worse still, Zin. Correct all offenders. It is the least you can do.

chella-work
Chella gave us a great introduction as to what a Zine is – cheap, fun and friendly; they are egalitarian. You don’t have to be a great artiste to produce them. They are for everyone.
I found the following slide, which Chella presented, a really useful guide to understanding the form.

zines

It was then time for me to leave….

Thank you everyone for a really informative, entertaining and inspiring evening.

Laydeez do Comics Leeds, 25 Nov 2013

Hi, I’m Fiona Marchbank and I work as a freelance Illustrator and Designer and do comics projects for fun on the side. I was asked to guest blog at the Laydeez do Comics Leeds in November. I will say in advance, I’ve had a bit of time left alone with the sketches I did on the night before I’ve had to make this post, and might have gone a little bit overboard with the drawings. I regret nothing!

Thanks to Thought Bubble Comic Convention attracting artists (and attendees) from far and wide Laydeez was able to snag some artists who wouldn’t normally be able to make it up to Leeds but were here for the convention. The speakers were Gemma Correll, Paula Knight and Ian Williams.

First thing on the agenda was to wish Laydeez do Comics Leeds a happy 1st Birthday.

by FIonacreates.net

Unfortunately there was no cake, but there was soup on offer from the venue, Wharf Chambers, and that’s almost as good as cake.

Gemma Correll

Gemma was a requested guest through the suggestions forms, so it really can work to suggest artists you’d love to see speak at a Laydeez Event.

by fionacreate.net

“I thought I would start with pictures of my pugs”

Due to needing to catch an early train home, Gemma Correll was our first speaker, before the usual introductory questions. She opened with photographs of her two adorable pugs.

Though professing to not be very good at giving presentations Gemma was very engaging, enlightening us with a large range of work from professional and personal comics to illustration work.

Refreshingly, Gemma’s illustrations also make use of comic styling, a light, graphic approach and integrated text and image. Though she claims they’re not ‘real illustration’ but she gets paid for them anyway.

Gemma’s work revels in it’s spontaneity. She doesn’t sketch her work first, rather draws the final cartoons straight on paper, as her work needs that freshness that can be lost in excessive planning, sketching and inking.

gemma3sm

“They want to pet them, or ask if they can breath”

Gemma’s pugs play a large role in her comic work, where she has illustrated and made books about her pugs, and made little cartoons about their inner thoughts. Her book “A Pugs Guide to Ettiquette” is entirely from the point of view of her dog. Gemma also makes cat comics for Emirates Airline magazine.

gemma2_sm

“I like their look of disdain”

Gemma likes to put in comic diary format things going on in her life. She talked about how she was useless at sport, yet was currently trying to do more and showed us examples of her diary work about sport.

As a previous fan of Gemma’s animal work it was great to be able to see a more diverse range of her work, and be able to talk to her before the meeting as she had to dash off fairly quickly after her talk was over to catch her train. It was fab that she made the effort to stay the extra time after the convention to speak to Laydeez do Comics.

After Gemma’s talk we then had the introductory questions, which this time was about characters or people to add (or remove) from the Comics Hall of Fame.

godzillasm

“Godzilla is not to be taken seriously”

It was suggested that the balloon boob comic ladies of superhero infamy needed out of the hall of fame, and that Garfield, Tintin, Marjane Satrapi, Charlie Brown and the gang, Calvin and Hobbs, Jean Grey, Death from Sandman and Superman amoung others should be allowed in.

Paula Knight

The second speaker was Paula Knight, from the Bristol Laydeez do Comics. Paula was talking about her work on a graphic memoir, and her first slide was a scene from a motorway, chosen because it had “Leeds” written on a sign in the background.

paulaknight3

“The thing about memoir… it inevitably includes personal info about secondary characters, like my poor husband”

Paula’s work deals a lot with what it means to be female, as well as adressing some tough issues such as pregnancy and Miscarriage.

paulaknight2

“It’s not a very happy subject, but I enjoyed doing it”

Paula’s memoir (or the pages that were shown to us) really makes use of the illustrative nature of comics, sometimes needing to use no words at all to describe the storyline or feelings of the author. The illustrations are sometimes very detailed and sometimes very stark, using the right amount of detail to give impact to what she’s talking about at that time.

paulaknight1

“There’s a lot of silence about miscarriage”

While her topic was often sombre and heartfelt, Paula was very engaging and remarked that “It wouldn’t be Laydeez do Comics if I didn’t mention Vaginas”

Paula’s memoir is due out in 2015, published by Myriad Editions. While we were shown a lot of work in process slides, I am looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Ian Williams

Ian Williams is a comic book artist, physician and writer. He was presenting a talk about his approach to using comics within the medical profession to help doctors come to terms with the everyday realities of their job.

ianwilliams1

“You did not own up to [mental illness]”

He presented us parts of his soon to be published book, The Bad Doctor. It is a fictional story about a rural GP but contains some autobiographical elements with Ian’s history in medicine. Previously Ian has published comics under a pseudonym, Thom Ferrier,  to avoid patients recognising themselves in his work.

ianwilliams3

“I didn’t want patients to know I made the comics and try to see themselves”

He also talked about his own struggles withing the medical industry and how comics have been his outlet for his thoughts about being a doctor.

ianwilliams2

“I have a good memory. I suppose due to things that I cannot get out my head”

It was fascinating to hear Ian speak, especially as I come from a purely art background, and Ian approaches comics from a completely different perspective. His book, The Bad Doctor,  is yet another that I will be looking forward to getting my hands on.

Unfortunately I was unable to stay for drinks and a chat after the event as I had also spent the previous few days in a comics haze, first at the Comics Forum and then at Thought Bubble, and I was ready to pass out, but once again all the speakers were diverse and interesting and a good night was had, hopefully by all.

And here are some of the original sketches before I went a little nuts on them.

2013-11-26 16.33.592013-11-26 16.31.252013-11-26 16.32.09

2013-11-26 16.32.452013-11-26 16.33.592013-11-26 16.32.39

I did my live drawing upon my recently acquired iPad, thanks to a wonderful piece of software by adobe, because as a predominantly digital artist I’m more comfortable with the ability to use colour and all that jazz, but mostly because I just got an iPad and I’m a gadget fan so I’m going to use this thing if it kills me.
My other work can be found on my portfolio. http://fionacreates.net

Laydeez do comics Leeds July 2013

LDC ITCHYPALM V1-01LDC ITCHYPALM V1-03 Hi, my name is Charlotte Overton and I set up a company last year called ItchyPalm, the main business is Graphic Design and Illustration. However one of the things I love doing is illustrating typography. I sell items online, and within the JuJu shop in the Corn Exchange in Leeds. Comic books have always been a part of my life, starting with the Dandy and the Beano, working up to Batman, Catwoman, Superman, Watchmen and a large range of graphic novels including Love & Rockets by the Hernandez brothers.LDC ITCHYPALM V1-04At all of the LDC evenings there is always a ‘ice breaker’ to get everyone in the mood and relaxed ready to enjoy the talks, some banter and some inspiration time. This time round the question was: If you were to write a book about yourself – what would you call it?LDC ITCHYPALM V1-06Sarah is one of the founders of Laydeez do Comics and I found her and her work fascinating. ‘How can I tell my life story’, Sarah has used this question in her work and looked at her own family/life history and dug into the lives of other women to form inspiring and fascinating works of both illustration and animation. Sarah’s work I found captured a lot of emotion, for a person to be able to take what is inside themselves and present it as an animation creates a seamless piece of personality and art.LDC ITCHYPALM V1-05Lydia described herself as Scientist and Illustrator combined. The science comic not only appeals to the comic book addict but the student within us all to learn more about the world and how things work. Her excitement of having something produced and used in real life was so clear and the audience was sucked into her enthusiasm and we were all dying to see (or get a peak) the finished product that would be featuring at the British Science Festival.LDC ITCHYPALM V1-02Mel gave me the inspiration to collect and learn more about older comics and magazines that are currently (apart from Mel’s talk) don’t know much about. She talked about the magazines and comics for girls being full of aspirational items/story’s and inspirational texts and images. Mel was so lively and entertaining – her subject was inspirational but I’m sure with her personality and presentation of information – she could make anything interesting. She has a story for everyone.