Hi comic folks.It’s been so long but it’s time to rock again. Fumio and Eddie made a pilgrimage to Leeds’ Thought Bubble’ festival during 16-18 November, with a stall waiting for us (Of course!) It was a great pleasure to meet all the people in the comic scene but also see many people take a look at our works and leave comments, and sometimes buy too! The sales were better all round than the last year, this means the readership in the UK is growing…?
Scottish comics writer Sean Michael Wilson has started work on an exciting new project, but for it to become a reality he’s looking for Kickstarter funding.
PARECOMIC is a graphic novel about something that affects us all: the system we live in – what’s wrong with it, and how we might be able change it for the better!
Written by Sean Michael Wilson, and drawn by Carl Thompson, PARECOMIC is about Michael Albert and his life’s struggle as a US left wing activist, reaching right back to the heady days of 1960′s student demos and lifestyle rebellions. From the development of the anti war movement, civil rights, the woman’s movement, and the black panthers to the establishment of alternative media like South End Press and Znet. PARECOMIC shows us Michael’s story, and at the same time the ideas and issues that influence both our society and the better alternative that we can build via the anarchist influenced system of participatory economics. Or PARECON for short – hence the title for our book, which rather started out as a joke – but has stuck: PARECOMIC.
You can find out more and help to fund it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/471898784/parecomic-a-documentary-graphic-novel
I can only apologise for blogging about a political matter, but this does concern everyone who enjoys the vibrant free arts scene in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh City Council are proposing a change to licencing laws that will force community events such as visual arts exhibitions, music, dance and theatre events to apply and pay for a licence, even if those events are put on for free. Such a change would severely damage what ELC does, and possibly even ruin chances of us putting on future events.
I urge everyone to raise a stink about this. Write to your councillor, tweet about it, and tell people you know that this is happening.
As such there is a public meeting at Out of the Blue in Dalmeny Street tonight, tonight (Thurs 1st March), to discuss and oppose this. I urge you to attend and sign the petition and/or contact your councillor to express your opposition. In Glasgow 14,000 signed the petition and the council scrapped its plans to impose these measures.
Write to your councillor here: http://www.writetothem.com/
Thanks for your time. Hopefully we’ll get some more events organised soon!
Stref’, aka Stephen White is an edinburgh based illustrator and comic artist. His first graphic novel ‘MILK+‘ was published in 2011 with his second book ‘Raising Amy‘ following hot on its heels at the end of the year. To continue our investigations into the workings of local creators, we sent over some questions for Stref’ to answer…
For up to date info and an interesting insight into his artistic process please check out Stref’s blog.
What are you working on?
I have just finished drawing my latest graphic novel, ” X ” and have just had my first cartoon humour book published, ” RAISING AMY”.
Your graphic novel ‘MILK+’ used a variety of styles and settings, how important is it to your creative process that you be able to use a wide range of approaches?
I like to approach each project with a style that I feel best suits it. I work on a wide variety of scripts and they demand very different visuals to work properly as individual projects. Changing styles also constantly challenges me, but I realise that I have no distinguishable look to the body of my work…which could either be seen as a good or a bad thing!
You write, draw, ink, colour and letter your work- is this through necessity or do you like it that way?
It’s a bit of both…I couldn’t afford to pay someone to colour or letter for me…also I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to that stuff!
Is there any difficult stigma you have to put up with trying to make thoughtful comics in the science fiction genre?
I don’t think about that stuff…ideas come to me and I scribble them down regardless of whether people want to look at them or not…like cleaning the cobwebs out of your brain. I switch styles as much as I switch genres-always trying to be thoughtful and funny-though not always succeeding!
What was the last comic you read and what did you think of it?
The last comic I read was CLiNT,which I enjoyed very much.
Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes?
Calvin and Hobbes.
Magda Boreysza is a comic artist, animator and illustrator. She divides her time between Edinburgh, Sweden and New Orleans. Magda’s comic series ‘Toastycats’ is soon to reach its sixth issue, for more info check out Magda’s blog and website.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m putting together the 6th issue of Toastycats, which will have more pages and more colour than previous ones. I’m also developing ideas for graphic novels. I’m generating a lot of ideas in general, and trying to organize myself so as to actually get those projects done.
Some people feel that the word ‘comics’ comes with some unfortunate stigma they would rather be without and prefer terms such as ‘sequential art’ or narrative ‘illustration’- where do you stand on that debate?
I’m often hesitant to use the word ‘comic’ when I describe what I do to people who have little contact with the form. But I’m equally uncomfortable with ‘sequential art’ or ‘narrative illustration’. Those are incredibly dry terms and make comics sound like a total drag. So I do say comics. It’s short and it has a good ring to it. We need to use the word until it looses its association with comedy and funny papers.
Do you have a specific grand plan in mind for Toastycats or do you just work on it as and when it seems appropriate?
It’s certainly something that I plan to continue for a long time, and I would like to publish it more consistently than I do now. I think that it improves with each issue. When I first started, there was no plan at all. I didn’t think that there would be more than one issue. Then I made another one, and another… with each, I’m getting a better idea of what I want to do. There’s been a lot of experimentation, and some things worked while some didn’t. I think that I painted myself into a corner, somewhat, with The Seed, because it just keeps expanding and I feel like I need to continue it in each issue, when I would actually much prefer to have all the issues be self-contained. So, I’m contemplating whether I should remove The Seed and just publish it separately as a graphic novel.
I also try to improve the print quality. I think that I’ve hit a point at which it makes more sense to have Toastycats printed lithographically, which has given the whole endeavour a real boost. At some point I might start experimenting with the form a little more. We’ll see.
What was the last comic you read and what did you think of it?
I recently read ‘Laika’ by Nick Abadzis. It’s such a well crafted story, and very moving. I was floored.
Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes? Discuss
Both. They are both great.
It showed up in Amazon Canada, because Fumio’s publisher is in Quebec.
If you google ‘l’incroyable histoire de la sauce soya’ (the incredible tale of the soya sauce)you can see some extracts and check out the stocks in book retailers.Fumio is flattered.
Extracts link http://www.scribd.com/doc/63646412/Sauce-Soja-Extraits
If you are interested in his publisher this is their website http://www.lapasteque.com/Accueil.html
Fumio is going off to the international festival of comic books in Angouleme in Farnce again at the end of January.http://www.bdangouleme.com/
Anyone going there too, Fumio wants to catch up and he looks forwards to the update about it.
Malcy Duff is a comix creator, artist and musician currently working from edinburgh. We recently sent a few questions his way via email to catch up on what he is up to- enjoy!
If you want to find out more about Malcy’s past and future work please check out his blog. His new comix ‘The Weather and The Weather Forecast’, ‘Faded Book Spine’, and ‘Writing Postcards in the Visitor Centre’ can all be obtained by emailing the contact details on his website
I have this rule where by I don’t tell anyone the project I’m working on because if I do it will never get finished, so….
I’ve had an idea but again I better not say.
What degree of similarity is there between the way you create your music and your comics?
Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes? Discuss
If you’re asking me to choose one I would choose Peanuts. I have a nostalgia for Calvin and Hobbes but only because my brother read it when we were growing up and Calvin really reminds me of him. I never really liked it very much. I like pictures of snow so it coaxed me in sometimes, but the snow seemed to be the only thing I could relate to. I’m looking at the light from this computer screen light up my hands and I can see all the wrinkles, crosses, pimples, lines going through my nails, jim henson rocks, wisps… clearly, all over my hands as they age. There are 60s compilations of Peanuts with these really clunky Ben-Day dots for shading which they themselves become characters and abstract forms in the strips. They make it look like the book has acne. That’s why I choose Peanuts.
We’ve been wanting to have a try at teaching a captive adult audience for a while, and the Portobello Book Festival seemed like an ideal opportunity. Today we held a three hour class on ‘Making Comics’, where we loosely covered themes of character creation, telling stories with words and pictures, and self publishing. It was a deliberately quiet event – we were teaching a group of five individuals, each of whom had signed up in advance for the three hour session.
Things went really well overall. We deployed our usual character creation games, but did so in a much more focused way. After a short period we’d compare our creations and then move on to the next task, meaning we could all share our experiences, and get inspiration off of each other.
A new game we used was one introduced to me in Ivan Brunetti’s fantastic ‘Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice’ book. The idea is that you have to draw a series of characters read out by the teacher – each one an archetype – but each drawing is only given at most 10 seconds attention. The idea is to portray a character in as efficient a way as possible, whilst still getting across some personality. The game was tough to say the least, especially for those of us maybe a bit more rusty at such quick drawing. But it was fun, informative and really great practice.
We followed all this up with a wall comic. In this case we each drew our own interpretation of a second panel to in the initial panel (in which an angry woman finds her husband drunk in the pub). We then each had to draw a third panel in response to another person’s second panel, and so forth. It meant that we each had a say in how each story line went, and as a whole got to see how a narrative can spiral off in interesting directions from relatively humble beginnings.
The event was great, and a real learning experience. We clearly need to come up with more games for a 3 hour session as things lagged a bit at the end, but overall everyone seemed to have a good time. Hopefully there will be more adult focused comics classes for us in the future!
Thanks to Porty library for being so accommodating, and to our wonderful participants!
- Fumio and Edward