Tag Archives: travel

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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Brighton beef.

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I’m cross that I was told to stop drawing in a museum. I’ve sent a letter of complaint, and am sharing it here on my blog (oh I know, I’m rolling my eyes at myself) too. There are of course bigger problems in the world. Drawing shouldn’t be a problem.

Dear [name and job title redacted] Brighton Pavilion,

It is with sadness and outrage that I am writing to complain about having been told to stop drawing in the Brighton Pavilion.

I visited the Pavilion on Sunday 5th June 2016, the day after I gave a talk at the University of Sussex about my academic work using drawing and comics as methods in social science. As a researcher, educator, student, and artist I was glad to revisit the Pavilion particularly as I had included mention of it in my earlier research.

During my visit I drew and wrote notes in my A6-size (one quarter of A4) sketchbook. About two thirds of my way round the Pavilion I was approached by a member of staff who told me to stop drawing. This came after I had approached two members of staff, sketchbook in hand, to ask the names of rooms as little written information was available. When I asked why he told me to stop drawing, he said it was because some items in the Pavilion were on loan from the Queen’s collections and, I quote, ‘she doesn’t like people drawing them because of copyright’. If this was an accurate statement of your policy it suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of both the concept of copyright and of the ownership and purposes of the Royal Collections.

At the end of my visit I asked a member of staff in the gift shop if I could see a copy of the Pavilion’s policy on drawing. He directed me to the ticket desk. Of the two members of staff there neither was able to show me a sign or policy in writing, or to tell me where I might find it online. There were signs banning smoking (a legal obligation and good practice for conservation) and photography (a more questionable ban), but no mention of drawing. One member of staff repeated that the reason for a ban related to the copyright of items in the collection, and the other said she thought it was because the corridors were too narrow. The Pavilion was not busy; by standing with a hand-held sketchbook I was not causing an obstruction to other visitors.

Museums and galleries are of course important venues for education and for the arts, especially when combined with the value of drawing as a way of seeing and a way of learning. The Pavilion’s significance to the political and arts history of Britain (and internationally) makes it a wonderful resource. Preventing such learning is an unpleasant divergence from this mission, particularly when done through an unadvertised and selectively-enforced rule.

I ask you to reply to clarify the Pavilion’s policy on drawing. I will share this letter with my professional and creative networks.

Yours,
Lydia Wysocki

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4:15.

Here’s the edited highlights of two work trips from March and May this year. Yes, March. Things are going well, but that’s about the speed of any personal arty work so far this year.

First, 2 hours of free time from a 3 day trip to Montpellier, France, inbetween meetings with a new member of the research team.

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And here’s 2 and a quarter hours in Helsinki, Finland, inbetween 3 days of meetings with all research partners in the project.

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The meetings went well and it was a treat to get some free time around the edges.

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Such a beautiful horizon.

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At the start of 2016 I went to Barcelona. It was good and I liked it.

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I walked a lot, drew pictures of buildings, and made a couple of comics.
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Spoke bad Spanish and appreciated the similarities and differences between Catalan and Spanish.

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All these photos of drawings (gel pen, watercolour) were Tumblr’d as I went, then this blog post has them all.

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For posterity. And because I don’t have to make a book about every trip I take, just you see if I don’t.
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BONUS FEATURE: dragon Vine

https://vine.co/v/iM5l2h993Q1/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

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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 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 is long enough for some things to have changed and other things to have stayed the same.

The first copies of Trails come came 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.

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 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.

Oh, ok, and one more sample page:

Street Signs

(yes, they’re all real signs)

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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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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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