The UK Comics events running in Madrid this month have been opening a window on the world of comics, graphic novels and Manga in the UK. Several stars were invited to speak, including SelfMadeHero’s Doug Wallace, and our very own Posy Simmonds and William Goldsmith. The latter, author of Vignettes of Ystov, was kind enough to give us an insight into the festival. A window on a window, if you will. Here’s what he had to say.
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to speak at the Museo ABC in Madrid, alongside the great Posy Simmonds. The venue is a centre for illustration and drawing, and the talks coincided with a British Council-led focus on UK Comics. Riffing off this British theme, several Madrid-based artists were adorning the musuem’s glass corridors with characters from the novels of Charles Dickens.
Prior to my talk I was also asked to give a storytelling workshop. This was a simple exercise in which participants visually interpreted some staple plot structures in ten minutes. These were jumbled and distributed among the group, and then rehashed into randomly generated comics.
The talk itself focussed on the strange and sometimes conflicting interests of building an imaginary place, in the development of my graphic novel, Vignettes of Ystov. This touched on my pillaging of old Latvian postcards and Space Race magazine covers, and my feeling of unease as I wandered around Moscow, post-publication.
I spoke about my interest in multi-narratives, and the different approaches I’d considered in linking the lives of my characters. I also showed some smaller comics and illustrations, and spoke about future interests with my work.
At the end of the talk, audience members asked an array of questions, on subjects including autobiographical comics, working routines, and the challenges of being a technophobe.
The highlight of the evening was Posy Simmonds’ explanation of Gemma Bovery’s eye-movements, and her uncanny impersonation of Princess Diana that followed.