Tag Archives: diy

DIY? Because comics, that’s why

There’s a new exhibition, Comics: Explore and Create Comic Art at Seven Stories. It’s the work of many comics artist-writers, collectors, and curators. And includes a DIY comic I made, for you. Yes, you.

Here’s a look at the DIY comic. I do not apologise that in most of photos I took, children had already drawn on it. Because that’s the point. You use a DIY comic as a nudge to make your own comic.

One side guides you round the world of comics, with have-a-go activities about setting, character design, art style, panel structure and storytelling.

The other side has blank panels, waiting for you to make your own comic using tips and techniques from the exhibition. And your own ideas.

Two of my favourite pieces in the exhibition are work-in-progress, probably-not-intended-to-be-shared things:  one of Adam Murphy‘s post-it process books, and one of Nigel Auchterlounie‘s cut’n’stick drafts. I’m so glad they’re there, alongside finished artwork. The first time I visited the Cartoon Museum I proper gawped at how many fixes and repairs were visible in some of the original artwork in their collection – part of the real and messy process of making things, but usually invisible in the finished work.  Even more so when working digitally. In the spirit of such honesty, here’s a close-up of one of the many tipp-ex and whoops-better-glue-over-that-bit fixes from my DIY comic:

This exhibition is kinda a big deal. It’s the first time Seven Stories: The National Centre For Children’s Books has developed an exhibition about comics.  It’s good to see national organisations getting involved in comics, particularly with a focus on getting more kids making more comics.

It’s also cheering to see a mix of older and current comics creators, working in a mix of traditional and digital media. There’s no one way to make comics. Hopefully this’ll help more kids (and grown-up kids) figure out their own ways to make their own comics.

BONUS: Yes, those are Comic Swap compilations in with other comics to read. Aww yeah.

Newcastle Chronicle writeup with exhibition photos: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/you-love-comics-could-you-13366687

Down The Tubes summary of what’s in the exhibition: http://downthetubes.net/?p=38666

Seven Stories exhibitions page: https://www.sevenstories.org.uk/exhibitions

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Always explain, always anthologise.

My contributor copy of Dirty Rotten Comics 4 arrived, oh yeah oh yeah.  And my contributor copies of Double Nickels came a while back, yeah yeah yeah. And there’s a new Paper Jam comics anthology, Food and that. Yeaaaaah.

I enjoyed being part of all three anthologies. They have the fun, DIY, punk approach to comics that I love. As much as I’m leading equally fun and beloved projects through Applied Comics Etc, being able to make whatever comics I darn well please means a lot to me. And being part of other people’s anthology projects, set up with compatible mindsets, means a lot.

Anyway enough gushing, here are some photos.



My comic for DRC4, ‘Gossip Girls’, is a linocut I made when the whole Sony Pictures hacking thing kicked off. Then I saw on twitter that @dirtyrottencomx were looking for submissions for their next anthology, which was black & white and A5 printing size, so that was a nice fit. I sent in a b&w scan, they accepted it, job done.




My comic for Double Nickels, ‘Political song for Michael Jackson to sing’, is drawn using a dip pen and ink. I saw @wcraghead’s call for contributors on twitter, then followed the links to the list of available songs, then emailed Warren to ask to be involved and bagsy a song. Drew it, scanned it, sent it, job done.



My comic for Paper Jam’s Food and that, ‘My new favourite meal’, is about the Wetherspoons pub food menu so was drawn and inked on the back of a Wetherspoons pub food menu, in the pub after the meeting at which the anthology title was chosen project got going. I scanned it, sent it in a choice of two versions to see which printed best (this comic is greyscale, the other two were b&w), and the printing isn’t great… but that doesn’t matter. Much like travel comics, too much tweaking and adjusting takes away from the I-was-there-ness of the comic.

For future reference: make comics, get comics in anthologies, meet new comics people, be realistic about what comics drawn on Wetherspoons pub food menus will look like when you’re not in control of the printing.

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