Birth Story

It’s turning out to be an interesting season at Get Messy this time round! During the last season – The Season of Art 101 – I followed many of the prompts and tutorials, and the pages I created were very clearly influenced by these choices. During this season – The Season of Contrast – I have been primarily involved with the NaPoWriMo poetry-writing challenge. So, while I have enjoyed reading the prompts and watching many of the amazing tutorials that are on offer at Get Messy, I haven’t set out to work from many of them directly.

And yet, when I look at the pieces I have created, I can see that they are very much influenced by all I have been absorbing along the way. It’s as if the theme of contrast is working away in my subconscious: here and there, black and white, big and small. It occurs to me that my indirect and oblique way of working this time round is in contrast to my very intentional and directed way of working last season. It would seem that contrasts are everywhere!

This piece came out of an assignment for the Initiation art journaling course with Juliana Coles at The Institute For Extreme Journalism. After yesterday’s piece, Make the sounds, I felt like revisiting the stark black and white together with a limited colour palette.

Friday night in my little boat,
arriving on the shores of this world.

Unless I happen upon a window of opportunity tomorrow, this will probably be my last poem for April. I am heading off on a workshop out of town that will take me through to the start of the merry month of May. What better way to end my NaPoWriMo experience than with a piece about beginnings!

Thank you so much for all the encouragement, enthusiasm and support you have given me over these last few weeks. This has been a new venture – exploring the meeting and merging of poetry and art journaling – and all your likes, comments, and visits to ‘Follow The Brush’ have meant a great deal to me!

Action Man and Space Woman Build a House!

This piece* is influenced by the Season of Contrast that’s taking place at Get Messy right now. What happens when two seemingly opposite characters get together to work on something? Can each see and value the other’s qualities?

*Is this a visual poem? A comic or a comics poem? An art journaling spread? A movie poster? No one can say for sure!!!


Is your world borrowed
From the man in your life?
The force inside
And joy
Comes out of the blue.

* * *

This page began with a wonderful gouache tutorial from Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd as part of the Season of Art 101 over at Get Messy. I didn’t have any gouache on hand so I used acrylics instead. I discovered how immensely enjoyable it is to paint an entire page with black gesso. I also enjoyed writing with a white pencil on a black background – the effect is like chalk on a blackboard.

I had imagined that these women’s faces would look cheerful and upbeat. Instead, when I had finished, I found that they looked serious, like they had something important to say. As they looked directly out at me from the page, they reminded me of a chorus of women in a Greek Tragedy. I looked through several plays but couldn’t find anything that touched on what I wanted to say.

Then I had the idea to use a cut-up poem technique. It’s a very simple technique, often with surprising and powerful results. I found all sorts of interesting words in an old Vogue magazine. I didn’t have a fixed idea of what I was looking for, I just cut out whichever words appealed to me. When I was done, I laid all the words and phrases out on the table and began to group them together until a theme emerged.

It seemed natural to me that the women of the chorus should speak in cartoon dialogue bubbles. I love to bring together the different things that I do and it felt really satisfying to bring both poetry and comics into this art journaling page!

The beautiful one and the ugly one

The beautiful one and the ugly one. — a split I can very much relate to, some days more than others. It’s not just about how you think you might look to others. It’s about how you see yourself and, more importantly, how you feel. 

In the second Totems class we have been looking at archetypes and what a great exploration it has been! Through working on this piece I came to realise that both these archetypes have their beauties and both have their limitations. Now I love them both!

Coming from a cartooning background, I wanted to add a speech bubble for some of the words. As things progressed, however, I realised how powerful it was to have something undefinable inside the bubble.

Another Face

The mirror showed me another face.

Continuing the poetry comics adventure. Things are getting weird and wild!

The street is not a street

I am diving into comics poetry this Autumn, inspired by Bianca Stone‘s online poetry comics class.

What is a comics poem and how do you go about writing/drawing one? In the happy absence of fixed methods and definitions, I began checking out this mysterious territory.

I started with the text from my recent poem, Fox, writing it out by hand and cutting up all the phrases so that I could see each one separately. Certain phrases jumped out at me, suddenly potent when freed from their neighbours.

I drew 4 panels inspired in part by the original poem, in part by the new arrangements of text that were emerging. The images in turn led to new text choices, this time word by word.

If you compare the 2 poems, they are completely different. Or perhaps the comics poem brought out a layer of meaning from the original?

One thing I find interesting is that when I originally wrote Fox I had some idea of what I wanted to say with the poem. However, with this comics poem, I’m not sure what it’s about! The construction of it was more intuitive. There are more open spaces and possibilities of meaning.

I think I’m going to enjoy this adventure!

The Mirror of You is Waiting

The mirror of you is waiting

This comics poem is a response to today’s NaPoWriMo prompt:

Because today marks the halfway point in our 30-day sprint, today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates the idea of doubles. You could incorporate doubling into the form, for example, by writing a poem in couplets. Or you could make doubles the theme of the poem, by writing, for example, about mirrors or twins, or simply things that come in pairs. Or you could double your doublings by incorporating things-that-come-in-twos into both your subject and form.

For more comics poetry click here.

Fortune Cookie

Fortune Cookie

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt:

The number 13 is often considered unlucky, so today I’d like to challenge you to beat the bad luck away with a poem inspired by fortune cookies.

In honour of the fortune cookie theme, I broke out a bottle of Chinese Ink. This was my first time using this ink in a comic. And I loved it. I’ve got a thing for using areas of solid black in my comics. But with the Chinese ink, there is quite a different sense of depth to the shaded areas. I have a feeling I will be using it a whole lot more from now on!

For more comics poetry click here.

Kwik Fit

I wasn’t expecting to be able to write a poem today as I was on my way to the forest. However, the journey had a mind of its own, as journeys often do.

Comics Poetry

The Symposium of Important Things

It’s not the poem, it’s not the drawing – it’s a new beast altogether!

Bianca StoneThe New York Comics Symposium

I love comics. And I love poetry. Recently, I have been concerned I might have to ditch one in favour of the other at the start of NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). However, when I look into the realm of comics poetry, I am reminded that these two forms can talk to each other and create something new. Continue reading