Here is a sneak preview of a project I am working on with award winning writer Anita MacCallum – a graphic novel for adults based on one of her mesmerising short stories.
Hooray! Here is my contribution to ‘Draw the Line’- description of the project below is taken from their website https://drawthelinecomics.com/
When the political climate starts to go against your own beliefs, it’s very easy to start feeling small and powerless.
This website brings together more than 100 comic artists, each illustrating actions that anyone can take, if they want to make a difference.
Some of them are actions you can take right now. Many of them can be done on the cheap, or for no money at all. Some are suitable for kids. They all have something in common: they are non-partisan steps that any citizen can take when they don’t like the way that politics are going.
It has taken me a while to post about it, but here it is! I loved working on this comic project – here it is described in an interview with ‘The Misfits’ on the website http://punksinthecommunity.co.uk
‘Our latest project funded by the Arts Council is making a comic about staying up late. We have worked with two artists Anita MacCallum and Jenny Drew and designed a twisted cinderella story about the challenges of living an independent life it’s called ‘Rhythm of the Night’. The story aims to encourage conversation about how people with learning difficulties and their support can come up with creative solutions to staying up late.’
To find out more about The Misfits visit https://misfitstheatre.com
In 2014 I stalked Kate Bush. This is a video I’ve made about it, inspired by Eminem’s ‘Stan’ and Wuthering Heights – featuring the ukulele.
Here it is! The video version of ‘The Romantic Apocalypse’, written, designed and narrated by The Misfits Mavericks. Storyboard art by me and facilitation by Anita MacCallum.
The Misfits Theatre Company helps adults with learning difficulties in Bristol have their voices and experiences heard. Through drama, storytelling and creativity, the members experience improved self-esteem, participation, decision-making and group working skills. It is a life-changing opportunity for many of the participants who often feel excluded from mainstream arts programmes. The process can be both empowering and cathartic for the individuals involved.
I’ve been working with ‘The Misfits Mavericks’ and Anita MacCallum on this comic project, look! The Misfits Theatre Company helps adults with learning difficulties in Bristol have their voices and experiences heard. The group have been working on a play they’ve written – inspired by Shakespeare, love, video games and anime. I was asked to come and help turn the story into a comic. They designed everything about it, from the look of the characters to the storyboard and script. Film to follow!
Before I wrote my book I hadn’t had much training about how to draw properly, apart from GCSEs at school. I’d always doodled and drawn characters when I was a child, but they only had one facial expression and could only face head on. I only started to make comics for the purpose of my job – to share the stories of the young people I worked with. When I submitted the proposal for ‘Cartooning Teen Stories’ to my publisher, I said that I would draw 84 pages of comics. I had NO IDEA how much work that would be.
I soon realised I didn’t have the technical skills I assumed would come naturally, and that I would have to learn to draw by writing my book. Some of the initial pages took me over 7 hours to draw. I couldn’t work out why the same character looked like a different person in each panel! Having to create characters and their different angles, facial expressions, and basic anatomy – I bought books, magazines, watched YouTube videos and sat in Waterstones during my lunch break at work, reading about manga and lighting and perspective. When people say ‘I wish I could draw like you’ – I think, ‘shhh, I can’t draw either.’ It’s the imposter syndrome of not having gone to art college, but sometimes that lack of technical skill can create the most unique cartoony styles. It is never too late to pick up a sharpie, and soon I hope to do some more cartooning workshops for those of us who ‘can’t draw’. Some of the sites I found most useful and affordable for distance learning are:
Below is a punk I drew when I was aged about 9. I decided to give him a 2016 makeover and made his character design sheet. This is something I’ve do now before I draw each comic, to keep the look consistent. It really does save a lot of time in the long run (I learned the hard way)
I made this comic, inspired by Gaby Gillespie’s book ‘A Fathers Betrayal’ for her niece, Natasha Cadman, who is running events to raise awareness of child marriage through the Welsh based charity INeed. I went to one of the events for International Women’s Day. There were talks one after another from women sharing their personal stories of survival, from Gaby Gillespie about child marriage, to a lady who was shot by her violent ex and now campaigns to raise awareness of stalking, women who are carers, refugees, and use their stories for activism and creativity. It was such an inspiring day.
I recently went on a brilliant weekend training called ‘Introduction to Clowning’ with Holly Stoppit in Bristol. It was such a worthwhile weekend of how to enter into ‘flow’, permission to be free, creative play and mindfulness. So much of what I learned could be applied to my doodle workshops. This weekend I’m going on part two – clowning and storytelling 😀