Laydeez Do Comics! They do indeed. If you’re not already familiar with it, LDC is a women-led forum for left-field comic creators to present what they do, why they do it, and how. Set up in 2009 by Nicola Streeton and Sarah Lightman, it’s a graphic novel salon where creators, academics and comic readers join to showcase and discuss this marvellous medium.
Hosted by illustrator Paula Knight in Foyle’s bookshop, Bristol’s Monday night event (8/4/13) featured Rosie Faragher, creator of children’s comic LOAf Magazine; Joff Winterhart, cartoonist of Days of Bagold Summer; and Hannah Berry, graphic novelist known for Britten & Brülightly and Adamtine.
First up was Rosie Faragher, presenting the brilliantly put together LOAf Magazine– a comic targeted at 9-12 year olds. She discussed the driving force behind creating a magazine for this very specific age bracket and introduced us to work by LOAf’s rich ensemble of contributors. The talk made me reflect on the media that is currently available to 9-12 year olds and the importance of this age bracket having their own magazine that is both relevant to them in themes and artful in form.*
Next, Joff Winterhart gave an energetic and amusing account of the development process behind his debut graphic novel Days of Bagnold Summer. We were given glimpses into his exquisitely chaotic way of working- evocative first sketches, rough storyboards, and comic panels sketched on individual pad sheets. Insights like this are the real beauty of Laydeez Do Comics events. There is something I find most exciting about being granted a peek at work that is in the developmental stage. Seeing Winterheart’s ideas coming to life through his gorgeous progress sketches was a delight.
Finally, accomplished graphic novelist Hannah Berry gave us a charming history of her passion for creating comics. The writer/illustrator of Adamtine and Britten & Brülightly talked us through childhood aspirations (Hannah’s were graphic novelist, fighter pilot or Victorian gentleman, in case you were wondering), a life-long love of comics, and tricking your comics-resistant university tutors into thinking you’ve not made a comic (when you have).
Also, the LDC audience were given a real treat from Berry, in the form of her first ever comic strip ‘Sooper Bird & The Cliff’.
Self Publishing: Hubba, hubba
Alongside the stand of books for sale by speaking creators, there was a space made for creators in attendance to sell their own zines and comics. I picked up Ann and The Majestic by Karoline Achilles and The Summer of Blake Sinclair by Sarah Burgess– both beautiful books. This willingness to make room for newbies is what gives LDC its’ lovely big warm heart.
Joff Winterhart, Hannah Berry and Rosie Faragher are pushing the boundaries of the comics medium and it was a pleasure to hear them sharing thoughts on what spurs them to do what they do. The diversity of the work on show is testament to the fact that comics are a medium, capable of carrying as many infinite messages and genres as prose or film can. (Are you getting this yet, non-comic book people?)
Laydeez Do Comics is a thrilling forum with a grass roots spirit and an atmosphere of encouragement- the perfect place in which to discover and discuss new comics work.
Visit your next Laydeez Do Comics event in Bristol, Leeds, London, Glasgow, Brighton, San Francisco and Chicago.
*Focus on LOAf:
Let’s zoom in on LOAf for a moment now shall we? The transitional time between primary and secondary school is a strange and formative period in a young person’s life and it’s right that media should be specifically catered to people in the 9-12 years range.
The driving force behind LOAf (launched in 2012, by Rosie Faragher and illustrator Becky Palmer) is to engage children who can’t, won’t or don’t read. Rosie Faragher understands the importance of stories, and LOAf magazine proves that work for children that employs the visual as well as words, can be just as sophisticated as prose.
The diverse range of contributors to LOAf includes cartoonists, as well as fine artists and childrens’ picture book illustrators. The result is a sumptuous visual explosion that will have you ooing and ahhing from page to page. The stories are poetic, funny, scary, and remain relevant to the target age range, whilst still being an enjoyable read for all of us bigger children.
The LOAf creators welcome the interaction of their young readers, running workshops and encouraging submissions from readers in the 9-12 age bracket. Look out for LOAf’s second issue ‘Friendship’, coming soon.
Rosa is a cartoonist and illustrator who focuses mainly on producing single page narratives– pictures that tell multiple stories. View her online portfolio at www.rosamiddleton.com and stay tuned for GEEKED Issue Three to see Rosa’s cover illustrations!
**Like what you see? Why not donate and help us bring GEEKED Issue One back to print?**