Christmas Tale

Season’s Greetings

Good evening folks!

Well, well, well. It’s that time of year again. The university deadlines are down from a long list to just one more presentation, and I’ve been gradually wrapping the stockpile of gifts I’d been hiding in my wardrobe for months. Having a Christmas with no immediate project work to attend to means I’ll be happily filling myself with mulled wine and turkey for about three weeks, before it all starts up again of course. Time flies when you’re having fun! Or stressed.

So, I have been a busy bee working on several things at once, but last week saw the completion of my graphic short story that I submitted for the V&A’s Illustration Awards 2015 in the student submission category. Although, I won’t lie, the V&A was just a formality and university requirement for this brief. I couldn’t wait to write and draw my own story with so much time allocated! The story itself is hard to summarise, though my best attempt would be this; Influenced by the text ‘To Walk The Red Road’, a Native American poem by an unknown author, I developed a story based on a young woman and her spirit animals – Bear, Coyote and Lark. The story is about a physically and mentally arduous journey, ascending up the Rocky Mountains; exploring themes of violence and sexual abuse, alongside companionship, bravery and areas of Native American beliefs. Here is an obligatory snapshot:

The Red Road cover
The Red Road cover
Oooh.. shiny.
“What’s going on there?” – I hear you cry!

 

This project was my baby from start to finish, I absolutely loved it. Never before have I had the chance to really cultivate my own story for such a length of time, and with all the practise I made myself do over the summer with Lost and Found, and then the Christmas Tale, I finally had a chance within university to put it all to good use. I started with the poem, and then came up with some ideas that I wanted to include in the story, and then slowly but surely put the story together. From there I wrote it out into a graphic novel script, and after some sketchbook work and a mock-up book with my thumb-nailing I went straight to paper. The story is a total of 24-pages, not including the covers and somehow I managed to write and create the whole thing in 8 weeks. Nifty, eh? There are some logistical kinks that need working out, and I need some willing un-biased readers to give me their opinion on the content, but all going well after editing I’m looking into getting this story printed to sell. How exciting! It’s a new kind of nervous for me – I’m used to having my drawings thrown in peoples faces for judgement.. But writing? Well, apart from waffling on here and there, crafting stories is only something I’ve been practising in the last year or so. Let’s hope people like it!

Aside from this project I’d been working on a few other things but nothing I really felt as passionate for as this. Most of my university assessments are well under way and I’ll be looking forward to some nice, positive (hopefully) feedback from tutors over the winter break. Going into term two of second year, I believe the evil ‘D’ work is going to start being thrown around.. Dissertation. Eurgh. But on the positive, hopefully there will be lots more projects I can sink my teeth into and really make into something I love. Anyway, I will be around and updating things a bit more over the holidays so keep an eye out for more updates! Over and out x

 

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Ahh, another one done.

So, it’s Monday. I’ve been forcibly held up by coffee all day and I am very pleased to announce that I have finished my Christmas Story book! Phew! The book is for a young lady named Emilia, who is the main character of the story and though the physical copy still needs printing nearer Christmas the bulk of the work is done. However, the digital version is complete and ready to be worked on for the YouTube part of the project. Success! Originally I was going to hand letter the story, but after starting it I decided due to time constraints and workload, using a ready made font made more sense. For now, it’s sorted, done, finished and put to one side to make way for the next big thing.

Farewell to these guys!
Farewell to these guys!
Magical-music-note suspicion. I think I can safely say we’ve all been there. No?

 

Next on the agenda is the Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize competition which concludes on the 26th September. I’ve had my story on hold for a while, so after some mental tweaking and making scripting notes over the weekend, I’m ready to dive straight in (I think!). It’s another case of giving myself a short amount of time, which is unfortunate as this competition is an important one; but I can only do my best, and each challenge is a new learning curve. I received a nice email today from the folks at the Comic Arts Festival to let me know that my mutant bunnies comic Lost and Found was unsuccessful, which I was expecting given the pressure I put myself under and amount of time I had to re-do panels and pages. I did learn a lot from that, and hopefully it’s something I can use going forward for this 4-page story competition. Wish me luck!

On a somewhat less cheerful note, yesterday my partner-in-crime and I visited the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. We’d been meaning to go for a while now, and it was an incredible place. We spent about 3 and a half hours looking at the exhibitions and feeling some strange mix of awe, horror and disbelief at re-reading the history of the world wars and conflict up to the present day. Anyone who enjoys comics and graphic novels will have read Maus, and then with other graphic memoirs like Persepolis and Joe Sacco’s Palestine, we’ve all seen the conflict and stories through other people’s eyes. Some aspects I’d not seen before were the use of drawings in soliders and prisoners to keep their sanity. Incredibly moving drawings from Violette Lecoq illustrate the conditions at the Ravensbrück concentration camp she was taken to in 1943, and were definitely hard to see yet fascinating at the same time. More recently was Linda Kitson‘s drawings of the Falklands War from her three months of drawings whilst commissioned as the official war artist in 1982. Below are a few photos I took during our visit, I definitely recommend anyone who can get to Imperial War Museum North, or the main one in London, to go whilst they are honouring the Centenary of the First World War.

The Crusader (2010) by Gerry Judah - a personal reflection on an urban society shaped by conflict.
The Crusader (2010) by Gerry Judah – a personal reflection on an urban society shaped by conflict.
Linocut Prints by Helmuth Weissenborn showing scenes of London during The Blitz of WWII
Linocut Prints by Helmuth Weissenborn showing scenes of London during The Blitz of WWII
Violette Lecoq's drawings of Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Violette Lecoq’s drawings of Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Linda Kitson's Falkland's drawings.
Linda Kitson’s Falkland’s drawings.

 

I think that wraps it up for this vastly disappearing Monday. I hope everyone has a good week and I shall be back with another update soon. Over and out! x

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