BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour live drawing

  I’m lucky enough to have been invited on to Woman’s Hour twice. The first time, in October 2015 I was interviewed by the lovely Jenni Murray about Becoming/Unbecoming. Jenni put me totally at ease, even though I was so nervous I thought I’d forgotten how to speak! The second time in November 2015, I drew along with the studio conversation. The drawings were then tweeted by BBC radio 4 crew. I had been asked to make drawings in response to a studio discussion about what people looked like as part of a feature called Mirror Mirror. However, on the day…

On Sanity: A Book, a zine, a project about mental ill-health.

It’s been a few years since I’ve worked as an artist with groups of people that funding bodies like to refer to as ‘communities’ and it was such a pleasure to return to this kind of work after so many years of isolation in the shed, while working on my book Becoming/Unbecoming and also on my PhD, which I’m supposed to be writing up (sigh!). I’d applied to the arts council with a vague feeling that my application would probably be unsuccessful so I was actually quite surprised to get the money to do the project, but extremely pleased to…

Becoming/Unbecoming at the London Literature Festival

I’m excited to be appearing at the London Literature Festival in October on a panel called The New Experimentalists at the Royal Festival Hall. As an artist I don’t think of myself as belonging to the literature field, even though I love writing, so it’s an interesting departure for me to be taking part in literary events as a result of having my novel length comic published. Experimental is a term that certainly describes the method, the content and my artistic approach to making Becoming/Unbecoming, so I won’t be short of things to say on this subject, however being included…

It’s a book!

I feel like I’ve given birth. I could have gestated three elephants in the time it’s taken to write and draw, but here it is, a book, with a spine and a cover with flaps and everything! It is sitting in neat stacks in the Myriad office, waiting to be launched in September. Of course I am on with other projects now, but I am looking forward to hearing what people think about it, and hoping that at least some people will like it. It’s been well received so far and has some lovely comments from fellow authors and other…

Off to print at last!

My book, Becoming Unbecoming, is almost ready to go off to print. It’s been a long haul and there are still niggly little edits to do, it’s never-ending! I made the first drawing 7 years ago, yes, seven years ago in 2008, when it wasn’t a book but more of an idea forming in the distance. When it started to seem like a book I made the funny little zine in the image, to see what it would look like. I wanted a plain brown paper package, a bit of a feeble joke really, but it works quite well visually I…

Talking the talk

I was asked to participate in my first literary festival, the Sick Festival, a Manchester/Brighton event that states on it’s website that it’s the first festival in the UK dedicated to revealing and debating our most urgent physical, mental and social challenges. There’s some information about my event here: http://www.sickfestival.com/programme/manchester/baring-the-scars-2/ It’s not the first time I’ve spoken in public about my book (and I don’t suppose it will be the last) but there’s a certain irony in having to do this kind of event, because there’s a reason my book is a graphic novel. If it was possible for me to…

The Legacy of Artemisia, or Why Should We Care That Someone Was Raped

  The Comics Forum is a two day academic conference that runs alongside Thought Bubble in Leeds. The forum topic for 2014 was Violence. My presentation seemed to go down well and unusually, there were lots of questions and discussion during question time (typically people ask me questions individually, in private, after any talk I’ve given) perhaps because I was part of a panel on sexual violence so the audience felt more comfortable about asking questions. I haven’t posted on here for a while so I thought I’d post the whole thing, images and notes. Hope you find it interesting….

Drawing, illustrating, doodling, whatever you call it, it’s hard work

When I first started trying to make comics I really wasn’t sure how to do it. Approaches to making comics are so varied that it wasn’t really possible to develop my own methods by looking at other people’s work, I just had to get on and do it and work it out as I went along. Of course the brilliant thing about drawing is that it doesn’t matter how you do it, it’s a drawing, it can be practically anything and still be brilliant. Some people make a virtue out of ‘bad’ drawing, which can be wonderful and very funny…

How it all became

In 2004, I read a book that I should have read 15 years earlier when it was published, Misogynies by Joan Smith. It blew my mind. I had read some books on violence and lots of feminism but here, suddenly, in a collection of essays, was the reassurance I needed that the hostility, hatred and disgust I perceived towards me as a child was not just in my head and that I might be perfectly justified in feeling angry about it. Two essays in particular: Crawling From The Wreckage and There’s Only One Yorkshire Ripper reminded me so strongly of…