Category Archives: other stuff

There ain’t no crafting like  hung parliament stress crafting…


…cos hung parliament stress crafting is a good way to process the news and stop refreshing webpages for the latest shenanigans.

I made a new batch of hipster upcycled artisanal stamp books. They were popular at Leeds Tetley book fair, so these can wait until my comic convention stalls this autumn. 

Use them as mini pattern colouring books if you reeeeeally need a change of focus.

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Tuppence a bag for your thoughts.

A list of reasons why this morning’s comic is among the best I’ve ever made:

  • It’s a comic 
  • That I made
  • In my beautiful sketchbook (bound by @bookbindings)
  • I’ve nearly finished that sketchbook aww yeah 
  • It was straight to ink, no pencil
  • It references Milkshake by Kelis
  • And  Parklife by Blur
  • I got the Phil Daniels “sense of enormous wellbeing” quote wrong
  • Hardly anyone will notice
  • And it only bothers me a little 
  • Whereas it would’ve given younger-me much cause for muso concern 
  • It’s about music
  • Well, music references 
  • Mashed together like a mixtape
  • And feeding the birds
  • Dancing 
  • Education 
  • Fighting for free education 
  • And reminding people that you can, and do, learn and teach all the time, even if you don’t see it as formalised education 
  • Lettering stamped with a 99p rubber stamp kit
  • And my 2kuai red ink pad
  • Like this 
  • Which is still going strong after uhhhh 7years of no longer living in China 
  • Is 2kuai still like 20p or has the world moved on? 
  • See, it’s about currency valuations too
  • And calling BS on a lot of the ‘wellbeing’ products and advertising that’s around at the moment 
  • Because you can’t buy happiness 
  • But you can read free comics
  • Or better, make your own.
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Your Xmas card 2016.

I don’t much care for Christmas but I do love sending Christmas cards. It’s good to keep in touch, to send art, and to afford the time and materials to do so.

This year’s card is a tree printed on brown card (made from trees, oh the cannibalism). It’s a linocut, as explained in the comic I made to send out with each card. 

Each year’s list of addressees gets longer as people’s families grow, which is a nudge to remember that every Christmas card is someone’s first. So showing the process matters, especially if it’s a printing process other than a commercial computer printout. 

As I get further into the world of printmaking I must remember to keep explaining the process – which of course applies to academic work too, innit. Christmas holidays are a good time to hunker down with the PhD reading pile.

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Brighton beef.

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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.

Yours,
Lydia Wysocki

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4:15.

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.

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

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

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

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(mostly brown kraft card, some grey card)

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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

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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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Bunting marketing

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I made bunting for use at comics workshops and events. It’s home-made and welcoming. It’s part of developing Applied Comics Etc as an organisation that’s participative and professional, about people enjoying making comics, not a corporate behemoth making business. It’s also made me pay far too much attention to other people’s marketing materials. So here’s a blog post on how to make heavy-duty bunting, mixed with thoughts on bearable marketing.

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Bunting is colourful, flexible to fit different event spaces, and inherently daft. It’s not yet another pull-up banner stand. A few artists use these effectively, but they’re rare exceptions in a plastic forests of high-resolution single images and bad corporate design.

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But is there still bunting to bunt? I thought that, as a world, we’d agreed that the great bunting overload of 2012-ish was finally over and it’s safe to go back to uncool village fete bunting. Alas, no. Since making some 45 metres of home-sewn bunting, I see mass-produced corporate bunting is everywhere. Mass-produced, yet clinging to homey concepts. This bothers me.

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There’s a lingering trend for big businesses to use cutesy, naive-ish art styles for branding and marketing. Sometimes through big advertising agencies, sometimes through young illustrators. There’s a worrying trend for individuals and small organisations to mimic the branding practices of big businesses, rather than making their own decisions.

Cut the PVC into flags. Some cuts need a craft knife, steel rule, and cutting mat; others need scissors. Some flags are logo-shaped, others are triangles cut from comics pages with lots of overlapping

Cut the PVC into flags. Some cuts need a craft knife, steel rule, and cutting mat; others need scissors. Some flags are logo-shaped, others are triangles cut from comics pages with lots of overlapping. Artwork credits are at the bottom of this blog post.

I care about working with people and information, with a business side to facilitate this. Not the other way round.

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So far this means working with different comics creators and subject specialists for specific projects. It means learning from each project, and doing each project differently. The comics we’ve made through Applied Comics Etc and Newcastle Science Comic are all different sizes, art styles, paper types, bindings, and print runs. And working out what this means for digital comics. It’s good news for good comics. It’s a headache for distribution and planning, but right now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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It means doing it ourselves and being proud of it. Homemade bunting is the way to go.

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See Newcastlesciencecomic.blogspot.com for more on Spineless: The Newcastle Science Comic. The comics on the triangular bunting flags are by our awesome team of Spineless artists:

The Newcastle Science Comic logo was designed by Paul Thompson, who’s recently curated an exhibition called Invisible Beasts – worth a look, like.

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