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.



First up was Graham Johnstone ( 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.
Second up we heard from Louise Crosby illustrator and coordinator of Laydeez Do Comics in Leeds.
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.

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 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 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!


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.


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.

Laydeez Do Comics Leeds – Monday 19th May 2014

Hello! My name is Becky Kidner. This is my second time blogging for LDC Leeds (first was for the 30th September 2013 meeting, which you can see here). Tonight it was an impromptu volunteering job from me since there wasn’t a designated blogger for the evening! To see more of my work, please visit my website.


(last time I put a picture of me enjoying a cup of coffee, this is me enjoying a different cup of coffee!)

 As I mentioned in my last blog post, I gave a talk at LDC Leeds in May 2013 and really enjoyed it. I love Laydeez Do Comics and really enjoy attending the groups. I have missed the last two for one reason and another so was super pleased to be back and listening to interesting and inspiring people talk about their work!

I made a little zine from the evening, only because I had forgotten my notebook and needed something to make notes on!

  IMG_4655 IMG_4656

The meeting started very promptly at 6.30pm, at the always lovely Wharf Chambers (such a cool little place).

Introductions & ‘The Question’…

This meeting we had a choice of two questions: ‘What’s your Favourite Colour?’ or ‘What was the last thing you drew?’ We had the following answers: Blue… Orange… Red… A Roulette Wheel… Green… Blue… Red… Purple… Red… Blue… Blue (as in nature blue, not political blue) … Yellow… Purple… Pink… friends face in chemistry… an underwater scene… a racoon peeking from behind a fence… 90 photo fits of Peter Sutcliffe… green… a 99 ice cream with a tentacle instead of a flake… girlfriends birthday card.

First Speaker: Kate Ashwin

IMG_4659 IMG_4660

I heard Kate talk at my very first LDC meeting in January 2013. Kate has an online web comic ‘Widdershins’ which is a fantasy adventure comic set in 1830s Britain. Widdershins proved to be really popular and gained a loyal following, which allowed Kate to use Kickstarter to fund two printed books: ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ and ‘Vanishing Act’. You can see Kate’s Kickstarter profile here.

Kate has since gone onto crowd source funding for other projects, including a book in collaboration with other artists “Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales: Africa Edition” which you can see here.

Kate suggested a good PDF downloadable book for anyone looking to crowd fund a project in this way: “Lets Kickstart a Comic (& not screw it up)”. Kate also suggested another site for crowd funding: Patreon.

A discussion was had about the methods Kate uses to draw her comics. It turns out she uses a tool called Manga Studio, which you can pick up for around £20-30 on Amazon.  The fact that it’s called ‘Manga’ studio shouldn’t put anyone off, as any style of comics drawing can be done using this software. It’s easy to create frames and speech bubbles and Kate says it has saved her countless hours previously spent on Photoshop amending ellipses!

It was suggested that for a future LDC meeting a demo of this and other tools/software people use to make their comics could be had – people seemed keen on this idea, so watch this space for a demo meeting in the future!

Links to more Kate Ashwin:  | 

Twitter: @katedrawscomics

Second Speaker: Darryl Cunningham

IMG_4661 IMG_4662

I also heard Darryl speak at the LDC meeting in January 2013! Last time around, Darryl was talking about first two books: ‘Psychiatric Tales’ which is a combination of his personal experiences with depression, and also of his experiences working on an acute psychiatric ward. His second book ‘Science Tales’, “debunks popular myths and exposes the lies of scientific naysayers and conspiracy theorists”.

Today Darryl was talking about his upcoming book: “Supercrash: How to Hijack the Global Economy”. It will be launched at the Lakes Comic Festival in October this year.

I absolutely love Darryl’s drawing style and his humour. With this new book Darryl spoke of making a conscious effort to make his drawings better and use colour effectively. It definitely shows, as the colour palette is very striking, and the drawings are fantastic to look at and deceptively simple.  I particularly love the cityscapes.

I really admire how he tackles huge topics with such a lightness of touch – making amusing and easy to understand comics from complicated and difficult subjects.

One thing which I found particularly interesting in what Darryl showed us was the panel illustrating what percentage of funds the government loses due to benefit fraud, versus what is lost on tax evasion. It was startling to see it laid out in this way, so infuriating too about how the media mis-represents things like this.

Another thing I took from Darryl’s talk was that liberal minded people are by nature, a bit messier. Thanks Darryl – at least now I have an excuse! : )

Darryl’s website:

 We re-joined the meeting after a short break and had some announcements…



1. HOAX My Lonely Heart – a musical stage performance by Ravi Thornton, directed by Benji Reid, composed by Minute Taker. The show accompanies the graphic novel “HOAX Psychosis Blues” which Ravi spoke about at the last LDC Leeds meeting in March. It’s open4-7th June at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. Booking now being taken

2. Laydeez Do Comics is 5 Years Old! On Tuesday 1st July in London. Places are free but you have to book in advance:

3. Sarah Lightman: Symposium for Jewish Comics Makers: If you are interested in participating in this, please get in touch with Sarah:

4. Hebden Bridge Open Studios: Our LDC Leeds chair gave a bit of shameless self-promotion (nowt wrong with that!) as she is taking part in the Hebden Bridge Open Studios, along with Annie Lawson who spoke at LDC Leeds in September. Open 28th, 29th June & 5-6th July 2014. Details can be found here

5. ‘Violence: A Conference in Comics’: Click here to download the call for papers. Deadline for abstracts is 14th June 2014.

6. DIY Cultures Zine Fair : I did my own bit of shameless self-promotion as I took part in this zine fair (Sunday 26th May in London). You can find out more and keep an eye out for next year’s event here

7. Lakes Comic Festival & Thought Bubble: Two great events comic up in autumn this year. LDC have a stall at both of these events. Find out more here: .

8. LDC Collaborative Zine: It would be great if we could put together a collaborative zine to sell at Thought Bubble & the Lakes Comic Festival. If you are interested in this idea (details a bit sketchy atm!) please get in touch! .

9. LDC Speakers Wanted!: If you would like to give a talk about your work at LDC Leeds, or have an idea of someone you would love to hear from – do let us know! It can come off, as we found out when someone suggested Gemma Correll (Gemma spoke at LDC Leeds in November.) Please email: 

 That was it for the announcements and we were on with the third and final speaker…

Final Speaker: Jacky Fleming

IMG_4665 IMG_4666

Quite a few of the audience members had come to tonight’s meeting specifically to hear from Jacky. I had seen her at some of the past LDC meetings and was really interested in hearing from her. I don’t massively see myself as a feminist, or pretend to know a great deal about feminism, so it was an education for me to hear from someone who is so well respected in these circles and who very clearly is a feminist.

Jacky started her talk by showing us some pictures of her studio – I love seeing where people work, and Jacky’s studio looked fab! I especially loved her shelves where she keeps all her postcards, and how all her pens were lined up in order (I do this too with my pens!)

Jacky studied Fine Art at Leeds University, and once submitted a drawn essay. She told us of some of her artistic influences which included Ronald Searle and John Glashan (who she described as a genius). I can definitely see similarities reflected in Jacky’s work, and I really do love her style, it seems very loose and free (though we heard it takes hours for Jacky to draw them!).

Jacky was first published in a feminist magazine called ‘Spare Rib’ (you can pick up old copies of spare rib on ebay). She said that the first original artworks she submitted were cited as being the worst the editor had ever seen! I would have loved to see some of the original drawings, where she had covered over mistakes and used ‘MistakeOut’ (I learned that ‘MistakeOut’ was invented by a woman, very interesting factoid! Find out more on the subject here).

Jacky did a series of illustrated ‘incidents’, things that happened to her, and do still happen to women on a regular basis (e.g. flashing – particularly when the sun comes out). Jacky said there is a “shared space of understanding” in a cartoon and that she sees her illustrations as “Pictorial Activism”. There’s a whole series of Jacky’s cartoons, a lot of them featuring business men in suits, depicting casual sexism and the hypocrisy visible in our society.

There were some parallels in Jacky’s cartoons to what arose in Darryl’s talk, with regards to MPs and bankers with their overblown salaries and bonuses- stealing from the general public whilst saying “look over there! A benefit cheat!”

Jacky made a series of postcards, many of which are still floating around today! The postcards were collated and published into a book “How to be a Bloody Train Driver”. 

Jacky currently works on various illustrations and cartoons, such as “Every Day Lesbophobia” featured in Diva magazine. She also has a series of greetings cards available.

Jacky’s website:

Before the meeting finished, all the speakers were thanked, and our host Louise Crosby was thanked too and given a round of applause for all her hard work in setting up these meetings and making it happen every other month- THANKS LOUISE! You do an awesome job and we love LDC Leeds! : D


Date of Next Meeting:

Monday 21st July 2014, speakers so far confirmed: Ben Dickinson & Janice Goodman

I’m currently working on a finished piece of tonight’s meeting. Last time it took me ages to get round to finishing and posting, so I thought I would post the blog post up now – and I’ll add my finished piece on here once it’s done!