Hench bench.

imageYesterday I took part in a 2-and-a-bit hour bookbinding workshop run by Deirdre Thompson. Yup, I made all those books, small ones and tiny ones (see the numbers on the cutting board? they’re centimetres). It was proper well good and this is what I learned:

  • Basic bookbinding is easy; good bookbinding is highly skilled, difficult, precise work
  • I like attending workshops that are delivered in a similar style to workshops I lead (show&tell a bit, lead everyone in doing a basic task, let people get on using that basic skill to make what they want with help as needed). Enough but not too much structure, and help to figure out what you actually want to make rather than everyone trying to copy one example
  • My bookmaking skills have come a heck of a long way and there’s still plenty left to learn
  • I used to use scissors to cut paper but now I usually use a guillotine or a craft knife and cutting mat. It was weeeird to use scissors in the workshop
  • The teddybear of beeswax is for waxing thread, but it’s also entertaining to yank thread across the shape of a cutesy animal. I suspect a wax block or candle wouldn’t be as much fun
  • Even though my diary is ridonkulously busy I still need to make time to make things. Sometimes an hour or so of drawing will tide me over but it’s not the same as making things with tools and materials.
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Brighton beef.


I’m cross that I was told to stop drawing in a museum. I’ve sent a letter of complaint, and am sharing it here on my blog (oh I know, I’m rolling my eyes at myself) too. There are of course bigger problems in the world. Drawing shouldn’t be a problem.

Dear [name and job title redacted] Brighton Pavilion,

It is with sadness and outrage that I am writing to complain about having been told to stop drawing in the Brighton Pavilion.

I visited the Pavilion on Sunday 5th June 2016, the day after I gave a talk at the University of Sussex about my academic work using drawing and comics as methods in social science. As a researcher, educator, student, and artist I was glad to revisit the Pavilion particularly as I had included mention of it in my earlier research.

During my visit I drew and wrote notes in my A6-size (one quarter of A4) sketchbook. About two thirds of my way round the Pavilion I was approached by a member of staff who told me to stop drawing. This came after I had approached two members of staff, sketchbook in hand, to ask the names of rooms as little written information was available. When I asked why he told me to stop drawing, he said it was because some items in the Pavilion were on loan from the Queen’s collections and, I quote, ‘she doesn’t like people drawing them because of copyright’. If this was an accurate statement of your policy it suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of both the concept of copyright and of the ownership and purposes of the Royal Collections.

At the end of my visit I asked a member of staff in the gift shop if I could see a copy of the Pavilion’s policy on drawing. He directed me to the ticket desk. Of the two members of staff there neither was able to show me a sign or policy in writing, or to tell me where I might find it online. There were signs banning smoking (a legal obligation and good practice for conservation) and photography (a more questionable ban), but no mention of drawing. One member of staff repeated that the reason for a ban related to the copyright of items in the collection, and the other said she thought it was because the corridors were too narrow. The Pavilion was not busy; by standing with a hand-held sketchbook I was not causing an obstruction to other visitors.

Museums and galleries are of course important venues for education and for the arts, especially when combined with the value of drawing as a way of seeing and a way of learning. The Pavilion’s significance to the political and arts history of Britain (and internationally) makes it a wonderful resource. Preventing such learning is an unpleasant divergence from this mission, particularly when done through an unadvertised and selectively-enforced rule.

I ask you to reply to clarify the Pavilion’s policy on drawing. I will share this letter with my professional and creative networks.

Lydia Wysocki


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Here’s the edited highlights of two work trips from March and May this year. Yes, March. Things are going well, but that’s about the speed of any personal arty work so far this year.

First, 2 hours of free time from a 3 day trip to Montpellier, France, inbetween meetings with a new member of the research team.




And here’s 2 and a quarter hours in Helsinki, Finland, inbetween 3 days of meetings with all research partners in the project.





The meetings went well and it was a treat to get some free time around the edges.

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Current status: busy as heck.


Lots of day job work, lots of PhD work, lots of comics projects. Lots of talks about Applied Comics Etc projects and Newcastle Science Comic, too. Not so much time for drawing at the moment , but I’ll get to it.

One particularly exciting thing is that I was on the radio, interviewed on Paul Hudson’s Weather Show on BBC Radio Leeds. Listen again (about 35min in to the programme) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03jyjs9 (should be live until the end of March 2016).

Such a beautiful horizon.



At the start of 2016 I went to Barcelona. It was good and I liked it.


I walked a lot, drew pictures of buildings, and made a couple of comics.


Spoke bad Spanish and appreciated the similarities and differences between Catalan and Spanish.




All these photos of drawings (gel pen, watercolour) were Tumblr’d as I went, then this blog post has them all.


For posterity. And because I don’t have to make a book about every trip I take, just you see if I don’t.

BONUS FEATURE: dragon Vine


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New (?) comics game

Comics Tic Tac Toe might just be the best new comics game invented today. At least, inaugurators me and Paul Thompson reckon it’s new. Unless it already exists and we just didn’t know.



Here are some necessary/arbitrary rules:
1. It’s a 2 player game
2. It’s best played in a pub
3. Draw a grid of 9 panels
4. Take turns to draw a panel. Play like it’s noughts & crosses (also known as tic tac toe) – connect panels in a straight line to win, then continue to finish the comic.
5. All comics must be readable as comics. They don’t have to be good, but they have to be readable. Well, at least aim to make it readable.

Extra credit gameplay analysis by Paul Thompson: “splendid – I felt that some attempt to work crosses into my panels was important after yours started with a circle…”

(see, I was going for a chubby face, but it read as a circle. Should this have been a rule? Should the O player have drawn O-based things and the X player drawn X-based things?)


The Thompson Variation: you can call an end to the game when there are still blank panels if you reckon the comic has reached peak comic. Making good comics is better than winning a game.

Other variations are entirely possible.

It’d be smart to use different coloured pens to keep track of who drew which panel.

Happy Optimistmas.

“You made this? I thought it was from a fancy shop.”
That was a good thing to hear when I handed over a handmade card.

Here are some photos of this year’s Christmas card and the monoprinting process by which I made them:




(mostly brown kraft card, some grey card)



Here’s a plan for the survival of humanity:

  • make solidly good handmade things
  • get the things into the hands of people
  • get people to understand that these are solidly good handmade things, not part of some never-ending industrial chain of knock-off designs and poor printing methods, dead and wrapped in plastic
  • rejoice as more people more often choose more better-er solidly good handmade things.

Well, it might work. Fingers crossed for 2016, for all of us.

PS: have a look at all our awesome Applied Comics Etc comics projects from 2015, too


PPS: having loved this song for hmmm 20 years now, I’ve only just seen the video. It’s a joy. Here you go:

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