End of blog

This blog has served its purpose. It was a useful place to share work online, and that work has since outgrown this blog. So this is the end of the blog.

My new website is https://lydw.co.uk/. You’re very welcome to visit. I will add new content to that website but not to this blog.

The end.

Swag/review of TBF19

Thought Bubble 2019 swag photo:


(mostly swaps as usual, but I did invest in Kristyna Baczynski’s zine-making book and a sticker from Eve Hewett).

My top-selling books were Adventure & Excitement (new!) and Everyone With A Nose Should Picket. As a reformed retail buyer this is no surprise to me: the new thing sold, and what’s that on the horizon? Oh, it’s more UCU strikes for fair pensions and fair working conditions. Online shop: http://hellolyd.bigcartel.com/



TBF19 review: it was good, it’s always good. It’s BIG. The venue was very suitable for big events (lots of loos, café, short walk from train station, seating areas*).  The exhibitors were a mix of old friends and new friends, with the same a-stranger’s-just-a-friend-you-haven’t-met atmosphere as previous years.

My balance of comic sales-to-costs (production costs + stall, hotel, travel, food) was not great, but I kinda know to anticipate that. If you can make a con table financially work for you, congratulations. For me, event costs come out of that year’s earnings (day job + Applied Comics Etc paid work + occasional personal commissions). I’m very proud of my own handmade comics but they ain’t paying the bills anytime soon.

There was a range of work on show – which was good, especially after a couple of years at multiple events seeing so many digitally drawn and printed comics that risk getting a bit samey. But the stalls full of expensive pins, digital prints of illustrations**, totebags, etc. risk leaning towards ‘general art and craft fair’ instead of ‘comics festival’. I don’t like that but maybe other folk do. I like tables full of well-made comics, especially when people are doing interesting things with the comics medium.

That range of work included more gore/horror and explicit nudity than I’ve noticed in recent years. I don’t mean comics about sexuality and gender, I mean specific horror and porn – some clearly labelled as such, some not. I may be old and prudish BUT there’s a question of figuring out how to exhibit adults-only comics at a general comics con. Not at all? Or put it all together, call it Perv Hall, set it behind a velvet curtain and neon XXX sign far away from Kid Hall, and watch it make more money than the rest of the stalls combined.

My table was in Pride Hall (general stalls, big Travelling Man stall, kids’ activities, signing tables). It was good to see a cluster of kid-friendly comics together as part of the main venue, near to free activities for kids/teens & to one of multiple cafés. This was the furthest place from the entrance: cue tired and overwhelmed families after wrangling kids through two big & busy halls. But that could be more to do with the move to a one-entrance exhibition centre after me getting used to (a) smaller events and (b) TB’s multi-space venues in Leeds.

I am sympathetic to all these issues. I have experience of kid-friendly comics events from years of workshops and from running the one-off Comics Takeover with Seven Stories back in Oct 2017 (quick recap: lots of elements within one building, a mini comic con that was planned not to focus on sales, comics making/swapping at kid-size tables, costume/performance, linked with the Comics! kid-focussed exhibition). It’s hard work and needs to be funded accordingly. Having a kid-friendly/family-friendly bit of a larger general comic con might be harder still.  A version of Tab Kimpton’s Rainbow Road maps highlighting LGBTQ+ comics creators, or the kids’ map and stickerquest Britt Coxon and others made for Canny Comic Con, might be useful examples to consider as part of helping large numbers of people navigate large events.  ‘Comics for everyone’ is a subsection of my specialist subject of ‘comics & education’ (with a verrry broad understanding of all those terms). Get in touch if you’d like to invite me to write about more about this, or to advise on whatever comics event/project you’re planning.

Anyway. Here is my opinion. TBF19 did a great job overall, particularly in having a decent kids’ section as part of a large and ambitious con.  There’s scope for this event – and other comics events – to make bold choices as they continue to grow, and I look forward to seeing it.

TL;DR? TBF19 good, venue suitable. Sales/costs = difficult. I don’t like tables full of merch, gore, porn, or digital ‘prints’. I like tables full of quality comics. We need to talk more about family-friendly comics and comics events.

*I did also miss seeing daylight that weekend, but I guess the answer to that is ‘wake up earlier and walk round the park, sleepyhead’.

**I’ve all but stopped bringing my printmaking (monoprint, letterpress, etching, linocut…) work to comics conventions. Reason 1: it’s usually not the same audience pricepoint. Reason 1.5: I’ve recently been using inks and cotton-rich paper that means prints can’t be rolled or folded for easy transportation. Reason 2 is that me talking about specific printmaking techniques does mean dunking on digital prints, giclee prints, commercial screenpress – which are often for sale at the neighbouring stalls, so super awkward all round. I’m often still using letterpress to hand-print comics covers, because I enjoy it and for the inimitable look and texture (I like clunky indented letterpress, not the fine kiss version). A day in the print studio hammering out a bulk batch of covers means costs are as low as I can make them, and the quality/value of outputs is clear. Still on my to-do list is to follow up with galleries and to update a separate online shop for prints than for comics.


Out of office

Here’s your 2018 xmas card mini sketchbook*, see you next year.

See how the sausage is made: https://youtu.be/8_j8KWr8gNQ

*letterpress on brown card, 2-plate solarplate for the front image, metal type for the back text, 3 hole pamphlet stitch to sew in the newsprint pages

Aye aye aye

I cut copper sheet into a circle, etched it using acid, printed it using messy ink and an electric press, then painted on top using drawing inks. There are easier ways to make a good picture but this is among the very best ways.

10″x10″ on Somerset paper. Series of 50. For sale individually, £85 each.

Good displayed individually, fun displayed as a pair (same or different colours), creepy when they’re all together.

Yes I can paint pretty much the eye colour you want. No I won’t match it exactly.

I’ll have these for sale at BALTIC Self-Publishing Artists’ Market tomorrow, Sat 21st April. http://baltic.art/artists-market, then hoooo I need to sort out my online shop. But you can email if you want to bagsy one.

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Everyone with a nose should picket.




















































Comic in support of for fair pensions. Making comics is good stress relief, as is seeing so many supportive colleagues and students.

Updated to include day 2: some positive signs of progress, still a long way to go.
Day 3: snow, support, and strengthened logistics.
Day 4: grateful for excessive use of GIFs and for gritting lorry drivers.
Day 5: glimmers of hope

Day 6: solidarity in comics form
Day 7: solidarity continues
Day 8: media coverage
Day 9: solidarity through comics and booze

Day 10: The Thick Of It fanfiction
Day 11: the power of beeps
Day 12: we are institutionalised
Day 13: a university is a big school
Day 14: la lutte continue

Action short of strike week one: back to work but not quite back to normal
Action short of strike week two: this has gone on too long to quit now
Action short of strike week three: the emperor’s underpants are unravelling
Action short of strike week four: nostalgic about the future

Limbo one: hello is this thing on?
Limbo two: maybe nobody knows anything anyway
Limbo three: bad ideas agency strikes again
Limbo four: an overwhelming surplus of diggity
Limbo five: they said I’d better take anything they’d got
Limbo six: aesthetically challenged

Labour pains one: wait, what?
Labour pains two: last one to fall off wins
Labour pains three: weekend off

Silly season one: looks promising, but could still all go to pop

(Also: first printed volume of comics for sale, 36 pages, £2.50 hellolyd.bigcartel.com)
The price is set so I can cover print and postage costs; if there are any profits they will go to the Newcastle Branch of University and College Union. Or, I’ll swap for a comic you’ve made (or equivalent bartering).
The first few orders received a free badge made out of my picketing armband – badges are now all gone.



Extra-cautious disclaimer: this comic represents my view. For official UCU (University & College Union) info on the strike, see https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

If you enjoyed reading this comic, please consider donating to the UCU Fighting Fund if you are able to. It helps support people whose wages are docked because they’ve taken part in industrial action. https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund

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Good, not bad, insufficient.

Yesterday I went to a printmaking-collage-patchwork workshop at Northern Print. Printmaker Bridget Jones did showing and telling about her work, and shared offcuts of her prints for folks to have a go at their own cut&stick.

I made a lavender bag. I enjoyed it. It took 2 hours of workshop time plus another hour to finish at home. It wasn’t hard. Playing with someone else’s offcuts was good to use patterns I wouldn’t usually make, yet the finished thing looks pretty much like something I made. A patchwork lavender bag isn’t going to change anyone’s life but it’s a pleasant enough break from more intense work.

In other news:

  • I’m continuing with a drawing-a-weekday, still enjoying my Nadrash series (quotes from Hansard parliamentary record, rubber stamp lettering, with drawing/painting). I enjoy it and the drawings are good, so it’ll continue for a while. Here’s the inevitable Tumblr page: https://dailynadrash.tumblr.com/
  • Work is good and work is busy. Work is mostly PhD in Education about comics, other comics & Education projects, other Education but not comics projects, and occasional bits of stuff. There’s a lot of it, so this year’s priority is finding sustainable ways to keep going without toppling over. So far so good, innit.
  • Somewhere over the holidays I did some knitting. It’s been a while, and it’s good to have a project that makes me watch TV. I also dug out The Tank (sewing machine) to fix a scarf and hem some shirt sleeves. The Tank needs more use.
  • There isn’t enough printmaking and bookbinding in my life, either separately or combined. There needs to be more of this.
  • Also it’s a while since I packed a suitcase, so that wouldn’t go amiss.
  • All in all, not bad at all.

That’s enough for this year. 

Ok here’s this week’s Nadrash/Hansard illustrated interactions, including a dive into the archives on Friday because the current lot knocked off early for Christmas. 

I enjoy doing this peculiar panel-a-weekday project. There’s a fair chance I’ll carry on with it, or something similar, next year. But now for a couple of weeks of more sleeping, less internet, and as much reading/writing as other commitments allow. 

Festive hibernation to you all. 

Here’s your Christmas card, in a choice of colourways.  3D fabric paint on wood on card. 

A bit more work to do, then it’ll be time to switch off the internet until next year. 

A parliament of weirdos. 

Look look it’s all animal themed! I’d wondered if a visually themed week of quoted interactions from Hansard was possible*, and here it is. 

Also this week my activity sheets are up on ComicsClub.blog for their monthly Comics Challenge series. If I’m gonna encourage kids to make their own weird comics – because what kids should worry about the possible professional and commercial future of their comics – then I’d better keep up my part if that deal. There are plenty of resources out there to help people make comics. Sometimes it’s the weirdness that needs a boost. 

*said no one else, ever.  


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.