Showing posts with label Sarah Howell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sarah Howell. Show all posts

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 in Review: Sarah Howell

Sarah Howell

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?

It has been a massive year when it comes to comics stuff for me, there have been lots of great times, but if I have to name a handful they would be: starting Squishface Studio; starting the Ladies Drawing Auxiliary talk series at Squishface; teaching cartooning on a weekly basis; meeting Bill Messner-Leobs (co-writer of The Maxx) and his wife at a very pleasant comics meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Dave (Blumenstein) giving John Porcellino a copy of my comic when he met him at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.
Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?

Organising Ladies drawing Auxiliary has introduced me to a pile of new creators that I wasn't aware of, or only knew a little bit about: Scarlette Baccini, Lily Mae Martin, Lee Lai, Megan Nairn, Leonie V. Brialey, Kate Moon, Adi Firth, Rebecca Hayes, Katie Houghton-Ward, and Lindsay C. Walker.
Also I read Jason Franks' work for the first time. I picked up The Sixsmiths from him at Sticky's Festival of the Photocopier. The Sixsmiths made me laugh and it captures the feeling of suburban Melbourne really well.

Probably my favorite international find was Englishman Luke Pearson. I read his Hilda and the Midnight Giant earlier in the year, and then picked up Everything We Miss from his publisher Nobrow Press while in Toronto. There is an influence from Chris Ware in Pearson's work, but his obvious love of the mythic makes his stories far more entertaining and moving for me.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2012?

I watched Wings of Desire again, mostly so Dave could see Peter Falk in it. I came home the next evening to find Dave listening to the Director's commentary, which was fascinating. The film wasn't scripted, Wim Wenders had a framework of the opening poem and the idea of the angels wandering around Berlin (this is before the wall comes down), but everything else is pretty much improvised. I found his comments resonated with my own preferred way of working.

Breaking Bad. I find Breaking Bad emotionally very affecting. Dave often watches it late at night before bed and I have to put ear plugs in because it agitates me too much before trying to sleep. Again we listened to the director and cast commentary and it is very inspiring, the amount and quality of thought and intention that goes into achieving the emotional tension of the show.

Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?

Research and writing a script! I mostly drew silent comics in the past and never enjoyed writing a script because for me the images always develop first in my mind, so I would thumbnail script. Last year I found myself inspired to do a historical comic and started researching. I was confident that I could just thumbnail script again, and was quite resistant to writing one, but as my research notes progressed I just got to a point where I realised for clarity and speed I needed to write the sequences and dialogue out. Now I'm really enjoying the process.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

More Squishface adventures, particularly Ladies Drawing Auxiliary. Mini Comic of the Month Club. Getting all nerdy at the National Archives and Old Parliament House in Canberra with the aim of getting a good chunk of my graphic novel done. Dave's comic about a fictional cult leader.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Minicomics of the Month - Andrew Fulton Interview

Melbourne cartoonist and Smaller Comics Capo Andrew Fulton has launched Minicomic of the Month an initiative to get Australian comics into the hands of readers that might not otherwise be able to find them.

I asked Andrew a few questions about Minicomic of the Month and the folk involved.

If I recall rightly this is the second year of Minicomic of the Month (MOTM)? What was the initial response like? What has it been like this time?

Yeah this is the second time we are doing this - the first one Pat Grant kicked off in 2009. You can still see his original pitch here: I got an email one day asking if I wanted to be in it. At that point I had been doing the webcomic for a while but really hadn't done much physical printing of stuff. I think I might have been in a Tango? It ended up being the first proper mini I actually made and stapled for real.

What inspired the use of a subscription format for getting your comics to prospective readers?

The first time sold out pretty much overnight, so the response was great. I think this time it has been a little slower, but still a great response, and spread a bit wider too - we have a larger percentage of international subscribers this time around, which is great.

Not sure that I can answer directly to 'inspiration' as I have just stolen Pat's idea, but I think the subscription is a great way to spread work around. It's a pretty cheap up front cost from people, there's a sort of energy and excitement that's different from buying something in a store. And people probably get a mix of things from people whose work they know, and some they are less familiar with. And just on a practical level it helps keeps costs down - you know exactly how many you need to print, you don't end up with the World's Saddest Cupboard, Overflowing With Unsold Books.


Are the mini-comics in a uniform format? Are the physical comics produced by each individual creator?

Initially I had thought to do a uniform format, and kind of centralise the production and logistics of things to make it a bit easier. But in the early stages of discussion we decided that that took a little bit of the magic out of it. Part of the fun is that someone is making this little minicomic with mostly their bare hands, stapling it up and licking the stamps. There's a personal connection there.

Is the subscription model for MOTM set at a limited run? Will each installment of Minicomic of the month be mailed from the individual creators?

Yeah, we are planning to limit the subscriptions. We kind of agreed on 100 being the most we wanted to have to physically put together and mail. I don't really want it to become a burden, but also I also know it sold out super quick the first time around and a lot of people missed out.

And yeah, each month the individual is responsible for getting it together and mailing it out - although a large chunk of us are in Melbourne so we could get together for a stapling party or two.

 Australian Cartoonists in America: Caravan of Comics

Did you take anything from your experiences on the Caravan of Comics from the American indy/alt/minicomic scene that could be applied to Australia?

The Caravan was probably the biggest inspiration for getting this thing rolling again, and kind of sustain that momentum of getting Australian Comics out into the world. It's kind of a downer but one of the big things I "took" from the Caravan was a reminder of how far away we are from everything. There's a much larger audience for our work that it's not all that easy to connect with from here, Facebook and Twitter and all that aside - $5 shipping on a $3 or whatever is kind of a hard sell. And I guess even worse if someone wants one of my books and one of yours, that's even worse maths. I think I may have lost my point in here. I guess it's maybe that giving people a single point Get a bunch of things from different people at once is a way to combat that? But then, in some ways the answer to that is digital distribution- sensibly we should be doing something like this as ebooks or whatever? Forget about distance. But that comes back to what I was saying about magic. It's the personal touch or whatever that makes a project like this work.

Some of the creators involved in MOTM have books published through large above ground publishers, What do you think is the appeal in producing comics at a minicomic scale?

You'd probably have to ask someone like Pat or Mandy, but again I think it is about the personal touch, about being able to do something quickly and send it out directly to your audience. It's not something you have to spend years toiling over, it's quick, dirty and fun.

Images © 2012 respective artists.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Drawn From Life

With more than a dozen events involving cartoonists in the Melbourne Writers Festival this year the expanding presence of Cartoonists has seen the production of a cartoon newspaper featuring 27 local and international cartoonists. Oslo Davis edited and produced the project and answered a few questions for me about Drawn From Life.

What was the print run of Drawn From Life?

35,000. We handed out 12,000 at 6 train stations on the morning of Friday the 26th of August, and the rest were handed out and picked up at the Melbourne Writers Festival at Fed Square and ACMI.

Were there any difficulties in coordinating the twenty-seven cartoonists featured in Drawn From Life?
Not really, there were some people who were too busy to be involved, but mostly I got who I wanted and everyone got their work in on time. A couple struggled with the concept, and I left my own contribution to the last minute so felt under the pump a bit, but we all worked through it.

I really enjoyed working with everyone, especially the extremely talented Colombian Diego Patino who did the cover - that was a very important part to get right.

With the expanding presence of local and international cartoonists in the Melbourne Writers Festival program do you think Drawn From Life could become a regular fixture?

Many people have asked if this could become more regular, but I am not sure if I could be the one to continue it. Not that I haven't enjoyed it, mind, but I need to step away from it for a while. Also, it will depend on funding and sponsorship.

What was the response to the distribution of Drawn From Life on selected train routes in Melbourne?
Very good. People came to the stations looking for it. Most were surprised to get it (in many cases it was thrust into their hands so they didn't have a choice!). There was no one 'type' of person who took a copy: everyone from students to business men to old people to housewives (or at least people who were dressed like housewives, whatever housewives dress like ...) took a copy and read it.

How did you go about selecting contributors for Drawn From Life? and what was the lead in time?
I had the luxury of a lot of time to select the artists I wanted in Drawn From Life. I came up with a 'hit list' and then worked with Steve Grimwade and the staff at the Melbourne Writers Festival to refine the list and contact the artists. I was in the fortunate position of choosing people whose work I liked, and those whose work I wanted to see more of, hence the mixed-bag nature of it all. Obvious I have been a fan of Bruce Petty and Ron Tandberg for many years, but I was also keen to see them alongside some up-and-comings and little-knowns, like Rebecca Hayes and picnick.

Interview conducted via email September 2011

Drawn From Life Contributors

Sarah Howell    Bruce Mutard     Fiona Katauskas    Jon Kudelka     Mandy Ord     Andrew Joyner    Judy Horacek
Matthew Martin    Jo Waite

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inherent Vice

 The NGV Studio

From July 16th - Aug 14th, Eight Melbourne Cartoonists have recreated their studios in the NGV Studio for five weeks of intensive cartooning. Mandy Ord, Ben Hutchings, Sarah Howell, Michael Hawkins, Simon Hanselman, Michael P. Fikaris, Pat Grant and Rebecca Clements have all inhabited the NGV's Atrium for the last few weeks with an open studio space allowing visitors to come see them work and chat about their projects. Amongst the drawing tables and art supplies the artist's have personal libraries of inspiration, Individual displays of work in progress, and the large far wall is a collage of pages of comics, paraphernalia, gig and exhibition posters and work from other Melbourne cartoonists.

 Simon Hanselman

 Simon Hanselman's Megg Mogg & Owl

 Simon Hanselman's Casper
The NGV gallery space was created to engage with artists that would not normally have involvement with a large metropolitan gallery. Curated by Beckett Rozentals, Inherent Vice is the second residency since the creation of the studio.
 Pillar behind Ben Hutching's drawing table
Pat Grant

  Original pages of Pat Grant's Blue

Aug 4th saw a well attended 24 - hour comic marathon with a colour copying machine primed and ready at the far end of the studio. Rebecca Clements took it one step further producing a 36 - hour comic.

Come Inside My Body by Rebecca Clement - Click on pic for more info and to get your own copy

 Ben Hutching's Handball Heaven reaches to the Heavens


Ord's Space

Michael Hawkins

Ben Hutchings

Comics Wall