Thought Bubble 2018 runs 17th – 23rd September!

Intro & Outro by thoughtbubblefestival
18/11/2011, 4:41 pm
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Day five has come and with it the close of my time spent with Matthew Sheret in residence at the Central Library.

Our comic is drafted, six pages brewing. Today I have been working on the visual development of our central character.

So, it gives me much pleasure to introduce her to you as we depart. An exchange of people (factual and fictional) to barter with the melancholy of goodbyes.

Say hello to Wendy Lewis…

The completed comic will feature in next year’s Thought Bubble Anthology. With a little inking, colouring and waiting the time will fly and Wendy’s adventure will be told.

So for now I’d just like to say a heartfelt thank you to Lisa and Clark for asking me to be Artist in Residence. It’s been an amazing week. All-time Number 1.
Matt was the perfect choice as writer, an incredibly talented gentleman. His skills with words, narrative and ideas have been a privilege to see in action. I am a language junkie, and he is the language master.

Onwards to the Con. I hope to see you there!

Day four: teaching, talking and thanks by Matt Sheret
18/11/2011, 10:39 am
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We had a fair few visitors yesterday, all eager to talk comics with Kristyna and myself. Sadly the school workshops we had planned this week fell through, but it’s still been a pleasure to chat to people about what we’re up to when they’ve popped in.

Yesterday’s search for an interesting table set up was a success – drop by the Thought Bubble Convention to see it in action – and Kristyna’s work on character designs continued well into the evening. The comic’s coming along splendidly.

On top of that I’ve been gearing up for the academic conference tonight, gathering my thoughts on materiality in comics, the future of comics and what more I can do as a writer and publisher to achieve that future. Lofty ambitions and subjects for a panel, sure, but I have faith that Tim Dant and Tom Humberstone can take us there.

This residency has been five fabulous days. Being given the opportunity to think about comics and stories without anything else to bother me has been a treat, to say the least. Huge thanks to Lisa and Clark from Thought Bubble for having us, and to Nabil and the Travelling Man crew for making our time out of the library so much fun.

You’ll see our comic in next year’s Thought Bubble Anthology, although if I’m very very lucky I might get a chance to work with Kristyna at some point before then.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the convention floor!

I’m all thumbs and nails by thoughtbubblefestival
17/11/2011, 3:04 pm
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I’ve expended many inches of 0.5mm pencil lead in the past 2 days. Between collecting, snapping, writing and scribbling we have somehow jettisoned a thumbnailed rough of our comic.

Still without title, our story now structurally exists over 6 pages…

I feel quite self-conscious publicly sharing this part of my process. It’s rough, ugly and completely indecipherable to anyone but me. I hope these scrawls read as artistic shorthand and not mind-melting mayhem.


Day three: TEA! by Matt Sheret
17/11/2011, 12:42 pm
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Last night Kristyna and I had the pleasure of Dr Geof Banyard’s company. To readers Geof’s best known for his comic Fetishman, but to any UK convention attendee Geof will be ‘the unbelievably friendly guy with the awesome display cases and vintage trunks on his table’.

As a trader, I find a lot to love in Geof’s approach to shows. I’m very used to seeing people sat somewhat vacantly behind tables – often the same people who will complain loudly about not selling very much stuff. There are also a healthy number of people who really engage with passers by, even those who won’t buy things from the stall. Timothy Winchester is a force of nature at these things, and Kieron Gillen‘s patter during his Phonogram days was a sight to see.

But Geof brings something different. He really dresses his table and his stock up, and turns the stall into a little spectacle. People are intrigued by the set up, and very quickly get sucked into the beautiful collection of work he brings to events up and down the country.

He’s also an avid drinker of tea. Geof will be bringing a museum of artefacts from his fictional organisation The First Tea Company to the Royal Armories Hall for this weekend’s show, which will be a treat for all.

All this has inadvertently persuaded me to go looking for a few things to make the Paper Science table look a bit more dynamic at Thought Bubble. As Kristyna finishes up her thumbnails and starts drafting our comic I’ll be perusing the scrap shops of Leeds to find just the right thing for my newspapers.

Because being engaging at shows like Thought Bubble is incredibly important. Whether that’s through displays or conversation, doing anything to make people a little bit warmer about comics and their creators is entirely worthwhile.

Day two: Reference by Matt Sheret
16/11/2011, 11:40 am
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We have a story. We’re in a library, surrounded by stories, so in many respects getting a story was the easy part. Yesterday was spent getting two days of conversation and plotting into a lean, seven-page first draft. Heaven help the spell-checker.

We finished the job this morning, scrambling up to our spot in the library and tapping out the final few captions. As I type, Kristyna’s redrafting her thumbnails, scoping out space we might have for extra panels and marginalia, as well as those moments where I might have crammed a little too much in.

After which comes the hard part. We’re casing the joint for neat reference shots as well as fonts and copywriting styles. Kristyna’s been soaking up some of the building’s unique offerings for an illustrator, while I keep burying my nose old books because they’re just Too Damn Interesting.

If I’m honest, I find some of the referencing process a real challenge. Some of the commercial work I’ve scripted hasn’t required it, the briefs have been too specific, while the more, uh, ’emo’ of my other scripts are a little too solipsistic to require it.

But a project like this – like most comics – demands it. Whether it’s a stack of borrowed and bought texts or a huge folder of photo-references, you need exactly enough immersion in a space to develop a shorthand for how to describe it and how to portray it. And it’s very very hard, while also being very very satisfying.

Immersed In Ornament by thoughtbubblefestival
16/11/2011, 8:58 am
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After a second immersive day of writing down, sketching up and soaking in, I wanted to make sense of all the stimuli swimming around in my head.

In a building full of collections, we have been collecting. Images, words and thoughts. Digesting and brewing into something new. Here are a few photos that are fresh from the cranium coffee pot, poured into a possible colour palette for our Residency comic.

Resident See, Resident Do by thoughtbubblefestival
15/11/2011, 2:25 pm
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Hello Thinkers and Bubblers,

This week is festival week and it brings with it book launches, screenings, signings, exhibitions, amazing guests and, of course, The Con of Cons.

The festival is also equipped with an Artist/Writer Residency. So, here I am, typing as your rather grateful and humbled Artist in Residence – Kristyna Baczynski.

As part of my role as Artist in Residence I am exhibiting a collection of my comics and art at Travelling Man, Leeds and have created an installation for their window space. It took a pile of gold poscas, emptied marker pens, cardboard boxes and several papercuts but the show was ready to launch on Monday.

Here’s a peek at my window installation…

And a few snaps of my ‘Comics, Creatures and Curios’ art exhibition, which runs all week at Travelling Man, Leeds store (where the staff are awesome and the comics are many).

As of today, I am working with Writer in Residence Matthew Sheret in Leeds Central Library (above the Art Gallery) to produce a narrative comic for next year’s Thought Bubble Anthology.

Thumbnails and scripts are being drafted, characters are forming from murky pencil sketches and a story is stirring. Feel free to drop in and see us at work!

Day one: Leeds, L-Space and Lon Chaney by Matt Sheret
15/11/2011, 9:02 am
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I head out of Euston on the 07:35, whipping past my flat before slingshotting around Alexandra Palace and escaping London’s orbit. The train’s route treats me to rolling vistas of terraced houses and foggy fields for a couple of hours before reaching Leeds, City of Comics.

I only know Leeds because of Thought Bubble. I’ve made the journey up the last few Novembers, and as a result I assume that even in April the town centre is filled with Christmas lights and small-press illustrators desperately seeking a Nando’s. I’m not sure this week is going to dispel that.

Kristyna and I started our residency yesterday, exploring the library for inspiration before meandering out to a few second hand shops. It’s a well-known fact that both of these places contain time and space-shattering portals; in the latter you’ll find a dozen routes to Narnia and more rooms than appears possible. In the former you have L-Space.

L-Space is Terry Pratchett’s name for a thing that has always existed. It’s the route the books let you take, connecting all libraries to one another, whether real or imagined. That’s why, from a certain angle, all library staircases lead to Hogwarts.

Our residency takes place somewhere in L-Space. My notes from our scribbling sessions are varied, things like

* Club of Queer Trades – Chesterton (?)
* Bird Bomb
* Heraldry, tropes, imagery associated with places – poses and gestures and meanings.
* Radios, spaces toys, “tin anything”

On another page I wrote “Lon Chaney – Buster Keaton” so passionately the ink appears to have bleed through the thick paper of my notebook.

Delightfully I’ve no idea where any of this may lead. Although I’ve published Kristyna in Paper Science a few times our conversations have only ever taken place in snippets at conventions. Yesterday was a tremendous ice-breaker that will help swing my writing into focus over the next couple of days.

That or we’ll get lost somewhere between Foreign Languages and Art History.