January Laydeez do Comics

Hey all, faybird33 here, guest blogger for the first Laydeez do Comics of 2012. I write one page comic art mostly about sex, society, relationships. You can check me out at www.faybird33.com. I also run an online resource for creatives at www.wildanduntamedthings.co.uk.
So, to the speakers. First up was Karen Rubins who told us about her symbolic, fantasy comic book Blood Magic. Inspired by her residency at the Victoria and Albert MuseumBlood Magic is set in 16th century Medieval England, and focuses on a village where the women use their menstrual blood for magic and rituals. Karen showed us several concept drawings, describing the mood of the piece as dark and dramatic. She spoke about how objects at the V&A – like a gold German goblet – gave her the setting and influence for Blood Magic. Other V&A objects that influenced the design and characters included stained glass windows, sculptures, woodcuts and early printed texts. She showed us some artwork from Blood Magic. The illustrations were in black and white, except for the blood which was red to show the significance of the magic. Karen explained that she used certain materials to give an air of authenticity, such as rough, off white paper. She discussed some of the symbolism behind the images, such as the blood, rabbits – meaning fertility, sheep – representing farming and village life and also a symbol of sacrifice. She also mentioned the Book of Signs as a reference for the magic symbols. It was all very interesting, and rather intriguing.
Next on was Dan Locke, a writer and illustrator based in Brighton, who spoke about his passion for making comics. He showed us his first comic, a piece inspired by his work as a dish washer at a local cafe, where he focused on people watching, imagining their lives. Then he showed a comic about a strongman’s son in the circus and said how this strip lead to a series of strips that set the precedent for everything he has made since. He explained why he started to create autobiographical comic strips, and showed some examples of these earlier pieces. These strips lead to Dan getting a three month residency at an Islington housing association for people with serious mental illnesses and violent crime, where he ran drawing workshops. His project was to retell some of the residents’ stories, and these stories were made into a pamphlet and given out at Islington Exhibits in 2010. He showed us a couple of strips he made for various anthologies and comic book reviews. He then talked about his current project, a book about his early life and the house he grew up in. The book is titled 311 District Road. Dan was a charming speaker, giving us an honest and often amusing glimpse into his world, mind and creations. 
The break gave us Sarah’s fantastic homemade lemon cake, chocolate brownies and peach cake. After stretching our legs and chatting we were back to the final speaker,
Jacqueline Nicholls
Jacqueline is an artist and Jewish educator. Her art combines the two – her learning and her drawing. She spoke of her interest in mixing text and drawings. She showed us various works: two multi-layered silk screen prints, an intricate paper cut – a rather amazing piece of work created from a single sheet of paper; and fifteen small squares of white cotton embroidered with the words ‘maybe this month,’ representing the hope of fertility treatments. Jacqueline told us about her time in New York, where for forty-nine days she walked the city, marking each day with a drawing of objects she found in the street. These New York drawings were beautifully illustrated and emotive. She started this project to give herself a daily drawing exercise, and she spoke candidly about the fear which went alongside putting the work on her blog. Jacqueline‘s talk was very personal, moving and honest. Her work is striking, emotive and unique – rather like her.
And there you are, another interesting evening with the Laydeez (and some men), in London. Happy New Year and stay gold, faybird33.

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