So we moved four streets down to a flat in a terraced house with a garden and we are now Mr and Mrs Domesticated. In the month since we moved I've baked us two apple pies and a few other weird experimental tarty things that don't deserve a proper name. I don't bake, so this is a thing. We also bought a million pound bed and it's my new favorite place to be (and not just because it's the most expensive thing we own now). I'm glad this update also includes trips to Paris and Amsterdam because I'm sure you're starting to worry about me by now.
I listen to a LOT of podcasts. In fact, I just counted my iTunes playlist and I keep up with 33 podcasts regularly. So yeah, a lot. And while this list definitely includes the 'usual suspects' (Serial, This American Life, Fresh Air), a large portion of them are about art, creating, making, and how to 'turn your passion into a business'.
Below is a (small) selection of podcasts I'd recommend if you're a creative and, like me, love listening to podcasts while you create.
Make it Then Tell Everybody
Podcast host Dan Berry is a British cartoonist who uses his podcast to interview other cartoonists and illustrators about their work, their process, and their favorite tools to create. I love his down to earth conversationalist style of interviewing and how he's not afraid to ask 'dumb' questions (that usually result in the most interesting answers). So, where do you get your ideas from?
The Paper Wings Podcast
Led by Disney character designer Chris Oatley and IDW comics creator Lora Innes, the Paper Wings Podcast is filled with advice on how to make and sell various forms of creator-owned visual storytelling, including comics, picture books, and animation. Each episode has a theme (like how to do more with less time), so you can browse and pick one you feel is relevant to you at that particular moment.
A little different from the others in the sense that 99% Invisible won't give you tips on which flexible nibs work best with watercolors or how to optimize your Photoshop process, but instead it shares stories broadly centered around design. It tells you all about those things you didn't even know were designed by somebody.
Comics for Grownups
A fortnightly podcast hosted by comics creators and indie publishers with lots of book reviews, zine recommendations, and kick starters. It's a little in-crowd, when I first started listening I didn't know most of the authors and artists they were referring to, but as I've started to read more and more graphic novels, I find myself listening back to certain episodes to hear what their take was on a certain book. I kind of wish they would start a book club so I could pre-read everything they talk about.
Less Than Live with Kate or Die
Less Than Live is a little bit of everything, hosted by the incredibly quirky comics writer and artist Kate Leth ('Kate or Die'). She talks about what she's working, the gazillion conventions she's attending, what she's reading, and who she's admiring. The podcast usually includes an interview, often with comics writers - a world I knew next to nothing about. If you're into Sex Criminals / horror comics, Kate's your gal, too, btw.
The Jealous Curator
Written by a fellow art history nerd, The Jealous Curator is the blog I wish I had thought of because the name is is perfect (tagline 'Damn, I Wish I Had Thought of That') and her taste is incredible - she finds the most amazing contemporary artists and now... she interviews them on her podcast! Basically my most favorite thing ever and really good if you're interested in learning more about what it's like to be a full time artist.
Pencil vs Pixel
'Pencil vs pixel?' is the question every guest on Cesar Contreras' podcast answers right off the bat. The answer usually tells you a whole lot about the artist Cesar is talking to and by the end of the podcast you'll feel as though you've gotten to know them quite well. Learn about crazy career paths, about what makes people tick and inspires them, and of course whether they're more comfortable with a pencil, or a tablet.
Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon host this magnificent podcast for creative entrepreneurs. With topics like 'face your fears' or 'work from home', the dynamic duo tackles every angle of being your own boss. Hands-on tips, great interviews, and a sense of humor.
After the Jump
After the Jump is a podcast hosted by Design*Sponge's founder Grace Bonney - someone I've more than once hoped to speak to (or become BFFs with). The podcast is a series of interviews with designers, makers, and independent store-owners and is a great look behind the scenes of one of the world's most respected bloggers.
The 'no BS straight talk' approach to earning a living as a maker. Dave Conrey talks about things like how to grow your presence on Instagram (with actual useful tips), how to build a design agency from scratch (and how much that can suck), and how to develop your own style. All very non-BS-ey hands-on advice. Go Dave!
Those are some of my favorite podcasts to listen to as a creative!
What do you enjoy listening to? Anything I've missed? Do drop any tips you might have in the comments below.
Also below, a Venn-diagram of what these podcasts are about. Because I'm a dork. Bye!
We just came back from a two week tour around the Croatian coast! Our schedule was quite action-packed, and I'm not sure we'd necessarily do that again, but on the other hand I'm not sure what I would cut out if I had to, everything was so beautiful. Here's the journal pages for our trip! Enjoy!
No words this time around, just some journal pages, style sketches based on people leaving a church nearby, and itchy scratchy insect nastiness.
Last month, I attended a comics workshop in Walthamstow (where I now want to live) taught by the very talented Emily Haworth-Booth. It was a great day and I left feeling incredibly inspired, although not particularly by my own work.
What most stuck with me, is the way Emily taught us to storyboard. I don't usually do longer comics, but whenever I've tried, I started out by writing a script. These scripts would turn out lengthy, too wordy, and I'd have trouble adding images to the text. Emily, instead, had us start out with a picture, think of a story, and just randomly start drawing scenes on frame-sized bits of paper. We could then add text where needed and tweak the order of the story. As I am a very visual thinker, this felt much more natural and a lot less stressful to me! Lightbulb moment!
My story ended up being about my younger brother Rutger (because I miss him) and although I'm not sure it works as a story per se, I decided to follow through and ink and color it nonetheless.
Thanks, Emily, for the great workshop!
If you're interested in taking a class from Emily, there's a section for that on her website right here.
Almost exactly a month ago I went to Elcaf, the East London Comics and Arts Festival here in East London. The festival consisted of a fair, film screenings, tons of workshops, some masterclasses, an exhibit, and a bunch of talks and discussions. I decided to not enroll in any classes or workshops (I hardly have any time to do my own work at the moment), but I did get us weekend passes and tickets to a label discussion about comics publishing, featuring some Sam Arthur (Nobrow and Flying Eye Books), Annie Koyama (Koyama Press), Madalena Matoso (Planeta Tangerina), Ken Kirton (Hato Press) and Alexandra Zsigmond (Deputy Art Director at the New York Times), which was great.
Mostly though, I puttered around the fair looking at the amazing work. There were so many great artists I had a real hard time and I pretty much needed the full two days to decide which books and zines I absolutely couldn't live without. So hard and I wish I could have bought more, but in the end I just decided on a budget and bought whatever I could. Below is what I ended up with and a brief review for each.
Jilian Tamaki - Supermutant Magic Academy
An anthology of the webcomic that has been going since 2010, the book follows a group of mutant teenagers attending a Harry Potter-like high school. The comics are usually one to two pages long and are nerdy, funny, and touching at the same time. I hadn't read the webcomic very much before getting this book, but was familiar with some of the work Jilian Tamaki did in collaboration with her cousin Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer is one of my favorites). The style of this collection is very different from those books - much more loose and sketchily drawn, but the lines are very expressive and really helps you get to know each of the (often grumpy) characters.
Philippa Rice - Soppy
Another webcomic turned book is Soppy, which chronicles UK comic artist Philippa Rice's (known for My Cardboard Life) relationship with her boyfriend. cartoonist Luke Pearson. The book is a collection of sweet, quiet moments. Of efforts made to make a relationship work. And of the slow, life-changing sharing of habits where personalities blend together a little at the edges. In my mind, this book is an ode to long term relationships and I loved it. Almost every other page I recognized situations I have been in when in a long term relationship, but not in a cliché way at all. The drawing style is clean, using only red, white, and black, making me long to try a more minimalist palet in my own work (but who are we kidding). Lovely book.
Tillie Walden - The End of Summer
I was tempted to buy The End of Summer when I passed by Tillie Walden's booth and saw her do the most amazing drawing in the front of a book she'd just sold to someone else. I had never heard of Tillie Walden before, but her drawings are absolutely stunning and they just seemed to flow from her. The book tells the story of a boy Lars and his twin sister Maja who are locked into a secluded castle with their family as they try to survive a winter predicted to last three years. The story features gigantic cats, incredibly detailed backdrops, and tender moments between brother and sister. That being said, I've now read the story twice and found the story kind of confusing at times. It could be that this is intentional as the whole book has a very dreamlike quality to it, but I found it a little frustrating nonetheless. Am curious to see what Walden will do next!
Grace Helmer - Small Hours Part One
Lovely, colorful zine from Grace Helmer about the summer after graduating from college and trying to make it as a freelance artist. Love the art here.
Katriona Chapman - KatZine Issue One & Two
Stunning black and white zines done in pencil about Katriona Chapman's experiences, memories, thoughts on art, science, and commerce, and love for the natural world. I really felt like I got to know someone a bit better by reading these zines and got smarter at the same time. SO promising and can't wait to see what Chapman will do next.
AJ Poyiadgi - Teapot Therapy
Cleverly done (and folded) story by AJ Poyiadgi of an older lady's tea time habit of cleverly luring people into the house for tea. Although short, it deals with loneliness in old age, but not in a way that makes you pity the main character per se. You admire her strength, while at the same time it illustrates a very real social issue. Very well done and beautifully executed. A real treat.
Poster by Planeta Tangerina
I loved every single thing from this Portuguese publisher (especially this fun and clever book 'Livro Clap', which you have to 'clap' open and closed to make the story work) , but in the end just bought a poster because I was too overwhelmed at the point to make any more decisions on which book to get.
Now this poster hangs in our bedroom and really brightens up the room.
One of the best things about living in a different country from your own is being able to learn about your new home country. In a way, you're getting the best of both worlds. You can learn all about a country and culture from directly from insiders, and experience them as a local would, but at the same time you're somewhat removed from it all and you kind of 'pick and choose' your experiences.
I can imagine if you move to countries very far away from your own that culture gap might be difficult to bridge (or if you've moved out of economic or social necessity, your perspective might be different - I realize we're quite privileged here), but the UK and The Netherlands are close enough yet plenty different from each other for it to be interesting and fun.
This past week has been all about exploring the UK, marked first by a weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland . The cloudy yet magical city was all it should be and I imagined. No, I did not eat haggis, but did try black pudding (for breakfast, no less) and fell completely in love with the tartan outfits, the dramatic history (knights! swords! ghosts!) and the castles. Aye!
Speaking of outfits, the week after was very much focused on outfits (and royalty) as I wore my first (serious) hatted ensemble ever. The hat was really more of a fascinator, but I think it counts. I needed the hat, as well as a dress of modest length, as I was invited along to the first day of the Royal Ascot by my friend and colleague Hannah. Squee!
Hannah is probably the most British person I know - she lives on a dairy farm, bakes cakes for village fairs, and is an excellent clay pigeon shooter person. Her life is pretty magical, is all I'm saying. Hannah and her family were amazingly kind in taking me on for the day and they proved excellent guides into the world of royal processions, horse racing, and gambling. My father-in-law (who owned two race horses in his day) was on speed dial as well, and the whole day was just a fantastic experience. I can get into this British thing, I think. As long as it involves great outfits, some ceremony, and a Prince or two (alas, no Kate this time) - I'm game.
I've spoken about color before, most notably in part two of my Art Journaling tutorial (gosh it's weird to see those old drawings), and I still do love a great color scheme. This drawing of a particularly great Wednesday (I'm a bit behind on my drawings) was inspired by a 1970s stamp from Israel. I found this stamp at Present & Correct (and a few more, but I decided to send those to a stamp-loving friend) and was instantly inspired by the cheerful combinations. Scans to follow.