It's that time of the year when best of lists fill blogs, websites, newspapers and every other possible space in western human consciousness so i thought i'd add to the hubbub with my favourite graphic novels of the year. These are books I've read this year, not ones that have necessarily been published this year. Funds are tight so every purchase is carefully thought through.
So, in no particular order, here's my top 10.
10) Seconds ~ Bryan Lee O'Malley
An odd, magical book that feels flawed but i couldn't tell you why. The take of a young chef and restauranteur trying to rewrite her life with the help of some magical mushrooms. A slightly cynical hipster romance with the heart of a quality hollywood romcom.
9) shackleton's Journey ~ William Grill
Living in a borderland between comic and picturebook, this is just a lovely artifact. This is why books will survive in an electronic age. Thought has gone into every aspect of this book, from cover design to the texture of the paper and the style of binding. Add that to a gripping true story, beautifully told and illustrated in coloured pencil and you have an irresistable book.
8) The Little Prince ~ Joann Sfarr and Antoine D'Expury
7) Henri's walk to Paris ~ Saul Bass and Leonore Klein
6) The Wolves of Currumvaugh ~ William Grill
5) Dragons beware ~ Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre
4) Audobon ~ Fabien Grolleau and Jeremie Royer
3) Night Lights ~ Lorena Alverez
2) The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow ~ jim Henson and Roger Langridge
1) The Amateur Astronomer's journal ~ Neil Slorance
These are the books I've enjoyed most in 2016. These were the ones demanding near immediate rereading. These are the ones I've recommended and lent out.
Christmas is coming and chasing close behind is New Year and all the soulsearching that goes with it. Every year i try journalling in an effort to achieve the kind of results that journalling promises. Usually i fail after a week or two, unable to sustain the momentum. So i sat down, put on my metaphorical thinking bobble hat and gave it some thought. For me the purpose of journalling is like a private status update. Am i moving forward? If i've set goals have i achieved them? All that kind of stuff. How to assess tbat? Well i had an idea, like a journal/annual ser ice mash up. I call it a seven day journal. It is a ho e made convertina book with 7 pages. The back cover highlights a small number of goals or areas i want to work on. I journal for seven days with a focus on these points. I establish a baseline. I then put away the journal and diary a reminder for the same time next year. Next year repeat and compare with the current one. Aduzt goal etc. if
I've been out of the small press game long enoughto forget the fun of the more craft intensive parts. I spent last night collating and stapling comics while watching tv. There's a long tradition of
As i said, nothing is ever forgotten. Possibly as much as ten years ago I came up with the title "September Roads". I had no idea what to do with it but i really liked it and tucked it away in a back drawer of my brain.
working through the paintings that made up my narrative map of Telegraph Rd i decided to redraw them, rework the text and turn them into a mini comic.it took a few days to turn them into pen and wash drawings and a few more to reqork the text but fairly quickly I had a mini comic with no title. Thats when September Roads came back to me. it was the perfect title for a atory about paths that took place in September. i was ready to go. Now I gave printed copues run off my lap top printer trimmed and waiting to be stapled alongside four other stories. Pretty much a happy ending.
Things happen, stuff goes wrong. I wanted to make a mini comic of my woodlands walk. I redid the artwork, rewrote the text, scanned it and laid out the pages in Publisher. Then i printed off a copy to check it through and realised i had made several errors in the text and even put two text boxes around the wrong way. This is why an editor, or just another set of eyes, can be useful. When you've spent a lot of time on a project you cslan get too close. You can see what should be there instead of what is actuaaly
A story of the organic nature of the creative process.
On my fiftieth birthday, midweek and everyone at school or work, I decided to take a walk in the woods. Telegraph Woods in West End is a small public woodland not far from where I live. I'd only visited it once before and found it full of dog walkers but with a certain charm. Armed with my travel tin of paint, paper, pencils and pens I parked up and spent two hours walking the perimeter of the woodland, painting and drawing as I went.
At the end of it I had 12 little paintings, a head full of thoughts and a desire to do something with them. I was becoming interested in the stories told by the landscape, the marks left by man and how maps had turned from things of beauty that told stories about here be dragons to practical items that tell us about sea level and roads. with all that in mind, about a year later, I thought I'd try my hand at turning them into a narrative map.
The narrative map was an interesting but flawed experiment, at least the result was flawed because it filed my key requirement of any narrative work, it had to be possible to reproduce it. So it went back to the back burner again. Coming soon, what happened next.
Well here we go again. My third attempt at pulling everything together on a website. This time I think I've got the right set up and I'm really getting happy with how it looks. It's a work in progress as I try and pull together old, new and work in progress to fill the pages. Blog posts too as I explore my thoughts on creativity along with the occasional review of books, films and other goodies.