Hi there! I’m Rowan Manning and I’m lucky enough to be the blogger for LDC London February 2015. I’m a developer by trade, I spend my week days making websites look pretty; but I love illustration and keep a regular diary comic which boosts my creativity. This is my fourth Laydeez, and it’s easily the most friendly and welcoming group of people I’ve found in London!
The question this month was: Have you had a “first experience” recently? The response was varied, though there was a definite focus on food. First kebab, first steak, first Nando’s, and first day having double fish and chips; the latter being something I definitely have to try! A less delicious-sounding first experience was “picking up a dog poo without a bag” – it put an end to my stomach rumblings.
The first speaker was Philippa Rice, I was really pleased when I found out she was speaking – I’ve been a fan for a little while. Also it was great to hear the story behind her latest book, Soppy (which you should definitely buy, it’s lovely).
Personally I was interested to hear that Soppy started life as rough daily sketches of Philippa’s life with her boyfriend. Most of my diary comics start in a similar way – as a doodle to help me remember what happened. The style of the finished book seems to take inspiration from Philippa’s hourly comic day drawings, which use cut-out elements similar to My Cardboard Life.
Philippa also spoke about her other work including My Cardboard Life, and comics like Recyclost. It was nice to hear about the transition from web comics to physical books, and the challenges this poses when your work isn’t in a standard format.
The next talk was by Carol Adlam, who spoke about The New Wipers Times. The original Wipers Times was a renowned trench magazine published by Nottingham’s Sherwood Foresters whilst fighting in World War I; it was a satirical look at the war, and managed to find irony and humour in some of the most dire situations imaginable.
The New Wipers Times is a graphic anthology which gives a glimpse into army life. It tries to retain the spirit of the original and commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Developed with the current army families based at Chetwynd Barracks in Nottingham, it was really interesting to hear some of their stories.
I remember thinking at several points during Sophie’s talk: “How the hell am I going to document this on the blog!?”: The talk had a focus on “talking to ghosts” (life and death making up a lot of the subject matter), but it felt more like a wonderful rambling insight into the life of a very creative woman.
The first of Sophie’s projects mentioned was Hurricane Butter – a collection of poems and drawings acting as a memorial to her mother. It was lovely to listen to readings from the book, and to hear about a woman who’s obviously been a great inspiration to Sophie.
Another of the works that was spoken about in detail was an enormous table-cloth for Feast On The Bridge, where each place setting was screen-printed with another person’s food story; this was supposed to work as an ice-breaker before the meal. These stories were collected by Sophie, who spent 10–15 minutes talking to people and coaxing tales about food out of them.
Sophie covered many other interesting projects during her talk, I’d recommend exploring Sophie’s Website for a better idea of what she’s working on.