Loneliness of the Long Distance Graphic Novelist

Here we are in March already.
I had good intentions to blog in February but my focus was on finishing 30 pages of my graphic novel “Elsie Harris Picture Palace“. This I achieved and now thankfully I can come up for some air before moving on to the next thrilling instalment.
And so I come to a fork in the road, blog wise. At this point I will now be blogging in two sections. One will be my day to day musings, happenings etc. but the bulk of my log will be concerning my book which you can find in the Elsie section.
The Encyclopedia Of Early Earth
I did have some play to balance the work in the last couple of months. I went along to the January edition of Laydeez do Comics, always an interesting and convivial affair. One of the speakers was a graphic facilitator… an occupation I had never come across before. Penelope Mendonca explained to us the uses of this corporate/creative exercise whilst tending to her two year old daughter who was up there on the podium with Mum. Graphic facilitating involves recording and enlivening a forum with drawings, visual shorthand and words. It was therefore no surprise that Penelope is ‘drawing’ on this experience to create a graphic novel about single mothers and absent fathers. The work is a combination of social documentation and fiction, addressing the issues that single mothers by choice or otherwise face. She was very generous in sharing her processes and advised anyone who might be interested in entering the field to look up websites on Graphic Facilitation courses. It is used in business meetings, government forums… all kinds of platforms where visual recording can stimulate engagement with challenging subjects.
Isabel Greenberg was also on the podium to share her brilliant “Encyclopedia of Early Earth” published By Jonathan Cape. Her retelling of world myths done in woodcut style is humorous, quirky and beautiful to look at. She also showed us some decorated plates, reclaimed from an aunt’s china collection, which she sells on Etsy. It was interesting that she had entered the Jonathan Cape short story competition a couple of times which shows great tenacity, a quality need to endure the demands of creating a full length work.
I also went to a screening at Gosh Comics of Daniel James Baldwin‘s “Comics are my Rock and Roll“, a documentary about two guys mounting an international small press comic convention. The documentary was really entertaining with its protagonist Jimmy showing a passion for a career that financially has set him way behind peers from his schooldays but the satisfaction he gets from creating far outweighs the security of a nine to five job. The documentary was more a human interest story than an analysis of comic process which made it more engaging on a universal level. I’ve just pledged some money to the Kickstarter campaign for a documentary film about women in comics called “She Makes Comics” because I would love to see even more films about the comics industry.
In my next blog I move away from comics and onto my other passion… old films!

About Jessica

Jessica Martin is a multi-talented performer whose career has taken her from comedy impressionist to musical theatre leading lady and scriptwriter.
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