Category Archives: sewing

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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Junk junk junk junk junk.

My new book is called Junk.

Junk is full of sketchbook and diary comics from 2010-2016.

Junk is pretty. Handprinted letterpress covers (2 shades of pink ink on a purple background). Greyscale digital printing on pale purple pages, 20 leaves at A6 size. Hand-sewn bindings using maroon linen thread. It’s a teenage dream of all things pinky-purple and beautiful.

Junk is messy. These comics came out of old sketchbooks and diaries, which are currently in moving boxes because they’re not junk, they’re precious enough to be kept for a while. I’ve scanned and cleaned each comic so that the lines print legibly. Other than that, they’re still as sketchy as the day(s) they were drawn.

I’m still, and increasingly, interested in comics as a process (medium, method, way of thinking things through) more than specific drawing styles. But I still love a good-looking book. Make comics fast and leave a good-looking book, I reckon.

I enjoy letterpress printing more when I think of it as printroom labour, not printstudio fine art. Clanging around with heavy machinery and drawers of metal type is a good counterbalance to other ways to spend a day. Playing about with how much to overlap the colours (spoiler: each cover is slightly different).  Learning to sew proper bindings is good too.

I’ll bring Junk to Thought Bubble this November to sell for £5 each, then sort out an online shop link after that here’s my online shop http://www.comicsy.co.uk/hellolyd/. Times are busy, and I’m still labouring under the delusion that I’ll finish another book this year too.

I’ll gradually post pictures of Junk pages over on lydw.tumblr.com. The photos were taken after work,  walking home through the local shopping centre at closing time. Just like a real teenager.

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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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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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Peer pair pears.

image Here’s my new comic(s). It/they be great.

“Contains weapons-grade jokes about pears” – Terry Wiley

Zen puns about fruit” – Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet International blog

UNpearABLE is a book of 8 short comics about pears.  I drew these comics at Grainger Market, Newcastle.  That’s the easy bit. UNpearABLE is one book, two ways.  Look see: image image See? One way has comics laser printed on office paper, holepunched string-tied bindings, and a cover scanned and laser printed from a letterpress print. Open edition of however many I want to make (50 so far, maybe more later). image Another way has comics laser printed in cartridge paper, hand sewn binding, scored and folded covers, with a hand-printed letter press title. Limited edition of 30 books. image Y’all remember letterpress, right? image image image One way took less time, skill and cheaper materials. Another way took more time, skill, more expensive materials, and print studio hire. It’s not inherently better/worse, it’s just different. That’s all. One way costs £2.50 (one book). Another way costs £10 (both books, because you shouldn’t go forgetting your roots). This includes UK postage (overseas postage is at cost price, minus the UK postage rate so it works out fair). I’ll update this blog post with an online shop link after this weekend’s launch at Sunderland Comic Convention. Here’s the online shop link: http://www.comicsy.co.uk/hellolyd/

 

Here’s another peek inside: imageimage

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Close.

I’ve made a new book. It’s called Trails: a book about travel, history, and being a slug. It’s mostly a comic. I’m posting pages from it over on the Tumblr, if you fancy a sneaky peek inside.

At the time of writing it’s at the printers round the corner, so here’s a blog post about how I made the cover.

Here’s the unfinished cover:
Work in progress cover for Trails

It’s made of cut and torn elements of an old map. Specifically, an extract from page 85 of The Oxford Atlas by Lewis (1951). Yes, I have ethical issues about destroying books of old maps. But listen, right, I think I’ve given this old map a good new home.

I bought it at a hoyge (that’s how the Geordies pronounce ‘huge’) charity book sale at the Linskill Centre, up the road. It was in a fairly sorry state. Torn cover, foxed paper, tears… yup, a sad book full of outdated maps. I wasn’t sure what I’d need it for, but I needed it, so I bought it for a pound.

Did you hear that?

I’ll blog when Trails is out abut the story of Trails and the meaning of Trails. In short, it’s a book about going back to California for a reunion after 12ish years of not being in California. I used my old guidebook, because I wanted to see how things had changed as much as I wanted to see any new things. I kept a travel sketchbook, which by and by got inked, scanned, and made into a book. And the book needed a cover, and the cover had to make sense in the scrap book-y, fragmentary, out of date world of the book. The cover needed to involve an old map.

I had an old map. A sad old map. I tore some bits of it and I cut other bits of it. I stuck them down, unstuck them, fiddled with them, scanned them, fiddled with them, started again on a sewn cover that was a pattern that kind of looked like a street map, then again on a part-drawn part-sewn cover, but no, I wanted the old map.

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Did you hear that? Listen again. Can you hear it now? Yes, it’s the distant sound of a copyright awareness klaxon. Google didn’t give me a clear answer about who owns the copyright of maps: some have open licenses, others are very much owned by very litigious organisations. Some old images go out of copyright after a whole bunch of years, others probably don’t. The book of maps had a publisher’s name (Oxford University Press) and an editor’s name (Brigadier Sir Clinton Lewis), but no artist/author/cartographer or copyright or legalese information. I wasn’t sure. Then a wise comics sage voiced concern, and I felt brave, and I decided to seek Official Permission.

And I did, aaaand… it was no big deal. I filled in the form on the OUP website, explaining what I wanted to use and what it was for. I waited a while. I got twitchy about print deadlines so I phoned OUP’s Academic Permissions department to ask what the what was going on. The OUP Academic Permissions department were helpful and decided that my request to use less that 25% of one page of a c.200 page book of maps for a self-published comic book with a print run of 100 copies was not a threat to their world order. They granted me non-exclusive permission to use the extract and I have an official email to prove it.

I fiddled with the torn and stuck map a bit more, added small sewn details, added drawn bits, and scanned it. I fiddled with the contrast settings using Paint.net. I succeeded in my most ambitious Paint.net endeavour to date: I scanned in the full title of my book, layered it over the map, and made the letters pick up the map but be lighter than it. I’m not entirely sure how: I’m still working out how to do digital art stuff and whether I like doing it.

Here it is, like:
Full cover of Trails

That’s yer lot for now. If you need me I’ll be busy worrying whether the engineer fits the right part to the printer’s printer so Trails is printed in time for Comic Art Festival and Thought Bubble.

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