CUNE Comics-in-Residence, Tallinn – Update 2

One week in! Yesterday I was scheduled to give a workshop at the library’s tent at the Tallinn Youth Festival. I wasn’t sure who’d be there, and it was titled ‘Drawing Comic Figures’, so I loosely planned a workshop on human proportions/drawing people, and using that in comics. I ended up scrapping that, though, when it ended up being a fantastic group of high school and uni/college students, and we spent the session having an informal talk about freelance, comics process, etc, as well as a comics jam!

I seriously love all these jam comics. Check them out!

Workshop participants: If you end up on the blog, and would like to have a cafe sketching meet, let me know! You can email me here via the site, or connect at my work facebook (hyperlinks not working for me, but that’s https://www.facebook.com/sallyjanethompson :)

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CUNE Comics-in-Residence, Tallinn – Update 1

Super exciting post today, as I’m not at my desk or cosied up in the corner of a Wetherspoons with my work today..

Today is my second day in Talllinn, Estonia, thanks to the CUNE Comics-in-Residence program and hosted by the Estonian Comics Society (enormous thanks to both!!).

This is the view of the studio/apartment window (!) :

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My proposal to the CUNE program was that I would research the folktales/fairy tales of whichever country I was in, and use that as a springboard for a contemporary story set in the city, so I could draw from real locations. Lucky for me, the city I ended up in is both extremely draw-o-genic, and has provided me with the most fantastic raw fairy tale material.

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Googling revealed that the University of Tartu’s Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore had been working on an enormous project producing a typology of Estonian folk tales from the tales stored in the Estonian Folklore Archives.

There’s a lot of brilliant and fascinating stuff in there, but what immediately caught my imagination was type 409, ‘the wife as werewolf’…which led me to this fantastic exploration of the iterations of that tale, which I’m still reading atm.

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The ‘bookshelf’ for this project currently includes those two papers, Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves’ and Sally Gardner’s ‘Tinder’ (both recommended via excited discussions about fairy tales and women and wolves with other women writers – there’s definitely something that resonates for a lot of us here!)…Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’, and Emily Carroll’s ‘Through the Woods’.

I’ll keep you updated throughout the month! For now, I’m off to practice drawing wolves, while outside my window spires rise to the sky like howls.

Freelance Friday – On Being Cheeky

Woah, what is this, two FF’s in a row?!

Recently I was at a coffee shop, where I ordered a coffee and a piece of delicious-looking cake, which I gazed longingly at when it was brought to the table, grabbed a forkful, and….it was awful. So, unusually for me, I plucked up the nerve to take it back to the counter, and they traded it for me, while I mentioned how sorry I was for the bother probably 20 times, and then struggled to enjoy the much-nicer replacement cake and my coffee because I was so embarrassed. And it reminded me that I’d been wanting to write this!

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Freelance Friday – Nose-to-the-Grindstone Times

Hey everyone! Gosh it’s been ages. Largely because I tend to want FF posts to be lovely things, illustrated and with time taken over them…but when time’s not there, I think I’d rather post what I can instead of leaving this series so untended! So I’ll try and do more miniposts :) So, onwards!

Over the last couple of months, I’ve had a period of serious over-working.

I’m generally a big proponent of balance. I don’t think the way our work culture glamourises over-work, makes it into a virtue, is at all healthy. And I’m hoping to take some time off drawing-work at the end of this year to spend some time on business planning and examining my working and scheduling methods to help avoid it more in future. But, even then – and I may be wrong in this – I kind of think there’ll probably always be those times, now and then. Those times where you have to take extra work. Those times when you need the extra income. Those times when you get screwed over by clients’ schedules. Those times aren’t sustainable, and aren’t something to take as the norm. But those times happen…

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Fanart (not quite) Friday – Fangirl

This morning I woke up to a twitter notifications avalanche, thanks to the lovely Rainbow Rowell tweeting a piece of Fangirl fanart I foisted (today is an alliterative day it would seem) on her at her Birmingham event recently, and realized I’d not posted it. Here we go!

SThompson-Fangirl-sFangirl is a really gorgeous novel, with a fantastic family/sibling story – definitely check it out if you’ve not read it. There’s also a special edition (UK) out atm w/ extra illos by the awesome Noelle Stevenson :)

‘My So Called Secret Identity’ Kickstarter

Just a quick blog-post to signal boost the Kickstarter for My So-Called Secret Identity, Suze Shore, Will Brooker and Sarah Zaidan’s really fantastic, non-standard take on superheroes, with a great female cast.

It’s funding it’s fifth and final issue (which I’ll be doing some of pages for if we reach the target!), and the collected book, and has some pretty cool rewards, including A3 ltd ed fine art prints of this pinup from me of characters Sekhmet and Ms Sparkle!

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Hope you’ll check it out! :)

WoMentoring Project launch!!

Woo! Today is launch day for the awesome and exciting WoMentoring Project! Over 60 amazing, professional literary women (writers, editors and agents) have signed up to offer their time free to mentor women writers who could use it.

As well as doing a few illos for the site, I’ll be offering free mentorship to a comics writer or cartoonist, or a prose writer who wants to try comics. I’m somewhat awed by the women who’ve signed up for this, and freely admit I don’t have the many years of experience that many of them do. But what experience, insight and encouragement I do have, from a few years in, I’d love to offer to one of you!

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Writing Wednesday: Opportunities roundup

Hi all!

I’ve spotted a few pretty great-sounding opportunities floating around atm, so thought I’d do a quick Writing Wed!

-WoMentoring Project : Okay, this is pretty cool, and something I’m thrilled to be involved with! Dozens of professional literary women (inc. me!) have signed up to offer free mentorship to women writers. I’ll be offering comics mentorship to either a comics writer or cartoonist, or perhaps a prose-er hoping to try comics, and while there are tons women in the industry more experienced then me, I hope I’ll still be able to help someone out with a listening ear, critical eye and whatever experience I have to offer thus far! I’ve also been doing some illustrations for the WoMentoring Project site, which I’m pretty stoked to share with you!

Tune in next week for the site’s launch, and in the meantime, follow on twitter here!

-Other interesting-looking things:

-Poets, this looks incredible. A £10,000 poet-in-residence commission at Jane Austen’s House Museum (!), deadline in a week on April 16th.

-Cartoonists – this is pretty amazing. Malmö University is offering a half-time online course on Digital Comics, led by brilliant cartoonist Renee Engström. What’s pretty amazing for those of us on this side of the world is that tuition fees are ‘for non-EU students only’ . So while a lot of us may not be able to fit in a half-time study course, if you can, this is an amazing opportunity!

-Beginning writers – a free ‘Start writing fiction‘ MOOC offered by Future Learn and the Open University – at 3 hrs a week for 8 weeks, it sounds  do-able for most!

-Also offering mentoring, this IdeasTap/Writers Centre Norwich program for novel/short story writers 18-30 looks fantastic, and you don’t have to be unpublished or unagented to apply.  Closes May 12, and they’re holding an online forum on April 15 to answer questions.

-And on the off-chance one of you reading this is a not-yet-published Scottish writer over 40, this looks very worth applying, with 9 months mentoring, a couple of retreats, and a bursary!