Posted by: Daisy | August 26, 2014

Daisy finally goes to Edinburgh in August

If you follow this blog, you’ve been waiting for this post since January. I hope you’ve been outside.

I recently went on a mini holiday. A holiday that’s been about 8 years in the making. Thursday 21st August was the day. Time: Roughly 13:40. Weather: raining. Location: Edinburgh. Reason: Fringe.

I won’t be doing proper reviews of the actual shows, just keywords and general response to each one. But everything I saw, I enjoyed and if you get a chance, go to any and all of them. I managed to get to the front row of a fair few of the shows, because all of the assistants ask you to, and also front row YO. I will use my grading scale of “Notch”. Top Notch is VERY ENJOYABLE. Notch is YEA THIS IS PRETTY GOOD. Not Notch is NOT NOTCH.

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to review anything, I just like what I like and wanted to have a documentation of what I got up to over the past couple of days and sometimes I like to write things. (I’ve checked the word count and this is like half of my dissertation from uni. haaaa.)

THURSDAY

I met up with Maggie outside Waverley. We went in search of food. We found a Caffe Nero. Another friend Roz met us here too with her friend and told us some of the shows they’d seen in the last couple of days. We had a look at what was going on and then headed off towards Bristo Square and bought some tickets for…

1. The Museum of Curiosity – Top Notch

Aisling Bea, Mark Watson, Dan Schreiber, Henry Marsh, John Lloyd. iPhone, stairbag and a horse chastity belt. At the end I managed to chat briefly to Aisling and she is just as brilliant as she seems.

2. Susan Calman – Top Notch

She peeps from the back curtain and is very cute and funny. And gosh I’d give her a cuddle if I had the chance. I tried to give her a badge but she’d gone immediately after she left the stage.

3. Sara Pascoe – Top Notch

Lovely and funny. I particularly enjoyed the latecomers song. (I saw her very briefly on Sunday morning when no one else was about, she looked like she was on a mission but I said hi and she said hello so that’s cool.)

4. The Horne Section – Top Notch

Will Adamsdale and Abandoman. OH MAN. I hope that cake was eaten. LA BAMBA. I have a large amount of admiration for The Horne Section and they put on such a good show. And their guests were brilliant. If I had money and time, I’d have loved to see Abandoman’s full show.

Hostel evening – Not particularly Notch

We had a cougher. And some snorers. Not much sleep. See, I was worried I would have one of those funny dreams I have occasionally where I wake up and cannot stop myself from giggling and I’d be the one waking people up. Not the case. Woke a guy up briefly with the creakiest drawer, but he was a sleep champ and went straight back to dreaming midway through the word “sorry”. I left as I thought Edinburgh exploring would be a better use of 8am.

FRIDAY

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5. MacAulay and Co – Top Notch

Saw a queue. Joined it. Received a ticket. Hung around in Potterow, had a chat with a lady, claimed a seat, had another chat with another lady.

Guests were: Omid Djalili, Andy Gray, Anne Charleston, Tim Fitzhigham, Lynn Ferguson, Phill Jupitus, Dane Baptiste, Tania Edwards and Matt Winning. Joy. Another opportunity to give Calman a cat badge missed however. Tim Fitzhigham’s This is your Trial sounded AMAZING, as did Hellfire.

I bought myself some biscuits. I offered biscuits to flyerers because I’ve done flyering and people can be terrible. Maybe Edinburgh is  bit nicer for flyering than Preston but still I doubt it’s the best experience. As I traded a biscuit for a flyer, a random man came over and said “I’ll take one of those” and took a biscuit. Uhm. He then said angrily that his friends were late for lunch. There was no please or thank you and definitely no trade. I didn’t much like that guy.

6. Patrick Turpin – Pretty Notch

Aw, this guy. I had no idea of who he was, I just wandered in to see Pippa Evans about an hour too early. I particularly like the fact that he used to have a Creative Zen. (I had a Creative Zen after I’d used a minidisc player for three years.) Not enough mention of old mp3 players in comedy… He used a projector and music and made the room laugh. Cool job Turps.

7. Pippa Evans – Top Notch

WOW. YEA. Crazy good yes. Music, singing, impressive accent work. Pippa Evans, everyone needs to know who she is. She received a raccoon badge.

8. Glenn Cosby – Top Notch

Go to this show, see lovely Glenn from last year’s bake off, he made delicious icing and everyone got to steal a little bit of cake. Emma! Emma! Emma! He also mentioned macaroni cheese pie, which I had heard legends of. He received an armadillo badge, I received a hug.

9. John-Luke Roberts – Top Notch

I slapped him. Monae. Gotye. Insults. Lemon. Lemon. Lemon. Lemon. Lemon. Pineapple. Carrot. He received a fox playing a ukulele badge.

Stopped in the square for a bit, for foods and chilling. There was a lady who was rude and wow ok if you don’t want people sitting in your unmarked massive tenty gazebo then may be you should have a sign or something. Could just say “Oh, this bit is just for customers of the cafe which is not actually joined up to the tent” but y’know, you can be rude and then miss out on a possible sale, either way works. (Friend had bought from them the day before, but had not used the seating area so we figured that she was owed the time in lieu.) Passive grumpiness is one of my stronger traits.

10. Josie Long – Top Notch

Josie had been swimming and had been stung by a jellyfish. She is a pure delight. She received a sloth badge.

It was raining a lot, and we prepared ourselves for the power-walk to the Pleasance Dome.

11. Me, Myself and I – Quite Notch

This was a slightly last minute decision. Maggie’s flatmates were going to it, so we thought we’d go too. I got to keep the score. They didn’t really need me to but HEY LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED I’LL TAKE ANY JOB. #dailypussy I enjoyed it, but it didn’t feel like there were enough questions about the rest of memes. But there was plenty of laughs.

We then just hung out in the Pleasance, there was some gin, and then it was 2am. Look at this place. Look at it.

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SATURDAY

I managed to miss the hostel’s free breakfast because I only headed down at 9. So I went and bought an expensive waffle. It was good though. I ate it in the rain. It probably looked reet sad but it was not. I wandered the Royal Mile a bit, then wandered Grassmarket a bit, then wandered to Lothian Road (I saw Justin Edwards walking along there, I didn’t bother him), I found the burrito shop I’d looked up online. (If I’m visiting a place, I always search burritos before I go anywhere. It is absolutely fine. Burritos are probably good for you. All essential foods, meat, cheese and rice in a wrap. Illegal Jack’s Grill on Lothian Road is good. I made that burrito last all day so I could spend more money on comedy.) I sat on Grassmarket in beautiful sunshine and also slightly in rain. Then headed to find shelter ahead of…

12. Comedian’s Cinema Club Fundraiser in honour of Robin Williams – Top Notch

One of the first things Maggie told me about was this, and it’s SO GOOD. Take a bunch of wonderfuls, prompt them with a movie title/actor/director and just let ’em go. It was a beautiful tribute.

13. Fan Fiction Comedy – Top Notch

X-Men, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Dunston Checks in, The prequel to Pirates of the Caribbean. Super good, would have liked to see it again to hear some more crafted stories in fan fiction format.

14. Tom Craine – Top Notch

Tom is a sweetheart, bless him. He’d hurt his back, probably from parts of his act. Still managed to be entirely full of energy. There was a really loud man in the audience.

15. Sarah Bennetto’s Storyteller’s Club – Top Notch

Phill Jupitus, Tom Tuck, James Dowdeswell, Jon Bennett. First comedy gig on a beanbag. Not as comfortable as it seems (more comfortable than a stool though I imagine), and a definite peculiar angle to watch from. I bet my chins looked right nice. Good stories, lots of laughing. Laughing whilst lying down has some similarities to roll up/roll downs from pilates, works the core. Sarah received a Long Tailed Tit badge, her friend received a raccoon badge.

We headed back towards Pleasance as is customary. Crossing Potterrow, spotting Aisling, this was a couple of hours after she’s be in A&E so I asked if she was ok. OK PEOPLE.  AISLING BEA KNOWS MY NAME UNPROMPTED. She stopped to chat for a few minutes, even though she had somewhere she needed to be. (And she manages to respond to weird dudes being rubbish with grace and wit.) She received a sheep badge.

SUNDAY

Final day of my Fringe. I’d left the hostel fairly early. There was been guy snoring like an absolute trooper. He would have the gold medal if such a thing existed for snoring. But other snoring medals would’ve been awarded. Surround sound snoring. That’s just what you want at 6:30am. Also nearly walked into a foot. Eh, the room was cheap, can’t really complain, and it got me to down to breakfast where I chatted with a Finnish man and then I headed off to take up a space in the Pleasance Dome, they were cleaning it. I got intimidated and went and sat outside for a bit. Then went back in about half an hour later. Edinburgh is very quiet at 8am on a Sunday.

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A lady approached me and asked if I would be interested in buying a ticket to “The best show in the whole of Edinburgh, and I’m not part of the company, I’m just a big fan and I’ve seen it before”, so I thought “why not?” I was leaving in about 8 hours and I wanted to cram stuff in. It also came with tea, croissants and strawberries. And so I became a ticket holder for…

16. The Bite-sized Breakfast show – Top Notch

One word sum up titles for the six plays they crammed into an hour: Mothra, Straight, Violins, M&S, Facebook (this particular short play was like I’d been punched in the face and ruined me briefly. I sobbed to myself at the back of the Jack Dome), War. This was really good! Thank you lady (possibly Sally).

Pondered what to do with myself, wandered a bit, saw on twitter that David O’Doherty still had tickets left for his 2pm show. Another “why not?” I’d be leaving in 4 hours and I still have time. The price was just a little bit of a kick in the bank account, but still I knew I’d have a laugh.

17. David O’Doherty – Rather Notch

Before they let us in, we could hear the keyboard and an O’Doherty shout. Good stuff, nice set up, good songs. I think I’m just remembering it slightly wrong because it was completely overshadowed by what happened next.

Met up with Maggie, she went to drop stuff off then we headed down to Cowgate in search of Thom Tuck. I spotted him across the road as he pointed at a gap in the fence near to where we were stood. He crossed the road straight through the gap.

18. Thom Tuck – TOP NOTCH

Location: Car park with a floor of shattered glass.

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The best possible way to end my festival. I wish I’d had more than a fiver, a corgi badge and a biscuit to offer in return for the most Fringe experience of the Fringe. I haven’t fully got over this gig in a was-it-even-a-car-park car park. I just can’t describe it really. Maybe that’s because I swigged a bit too much of the communal whisky and wine, but I think it just felt so completely… right? (I was a little concerned when my neck kept feeling like it was covered in wasps and I put that down to the drink mixed with not eating much other than breakfast, but turned out I was carrying a moth around with me.)

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“Bros before hoes, corgi between sharpies.”

I gave out some more biscuits to flyerers. One in particular was trying her hardest, and people were paying her no attention so I chatted to her for a few minutes. She received my last badge. I’d have gone to the show she was promoting if I’d had an extra day.

Train home. So close to sleeping on the train, barely had the cash to get a taxi from the station, and then I was given some lemon tart when I got home.

Massive massive thank you to Maggie for saying I should go up to Edinburgh. Once I got there I don’t understand how I haven’t Fringe’d in the past. I just kinda needed someone to want me up there with them and Maggie was that person. She is the best.

I AIMED TO BE CHARMING BECAUSE I LOVE SCOTLAND AND I DON’T WANT THEM TO LEAVE ME BUT ULTIMATELY IT IS THEIR DECISION. OK.

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Posted by: Daisy | January 12, 2014

things i learnt from craft fairing in 2013

So I’m having a month off from craft fairs for January. (I’m booking onto the first Let’s Get Crafty event in it’s new location at the Longridge Civic Hall on the 1st February though!) I’m nearing a year of running stalls now and I thought I’d try and put together a sort of guide to etiquette at fairs. I’m probably shouldn’t be the authority on this sorta thing but I’ve attended a range of different things over the past 11 months since my first try in Garstang last February. And it’s gone pretty well on a lot of occasions.

This post will also be quite wordy. I might put a picture at the end as a treat for those of you who get that far.

There will be ups. There will be downs. It’s not always going to run smoothly. There will be days when no one walks through the door and you don’t make anywhere near your table fee. There will be days when you scrape into profit. There will be days when the right person sees your stall and realise they cannot leave without buying 3 of your most expensive pieces. You have to take those highs with the lows.

Be polite. Be considerate. On the whole, people don’t want to buy from brash. Being charming probably wouldn’t hurt, but my attempts at charming don’t go well and I’m often just stumbling over my own words (as my brain thinks far too fast for my mouth to keep up with), it’s better to just be yourself.

If you are not a strong seller, I really don’t think it matters as long as you are passionate about your craft. It will show if you chat to the person on the other side of the table. It’s not just about you selling your stuff, it’s partially about being sociable, and one day, maybe you’ll have the social skills and the confidence for the hard sell. But most customers at craft fairs don’t want you to play mind games with them, they want to have a browse, have a sit down, eat a cake and then they might come back and have another look, money in hand, ready to buy. Personally, I think the hard sell is probably best saved for shops and companies. I’ve been on the other side of the table at craft fairs and I’d rather someone asks me about my day whilst I browse instead of trying to force me to buy things. I don’t respond well to pressure and I don’t think many of your customers will either.

Take a tablecloth. Take two. Take three. I take spares along so if I’m feeling adventurous I can try and arrange my stall in a different way using my Tupperware boxes (sneak peek into the glamorous lifestyle on my side of the table) wrapped up in tablecloths, to add levels to my stall. But then another crafter may not have a cloth with them, and if you have a spare, you might make their day and they might insist you take something from their table in return. (MIGHT. They are not obliged, but I got a free comic in Leeds. I just wanted to be courteous. )

Take a cash box. Have five pound notes. Have plenty of pound coins. Two pound coins are wonderful. 50ps are interesting, check them, they might have an interesting “tails” to them. Avoid .99ps, it makes the maths difficult you’ll have to carry lots of pennies with you. Make your prices end in a 0 and you will not need 5ps, 2ps or 1ps. A lighter cash box means you’ll be able to carry a bit more actual stock.

Unless you have a valid reason, I seriously advise against packing away early from a fair. There were several occasions over the past year that I stuck around ’til the very last minute and sold original pieces of artwork, making the day a success. One particular stand out example was at the Crafty Vintage at Brockholes event at the beginning of December, as others packed up around me, I stood behind my table and waited as the last customers looked round, who then decided to buy an original painting from me. It was wonderful to catch the last sale of the day, but not so great when another stall holder was telling them to move out of their way so they could leave. The customers also commented on this.

Try to maintain positivity. I know how difficult it can be to stay motivated. But if you keep your eyes on the next thing, you can do it and you can make it through. Try to always make sure that you’ve got your next event in your mind. If you’re stood behind a stall, and there’s no one coming through the door, it’s not a reflection on you or your craft. It could be any reason. It could be too rainy. It could be too sunny. The people who were going to come and see the fair might also be having issues with their motivation. But if you’ve got the next fair in your sights, then you can think “There’s always next time.” And then maybe at your next event, the air outside will be just the right temperature and people will be flooding in, wanting to treat themselves. (But it might be a similar experience, but it isn’t always going to go right. You have to take those risks.)

Getting out to a range of events increases your following. Increased following leads to that bigger audience, the buzz around you and before you know it, you’ve got four enquiries about commissions from all over the country (I’ve not made it overseas just yet. Watch this space though!). A lot of people will take your business card and you’ll never hear a peep out of them, but there’s a few who will make the printing cost worth it, whether they’re buying or just up for a natter on social networks. Both are important.

Talk to the other crafters around you. You’ll be sat with them for at least a day. They might have that vital bit of knowledge they’ll share that could be the making of you. They might tell you a funny story. They might offer to go get you a cup of tea because they were heading over there anyway and you can return the favour later on. It might be their first fair, they might not have a clue what they’re doing. At my first couple of fairs, I really wasn’t good at talking to those around me, but I’ve been working on it and I’ve met some absolutely brilliant, talented, funny and kind people.

As far as you can be, be flexible. With everyone. Other stallholders, your customers and the organisers. They’re, on the whole, just trying to do their best. You might get the occasional person who seems out to have a bad time and seems overly rude, but the majority of people you’ll meet are wonderful.

If you believe in your craft, you can make it work. If you don’t think you’re going to get anywhere, there’s quite a big chance that you won’t. I know I’m not making enough from this yet to support myself, but it’s heading in the right direction.

Now, I must get back to my commissions, one of which has come about from a craft fair. Craft fairs are good for the soul. Oh, and here’s a picture because you made it this far. Long tailed tits are my favourite birds.

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If you have anything you’d like to add, or have any craft fair tales to tell, please feel free to comment. If you disagree with anything I’ve said, tell me. I will appreciate your words and to know the other side of the story. If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them. I repeat though, I am in no way an authority on craft fairs.

Posted by: Daisy | October 27, 2013

Wonderful exciting news!

I mentioned briefly in my return to blogging that I had taken part in a work placement at Tigerprint last year for two weeks. I’d been offered a placement after a portfolio review and it was such a brilliant two weeks, sadly it usually takes me at least a week before I start talking and getting to know people. I do wish I’d begun properly making conversations and exploring the studio earlier in the time I was there!

ANYWAY…

Whilst there I worked on three different briefs, the first week was spent on Christmas designs. The second, from Monday to Thursday was Hallowe’en based packaging and the Friday I briefly worked on a couple of Valentine’s ideas (which would have been for 2014, that’s how far in advance things get prepped in the world of design!).

I received a message through linkedin from the lovely lady who’d organised my placement, to let me know that some of the Christmas illustrations I had produced whilst I was there, were going to be heading off to print! My drawings IN PRINT.

Tigerprint produce their designs exclusively for Marks and Spencer, y’know, just that huge national retailer with shops all over the place? That means I have my illustrations in shops up and down the country.

M&S

Here they are, in Preston’s M&S, but I’ve been told they’ve been sighted in Liverpool too! So if you need to buy a Grandson or a Daddy a card… These might be perfect!

Different elements of these cards are raised, like the antlers and scarves, and the little Grandson polar bear has glitter round his paws.

I’m really proud of myself for this and the idea, even after seeing them actually in a shop, that I have my drawings in M&S is yet to sink in! They’re on the website as well, here and here, and I’m so pleased that I’ve already seen them appear in the “Customers also bought…” box!

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Posted by: Daisy | October 7, 2013

Just a couple of my repeat patterns from 2013

fruitytooty

I received my first commission for a repeat pattern earlier this year. My friend Shelley, who makes delicious jams and marmalades wanted something specific, just for her, to use on a banner, her website and business cards. (And hopefully one day, made up into stickers to put onto a black van.) I’m so pleased with how this turned out, the banner looks great and the business cards are looking brilliant too!

I’ve also spent a lot of time recently getting my head around Illustrator. So the following patterns are all drawn using Illustrator.

bakeoff

This was inspired by the Great British Bake Off. So addicted, every year this happens. Overly invested in a television programme about baking a tent with added Mel and Sue.

acorns

Acorns and oak leaves. (This one also works in red and white, which I’ve mocked up onto a dress. Sorry, the dress image was yanked from google!) Now I really want this dress to exist. There’s been a lot of interest if I can find a fabric printer and get my sewing machine threaded up!

mockup

I revisited my “skullerflies” that I first drew almost two years ago. Here’s a link to a previous blog post with the initial designs!

skullerflies

I was a little more specific with my bees! I wanted them to be definitely recognisable as honey bees so had to make them a tad more refined than usual. One bee repeated rather than lots of bees for this one.

honeybees

Magpies! As I was sketching, a magpie jumped along the driveway next to the window where I draw at the kitchen table. I sketched the standing still element from life but the rest are from photographs. Also as magpies have such recognisable markings, I was able to limit the colour scheme.

magpies

This is a bit niche, but one of my favourite television programmes is back for another series of perfection and I celebrated by drawings waffles and calzones because Leslie and Ben. Parks and Recreation is flippin’ brilliant and if you haven’t already, you should watch it!

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A roly polu Pikachu! I doodled up a pikachu and thought it’d make a nice repeat. And it did!

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For more of my repeats, please check out this folder on my facebook page!

 

Posted by: Daisy | October 2, 2013

Back into blogging!

Hello dear wordpressers!

It has been far too long since I properly blogged on here, and I didn’t particularly care for the last two posts, I liked my words but the artwork was kinda lack lustre so I’ve trashed them. Out with the mediocre, in with the new stuff!

So what has happened in the past year then, I Tigerprinted for two weeks (and it was probably the best two weeks of my life), I worked sorting post for two months (and that was also quite fun once I got into it, you should see how quickly I can sort post for Yorkshire, yo) and then I became self employed in February. I began my self employment with a craft fair in Garstang. It was here that I met the wonderful Shelley, who is in charge of all jam over at Preesall Preserves. (You can also find PP on Facebook.) Shelley informed me of a much larger fair in Blackpool, run by Dotty Delightful, this time with more focus on Vintage and Handmade items. The handmade aspect fit into my newly opened business with almost everything being handmade by me, with the only exception of badges (produced by Awesome Merchandise) and stickers (printed by printed.com). All hand designed by me though! And in the amazing Winter Gardens of all places!

blackpool

From the Winter Gardens fair in Blackpool, I met Jacqui, who was beginning her own smaller craft fairs in Cleveleys and Staining. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get out to a few more fairs rather than just one or so a month and signed up for four of them.

From my plugging of these fairs I was going to be attending, Cuerden Valley asked if I wanted to rent a table at their county fair, so joined on to another fair. I had also signed up for a fair in Longridge, where I was put next to the absolutely delightful Sophia’s Influence. It wasn’t very busy, so we were chatting about how there’s quite a few fairs dotted on the outskirts of Preston, but not much in the centre of the city, apart from the Lancashire market, which was every few months.

From there, Jenny and Amanda ran with the idea of a monthly craft fair in the centre of Preston. They’ve hit upon complications at almost every step, but now there’s a brilliant monthly fair running in Preston’s Fishergate Centre. It’s Love Craft, Love Lancashire and I’m so glad I have been a part of it. The facebook page is the best place to find out when it’ll next be on. (There’s one this Sunday 6th, I’ll be at the next one on the 19th October!)

I also took part at a couple of Crafty Vintage fairs in Clitheroe and at Brockholes. Both were great events and I’m now booked into the Craft Vintage event at Brockholes on the weekend of the 30th Nov/1st Dec.

Upwards and onwards. Not long left of 2013 now, let’s make it good!

Posted by: Daisy | May 21, 2012

Stationery

Contract

Invoice

Compliment slip

Think these work well as my branding.

(Wasn’t completely sure if we needed these on here, as I’ve got hard copies in my creative futures folder. Didn’t know if the creative futures module would be marked mostly online.)

Posted by: Daisy | May 20, 2012

Mary Talbot at The Continental on the 13th April

(In my notebook for this talk, I have managed to scrawl down about nine pages of notes, I’m going to try and make them concise and relevant without detracting from what Mary was saying.)

After her husband’s talk about anthropomorphism, Mary stepped up to talk about her collaboration with her husband, Dotter of her Father’s Eyes. Bryan produced the artwork for the book around his other work.

The book tells two different stories, which are intertwined, and deal with some similar themes. Both stories are told from the angle of the daughters, growing up with fathers who were important in their fields of work.

Bryan’s work in the story is rendered in different styles between present day (clear linear linework and in colour), Mary’s past (pencil and sepia with spot colour) and Lucia’s story (ink with grey and navy washes).

Mary found the experience exciting, and could give Bryan a fairly bare script and he knew what to do with it. The direction was quite limited, but focused.

At times Mary would show the differences between Bryan’s work and the finished page, examples include the addition of the cream and sepia tones along with the text added on computer once the artwork was finished.

Mary would sometimes look at the drawings as Bryan was completing them and see things that were different from what she’d wanted, but instead of making Bryan draw the entire image out again, they came up with the idea of using footnotes to point out any slight inaccuracies. The footnotes aide the collaborative work, and add a “meta-textual commentary” to the book.

As Mary is an academic of language and gender, the graphic novels explores some of the theories, but in a narrative which opens her work up to a new audience, and is made more interesting by the use of personal experience. There are similarities between Mary and Lucia in the roles that are initially implemented upon them.

Lots of visual references were used in the creation, including old photographs and archive photographs to ensure that the artwork was suitable and relevant. Bryan had take a research trip to Paris to gather information for Grandeville, whilst Mary found settings she could use for Dotter.

Some of the pages had little direction from Mary, but Bryan knew what she meant and knew the best way to create a flowing narrative through the pages. (If you have a copy of the book, this can be see on Page 37).

But sometimes Mary would look at the initial work Bryan was doing for a page, and come up with improvements to aide the flow of the story (page 52).

To find information for the Lucia storyline, Mary read biographies of Lucia Joyce, James Joyce, Nora Barnacle (Lucia’s mother) and James Joyce’s publisher, Sylvia Beach. A lot of information about Lucia was destroyed however. Lucia’s nephew, Stephen Joyce,  has tried to keep information from the public and has destroyed almost all of her correspondence and words that she had written. Tried to use Lucia’s words as far as possible, using interviews with people who had known her. Mary also worked in a couple of lines of film dialogue in some of the conversation about the importance of dance, but these were fairly obscure, and she wasn’t sure if anyone would get the reference.

Mary said that she doesn’t think she’d have been able to get any closer to what she had envisioned if she’d worked with anyone other than Bryan for such a personal piece of work. One example of this is that Mary had a dream about one of the parts in the Lucia story, and had pictured the perfect illustration, and Bryan was able to depict this image to great effect. This also shows how in depth Mary has researched the Lucia storyline and how close the subject matter was to her.

Bryan joined Mary after this to take questions, the first being “How do you work together and not kill each other?”. They found it easy to work together, and being in the same house were able to confirm how pages would work and how the story was formed, they could bounce ideas off each other, Bryan suggesting different ways to phrase situations for a smoother narrative, and Mary could point out any changes if they were needed. It was an easy collaboration, and one that worked well.

Mary mentioned that her next book would be illustrated by a different artist, and that creating the script for the next book was more demanding as she had to note down everything as she wouldn’t have the same connection that she has with her husband. Bryan however will be drawing up the page layouts for the story and the compositional work.

Bryan also talked about how he thinks some of the best graphic novels are those that come from one single artist who also writes the story. The artist would understand what is needed for each specific panel or page. He used to illustrate alongside the writing of scripts, but when he began Grandeville, he realised he was able to do the work separately, as he can picture how he’ll illustrate the page in his head.

Mary will now be working on her next graphic novel, which she didn’t want to announce despite how many questions about it she was asked. Bryan is continuing his work on Grandeville.

(I added this image as it’s my favourite page in the book, it’s really beautiful.)

You can buy Dotter of her Father’s Eyes at amazon. It’s very good.

Posted by: Daisy | May 11, 2012

Business cards

A part of self promotion, we were required to design business cards, this is mine. Printed with moo.com, pretty pleased with them so far, but these ones were printed slightly wrong, so I’ll be getting some more through soon, which moo caught before they sent me these, so they’re reprinting free of charge. Ta moo!

(eta: just a note to say I cut the fox out myself, I don’t think that’s a service that moo offer.)

Posted by: Daisy | May 3, 2012

Bryan Talbot at The Continental

Back in April, when I was visiting the parents for a week, my mother asked me if I would still be in Preston on Friday the 13th. I said I could be, and she replied, “Well, at the Continental on Friday, there’s going to be a comic artist talking about his work, if you’re interested?” I was. I was very interested. Turns out it was Bryan Talbot and his wife Mary who would be talking about their new joint graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes. I thought it’d be interesting, and taking my parents along to show them the range available in drawing comics to give them hope that I will one day be able to make a living hopefully from comics.

The evening started with Bryan talking about anthropomorphism within comics.

As my grandma said when I was growing up, you can’t go wrong with Badgers with guns

The idea for Grandville came fully formed in a flash after Talbot had been looking at the work of Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard, a french artist who would work under the name JJ Grandville. Grandville would draw anthropomorphic characters in outfits of the current time and this was something that inspired Talbot when creating the world of his latest series. He hadn’t worked with anthropomorphism before this point and had wanted to do a detective story for a while, so the whole world of Grandville came togther and he formed the character DI LeBrock.

The original Grandville was also an influence on the work of John Tenniel, and similarities can be seen within the work of both artists. Some of the work in Alice in Wonderland is pretty similar to how Grandville would draw, which was something I hadn’t realised before.

Anthropomorphism has been around for as long as people have been telling stories, the idea of animals taking on human form is not a recent thing. 750,000 year old cave paintings reveal men dressed as animals, and most mythology uses anthropomorphism in some format. Aesop of Aesop’s fables wrote stories of animals, and this was 6th century BC. In the 13th century, Jewish Haggadah were depicted using anthropomorphic images by adding images of bird’s heads to the people he was conveying, as the second commandment is actually “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” meaning it’s a strict biblical law to not portray a man, as he is made in God’s image.

Talbot showed us this image by Rowlandson, a satirical comic on the government of the time, but something that is still pretty relevant today. He spoke of the Comical Creatures of Wurtemberg, which were anonymous stories, based on tableau of stuffed animals in amusing situations, the stories can be found here.

He commented on throughout the stories, that foxes and badgers never really got along and were often depicted as fighting such as in The Tale of Mr Todd by Beatrix Potter. (This talk has made me want to reread the Beatrix Potter books, as it was pointed out that the stories are very dark. The main plot seems to be a lot of the animals want to kill and eat others, and others involve rescue missions to save their babies from terrible fates. This is very different from most children’s books of today.) This influenced the scrap between a badger and a fox within Talbot’s Grandville. He chose to make LeBrock a badger as they can be very vicious, and LeBrock is a feisty character who could “beat the crap out of a suspect” to get his information.

Alfred Harmsworth produced a set of comics for children after seeing that children enjoyed the comics in newspapers although they may not have appreciated the satirical element, they still liked to look at the pictures. Harmsworth produced the two comics, Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips and was incredibly successful even when rival companies began creating their own versions (who were also successful). The money brought in by Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips were enough to help him found two newspapers, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail and within a few years he also obtained The Times and The Observer. It was in The Rainbow that the character Tiger Tim was first introduced before he became hugely popular and was put as a newspaper strip in The Daily Mirror. Harmsworth saw this as a way of selling papers and had the character Teddy Tale created for The Daily Mail. The rival paper, The Daily Express, saw what was happening and paid an illustrator to come up with comic strips about a bear, who is known as Rupert, who is still popular today, whilst Tiger Tim and Teddy Tale are less known today.

Talbot then talked about Krazy Kat and the influence it had over American culture, with operas and ballet based on the comic strip. He also mentioned Toby Twirl created by Shiela Hodgetts , a comic that was popular by itself and didn’t need to be part of a newspaper to sell, and did perfectly well by itself.

Talbot then went on to talk about the work of Jack Kirby of Timely Comics and DC and the anthropomorphism he’d used in some of his work with a predecessor of The Planet of The Apes, Kamandi.

He also spoke about Maus by Art Spiegelman, the graphic novel based on the relationship between artist and his father and his father’s experiences in the war, and pointed out that it was the first comic to win the Pulitzer prize. He then mentioned Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, a comic started back in the 80s, but Sakai has never missed an issue and still produces each comic to this day. He mentioned Omaha the Cat Dancer by Reed Waller and Kate Worley and pointed out a reference to the character in Grandville before starting to talk about Bone by Jeff Smith. He recommended Hip Flask & Elephantmen, Blacksad and David Petersen’s MouseGuard.

Grandville is littered with clever references, that I hadn’t noticed, with shout outs to all manner of famous works. These even include references to the artist of La vache qui rit (Laughing Cow cheese), Benjamin Rabier and Arthur Sarnoff’s dogs playing pool. The first Grandville book starts in the town where Rupert the Bear comes from and a character in the second book holds reference to Rupert’s friend Bill. He also makes references to Spirou and Tintin. He has reference to famous paintings by Degas and Manet.

I do have another talk to write up which was by Bryan’s wife, Mary Talbot. So I’ll type that up soon, hopefully this wasn’t too rambly!

Posted by: Daisy | April 29, 2012

daisyhillyard news

Welcome to the news at when? When? Right now!

Oh my! I haven’t updated in a while, I apologise! Buuut the thing is, I’ve been working on a sparkly new website! I am actually factually the master of my own domain. (I can’t get the coding to work for how I really want it to look, so probably not really the master of my own domain. It’d be mistress anyway, right?)

So if you want to head on over to my website, it’s over here! 

It’s slowly coming together, think it has most of the relevant stuff on it. It gets more attention than this blog now.

Currently I’m still working on –

The crow comic, I thought I was pretty near finished with it until a tutorial two weeks ago, lots of changes have been made. Possibly nearly there now though!

A comic about a little bat who is scared of heights.

A comic about a horseride I went on once.

Attempting repeat patterns although they don’t seem to go down too well with the tutors when I’ve shown them.

Ah well, only four weeks or so to go! Better get cracking!

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