Category Archives: web comics

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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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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New book: Trails

Ok so it’s official.  My new book Trails: a book about travel, history, and being a slug is published.

Trails

In 2013 I travelled back to Santa Cruz, California, for a reunion with friends from my 2001-02 undergraduate exchange year at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  I also travelled on to Portland, Oregon, and to Seattle, Washington.  It was joyous.  I kept a sketchbook, and the sketchbook mutated to include some drawings, some comics, some illustrated lists of the food I ate.  The sketchbook took on a narrative structure.  I finished it and it is now a book.

Extracts from the finished book and process photos of the making of the book are over on lydw.tumblr.com.  Here some sample pages for you:

City Lights

Portland

Trails is a comic book that links to something bigger than a play-by-play of the reunion weekend and what I ate for breakfast every day. There’s something in the story of revisiting places and catching up with old friends, and the time elapsed from 2001 to 2013 is long enough for some things to have changed and other things to have stayed the same.

The first copies of Trails come came come with a free linocut (a print, an inky rollers workshop print not a computer printout print).  They’re both worth millions of pounds and were only available free with the purchase of Trails as one of two options: black ink on full-colour map, or deep red ink on black&white atlas index.

Map linocut Index linocut

The ink on (multiple copies of) both prints is currently drying, so if you’d like to order one I’ll fulfil all orders starting from 31st October 2014 when the ink’s dry.  That’s a pretty exciting buy-direct-from-the-artist offer if ever I heard one. This limited edition of prints has now run out. Let me know if you’d like me to draw in your book instead. EDIT: Don’t fear the crossed-out words – I thought I’d run out of linocuts but then tidied my workroom and found a stash.  So yes, there are linocuts!

Trails costs £8, which includes a free linocut and free UK postage.  You can buy Trails from my Comicsy online shop.  If you’d like a copy posting to outside the UK let me know, I’ll charge the additional postage at cost rate on top of the UK postage to keep things fair, like.   This will make it:

  • £8 including UK postage
  • £8+£3.67 postage for Europe
  • £8+£5.97 for the USA

and let me know where else you’d like a copy sending so I can ask at the post office.

Justin Timberlake was at the launch party, y’know. 

Here comes the technical bit, I’m sure you can cope:

67 pages black and white; full colour cover.  Perfect (soft) bound.  18cm (W) x 26cm (H).  ISBN 978-0-9574570-2-7.  First printing of 100 copies published in October 2014 by Lydia Wysocki.  Written and drawn by Lydia Wysocki.  Printed and bound in North Shields, England, by The Print People Ltd.  The cover includes extracts from The Oxford Atlas by Lewis (1951; part of map p.84), by permission of Oxford University Press.

All content is copyright Lydia Wysocki.  Please do not reproduce the content of this book (or this blog post) without my explicit written permission.  If you have a good reason for wanting to reproduce part of the content of this book then please get in touch: my email address is lydiawysocki (at) hotmail (dot) com

Oh, ok, and one more sample page:

Street Signs

(yes, they’re all real signs)

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Small steps, giant leaps.

comicsssss

Here’s a comic for you.  It’s probably not a true story.

Hand drawn and hand coloured, no Photoshopping, experimenting with digital lettering.

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Whole lotta history.

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I have a never-ending to do list and a tip of a work room, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Something I’ve been putting off for a while now is doing a  catalogue page of all the books and comics I’ve made.  Probably an updated online shop too, but that’s further down the list. Before starting to catalogue myself I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the maker and publisher of a goodly number of books I haven’t yet counted. 

In Leicester, East Midlands, I was born and raised.  Messing with paper and crayons and glue and scissors and glitter is how I spent most of my days…  ugh, I’m bored of the Fresh Prince-ing.  I always always enjoyed making things.  Sometimes pictures, sometimes stories, sometimes crafty things.  Most of my arty crafty skills come from my mum’s help and encouragement – thanks, mum!  Some more come from Blue Peter projects and getting craft kits for Christmas and birthdays.  I always always also read, looked at things, and listened to and played musical things.

I liked some art classes at school but found others boring.  I did some evening and weekend classes in pottery and wood- and metalwork.  I got a GCSE grade A* in Resistant Materials Technology (wood, metal, and plastics).  I didn’t do art GCSE because I was already doing RMT and it didn’t fit with the GCSE options blocks offered at my school.  I did A-levels in History, English Literature, and German at school, and French at evening classes at the same time.  Design A-levels weren’t a credible option, and without an Art GCSE I wasn’t eligible to  consider Art A-level.  I did a History degree, I went on an exchange year to California, I worked all manner of low-wage jobs – sometimes because I liked them, sometimes whilst sending endless applications for higher-status jobs.  I did a teaching qualification and moved to China to teach English.  I saved to move back and do a Master’s in Education.  I got a job in Higher Education.

I’m telling you my job history because it’s also the story of how I kept doing art.  Going to university meant I made fliers and drew chalkboard posters for the student cinema society and painted tshirts for friends’ bands, and also studied darn hard. Working in a craft shop meant I answered customers’ endless queries about how to make a thing out of another thing.  Working in shops meant I was the one asked to draw the same signs.  Teaching English meant I drew vocabulary pictures, made resources and worksheets, and got kids to draw things.  I also made a classroom into a haunted house for Hallowe’en, and made frog masks.  I made a lot of PowerPoint slides and decorated a large number of rooms and flats.

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[Models are former colleagues]

I also went home and made my own art/craft/drawings.  Not every day, and not to the exclusion of everything else.  But consistently.  And without getting bored of it or giving up.

I made a fair few travel books.  Not quite diaries, not quite scrapbooks, not quite comics.  All one-offs, and all treasured by my mum.  Thanks, mum!

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I made ‘The Book Of No’ for my friend K: she asked for advice on how to set a central heating timer and other life skills, I said ‘Oh, I’ll write you a book’, she said ‘Yes please’, so I did.

I made a fair few scrapbooks and collages.  Sometimes from magazine and catalogue pictures, sometimes from what is grandly known as ephemera.  Sometimes to tell a small story, sometimes to make a picture.

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There’s also the point about the books, museums, galleries, shops, gigs, ordering systems, and places along the way.  Not ‘along the way’ as incidental, but as part of growing up, meeting people, going places, and doing things. 

At some point in 2010/11, having finished my Master’s I was both hopelessly nostalgic for the fun of making worksheets and in possession of a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 job for the first time in a long time.  I had weekends and evenings, and was no longer painfully poor.  The motive which had been there pretty much since birth was now joined by means and opportunity.

I made a colouring book and photocopied 25 copies of it.  25 because that’s how much cash I had on me when I went to the stationery shop to use their photocopier.  I took it to the local comics shop to see if they knew how I could get it out to people who’d like it.  They, being Newcastle’s own dear Travelling Man comics shop, were and are home to a cracking awesome small press comics and stuff section.  They gave me an email address for some dude who’d set up the mighty Paper Jam Comics Collective, who invited me to a PJCC meeting.  I went.  It was in a weird basement.  I stayed.

It was PJCC friends who suggested I have a go at printmaking, and I’m now a studio member of Northern Print in Ouseburn.  It was PJCC friends I spoke with when the very first rumblings of ‘Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic’ rumbled.  10,000 copies later, we’re still friends.  Sickening, isn’t it?

Dear reader, I was 28 before I met other people who make books and comics and I had any idea that small press was a vibrant, living thing.  Maybe if I’d been an internet addict at an earlier age I’d’ve met people like them, like us, sooner.  Maybe if things had been different I’d’ve gone to art school.  Maybe I wouldn’t’ve become the same person.  I’m glad things worked out the way they did, and I’m glad about the way they’re still working themselves out. 

So there you go.  I get cranky when people ask how long I’ve been An Artist, because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making things.  I have little sympathy when artists complain about doing non-art jobs to earn money, because I’ve always done a combination of both.  I have a fair amount of empathy for people who talk about the importance of self confidence for doing and sharing creative work, but only when they produce evidence of a thing they’ve made.  I have no time for people who woulda coulda shoulda gonna make something some day.  I like having art as a love and a luxury, but still a necessity, and perhaps eventually a way paying my bills.

This doesn’t belittle my or anyone else’s work.  Hopefully it explains some of my constant tiredness and frequent eyerolling.  It gets me a little closer to doing a catalogue page of books and comics I’ve made, but I’m shoulda gonna do that later this weekend.

And the day after, and that’s yer lot.

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That’s the last of the comics I made during and about my weekend in Dublin.  There are trendy photos on Instagram (username: lydwlydw).

Ok tired now bye.

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