Tag Archives: travel comics

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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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.

Jpeg

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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And the rest of the day to you.

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The rest of Saturday’s Dublin scrappy travel comics.

I’m still having love/hate feelings about having drawn on whatever paper was to hand. Well, maybe nothing as strong as love or hate, just an ongoing rumbling noise.

Sunday’s comics later.

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Top of the morning to you.

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First morning’s comics from my small holiday to Dublin.

I decided that drawing scrappy comics on whatever scraps of paper I could find was a good idea. Then decided it was a ridiculous hippy idea, but by then I was doing it and wasn’t gonna redraw what I’d already done.

Anyway. More to follow.

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