I’ve had a really busy year this year – not only has there been all the moving drama, I’ve also been working on two books. The first is my Katherine Mansfield bio/memoir, which is now going to be published by VUP in 2016, and the second is Three Words, An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics.
Three Words is something special. When I first started paying attention to the local comics world around 2010, there didn’t seem to be many women making comics. They weren’t significantly represented in books or anthologies, and they didn’t hang out much with the comics guys. I assumed that comics was something NZ women didn’t really do. But I was wrong.
I got together with Indira Neville and Rae Joyce, two other comics creators, and we set about creating our own anthology. Indira had been involved in the alt music/comics scene since the early nineties, and Rae was also a poet and fiction writer. Over coffee and green tea we sketched out a concept for our book – three words that contributors would exchange to create new strips – and called for submissions of up to three pages of existing work.
The work flooded in, and it’s still coming in even though the book is about to go to print. We’ve got edgy underground work, comics by Māori and Pasifika creators, editorial comics, beautiful art comics, and auto-bio comics. Lots of the talented contributors had never been in print before, and some of them were print veterans.
Of course this kind of book is a modest one, and it relies on people (like you, I hope!) to pre-order it so it can exist. I would love it if you could show your support for NZ women comics creators, and encourage other women to make comics. If you pre-order now you get free shipping in NZ, $5 off the retail price ($50 down to $45) and a free zine thrown in. And you get that sense of well-being that comes with being a patron of the arts!
(And I promise I’m going to start posting some comics soon, once I’ve finished my masters thesis.)
This Friday, I head up to Auckland (again!) to take part in the Splitting Image exhibition of political and editorial cartoonists and illustrators. There’s an opening on Friday night – come along! It’s at 6pm at Lot 23 on Minnie Street, Eden Terrace. I’ll have lots of prints available to buy, along with some original artwork. Also you’ll be able to buy originals by brilliant cartoonists such as Sharon Murdoch, Chris Slane, Anna Crichton, Daron Parton, Peter Bromhead and Rod Emmerson.
This is a picture of Pebbles Hooper, which is part of a spread of celebrities I did for the illustrated issue of Metro, Simon Wilson’s swan song. You must read this interview with Simon — it’s great. I am really enjoying the relaunched Spinofff website. I have a soft spot for Pebbles, based on the fact that she has T1 diabetes and I like her parents’ World clothing brand, but hell she says some obnoxious
libertarian things. Although her willingness to be disliked is also admirable.
I wrote this comic for Metro magazine to promote an exhibition of cartoonists that’s taking place in a few weeks time. It’s a pretty good issue, especially if you live in Auckland and can try out all those cheap eats. I might take the magazine up for reference when I attend the exhibition opening – I don’t think my cartoonist’s budget will stretch to expensive restaurants.
Graham Brazier has died of a heart attack today – and I’m sure I just saw him in his shop in July, at the end of my parents’ old street. Here’s a comic I wrote 5 years ago when I went into Braziers to buy Brave New World, and crashed a little party he was having.
Graham Brazier was king of the radio when I was a kid, as the lead singer of Hello Sailor.
So I’ve been madly colouring my 50 copies of ‘Clueless’ and then signing and numbering them (limited edition!) for this Saturday’s zine fest. I used my radiant inks, which was fun, because I usually use watercolour on my comics, and this covers the paper more quickly and intensely. It’s a slightly unforgiving medium – if you have too much ink on your brush you can’t push it around, like you can watercolour or oil. But since my style is messy, and I can go to photoshop for flat colours, I try not to worry too much about it. If you live in Auckland you can come and buy one of these (56 pages! $10!) at Zinefest, or else you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org to order your own copy. Alas non-zinefest price is $12 – I need to break even on the print costs (all labour, writing & handcolouring is free. Such is the life of an artist.)
Here is another little zine I’ve made for the day: Katherine Mansfield has an emo moment. I kept on messing it up, blobbing black ink in all the wrong places, and I had visions of doing a whole series of these but it’s Wednesday already and I haven’t started.
This weekend, I am going up to Auckland Zinefest. I have got a comic to sell – the print version of my ‘Clueless‘ comic, about being pregnant in New York City – which I first published here. I have fixed a few spelling mistakes, redrawn the shabbiest of the pictures and am hand-painting the covers of 50 copies. It’s a whopping 56 pages long. If you come to Zinefest (this year it’s at the Pitt Street Methodist Church, Saturday 29th August, 12-5pm) you can buy a copy for $10. I will be selling the remaining copies on Felt for $12+postage. Message me if you want me to save you a copy!
I have also done my usual array of hand-painted books in the hope of recouping my printing costs, including this one here: a redux version of George Orwell’s famous ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ essay:
I was first shown this essay when I was in high school, soon after I’d read 1984. I was impressed at how exacting Orwell was about tea-making, how much attention he paid to each step. Also – six spoons of loose-leaf tea – obviously the man hadn’t discovered coffee.