Wednesday 16 January 2013

Fleet Street Rag

I've completed my strip, Quadlock: Same-Sex Marriage & Places of Worship, for Solipsistic Pop Five. This issue is somewhat different to earlier editions - all the strips are reportage pieces about the UK in 2012, with a small group of artists (including sterling creators such as Darryl Cunningham and editor Tom Humberstone) producing longer works than previously. Mine is eight pages long - this is an image from the foot of the first page: 
I've produced some non-fiction comics before - autobiographical, anecdotal and historical - but journalism in this form was a new challenge for me: my working process changed appropriately, and my area of focus narrowed on a specific sub-topic. It was interesting to ponder the jurisprudential niceties of the proposed legislation (in light of developments abroad), and I learnt far more about marriage law than I ever wanted to know in the research process.

I plan to elaborate upon the experience of creating this strip closer to the time of the book's release later this year. Before then, I recommend having look over at the website of the anthology/publisher. Edward Ross also posted a blog entry about his contribution, at which you may like to have a gander.

Sunday 6 January 2013

The Parchment is Hairy

I'm currently lettering my contribution to the fifth issue of Solipsistic Pop. At more than two thousand hand-lettered words across eight pages, it's probably hitherto my most textually dense strip.

Jon Chandler pointed me in the direction of an entry at Brain Pickings about monastic scribes' marginal lamentations. I love illuminated manuscripts and have been fascinated by the history of monastic book production for years - and one is brought very close to the life & sorrows of the monks by their quotidian complaints.

One of them perfectly sums up my feelings this weekend: Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.

A text box from 'Quadlock: Same Sex Marriage & Places of Worship'
Although the lettering in this my SP5 strip represents my most clean & consistent effort so far (I think), I'm still dissatisfied with its somewhat whimsical 'cartoon' style. I'm considering taking a calligraphy class in the hope that I'll be instructed in a hand with more gravity. (I'm also hoping to find a nib with which I'm comfortable, as there is little character in the even lines of Isograph pens.)

The last quotation from the Brain Pickings article speaks of the inevitable fate (& likely oblivion) of the artist & copyist: This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, 'The hand that wrote it is no more.' It's similar to the thoughts I have when watching early cinema footage: "All of the people in this frame are surely dead."