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Posts Tagged ‘Lydia Wysocki’

comics-forum-cfpIt really does seem like every year Comics Forum gets better and better. I say this every November, but the thing that appeals to me is the mixture of academic research and practice in the papers. Yes, there are a certain amount of “literary theory”-type papers, full of analysis and readings of comics, but there are always an equal number of papers about practice and projects as well. And, of course, Comics Forum segues into Thought Bubble, whose indie-focus compliments the conference completely.

Highlights from this year include: Carolina Gonzalez‘s paper on the political problematization of historical memory, Emma Varughese on combat and politics in the Indian graphic novel, Lydia Wysocki and John Miers on their comic project based on the Gertrude Bell archiveAndrew Godfrey on how acts of performance make good medical comics (with a nod to Damon Herd and DeeCAP, and a namecheck to Something Different About Dad – thank you, Andrew!)

Particularly noteworthy was the paper given by my co-presenter and chair of the session Constructing History with the Community, Paul Bristow. He talked about the projects he has been running with Magic Torch Comics on community heritage, something I’m doing more of these days. Both Tales of the Oak and Achi Baba are fascinating projects about how to tap into and help preserve the narrative of community identity. Another particular highlight was the paper given by Sarah McNicol on another pair of community heritage projects, this time on the theme of “social hauntings”; really interesting in the way they developed very sophisticated examples of community comics-making by exploiting the creative links with other media such as poetry, music, etc. Both of these papers had particular relevance to some of the comics work I’m doing at the moment.

Thought Bubble – always great fun, even in the rain. Always almost too much to absorb, but I suppose the key is to leave wanting more? I carried a handful of Applied Comics Network badge-flyers with me, and with that particular hat on, met – among others – science-comic maker James Evans, of Stumpycomics, and his series of science-biographies, “not” narrated by a certain famous TV scientist-presenter; and Sonya Hallett and Fergus Murray, science-comics makers, who charmed me with Sonya’s mini-comic about snowflakes (and check out the Atomic Arcade, too!).

And notable amongst the non-applied comics: a darkly-cute cut-out-window comic from Aimee Lockwood; the inspired Choose-Your-Own-Adventure comic Secret Gardens from Lizzie and Connor Boyle and Disconnected Press, set in the real-life grounds of Lowther Castle; Dust, by John Carvajal, whose creative solitude a group of us Comics Forum kids had already crashed during a drink-and-draw at The Brunswick a few nights before (sorry, John); poetry comics from Sidekick Books and Louise Crosby; and Tim Bird’s excellent (and award-winningFrom the City to the Sea.

Plus, special shout-out to the awesome creative strangeness of @KawaiiKasai!

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Laydeez Do Comics - This coming Monday, Sept. 28th, 6:30-9pm

Laydeez Do Comics – This coming Monday, Sept. 28th, 6:30-9pm

What are you doing on Monday evening?

If you’re in or around Leeds, you should be going to Laydeez do Comics. One of the speakers is Lydia Wysocki – co-founder with myself and Ian Horton of the Applied Comics Network, founder of Applied Comics Etc., educator, artist, editor, publisher and all-round great comics person to know.

Lydia’s going to be talking about two of her most recent Applied Comics Etc. projects. The first is Spineless, a comic about invertebrates created in partnership with the Great North Museum and the Hancock’s ‘Spineless’ exhibition. Lydia’s going to talk about working with guest curators/researchers and the seven comics creators involved in the project. The second project is  True War Stories, a World War I local history project in partnership with the Thomas Baker Brown archive as part of Newcastle University Library Special Collections.

There are two other speakers on the programme: Ross Mackintosh (Seeds) and Emma Donnelly (A Fat Girls Guide To Life: How to Get Through a Breakup), so it will be a great night. Laydeez is always a great event – if you’ve never been before, this is a great opportunity to find out just why Laydeez is so popular.

So, get down to Wharf Chambers in Leeds (LS2 7EQ) this coming Monday, 28th September between 6.30-9pm. Everyone is welcome – £1.50 on the door.

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I enjoyed our random-Wikipedia-article comic making so much I inked-in one of the infographic panels from my comic.

I enjoyed Saturday’s ACN random-Wikipedia-article activity so much I did a bit more research and inked-in the central infographic-style panel from my comic.

Last Saturday, at the half-way point in our Applied Comics Meetupwe made some comics. Lydia had come up with a great workshop idea that provided an excellent opportunity to not only make some informational comics, but talk about how they work as well.

She opened up Wikipedia and clicked on random article, and then we all had half an hour to make a comic based on information from that article. The result was twenty-five different comic interpretations of the same information – an amazing display of the versatility of the medium and the variety of approaches that could be used.

The exercise sparked a whole range of questions:

  • Who narrates an informational comic, and why?
  • What does humour do to an informational narrative?
  • How does knowing who your audience will be change the approach you take?
  • How does having expert knowledge or previous experience of the subject matter change the approach you take?
  • Does using colour affect the pace of the narrative?
  • How do you balance information and engagement – or entertainment?

We’re going to try and put up most of these resulting comics on the Applied Comics Network blog. It would be great to see these comics eventually spark some analysis of the different ways comics and information can be brought together.

For archaeologists interested in comics, this random-Wikipedia-article exercise should feel familiar: every time you stick a trowel in the ground it feels like you’re clicking “random article”. You know you’re going to get some kind of information out of it – but you’re never certain what. The day-by-day comics journalling I did of excavations on Carriacou last year felt like this: every morning I knew I was going to have to do a comic about something archaeological, but I didn’t know what.

I enjoyed the challenge of Saturday’s activity immensely, and I now know how to practice for this coming season’s daily journal on Palau: Applied Comics Networks‘ signature Random-Wikipedia-Article Comics™!

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