At the time of writing, I am sitting with a coffee in the rarified surroundings of The Grove Hotel. This is the place that was my weekly ‘office’ for the time that I spent creating “Elsie Harris Picture Palace“. In June 2015 I finished this book… my very first graphic novel.
So now, I have the luxury of actually finishing my coffee before it is stone cold. I am enjoying a rest from the labour of having finished a full length novel in words and pictures and a three month acting engagement in the hit musical “Elf” in the West End.
My last blog entry was nearly a year ago and when I list the activities of the last eleven months, it’s easy to see why!
I have been climbing a mountain. Ignorance is bliss however because if anyone told me I was about to climb a mountain, or do anything that requires long term tenacity and commitment, I might have shirked the idea completely.
Out of interest, I looked up the blog post entitled “The Year of Living Graphically” just to check when I had made my bold mission statement. It was January 28th, 2012. So it has taken me approximately three years and five months to reach my goal of completing and having a graphic novel published. And in that time frame, I also completed two self-published comics, created over 20 individual works reproduced as postcards and prints and collaborated on five other anthologies too.
The work itself was like a mirror of my character’s journey. Elsie starts as a complete ingenue at the start of the story and becomes an apprentice in the film industry, learning her craft on the job. Likewise, I did a whole lot of ‘faking till you make it’ and am indebted to many people who helped and encouraged me on the way.
The three most important people in that process of ‘caterpillar to butterfly’ are Mark Buckingham, my Sensei in everything to do with the Comic Arts, Bob Wakelam, my business partner and support in everything from designing this website to driving me to comic cons and minding the table whilst I chat to the ‘customers’, and Andy Oliver… now the editor in chief at Broken Frontier who has reviewed and supported me so loyally since my first comic “It Girl” came out.
Most of this year has been spent with my head down, getting those pages completed as I hear a galley slave drum beating in my head! The slave driver being myself of course. But throughout the year I had wonderful opportunities to share my work. The last blog was all about my first art exhibition at the Radlett Centre and I had my first solo comic art exhibition at Orbital Comics in late summer, as well as a drawing class themed around “Elsie“.
Will Salmon, the editor at “Comic Heroes” the new relaunched magazine, did an article on the book and my work as well as giving it a glowing, four star review. Olly MacNamee at Bleeding Cool also gave it a wonderful endorsement and Ian White also interviewed me and I got three pages of coverage in “Starburst” magazine.
The book itself took a few months to actually manifest… editing, behind the scenes printer dramas, as various British printers sadly went out of business due to the stiff competition from cheap printers abroad. However,on November 20 2015 “Elsie Harris Picture Palace” was published in beautiful hard bound coffee table glory by Miwk Publications. Matt West and Rob Hammond really did me proud on this production. Full Cream Miwk.
So please drop in again!