Monday, 17 December 2012

December 2012 Laydeez Do Comics Meeting

Laydeez Do Comics with Lucy Dale, Heather Wilson and Dr Anna Madill - 10/12/12

Hello all. My name is Alison Lucy Stone, currently a member of the professional design agency and creative studio at Hoxton Hall, creating a programme tutoring and teaching 14-19 year olds in a series of workshops to raise skills, experience and aspirations of young people through art and design. My passion for graphic novels stemmed from the third year of my degree during completion of a 17,000-word dissertation around the topic of the unique reading experience of wordless graphic novels. You are also most welcome to check out my own creative work on my personal blog, here.

As you can see I am also this month’s guest blogger! The final meeting of the year was fantastic as usual, plentiful baked goods and jolly interesting discussion. Please click on my illustrated summaries below to read in more detail about the night’s events...enjoy!

View more of Lucy's work here -

Anna's staff profile at the University of Leeds can be viewed here.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

November 2012 Laydeez do comics in association with Comica

Alison Bechdel at Laydeez Do Comics
Monday 12 November 2012

My name is Eve Lacey, this month’s guest blogger and I am a writer. You can read my feature on LDC for For Books’ Sake here and see my own blog here.

This month, Laydeez  Do Comics welcomed Alison Bechdel  to the Gallery at Foyles on Charing Cross Road, whose scaffold was doodled with black, white and red – a fitting backdrop for the sanguine shades of Bechdel’s most recent publication, Are You My Mother?  The meeting began with an introduction to upcoming Comica events, an invite to the Queer Zine Fest London, and a call for British comic artists to read and contribute to The Strumpet, a new transatlantic periodical edited by Ellen Lindner. 

Bechdel’s presentation, Q&A and signing were then followed by Charissa King-O'Brien’s short film The Paper Mirror, an artistic collaboration between Bechdel and queer/crip artist Riva Lehrer in which the graphic novelist sat for her own portrait and provided a sketch of her mother for Riva to lay over Bechdel’s own shadow.

Bechdel began with an explanation her of methods –  from grey sketches to blue pencil to black ink, scanned, shaded, coloured and digitally aligned with the text. Bechdel’s work displays an obsessive record of her own life and, using Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child, she interprets her precocious emotional intuition as a burden that turns daughters and sons into proto-analysts of their parents.

In Are You My Mother? Bechdel records Virginia Woolf’s musing on To the Lighthouse: ‘I did for myself what psychoanalysts do for their patients’ – writing had enabled Woolf to put her mother and father to rest once and for all. Except she does not describe this development in calm, cathartic terms, rather her creative process is violent, murderous. Similarly, Bechdel’s regurgitation of her family’s life is not without malice. Her mother, Helen Bechdel, was reluctant to support the publication of family secrets, but in response, Alison half-jokingly explains the irony of the situation: she may never have developed a compulsion to retrace her formative years in such impeccable detail had her family not been so cold and distant.

Despite, or possibly as a result of, her mother’s disapproval, Bechdel has become a professional diarist and an expert in memoir, and unearthed the graphic novel’s natural affinity with psychoanalysis.  Marvel and DC comics often seem all ego and Id, all BOOM! and KAPOWW!, and it is perhaps in a direct mockery of this parodic superficiality and lack of psychic nuance that Bechdel carves out a space for the unconscious, somewhere between the image and the text. With at least two layers of meaning in every glance, Bechdel has found her own therapy – the drawing cure, contained within moveable frames, tackling the brevity of text and space by allowing the two to speak louder than the sum of their parts. 

During a Q&A with the audience, Bechdel addressed the differing mainstream popularity of DTWOF and her graphic novels; the extent of the autobiographical content in her comic strips; with the discomfort of writing about family members; change in space and format and the many fruitless attempts at animating series of her work. The most revealing and comical moment of Bechdel’s presentation was the series of snapshots of herself in costume, dressed as her mother and D.W. Winnicott, which she used to accurately illustrate postures and scenes in comic format.
Though Helen Bechdel, in the end, was a closed book, she could not help but collaborate with her own novelisation, and so mould the infinitely meta-textual Are You My Mother? And in the process of sketching her enigmatic mother, Bechdel found herself committing more and more of her own psyche to the page, paradoxically gaining perspective through two dimensions rather than three, until she was bound to confess, as she did at the end of her presentation, ‘I think I am a drawing.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

October 2012 Laydeez do comics

Medicine, Conversation and Comic Artists
22 October 2012, at Laydeez do Comics
By Sarah Glazer

I am Sarah Glazer, you can see my work at For a writer like me (who does not draw) and is a newcomer to graphic novels, the Laydeez do Comics salon off Brick Lane can be a revelation--a window into the ever-widening scope of comics art and the London-based talent that makes it happen.  As a journalist who has covered medicine and health, I was fascinated to learn at October’s gathering that medical illustration has become not just a method of documenting illness, but an art form that brings a little humanity to medicine I’ll report further down on the formal presentations made on Oct. 22nd. But I’ve found that just as important is the inviting atmosphere Laydeez co-founders Sarah Lightman and Nicola Streeten create, enabling talented people with diverse skills to find one another, such as writers linking up with artists. Listening to the self-introductions at the start of the evening (required of everyone who attends), I’m continually surprised by the diverse paths through which people come to this art form. Many create comics prolifically in their spare time while holding down a day job that may have nothing to do with graphic novels. During the break over tea and cake, I talked to Ian Williams, a GP. He told me he uses the graphic novel format to illustrate the disturbing ways that doctors sometimes act out their personal frustrations and stresses. He has been unsparing in exploring some dark corners. In his “Cruel to be Kind” strip he dramatizes young doctors’ sadistic techniques for prodding awake a patient whom they believe is faking unconsciousness. You can see this comic in “Disrepute,” published under his pen name Thom Ferrier, and at the web site he founded (, which offers more examples of this growing genre of graphic medicine.

Illustrator for this Blog--Artist Phoebe Cohen 
To help me fulfill my assignment--describing the three distinctive presenters of the  evening-- the very talented American comics artist Phoebe Cohen graciously agreed to illustrate this blog. Phoebe Cohen is a graphic novelist, artist and illustrator in Florida. She runs the website and has a blog at She is currently collaborating with Nancy Miller on the graphic novelization of Ms. Miller's book: "Memoirs of a Copycat."

Laydeez Presents Three Creators at the October Event...

Lucy Lyons, artist 

“Drawing my way to understanding” is the way medical researcher Lucy Lyons describes what she does.  Her occupation, drawing people and the human anatomy in various forms of sickness and health is “drawing research.” She spent five years studying and drawing examples of a rare disease in which a person’s muscle and connective tissue turn to bone, known as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive (FOP), and her drawings are often used in academic lectures to help understand the condition.
She has also begun to create what she calls “story drawings,” which draw on her wide experience of different medical situations. 

While exploring aging in Denmark, Lyons rendered arthritic hands with a beauty that even an old woman ashamed of her arthritis was able to see in her sketch, she recalled.  Lyons reminded us that this art form has a venerable tradition going back to the 16th century. Flemish physician Andreas Vesalius’ influential book on anatomy was illustrated with woodcuts by Titian pupil Jan Stephen Van Calcar. One of the most famous woodcuts shows a skeleton standing in a lifelike pose of grief, a “weeping skeleton.” Medicine could not be understood without drawing, 19th century pathologist Sir Robert Carswell believed. Yet his sketches went far beyond the clinical. “You can feel this man’s pain,” Lyons said of Carswell’s sympathetic portrayal of a man with subcutaneous cancer. And his portrait of an impoverished woman with an extreme form of the skin disease psoriasis gave the woman “her dignity,” Lyons observed, pointing to the personal detail of the earring she wore. In much the same way, Lyons’ sketches of elderly Danes reflect a quiet dignity.

Fay Trier, writer
 Fay Trier is a writer of monologues and short stories who has entered the comic art form by collaborating with artists for the drawing part. “When I used to write, I held on too long” to a piece of prose before letting it go to publication, she said. But working with an artist and a deadline “makes me get past myself.” Trier usually tells the artist what images she wants to go into each panel, as well as the words. “I’m very conscious of how I want the final piece to look,” she said. But she acknowledged she is more open to artists’ suggestions about arranging the panels than she once was. “I’m getting better at allowing my work not to be (only) mine anymore,” she said.
 My favorite comics title was “The Aspiration for Perfect Hair,” inspired, by Trier’s participation in a focus group for L’Oreal. Trier has also experimented with fables in comic form. In one, a character rolls a rock uphill Sisyphus-like. (Question: How long should you keep trying? Moral: “Until.”) A recent comic of hers set in London will be featured in Ink+Paper [].

Simon Grennan, artist
Simon Grennan, who has collaborated with American artist Christopher Sperandio since 1990, is the artist of the evening who most defies definition. The unifying theme of this team’s work, as Grennan described it, is that “We’ve invited people to do stuff they don’t (normally) do.” This has ranged from inviting workers at a Chicago NestlĂ© factory to design their own chocolate bar to compiling the stories of New York City’s nighttime workers into comic book form. The comic book, “The Invisible City,” supported like most of their other work by foundation grants, was then distributed free in the New York subway.

My favorite cover came from their comic book “Modern Masters,” based on stories from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the gallery P.S. 1 in New York City. “Modern Art Made Her Sick!” accompanies a pop art-style picture of a woman hiding her eyes. “She couldn’t bear to look!”
The artist team is currently developing illustrations for a comic book based on a novel by Anthony Trollope. The renderings, including one of a drawing room, looked very inviting with their style reminiscent of 19th century book illustrations. But I’m not sure I’m even allowed to compliment the artistry. As Grennan told us, he and Sperandio have now developed a set of rules so that ANYONE can draw like them.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Laydeez do comics BRISTOL August 2012

I am Nick Soucek, a comics artist and I was the guest blogger for the Bristol Laydeez do comics which took place in August at Kino Cafe in Bristol. Here is what happened...
The guest speakers were: Paula Knight, Nicola Streeten, Sarah Lightman, Andrew Godfrey and Emma Mould, Simon Moreton and Katie Green.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

September 2012 Laydeez do Comics

I am Lucy Dale, this month's guest blogger. I have recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University and I am working on my graphic novel. You can see examples of my work at

The first guest was artist Louise Crosby

Next up was artist Louisa Parker
The final guest of the evening was illustrator and
comics artist Richy K. Chandler

Friday, 21 September 2012

August 2012 Laydeez do Comics

August's guest blogger was graphic designer and illustrator, Seleem, who produced these wonderful visual recordings of the meeting. To see more of Seleem's work visit his website:
The evening began with a question about euphemisms and lyrics...

The first guests in August were Selina Lock and Jay Eales, publishers of anthology, The Girly Comic Visit their website to see what they do. They talked about how their project developed and has grown into books of the anthology collections. They also talked about their involvement with Captions in Oxford, an annual small press convention.

The next guest was artist Lily Mae martin, who had come over from Berlin where she is currently based. She keeps a diary blog about her time in Berlin and it includes her drawings and artworks.

The final guest was Hannah Berry, illustrator, comics artist and author of Britten and Brulightly who was talking about her new fantastic new graphic novel Adamtine

Monday, 13 August 2012

July 2012: Laydeez do Toronto!

JULY 25, 2012
A visual report by MK Czerwiec and Mita Mahato.

The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto served as a wonderful venue for the event.

After opening social time, Nicola called the room to order with the club gong.

Past-President and historian of the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto, Margaret McBurney, welcomed us to the venue. She stated that though the club had been founded in 1908, women were not granted admission until 1985.

After an audience introduction exercise, in which those in attendance told a cab story or a family secret signal story, ROSALIND PENFOLD presented her work on Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like.  She had an apron hanging from her waist.  By the end of her talk, it was draped on her shoulders, superhero cape style!

LESLEY FAIRFIELD spoke next about her book, Tyranny, which is a memoir of her long struggle with an eating disorder. “I wanted to make the kind of book I wish I’d had” she said.

NICOLA STREETEN spoke about her varied career as an illustrator, which included the creation of her graphic memoir, Billy, Me, & You. “Take risks and maintain integrity,” she said.

Before hearing from the remaining speakers, we had a social break with delicious cake.
When we reconvened, SARAH LIGHTMAN presented her work, opening by telling us that “Intellectual analysis and empathy are not an either/or thing.” She showed two short animations she had created.
SANDRA BELL-LUNDY then told humorous stories surrounding the syndication of her strip, Between Friends.  She talked through a number of episodes from the strip and had the audience in stitches.
Closing out the evening, NATALIE PENDERGAST, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, shared work from her dissertation.  She is studying comics that feature women’s coming-of-age stories and representations of virginity loss.

Many distinguished comics lovers were in attendance at the event. One of them was reporter Cinders McCleod. She created and promoted this special Laydeez-inspired article in the August 11th Toronto Globe & Mail. 
Yay Cinders!

Thanks, Laydeez for an absolutely unforgettable evening.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

May 2012 Laydeez do comics

I am David Jesus Vignolli, I was the guest blogger for May. I am a comics artist and you can see more of my work HERE
Aneurin Wright
Nancy K. Miller

Nick Abadzis

Isobel Williams

Sunday, 29 April 2012

April 2012 Laydeez do Comics

With thanks to our guest blogger this April, who is Ottilie Hainsworth. Her work is at Click on the images below to enlarge them.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

March 2012 Laydeez do Comics

My Name is Robin Barnard. Have a look at my own blog here.  I am this month's guest blogger for Laydeez Do Comics
This month we were treated to a group of new and very promising creative talents in the form of the London Print Studio Comics Collective Karrie Fransman writer and artist of The House That Groaned introduced the Collective in her role as Youth Arts Co-ordinator. The London Print Studio is a charitable organisation and funded this project, selecting six 20 - 21 year old creative talents from hundreds of applicants to offer them a six month internship. During this time, the successful applicants were encouraged to develop their work and as part of the experience each member hosted workshops with children aged 16-18. This Project is one I think we all at the Laydeez would say is both inspirational and very much a necessity and it is great to see people being given a chance to let their creativity grow and shine in such a positive way.
The collective have produced between them a fantastic anthology called Parallel Lives, published by Knockabout Pre-order here
The first member of the collective to present was 
Abraham does comics which by his own admission seem to feature himself naked - one wonders if this a metaphor for how exposed a creator may feel when sharing something personal to them. Abraham also does semi autobiographic comic strips with an avatar of himself wearing a cape (masking himself safely underneath a veil), in normally mundane or normal situations - He has even has done a strip about his visit to the Laydeez
Abraham’s Contribution to Parallel Lives is a sample chapter from his big graphic novel project - which depicts the last day on earth an earth with super heroes, but with these heroes powerless to do anything to avert the impending disaster - what will these do - the sample chapter depicts a man trying to make up for lost time and some broken promises to his girlfriend (possibly wife) but ends up missing her entirely. What appealed to me most about Abraham’s work was its honesty, a true and raw edged graphic depiction of Abrahams' own sensibilities. Abrham has already found his voice, stays true to this and has a interesting way of looking at things which will make his work stand out.
The next member of the collective to present was 

Jade drew a Laydeez blog entry for the December 2011 meeting which was both beautiful and inspiring in its design. Jade does a popular web comic, which she currently updates around once a month.
Jade did a self published graphic novel adaptation of The Tragedy of Antony & Cleopatra, completed for her final year of university. The project was heavily inspired by the Manga Shakespeare series, and re-sets the story in the 1920’s. Her contribution to Parallel Lives is a sample of Siddown, Jade's work in progress graphic novel, set on a train that can travel through time. The story features an unlikely couple who come from completely different time periods but are very much in love. By happenstance the lady who comes from the 1920s ends up coming off the train the same time as her boyfriend - now she is stuck in the future but they are now truly united and look like they will go on to be happy.
Jade has an eye for detail and design which is staggering. She admits to spending a lot of time considering the elements of the page, researching the look and feel, including textures and layouts but all based around strong central characters. All the elements combine together to elevate and to take the emotions and depiction of the story into many interesting places and Jade is also able to diversify with her styles bringing something different and unique to each project. 
The next member of the collective to present was 
Lily combines the use of a wide range of materials and methods to make her creations, from the traditional ink and paper, collage and even hand sewn or stitched images. Lily made a “rather silly comic”for the  anthology Science Fiction Octuple Feature and made an adaptation of Gormenghast.
Lily is now working on Born Secular  Which she says comes from a song from the album Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins. It also refers to the condition of the majority of young people living in the UK today. Lily’s contribution to Parallel Lives is Ham Sandwiches, a story set in a school about an alienated young woman who discovers a friend in the most unlikely of places and in the most unlikely person, it is warmly written with well defined and rich characters.
Lily is a complete innovator when it comes to choosing what to make a comic with and how and has a fantastic attraction to material textures colours and paints all lending themselves towards depicting the story in a very unique and rich way, Lily's work is literally tactile.
During the every popular mid session break, I took the opportunity to try and speak to these creators in person. 
I was also treated to a display of original art by another contributor to Parallel Lives, Taymah Anderson, one of the younger workshop attendees who has great sensibilities in both storytelling and line work providing a unique and fresh perspective.
After the break the next member of the collective to present was
Shamisa is Belgian, a country that embraces the graphic medium and treats its as a serious art form she started with illustrations but wanted to make a sequential narrative. She describes her style as “clear line but with a lot of colour.” Shamisa is in the process of making a graphic novel based on her life and family called The Wanderer which she describes as “Two generations that collide in their search for the ‘other one'. A poetic atmosphere and personal words bind the two stories together.”
Shamisa’s contribution to Parallel Lives is Casual Conversations, a chance meeting between a woman and the man she has a casual fling with (not that he realises it). The depiction of the woman featured has to be one of the most real and honest characters I have seen.
Shamisa has a unique and personal fine line style which is combined with a very interesting use of colours, abstracted to the images almost like separate shapes / shadows suggesting layers of story.
The next member of the collective to present was 

Merlin made 26 cars each showing a different art style (For example, Futurism, Cubism, Expressionism) after teaching herself how to draw each style. She has done some superbly detailed etched book illustration work for children's publishers and also made a massive baby sperm whale made of 100s of drawn squid for the Cork Street Open Exhibition as well as drawing myths such as the MINOTAUR. Merlin admitted she can be very demanding of herself in making beautiful creations yet really enjoyed an experiment of doing a complete drawing in just one sitting.
Merlin’s current project and also her contribution to Parallel Lives is taking famous love letters and adapting them into a graphic narrative - Parallel Lives features the love letter Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to Josephine, days before he went into battle. This piece of work is simply stunningly beautiful, taking the text into places far beyond the mere words themselves and deep into the feelings that are hidden in-between the lines and words of every sentence transposing emotion into heartfelt reality on the page in texture and form.
The final member of the collective to present was 
Susan Yan Mach

Susan also contributed to a beautifully made Laydeez blog entry for last month's meeting in February. She sees the graphic medium as a conduit for universal communication in illustration without language and has a very great sense of graphic depiction. Susan is British Chinese and interested in sharing some her cultural heritage. She creates and writes comics exploring Chinese mythology and folklore. 
Susan shared her contribution to Parallel Lives which is called Hungry Ghost Festival a ritual which is similar to Halloween but lasts an entire month. In the story she depicts a Chinese man born and bred in the West who is completely unfamiliar with any of his heritage or ancestral customs and puts him right in the middle of the Hungry Ghost Festival where his cultural ignorance makes him wonder what kind of mad place he has gone to (Comparing the experience to The Blair Witch Project)
The style and technique used are equally a unique fusion of styles both magna and westernised methods of storytelling, all beautifully depicted. I love that although the lead character is a surly and uneducated teenager, his heart is still very much in the right place and despite the crazy goings on, he still tries to make an (admittedly misguided) attempt to save someone.
In conclusion the collective learnt from each other as a group, severing as inspiration, help and a sounding board for each other, each pushing the others on with their beautifully creative output. All of the collective I would imagine feel both very lucky and proud to have shared such an experience and have possibly even surprised themselves with the things they have managed to do and the experiences that they shared.
One hopes to hear or see from this talented group in the future in ways that we here at the Laydeez could only begin to guess at - one thing's for certain it will certainly be a very interesting future indeed.