Category Archives: printing

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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Packing.

I’m launching two new comics but have still succumbed to the annual scramble to pack some other stuff for my Thought Bubble stall. 

Reminder: new comics are Junk and Departures.

Other stuff is:

  • Portfolio. These are mini-assortments of original drawings, printmaking experiments, and cool bits of paper, chopped and sewn up as books. Each one different. Affordable one-offs are a good thing, and it may well be an idea to revisit in future. There are 8 in this run, £5 each.

  • Hand-bound upcycled geometric hipster artisanal mini books. You know the patterned insides of envelopes? I made some (lots and lots) into little books. It was good sewing practice and good stress relief. I’m like totally over hipster-ness and the plague of colouring books, so I gave them a pretentious name. There’s a bowlful of ’em, £1 each. 

A few prints (linocuts and etchings)  too.

Older comics and books are:

  • Trails 
  • Andalusia 
  • Celebrity Homes 
  • UNpearABLE.

The other half of my table will be full of free Applied Comics Etc (including Newcastle Science Comic) delights: 

  • print versions of comics (comics + research/archives collaborations) from this year and recent years
  • zine-y version of a presentation I gave at BCCS this year, on 3 projects using comics as a method 
  • Newcastle Science Comic stickers 
  • the world’s most beautiful business cards.

Limited quantities of free printed copies, free digital versions online, lots of chat and opinions.

More opinions to be had by asking me (and John Swogger, and Ian Horton) about Applied Comics Network, as we’re planning a planning meeting about future plans there. 

This Sat-Sun 5-6 November 2016, Leeds Royal Armouries, New Dock Hall, heading towards the back right corner. See you there innit. 

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Departing, travelling, sometimes arriving.

My new book is called Departures.
Departures is a double-book. See that Z-folded cover? There’s one set of pages in the front half, and one set of pages in the back half. There’s a reason for that…

The back pages are my travel sketchbook drawings from various places I’ve been this year. I’ve been to many places for ‘day job’ work, comics work, comics fun, and (rarely) for frivolous and sociable reasons.

The front pages are one-page comics, each made from a travel sketchbook drawing. I digitally chopped up each drawing to see what narrative I could first find in the drawing and then remake in the form of a comic. They weren’t originally intended as stories, but looking back at each drawing I reckon there’s narrative in there. Which comics helped pull out.

Not every travel sketch from this year made it into Departures, because not every travel sketch was remixable as a comic. I’ll post some examples when I’m back from my current trip (she casually blogged from the airport cafe). Some worked (I mean there’s a narrative that can be constructed by reading one panel after another), some didn’t (I mean there’s just a picture chopped into squares, there’s nowt to read). Some were inbetween. Just because it’s in boxes doesn’t mean it’s a comic, y’knaaa.

I like the sketches as they are but wanted to do something more with them than only printing a replica sketchbook. Reasons include: the original drawings are spread across multiple sketchbooks, my pal Paddy Johnston encouraged me to do something with the drawings, the drawings seemed more than ‘just’ background images onto which to then superimpose people and talking, I like weird book designs and I like books that have a reason to be as they are, I like seeing what comics can do that other mediums can’t, and I’m so horrifically busy at the moment heck why not add another complicated project to the list.

Departures‘ covers are covered in handprinted letterpress luggage-label-esque labels, which is how my dream suitcase looks. They’re also a bit record/CD sticker-y, as a lover of bsides/imports/rarities. The bindings are hand-sewn, 5-hole pamphlet stitch, using linen thread. The pages are digitally printed on Cyclus recycled paper. Double-book + good paper + handprinted covers + lots of hand sewing = £13 a copy.

I’ve made 100 copies, by which I mean I’ve printed 100 sets of pages and covers, sewn a few, and will sew the rest at comics events like some sort of live action bookmaker. I’ll bring Departures to Thought Bubble, then sort out an online shop later this year here’s my online shop http://www.comicsy.co.uk/hellolyd/. And some sort of previews on http://lydw.tumblr.com/, which is also where I post live-as-it-happened photos of sketches done when out and about.

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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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Hopelessly.

My new book is called Diner devotional. It’s a very handmade small book about diners.

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The 12 images are linocuts based on sketches of 12 real life diner counters. The diners are in New York,  Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I ate at each of them during my summer 2014 travels around the east coast of America. Lots of eating, and lots of walking to balance it out.

Scroll back far enough on http://lydw.tumblr.com/ and you’ll find photos of my original sketches. And here’s a slideshow of the finished book:

I hope that slideshow shows my dislike of over-styled photos of uneaten food. I ate that breakfast.

I cut each of the 12 linocuts in individual pieces of lino, to then ink and print on one long strip of Japanese paper. I used the great big electric press at Northern Print.

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For the covers/endpapers of the book I set individual metal type (letter by letter). Then I printed this using the Adana press, again at Northern Print.

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Assembling each book took a while to trim and glue. I printed extra pages and covers so I’d have a few trial goes, and was glad I did: both the printing and the glueing were tricky to do cleanly and neatly. Which is weird,  because I was ever so good at the eating that started the whole project.

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So aye. There are 12 books, all the same and all with the unique imperfections that make them perfectly handmade.
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£10 each at events or by post.  This includes UK postage,  or contact me and I’ll work out overseas postage (less the UK postage so it’s fair).
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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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