Meh. 

This has been a week of phlegm, both for my now-improving health and for the absolute state of parliamentary discourse. Well, phlegm and hot air. I’ve found that I don’t so much enjoy reading Hansard but there is a joy to finding a particularly awful exchange. The drawing wasn’t so much fun this week but maybe that’s the cold medicine talking. Drawing is good. 

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A pattern is emerging. 

This week’s news has been about parallel universes bumping into each other in the foggiest of fogs. 

I like this grid layout though, and am still enjoying doing a panel a day. So maybe not all is lost.

Lords,  noble lord,  lordships. 

Here’s this week’s #nadrash, with sources*:

I think the screenshots of sources are a good move. Takes it from ‘you couldn’t make it up’ to ‘huh, they really said that’. 

*HP Sauce.  FUNNY JOKE

My honourable friends. 

Here’s week 1 of my new panel-a-weekday comics project:

Like any busy person, my answer to a busy diary is to start a new project. Here’s my plan, and rules that have already evolved from this plan.

1. Quote from an interaction as recorded in Hansard, the official record of UK Parliament debases.

There’s a lot of talk that has precious little to do with the preceding statement. Sometimes there’s a prolonged debate/conversation. Sometimes there’s a series of questions that were submitted in advance. Sometimes there’s no discernible connection. Interactions interest me in an academic way – how people talk and learn together – so I’ve decided to focus on connected exchanges.

2. Be accurate.

It’s too easy to intentionally misquote people. Context is important. Hansard is not a verbatim transcript, which I reckon is fine.  I’ll include speaker names and the date on each panel so it can be checked. Usually the House of Commons, sometimes the House of Lords.

3. Be selective, be interesting.

There’s a lot of flowery language, my honourable friend, so I think it’s justifiable to edit out the pleasantries but otherwise stick to the transcript. Some things interest me more than others, some exchanges are pithier than others, some groaning attempts at humour don’t need repeating.

4. Be timely.

My diary is split between day-job and PhD research and other stuff. Sometimes there’s a weekly structure, often there isn’t. Doing a panel each weekday has, so far, helped insert some sort of structure. There’s a good discipline in doing something creative each day, making it public, and moving forwards. I’ll aim to do each day’s panel in the evening, or the next morning on days when evenings aren’t possible.

5. Keep going. 

If there’s no sitting that day, dive into the archives. They’re online and well catalogued and free to access. For no-sitting days I wondered about finding other speeches/statements from that day, but (a) it’s the parliamentary-ness that interests me (b) there’ll be plenty of days including holidays/recess when there are no speeches (c) the out-of-my-control-ness of parliamentary interactions is a sweet way to include an element of roulette in this project.

PS: Nad Rash is an anagram of Hansard, the official record of what is said in UK Parliament debases. It is also an underused slang term.

PPS: Are you the editor of a reputable daily news media outlet? Let’s talk syndication.

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Not angry, just disappointed.

Here’s a copy of my email withdrawing from Lakes Comic Art Festival in Kendal, 2017. I’m sharing it here because some other comics creator on the exhibitors’ reserve list may well receive an email saying a stall has become available, and at least this way they can appreciate why.

Dear LICAF organisers,

I am writing to withdraw from exhibiting at Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2017 this coming weekend. This is because I found Sunday evening’s twitter statements from your festival account and associated accounts unacceptable.

My academic work addresses themes of fairness in education, particularly the constructions of ‘race’ and social class, through the specific example of British comics. I need to do my best to ensure that my comics making, publishing, and distribution (as myself, and through my organisation Applied Comics Etc) remains consistent with these themes. This means that I cannot take part in a publicly-funded festival that has made such poor choices of language and tone when discussing issues of ethnicity and diversity.

With this in mind, I would like to offer constructive support when you plan the future of your festival. Please do let me know if my academic work on untangling and addressing issues of fairness – as well as my professional experience in staff development in higher education – is something you would like to make use of, in due course.

For this year’s festival, please could you refund my half-table exhibitor fee. I would also appreciate it if you removed my profile page from your 2017 festival website. I will contact my booked B&B in Kendal to cancel and will request a refund for my advance train ticket.

Best,
Lydia Wysocki

Sad to disappoint all three of my fans, and annoyed at missing opportunities to catch up with people about current and future projects. By all means reuse the wording of my email if it helps draft your own.

For context: link to twitter thread. Photo in this blog post is from when I exhibited at LICAF in 2014 (blog post here). I try not to make a habit of sharing letters online, but it happens.

Leeeeds coooomics 

See that? That’s my planned table setup for Thought Bubble comics convention 2017. Leeds Town Hall Marquee table 37 might just buckle under the weight of many comics including :

  • Research questionnaire. Fill in a questionnaire about comics you’ve read, get a free sticker and an infocomic and the knowledge that you’ve taken part in my PhD research about reading British comics. The questionnaire is in comics form and will take maybe 7mins to fill in – good if you want a break from wandering round, or want to do something comics-y that doesn’t involve spending money. It’ll take a bit of thought but not too deep – the second stage of my research involves more indepth interviews with comics readers, this questionnaire is a stepping stone to that second stage. 
  • Applied Comics Etc collaborations. Free comics, all made in partnership with researchers, archives, kids, sweeeet comics creators. Promo postcards for Freedom City Comics anthology are hot off the press (launches in Newcastle 1st October) 
  • Comic Swap library. Read the well wikkid comics made by kids’ comics clubs, swapped earlier this year as part of a postal swap run by Hannah Sackett and I.
  • Applied Comics Network. Free badges, free chat about overambitous plans coordinated by John Swogger, Ian Horton and I. 
  • My comics and books. To swap with comics you’ve made, or coffee/tea/snacks, or for sale (various prices from £1 stamp books to £13 double comic). Say the secret password ‘I like your office wallpaper’ and get a free gift with any swap or purchase of my solo work, whilst stocks last.

If you’re around on Thursday/Friday come to Comics Forum conference – I’ll be presenting about my questionnaire & PhD research, and involved in running an Applied Comics Network workshop. 

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DIY? Because comics, that’s why

There’s a new exhibition, Comics: Explore and Create Comic Art at Seven Stories. It’s the work of many comics artist-writers, collectors, and curators. And includes a DIY comic I made, for you. Yes, you.

Here’s a look at the DIY comic. I do not apologise that in most of photos I took, children had already drawn on it. Because that’s the point. You use a DIY comic as a nudge to make your own comic.

One side guides you round the world of comics, with have-a-go activities about setting, character design, art style, panel structure and storytelling.

The other side has blank panels, waiting for you to make your own comic using tips and techniques from the exhibition. And your own ideas.

Two of my favourite pieces in the exhibition are work-in-progress, probably-not-intended-to-be-shared things:  one of Adam Murphy‘s post-it process books, and one of Nigel Auchterlounie‘s cut’n’stick drafts. I’m so glad they’re there, alongside finished artwork. The first time I visited the Cartoon Museum I proper gawped at how many fixes and repairs were visible in some of the original artwork in their collection – part of the real and messy process of making things, but usually invisible in the finished work.  Even more so when working digitally. In the spirit of such honesty, here’s a close-up of one of the many tipp-ex and whoops-better-glue-over-that-bit fixes from my DIY comic:

This exhibition is kinda a big deal. It’s the first time Seven Stories: The National Centre For Children’s Books has developed an exhibition about comics.  It’s good to see national organisations getting involved in comics, particularly with a focus on getting more kids making more comics.

It’s also cheering to see a mix of older and current comics creators, working in a mix of traditional and digital media. There’s no one way to make comics. Hopefully this’ll help more kids (and grown-up kids) figure out their own ways to make their own comics.

BONUS: Yes, those are Comic Swap compilations in with other comics to read. Aww yeah.

Newcastle Chronicle writeup with exhibition photos: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/you-love-comics-could-you-13366687

Down The Tubes summary of what’s in the exhibition: http://downthetubes.net/?p=38666

Seven Stories exhibitions page: https://www.sevenstories.org.uk/exhibitions

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