ten things for 2011

December 24, 2010

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Rather than picking a single person or thing to end the blogging year with, I’m leaving you with ten headings for 2011 (and a few things I’ve liked, some links). Have a lovely holiday and please feel free to take a stroll round the couple of thousand plus posts from 2010 on this site (every image is a link to something else). See you in 2011.

1. Made in Japan

It’s not what you expect, is more accessible than you’d realise. From Birdsong to The Whale to the drawings of Heath Robinson, Paul Pope and Emma Vieceli, ideas that originate in Japan (deliberate or inferred) are increasingly prevalent in the art we see and enjoy. What can we learn? What can we take and use?

Pic:  from the snows of Northern Japan, in January.

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2. Drawing

Was everywhere in 2010. Thank you to everyone whose work features on this blog, or let me have bits of their original artwork, for being inspirational. Oliver East doesn’t feature here (yet), but his work is worth a look, as is the work of a whole raft of young artists who are doing their own thing in the UK. Honourable mentions (and a big thank you) to Philip Bond, Jock, Duncan Fegredo, Sean Phillips (above), Stuart Immonen, Ryan Kelly, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Lee Garbett, Declan Shalvey, Sean Murphy, Marc Ellerby, Rob Davis, Paul J Holden, Jamie McKelvie, Jeff Lemire, Guy Davis, Paul Pope (again), Ben Templesmith, Dylan Teague, J H Williams III and Colin Dunbar, for their original art. It’s much appreciated (sorry if I missed anyone). Also, thank you to everyone who contributed to our sketch club this year and for Comic Twart for inspiring us to start. You know who you are. Hopefully this next year I’ll be doing more drawing, with more time for it, in a more structured way. And drawing better (obviously).

Pics: A panel from Kill Your Boyfriend by Philip Bond, Sean Phillips draws Zack Overkill, Sketch Club.


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3. Humour.

Humour is important. End of.

Pic (above): New York, by Kate Beaton, click on the image to read the awesome Hark A Vagrant.

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4. Colour

I’m looking forward to seeing more people doing more interesting things with colour, or picking up where they left off (I’m looking at you, Sean Azzopardi, amongst others).

Pics (above): Daredevil cover & Swamp Thing painting, Jock

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5. Buildings

This is a year for seeing if the kind of work that appears on this blog can make more of an appearance off the pages and within the built environment. There is a lot of scope for this: all publicly funded buildings have public art programmes, and that money has to be spent. The support can be well used by comic artists, illustrators and people who make drawings, graphics, paint, colour and letter. In return the artwork will get a kind of exposure which could feed back into the page-making industry: with the non-reading public. Public projects always need art, even the cheapest: schools, hospitals and landscape projects can all benefit. It isn’t just the art itself, but the process of engagement, the experience of creators and the possibilities offered by those with experience in working with drawing, design, narratives and stories which may be of use. I’ve started a register for the interested (please let me know if you want to be on this). With one project already in the pipeline (which I can’t talk about), I hope we can do more. If you are interested let me know, if you’ve got a project in mind, let me know. Let’s see what we can do.

Pic: Rumble Strip, by  Woodrow Phoenix; Painting, Simon Gane, click on the images for links.

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6. History

Many people have made so called ‘influence map’s this year. These, if they are truly about influence as opposed to inspiration, are really about history and it’s uses. What they show is that history does have a role to play in the creative process and that we can all learn by looking back, as well as looking forward. The maps are a simple and brilliant teaching tool. I’ve been needing to look a lot up. I’m singling out Rob Davis, whose map is here and Ian Culbard, for their quality history lessons, as well as Francis Vallejo. Much of my creative impetus to date has come from Walter Benjamin‘s writings, and at the start of those, One Way Street (which is recommended reading, as is On Translation). Benjamin advocates that artists make ‘new’ work: One Way Street is a series of aphorisms, which can be taken as instructions to the young artist (or writer). My influence map, such as it is, then, is listed in the ‘about me’ part of this blog. There have been lots and lots of inspirations, though.

Pic: Rob Davis, influence map.

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7. Maps and diaries

Maps: Yes. I made this map for Simon Gurr, very quickly after the Thought Bubble festival, really just to let him know what I’d enjoyed. The blank and quick style (graphemes?) seemed appropriate for a map. These can also be seen here (by Glyn Dillon, click on ‘shop’) and below (drawn by my uncle, the publisher and writer, JL Carr). I’d like to make another map.

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Diaries: No. After a lot of thought, I’ve decided that I’m not going to continue or publish my work diary. There’s three reasons. 1. I’m too old to be complaining. 2. Disclosure is a problem in the private sector and when your work is made out of melodramatic lies, this may be a further issue. 3. My professional life needs to stay at the office. A fourth, too: I’ve got better things to do. I do like the work  and approach of artists like Thom Ferrier, the welsh doctor and printmaker. Maybe some day I’ll come back to tell people what architects do and think.

Pic: Thoughtbubble Map

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8. Publishing

The small press has been around for centuries, probably. Uncle Lloyd’s Quince Tree Press sold hundreds of thousands of the little books, so I’ve seen what can be done from a shoebox- literally. With the internet and with new art forms pushing through there are new ways of doing things, documented much better elsewhere than this blog. However, I’m proud to say I helped sponsor two books this year: Kody Chamberlain’s Sweets and Howard Hardiman’s The Lengths, both through crowd-sourced fundraising. This seems to work, at least as seed money. I’m also interested in what up and coming publishers like Blank Slate and Tom Humberstone (with Solipsistic Pop) are doing, working with the form as much as the content. They’re making a space for people to create within. That’s brilliant, helpful and a spur to action. As Uncle Lloyd said: ‘but have you built anything yet?’

Pics: From The Quince Tree Press; Blank Slate Books; Interviews with the Comics Bureau and UK makers of comics, including Kenny Penman, proprietor of Blank Slate. Click on any image to get to the links

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9. Writing

I’m wanting to be giving over a bit more time to reading and writing this next year, possibly at the expense of updating this blog every day (Space In Text will still be updated regularly). I’ve discovered and enjoyed the work of Matt Seneca (click on the image above), as well as whole host of other works (nb. Roger Langridge should have another Marvel project).

Pic: Matt Seneca

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10. People

Have been helpful. Thank you. Your support means a lot. I was going to say a whole load of things here about how community is important (especially to someone like me who feels like they have been on the moon, artistically), about how important it is to look what is happening socially in this country at this time and so on, but this post needs to stop. You came here for art. Here it is. Scroll down.

Pic: Jeanie.

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4 Responses to “ten things for 2011”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by alison, alison. alison said: @kennypenman http://wp.me/pExGV-5qh ten things for 2011, fyi. includes yourself. […]

  2. davidtiegen Says:

    Hey, just found your blog. There’s some great stuff you have hear… I see you like Ben Templesmith. I kind of think he’s the new guy in town, but his work is still impressive. I particularly like his art in “Fell”.

  3. Emma vieceli Says:

    Have a fab Christmas, Alison! Thanks so much for the support you’ve offered to so many creators as well this year ^_^


  4. Huge thanks for the Kickstarter support. I’m grateful to everyone that chipped in and I’m certain my project wouldn’t have survived without that support.

    -Kody


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