Go look – Square Comix

Square Comix comicbooks graphic novels illustration ian m transcendental meditation yoga

There’s a quiet humanity in the stories, the writing and the design style that I find lovely

(click on image for site)

 

Square Comix comicbooks graphic novels illustration ian m zines kyoto japan sapporo
store

 

Square Comix comicbooks graphic novels illustration ian m transcendental meditation yogic flying
instagram

 

Square Comix comicbooks graphic novels illustration ian m japan canada twitter
twitter

 

Square Comix comicbooks graphic novels illustration ian m transcendental meditation yoga japan
tumblr

 

 

Go look – Glenn Baskin (80 Proof Comix)

art by glenn baskin of 80 proof comix scratchy drawings of people in an expressionistic style

I love this scratchy style of drawing

All of these ugly, worn out, lost people

All the humanity of the German expressionists

(click on image for site)

Glenn Baskin of 80 Proof Comix his instagram feed features lots of scratchy expressionistic sketches of monstrous looking people
instagram

 

Glenn Baskin of 80 Proof Comix his blogger feed features lots of scratchy expressionistic sketches of monstrous looking people
blog

 

 

Glenn Baskin of 80 Proof Comix his facbook page features lots of scratchy expressionistic sketches of monstrous looking people
facebook

Go look – Nuria Tamarit

nuria tamarit people walking in the night in a dark forest one is a woman crying

Another account I began following on tumblr

Another creator that use textures and marks and colours in incredible ways and designs fantastic looking characters and spaces

Nuria Tamarit comicbooks graphic novels illustration dancing friendship portfolio website
website

 

Nuria Tamarit comicbooks graphic novels illustration dancing friendship tumblr
tumblr

 

 

Nuria Tamarit comicbooks graphic novels illustration dancing friendship twitter
twitter

 

Nuria Tamarit comicbooks graphic novels illustration dancing friendship instagram
instagram

 

 

Go look – Sophie Ell (pip_odyssey)

Sophie ell drawing of tress in the night lit by moonlight

I find Sophie Ell’s work with pens and pencils very satisfying

There are great textures but also a great sense of atmosphere

Her comic work is a great mix of her drawing and conversational insight

collection of drawings and photographs from sophie ells instagram pip_odyssey including the sea the desert woodland and uprisings
instagram

 

Sophie has been interviewed for the site here

Go look – Jake Wyatt

figures falling through space

It’s the depth of field and physicality of his world’s that I love about Jake Wyatt’s work.

He just builds solid believable spaces and characters that move dynamically. As much as they’re real looking individuals, they’re also larger than life pantomime cartoons delivering emotional meaning through exagerated body language that makes it easy to parse.

jake wyatt tumblr necropolis comic page fantasy art ancient cave magic tumblr

 

twitter jake wyatt sword fight from fantasy comic Necropolis twitter

 

 

Jake Wyatt instagram deer devil captain harlock sketches comic page thumb nails instagram

This will STAND THE GENERATIONS

images of comic character hugo tate from his initial stick figure stage to his more realistic and detailed final look mirroring the evolution of man image

This will STAND THE GENERATIONS award

There’s an urge in me to make this contrarian and go look for the more obscure option here. But that’s just daft because the whole point of this is to put out the work I most immediately feel has lasted, has maintained a relevance to the world and to those that are working here and now.

So – this one goes out to Nick Abadzis for Hugo Tate – details on Nick’s site here

And I sort of dealt with all this a while back on twitter – thread here  and another here

I was having a conversation with someone and was reminded of Hugo Tate by Nick Abadzis

It’s such an incredible piece of comics. It’s not a work that blew my mind, it’s a work that formed a small part of me, at points visualising what was hidden in me. It also made me think about life and about comics and stories, how to tell them, what they’re worth within this world.

In particular, the scene with his father, early on in the series and just after his father’s death struck me then and continues with me now. It’s nearly 30 years later, but I can still see that page, with its stick figure characters and how rawly, openly and cleverly it details that emotional situation. That truly was and still is a high-water mark for comics storytelling.

Kenny Penman did the world a huge service bringing the book back into print and in putting it out in such a suitable format, a manner that evidences it’s worth very clearly. I don’t know how easy it is to get hold of copies of that book currently. I do know my library has a copy, as I’ve flipped through it many times, settling in to read 5 or 10 pages of I have a moment of quiet with my kids when there.

This is one of those things that episodic or chaptered comics does so well that doesn’t really exist in any other medium. You can grab 10-15 minutes with a work and get an excellent bit of a story in that time.

early Hugo Tate page depicting his visit to his father's house it is sad in tone
early Hugo Tate page

 

That string of tweets initiated a fair amount of feedback from UK comickers on how influential in opening their minds to what comics could do Hugo Tate was.

It’s a work that needs reprinting and distribution to as wide a base of readers as possible, both because of it’s worth to the medium and because of the great beating heart of humanity that lives within the work.

iestyn

Go look – Lizzie Stewart

Lizzie Stewart Walking distance graphic novel comicbook from avery hill

I’ve posted recommendations for Walking Distance in a few places a few times because it looks so amazing visually, and what I’ve seen online has struck a chord with me.

Walking is a very significant part of my life, it’s a part of who I am and how I think. Walking Distance feels like it manages a conversation that’s equally as personal and meaningful. Aside from Walking Distance, though, I’ve followed Lizzie’s work online for a few years as her illustration features such good design with form and colour casually managing the eye on the page.

Avery Hill currently carry Walking Distance – here

Lizzie Stewart Instagram treasure island various illustrations book and comicbooks graphic novels posters drawing event
shop

 

Lizzie Stewart twitter various illustrations book and comicbooks graphic novels posters drawing event
twitter

 

 

Lizzie Stewart Instagram treasure island various illustrations book and comicbooks graphic novels posters drawing event
website

 

Paper Underground Awards – Originally, I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sarcastic) Then I received something in October that fitted the bill.

pannonica issue one a printed and hand stapled zine made by nick prolix with abstract images and thopughts structured into a coherent narrative

Originally, I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sar

Originally, I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sarcastic) Then I received something in October that fitted the bill.

Which is an odd title for an award, but there we go.

Download from here

Pages from Pannonica issue one by nick prolix featuring abstract black images on creamy coloured paper
Pages from Pannonica issue 1

The winner is Nick Prolix with his Pannonica series (and experience)

Originally, I included this as a dig at all those bests of lists that come out in December thereby blowing off everything that comes out in December.

Then in October and again In November I read part of an ongoing series that struck me as amazing and original, but also as something that concretised a feeling I’d had for a while about UK comics and zines and where I’m seeing work that I would consider vital and important.

Petrichor, our initial award winner, is part of that wave. A wave that drives its visuals with non-representational art married to real life thoughts and emotions. It has narrative, but not story. Structure but not linearity.

Sort of a comic slipstream fiction, but nothing like it.

Anyway

Why name it?

Pannonica was something very surprising to me, considering Nick’s normal mode of comics are very representational and timebound. Here’s this printed and hand made zine with abstract images.  A zine related to tweets and Instagram posts. World building by building in the world rather than the fictional page. Yet, amazingly, it’s a work that still manages to be structured, human and about matters of life. Dealing with the humanity of his thoughts, his present concerns, his art history and art future. Not necessarily universal, but personally meaningful to me and timely – like it froze a wave and made a statue for generations to come to look upon.

What’s striking about Pannonica is how it creates narrative structure in the same manner as Nick’s story work, with call backs, shadowing plot points and running a theme through its paces.

iestyn

 

Go look – Briony May Smith

Briony May Smith illustrations

A great sense of simplicity in the design of characters and objects is matched with a lovely eye for pattern and colour. There’s a real sense of happiness and content I feel in these images. They’re soothing and friendly.

Briony May Smith website book covers including nosy crow walker book flying eye books nobrow macmillan featuring heidi michael morpurgo fairies stardust chicken
website

 

 

Briony May Smith instagram account with fairies kangaroo crocodiles cave tunnels and the world
instagram

 

 

Briony May Smith twitter girl sleeping with a deer faun fox inset of angry emperor
twitter

 

 

 

Paper Underground Awards – Work that is something I’d never want to make, but really appreciated anyway

Star Bright a webcomic and graphic novel bby Rob Zwetsloot and Alice Clarke four teenage girls in school uniform are hanging out

Work that is something I’d never want to make, but really appreciated anyway

Star Bright by Rob Zwetsloot and Alice Clarke – buy it here

This may be the most controversial award. I’ve had feedback that it might feel like a backhanded compliment. So, to clarify.
This award recognises a work that inspired me to recognise its impact upon me. Rather than inspiring a creative reaction it stirred me by being a great read; moving and affecting. It’s about enjoy things not for what they drive me to do, but for the enjoyment of experiencing them.
I hope that makes sense.
Star Bright is a low stake look at teenage life. It is a strong argument for acceptance. There is no melodrama, no angry railing at society, no big story moments. Yet it forcefully makes an argument for it cause. It’s a beautiful and emotional work that relies on creating empathy with the reader, quietly telling a meaningful story about people, loneliness and eventual acceptance.
It uses simple methods with, what one could almost call a utopian spirit, to make a big argument about life, diversity and accepting differences.
The art has a strong personality and communicates emotions and relationships extremely well. It works perfectly with the story to deliver its argument for equality by showing a world that is accepting and how it essentially functions the same as our world but without the hating. It delivers a window to another world and shows you that it won’t hurt or damage you, in fact, its existence will not affect your life at all, but it will make the life of others much better.
Cute and simple looking artwork that communicates the human experience and a simple and eloquent story that shows how the world can be rather than raising a fist to the world as is. I completely respect anything the raises the quiet voice of reason to make its argument to the wide world.
iestyn

Paper Underground Awards – Work that I wish I had published in a large deluxe limited edition

front cover of aorta comic by sarah horrocks depicting a vampire giant mech robots and space filled with stars

Work that I wish I had published in a large deluxe limited edition

Aorta – by Sarah Horrocks (buy physical or digital)

Aorta splash page in black and white by sarah horrocks
Aorta splash page

I literally only know Sarah’s work from online – but god I wish I owned everything she has ever made.

I love her colour work; her choices of texture and pattern; her colour combinations are so vibrant, living and communicative I’d sink deep down into their glowing acid power like people claim to do with a Rothko.

What she achieves with computer textures makes me want to grab a pen and a brush and get that physically down on paper. Her art affects me the same Bill Sienkiewicz’s affected my childhood mind. I want to cut out and paste, to splash paint and hatch and scratch and design the page into perfect life. I want to perfect what they’ve put on paper, with my own hand because then I’ll have achieved a skill and greatness I could easily respect.

Which, I suppose, makes my choice either odd or contrary.

When I saw her post this double page from her current comic Aorta I contacted her straight away because it was just so impressive. All that texture to lose myself in – I actually put it up across the double screens I have at work.  I saw it and just imagined holding a big – A3 page size big – hardback book; textured paper, almost like watercolour paper and that image crisply set into that paper, so deep it stretches beyond the edge of vision, like an IMAX movie. Comics suffers to keep itself cheap and avoid ‘being elitist’. But I don’t see why we can’t have expensive, deeply beautiful objects as vehicles to portray these works. I think this art deserve engaging with in a manner that let’s you obscure the world around and just sink into this glorious world of marks, movement, design and texture, like you’re climbing through a dark forest.

Being able to immerse yourself into the reality on paper and letting the work argue for the respect it so readily deserves.

iestyn

 

Go look -Ze Burnay

ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic death skeleton riding an elk and a knight in armour

I found Ze Burnay on tumblr where I enjoyed his character design, very tight cartooning on his figure work, a bit like Chester Brown. His backgrounds always had these great textured, detailed linework and I’ve really enjoyed seeing his character work develop along that way into the realistic style of his current graphic novel and illustrations.

Lovely to see a creator with such a versatile skillset.

ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic sketches records death ancient gods andromeda
shop

 

ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic sketches records death ancient gods andromeda
website

 

 

ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic sketches records death ancient gods andromeda
instagram

 

 

ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic sketches records death ancient gods andromeda
twitter

 

 

ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic sketches records death ancient gods andromeda
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ze burnay illustration comicbooks graphic novel web comic honey buzzard black and white line art
facebook

Go look – Anabel Colazo

Anabel Colazo no mires atras comicbook cover two girls in front of a lighthouse

many years ago i found a group of creators working on comics whilst i regurlarly used tumblr.  amongst them was holasoyanbel whose figure work and design skills really struck me. over time i’ve grown to increasingly appreciate her approach to colouring as well.

 

anabel colazo comic book publication page from edicinoes la cupula featuring nimio final fantasy with nuria tamarit close encounters encuentros cercanos and do not look back no mires atras plus a cv of previous work
ediciones la cupula

 

 

holasoynabel anabel colazo instagram account comic pages sketches and illustration
instagram

 

 

 

holasoynabel real name anabel colazo twitter header freaturing a cartoon portrait inset and no mires atras her current comicbook graphic novel in the header
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holasoynabel anabel colazo illustration comic pages thor ragnarok
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Paper Underground Awards – Most Romantic Work

Petrichor by Gareth Hopkins front cover featuring a recoloured photograph of a beach with two children playing in the waves

Most Romantic work

Petrichor – by Gareth Hopkins (shop here)

This is my book of the year, no quibbles.

Until I read Gareth’s work, I would never have said that either romance or auto-biography would be the most important and urgent style I’m encountering in comics.

Yet, when I read this book I was moved nearly to tears, to rethink my own attitudes and to a sense of admiration for what was being said on these pages. I think Gareth’s work is amazing. I always have, from the moment I first saw it. But, generally, I’ve admired the images and the textures, structures, marks and sequencing. His work was very much visual pleasure.

Then he wrote Petrichor and later worked on Intercorstal: Extension which I’ve previously reviewed. Intercorstal: Extension was published prior to Petrichor, even though it was created after it. In both works the writing developed an elliptical, poetic and rhythmic style that dealt with life and memory as experiences rather than narrative. It’s almost poetry, but it’s not. I’d say it’s a clipped version similar in style to JG Ballard’s early novels, like The Drowned World. But somehow warm and human and emotionally affecting, whereas Ballard’s words are the experience of ennui.

Many works are labelled as being about love and death, it’s a great review cliché – this work is truly about the experience of both, of how living life comes with waves and troughs, how we change whilst staying the same person, maybe with altered priorities.

To be fair – it’s not going to be for everyone, it’s not narrative, it’s got no images of things, there’s marks and short, clipped lines of text. But if you let yourself experience it, it’s like being in the heart and mind of that person as life happens around them. Beautiful and poignant. Ultimately, it’s satisfying to see a book dedicated to sharing an individual’s humanity and love.

iestyn

Paper Underground Awards – introduction

These are my way of thinking about what has mattered to me in zines and comics this year.

As much as they’re a way of recognising what I’ve found excellent, they’re also a thank you and a chart of what mattered to me at a time and place.

I don’t know whether these will matter to people, but then I’m not going to not do something from fear of embarrassing silence.

Originally there were going to be 5 awards, for the terribly practical reason that I could roll out an award a day over a week. Then something big happened in 2019 so now there’s going to be 6.

I think in the end, I’d like to see other people respond in kind to these awards and just do something that tells other people, but particularly the creators, why they liked their work in a little bit more detail and depth than a like, a purchase or an ‘Awesome’ – nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s great for people to take a minute and engage with the question of what they enjoyed about a certain work, consider the essential ‘thing’ within them that it satisfied.

Here are the categories:

1- Most Romantic work

2- Work that I wish I had published in a large deluxe limited edition

3- Work that is something I’d never want to make, but really appreciated anyway

4- Originally I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sarcastic) Then I received something in October that fitted the bill

5- This will STAND THE GENERATIONS award

6- Mystery award

iestyn

Go look – Sam Alden

sam alden comicbooks graphic novels illustration dancing friendship roller disco rollerskating derby

Not such an active account sadly, but if you haven’t seen them before, the illusatrations and comics are absolutely amazing.

If you are familiar, just worth revisting and remembering.

sam alden comicbooks graphic novels illustration dancing friendship horse dragon chicken queen
website

 

sam alden comicbooks graphic novels illustration sketches turtle thumbnails woods
instagram

 

 

 

Go look – Oliver East

oliver east comic books strange ways and prime time rolling stock lanky homesick truant's cumbrian yarn take me back to manchester comic page previews

this is the first post of Oliver East's work I ever shared 6 1/2 half years ago. it's a beautiful rendition of space and experience. rolling stock 186 4 october 2013
Rolling Stock 186 4 October 2013

this is the first post of Oliver East’s work I ever shared 6 1/2 half years ago. it’s a beautiful rendition of space and experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver East Rolling Stock 1 I own this comic zine It's a beautiful evocation of space Oliver East has been a hug influence upon my work
I own this comic zine It’s a beautiful evocation of space Oliver East has been a hug influence upon my work

 

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