A graphic novel memoir about life as an actress, singer and artist in the big city
Every journey starts with a single step, through, or in my case, a single note.
I am Jessica Martin, a 'seasoned' multi-faceted entertainer with a thirty-year career of many twists and turns. I have gone from teenage jazz singer, to television impressionist (in the days when light entertainment was at its Saturday night best!), to cult Doctor Who guest star, leading West End musical theatre actress and now, in the last four years, a comic creator and published graphic novelist.
So I feel that I have, in the words of the great song, definitely lived a life that's full!
However, the glitzy, glamorous, showbiz journey is underpinned by a more unconventional family history...
I was born in 1962 to an Irish mother and Singaporean father who was a successful band leader in 50's Soho, London... long before interracial relationships were par for the course. And this relationship was filled with silences, secrets, and some surprises that shook the very foundations of my childhood.
In telling this story, I hope to capture some of the sultry spirit of Soho, and the heat and intensity of standing on a stage, singing your heart out, all from the perspective of someone who has never quite… fit in.
It is the story of someone who comes from an unconventional background, where nothing was quite as it seemed, and who would escape into the world of musicals and performance.
It is the story of a woman seeking to bring together the strands of living a creative life and having a home and hearth.
It is the story of the knocks and setbacks that befall anyone seeking to express themselves fully, and searching for the way to do it.
Being a born entertainer I want to create an all-singing, all-dancing, all-drawing book to delight the senses. With a cast of diverse characters, and guest appearances from some very recognisable personalities, this graphic novel will be 152 pages paying tribute to a creative life.
Countdown to publication!
Monday, 6 May 2019
I know the radio silence has been endless. I am so sorry for the lag since February but there didn't seem to be much to share...until I started thinking about what to say in this blog! Can I ruefully admit I have for the most part, been having a nice time with my family, everyday pleasures and all the other relaxing activities usually recommended for an expectant mother?
I mean the book is on its…
The Journey of 1020 Pictures
Monday, 11 February 2019
I've just been listening to Radio 4's "You and Yours" feature on the resurgence of life drawing and its connection to the rising trend in mindfulness activities. I have always found drawing to be a soothing and immersive pastime. Of course, a whole book of drawing is a different matter. As I hinted in some of my earlier posts, this book has not been without its challenges. I have experienced joy…
Towards the Big Finish!
Monday, 26 November 2018
Greetings from the hermitage!
As you know, we’re in the final stages of birthing this graphic memoir of mine. A huge thank you to all of you who are supporting me and to the lovely passengers who came on board just before the gates closed. Corny as it sounds, I think about you all a lot. In a world where creative self expression has historically been a ‘hard sell’, your belief in…
Learning my lines
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Learning my lines
Hello to everyone who has loyally stayed with this voyage around my life! It really is a case of slow and steady wins the race. Welcome also to the new supporters who have come on board recently. Your generous support is much appreciated.
The long pause between the last post and now is because I’ve been working on the pages and another exciting commission which will be…
The Agony Before The Ecstasy
Tuesday, 17 July 2018
I’ve grandly bastardised the title of the classic historical fiction about Michaelangelo battling the Pope and his own inner demons to complete the Sistine Chapel. Whilst my graphic novel is hardly on the same scale, it has certainly filled me with enough challenges, self doubt and external obstacles to make me want to tear down the metaphorical scaffolding and admit defeat.
With a few months left…
Monday, 11 June 2018
Hello lovely supporters,
A much overdue update on all that’s been happening. It probably appears as if everything has come to a grinding halt on my memoir. However, events in my professional life will hopefully serve the greater good of making my life story all the more exciting and devoid of cliche.
I have been illustrating a three part story by Richard Dinnick for Titan Comics “Doctor Who…
The Progress And The Digress
Friday, 23 March 2018
Hi lovely supporters,
Just over two weeks since I started them and I’ve reached about 65 of my my thumbnail layouts. I’m factoring in a lot of pictorial and historical research as I go and falling into a few rabbit holes to Wonderland. But some treasure be there too, me hearties.
I’ve been posting lots on Instagram. It’s a succinct way of showing where I’m at. So after this brief verbal update…
And we’re off!
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
It’s been a very busy last month. I came back from a successful trip to Gallifrey One in Los Angeles, the big Doctor Who Convention. It was officially announced that I will be illustrating a comic strip written by Richard Dinnick for the Seventh Doctor series published by Titan,
I came home to more great news that I’ll be playing controversial MP Shirley Porter in a new satirical drama “Shirleymander…
A Moment For Mum
Monday, 5 February 2018
Thank you for your patience. I'm sorry for the long silence here. No, I haven't abandoned my book or my promise to you. Far from it. Recent events will ensure my book has more meaning and is richer for the experience. As you know, I have been busy with the demands of performing in the successful run of "Elf" the musical, which not only did a runaway box office breaking run at The Lowry…
Life Under Christmas Lights
Thursday, 9 November 2017
Greetings from Plymouth! We’re bringing on the festive season with the musical “Elf” at the Theatre Royal here before we take the show to The Lowry Theatre in Salford for Christmas. This is my third time playing the part of Emily Hobbs.. the stepmom of Buddy the Elf. Needless to say... I love my job!!
I promise you all that once the show is up and running you will see evidence of me sitting at…
A Star is Drawn
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Hello... remember me?
A hiatus in the ebb and flow of my progress. Apologies for that. There was the family hols in Greece. Won't bore you with that but I will say that Halkidiki is my dream destination should I ever be fortunate enough to be able to take time for a dedicated writing retreat.
Meanwhile, work is seriously underway on the 'word' part of my graphic memoir. And now that I've come…
Backers To My Future!
Thursday, 3 August 2017
The sun is shining outside and in my heart! Two days ago we reached 100% funding and today we're at 101% so the exciting adventure continues! The work itself will take quite a few months to complete the book. But there will be regular updates on progress and little vlogs showing how it's all going.
Don't worry.. you haven't got rid of me that easily!
Meanwhile here's a…
Impossible, Improbable, Inevitable
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Ahoy to all my trusty supporters here on board the good ship "Life Drawing". I'm happy to say that progress has been so amazing since my last update that we are now very close to the target. And sorry for the lack of updates but my real life has also been going at a rate of knots (so many seafaring metaphors but at least it evokes the sense of exciting adventure!)
Some photos attached of…
Reflections in a Mirroball
Friday, 19 May 2017
Reflections in a Mirrorball
At the time of this update, I am about to open in the revival of a cult Broadway classic musical "Ballroom" at a bijoux fringe venue in London, Waterloo East Theatre.
The multifaceted mirrorball spinning in the Stardust Ballroom is like a metaphor for my quick change life as actress, singer, artist, writer, wife and mother. In the show I employ the skills of acting…
A new status and a new pledge reward!
Saturday, 15 April 2017
A few lovely things to report. So now we've got to 34% funded in just over three weeks since the launch. I am overwhelmed by the generosity and willingness of you all. Some of you I met just last week at the fabulous Stoke Con Trent where I was signing Doctor Who memorabilia. Now, of course, you have been introduced to my writing and illustrating identity. I hope you'll be able to…
Sister Pledge. The start of my crowdfunding adventures!
Sunday, 26 March 2017
Thank you to everyone here here who has made this first week of campaigning a memorable and successful one. Almost 25% funded! I am over the moon. But of course, this is only the start. I'm sharing an article adapted from an interview I've just completed for the small press comics website Broken Frontier. It clarifies my intentions and explores why I'm doing this book now. I know you're all with me…
These people are helping to fund Life Drawing: A Life Under Lights.