Like an Orange

By Wallis Eates

A collaborative graphic novel about brain injury survivors incorporating their words and pictures.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Orange tights and watercolours

Hello everyone

Long time no update; I hope you are all well!

I was hoping that when I write again, it would be with the fantastic news that I got the Arts Council funding I had applied for (for the fourth time) to work on ‘Like an Orange’, but alas it didn’t happen. ACE are great in that they always give you feedback as to why they made their decision, and this time it was simply because they preferred the other projects that they were looking at alongside mine, and that they aim to strike a balance of what they choose. This is the best version of failing, as it means there is nothing wrong in the actual application itself, and I can just resubmit. Onwards and upwards…

In other news, I did a watercolour workshop with amazing fellow comic artist Emma Burleigh. I’ve always had in mind large brain/orange scapes rendered in watercolour for ‘Like an Orange’. There can be something very spacious about watercolour - like you can dive in and swim into nooks and crannies. The way the pigment and water interact, reaching or repelling, with the little ‘cauliflowers’ (a term I learned at the workshop), reminds me of neural networks and capillaries. It feels like there is a mysterious science that is happening on the paper, that you literally have a hand in but feel very much like a third party - rather like the me-mybrain-mymind love triangle.

I was very pleased to visit The Phoenix Cinema gallery in East Finchley recently to see an exhibition of works by Mike Poole, a brain injury survivor I met at Headway. There was one particular abstract I liked - it felt submerged underwater with an object, but whether the object was underwater with you or above, wasn’t clear. In fact, you could even be above the water peering in. It made me think about the book I’m currently reading, ‘Reductionism in Art and Brain Science’ by Eric R Kandel. It outlines the biological process of vision and how it works. Where we place what we see is an integral and complex component to what happens when we see. It also made me think about the Dora Mater - the outer layer of skin that wraps around our brains (there are 3 layers altogether), and the thin film, physically and metaphorically, between us and what we engage with. Where does one start and the other end?

Finally, I got to wear my orange tights at a comics event last weekend. I’m one of the London organisers of women-led graphic novel forum, Laydeez Do Comics, and at the end of March we had our second ever festival - an extravaganza of female identifying comic creators, complete with exhibition, publisher presentations and a prize-giving to the winner of this year’s Graphic Novel award. I suggested that the team wear black with a colour from our logo, and I said this because I really wanted to wear my orange tights. This turned out to be perfect because when I introduced Lizzie Kaye, my commissioning editor here at Unbound, to give her presentation to the audience, I was able to kick my leg in the air and mention ‘Like an Orange’.

Emma who taught me some great water colouring wisdom last weekend won our Laydeez Do Comics award last year and has since taken the mantel to lead our Bristol branch. You can check out her work and sign up to one of her courses here

Sadly I don’t have an image of the painting by Mike that I mentioned, but I've attached a different one, and you can see his more of his work here, along with other artists at Submit to Love studios

If you’re not already familiar with Laydeez Do Comics and would like to come to one of our events, you can find out more about us here

The picture of me up top there was taken by Myfanwy Nixon who is also crowdfunding with Unbound for her project 'Draw the Line'. It consists of everyday political actions that anyone can take, and was drawn by 100 artists of which I was one. Really worth a pledge, so why not pop across and visit here

That’s all for now. Quite long really, wasn’t it? Thanks for reading.

Have a lovely whatever-you’re-upto, 

 by Mike Poole

 Watercolour practice!


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