Category Archives: zine

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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Bubbles.

This blog post comes to you from me on the bus from Newcastle to Leeds for Comics Forum and Thought Bubble. It’s a summary of why I’m excited, hungry, and running off the very fumes of exhaustion, in the form of a list of stuff I’m particularly looking forward to talking about/swapping/selling.
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1. AppliedComicsEtc.com
Applied Comics Etc has been evolving since the very earliest days of Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic as a way to do more comics + research/engagement/education projects. We (me + collaborators) have piloted projects over the summer, I’m in the middle of one, and I’m achingly close to confirming more.

2. Trails
Trails: a book about travel, history, and being a slug is my new comic book. There are previews all over the internet. It costs £8 and comes with a free linocut.

3. Pancho and Lefty
Pancho and Lefty: a left-handed comic is a comic I made earlier this year when recovering from minor surgery on my right (drawing) hand. I’ve been proper delighted that people seem to like this proper odd comic. It can only be acquired by swapping (for a comic, for a drink, for no reasonable offer refused) because I’m uneasy about selling a comic based on someone else’s lyrics.

4. GIANT comics
Eight stories 2008-2014 and Dublin are two one-off scrapbook comics. I might sell them for full-on Fine Art Prices but until then they’re free to read.
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5. #inktober
I made a giant mini comic of my #inktober comic what I done posted on the twitter. I’ve printed 100 to give away free.

6. Prints
I need to write a blog post about my righteous indignation at perfectly nice computer printouts being sold as if they’re printmaking prints. Until (and beyond) then, I have a small stand of linocuts, letterpress, and hard ground etchings (£8-30 each) and linocut and monoprint cards (2 cards per pack, £5).

So yeah. Also some awesome business cards, a folder of originals from my contributions to anthologies (Paper Jam Comics Collective, Radio On, and Double Nickels), and, y’know, stuff.

156B New Dock Hall. If we run out of comics things to talk about, my new favourite song is Taylor Swift’s Shake it off. It’s complicated. We could talk about that.

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Swot.

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This is my stall at Comic Art Festival, Kendal, this weekend. Super fast blog post before the Scott McCloud talk…. GO!

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Trails, my new comic book, launches this weekend. £8, with a free linocut whilst stocks last.

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Giant comics! Two one-off arty comic scrapbooks which you’re very welcome to read for free (or buy for, umm, lots).

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Celebrity Homes, my first perfect bound book. Only a few copies left of the 100 copy print run, £8.

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Linocuts and etchings. They’re prints (like, messy ink workshop prints, not print out of a computer prints) and comics (some one panel, some multi-panel). £8-£30 each, etchings come with a free etching comic.

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Radio On anthology, making its convention debut, in which I have a comic. £4.

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Asteroid Belter, only a few print copies left in the world (we printed 10,000), still flipping awesome. £FREE http://www.newcastlesciencecomic.blogspot.co.uk

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Pancho and Lefty, the comic I made when I was recovering from minor hand surgery. It’s left handed, I’m not. £swaps (for a comic, for coffee, for stuff).

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Lino cut cards with speech bubbles on. They’re fun. Packs of 2, hello/hello or yes/no (to keep karmic balance, if you say yes to one thing you oughta say no to another). £5/pack of 2.
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Applied Comics Etc business cards. Ooooh… http://www.appliedcomicsetc.com

Umm, see you this weekend? If you tell me you read this blog post you can have one of my zine-y comics for free (whilst stocks last, obv.)
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Just make some comics already.

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Make Comics

That link there right above this sentence here, right?  That’s a PDF of a double-mini comic.  Or two back-to-back mini comics, if you prefer.  You can print one for yourself and give away extras with some sort of educational intent, like.

One side I made as a textbook to use at a comics workshop about handmade comics, to jump start a discussion about what counts as handmade in the making of comics.  I’m not averse to computers.  I am fond of seeing comics that have been made by people, not so polished and Photoshop’d that you lose all sight of the creator. I am fed up of ‘handmade’ being attached to every gosh darn anything at craft markets, in greetings card shops and on the high street.  I don’t think handmade is a synonym for twee.  I’m increasingly aware of how much computer savvy is needed to digitally print hand-drawn comics that don’t look murky.  So anyway.  I think there’s a discussion to be had about what is or isn’t a handmade comic, so the one side of this mini comic gets people to enough of a common brain space to have that discussion.

The other side I made at the comics workshop, about how sometimes people freak out when making comics.

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On the deserts down in Mexico.

Here’s the 411 on my new comic.

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It’s called Pancho and Lefty (a left-handed comic).  I drew it with my left hand because my right hand was out of commission after a minor operation (but is now on the mend).
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It has 28 pages, all in.
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The cover is hand printed in three colurways: bubbles blue, bloodstain red, and cash money yellow.
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The bindings are machine stitched.
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The only way to acquire it is by swapping.  No selling.  Here’s why:

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And yeah, also because I like swaps.  Face to face swaps and postal swaps are both a-ok with me.

Speak up if you fancy a swap.

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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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