Oor Wullie Bucket Trail finishes!

That’s it folks, the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail is over! The removal of the Oor Wullies began on Saturday, as the team behind the Trail lifted away the statues from their various locations around Dundee – all 55 of them! Hopefully many of you got the chance to see most of the Oor Wullies, but (like me) some might only now be realising their desire to adventure round the whole of the Bucket Trail. Never fear – the Wullies are off to be polished up before being displayed in two weeks at a special event in the centre of Dundee! From the 9th to the 11th of September, all of the Oor Wullies will be on display in the Slessor Gardens by the Waterfront. So you still have the chance to see them all one last time (without the hassle of walking/cycling/driving too far between them) and to take many a selfie with them before they are taken to be sold at auction.

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This was a project close to our hearts as it was celebrating one of Dundee’s most famous comics book heroes, and we were really happy to take part – we created (literally) our Wullie, aka Oor Elvis (above), which was designed by Cole Lawson, one of our Comics Clubbers, and painted by DCCS Coordinator Damon Herd. Keep an eye out for him if you attend the special event in two weeks!

Not only did we design one of the Wullies, DCCS also got more involved in the project when our Coordinator Damon cycled around the whole Bucket Trail in one day! Starting at Carnoustie Golf Course and finishing up at Dr Manhattan outside Dundee University, Damon covered 35 miles in total on what turned out to be the hottest day of summer – no mean feat. We are all very proud of you Damon! You can learn more about this adventure by reading his Bucket Trail blog post.

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Overall The Bucket Trail has been a fantastic project, and no doubt the star attraction of Dundee this summer for both children and adults! I’ve really enjoyed getting to see lots of the Oor Wullies, and to experience the buzz that they have created in the city! Everyone at DCCS is very proud and happy that we got the chance to be a part of the Trail through Oor Elvis, and the legacy will live on as we are bringing him back to live in the Space – pop in and visit him anytime!

– Caitlin Mitchell

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DCCS Coordinator Damon and social media volunteer Caitlin meet Oor Wullie as Dr Manhattan.

 

 

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Caitlin’s Intern Web Comic Episode 5 (and a wee cheerio!)

Here is the final instalment of our collaborative web comic, produced by the incredibly talented Rebecca Horner!

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Well, that’s my two week internship here at DCCS over! The time has flown by and it’s been an amazing experience. Over the past two weeks I’ve been introduced to the world of comics and in particular the busy world of Dundee Comics Creative Space. Thank you to everyone who has allowed me the chance to interview you, and especially thanks to the DCCS team and artists for never saying no to a photo shoot! I’ve worked with Rebecca Horner, an amazing artist, to produce this collaborative web comic detailing my time here – thanks Rebecca for never complaining about my lack of artistic input! I’ve also had the chance to sit in on some of the workshops that go on here at the Space – both the after school Comics Clubs with young people, and the workshops that are happening in partnership with a group from Advocating Together; the finished product of this project will be a comic about tackling disability hate crime, and I can’t wait to see it! No two workshops are ever the same and I’ve had the chance to see just how incredibly creative the Comics Clubbers are, and to enjoy some classic cheese jokes (what’s the best cheese to hide a small horse with? Mascarpone!). I’ve learnt some valuable life lessons from Damon – mainly to always always keep note of your passwords, and that a Snickers a day is a necessity – but I’ve also learnt about graphic design, and our finished products were the DCCS posters and leaflets that are now distributed throughout the libraries and community centres of Dundee! Keep an eye out for them folks! Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed my time here so thank you for having me – but you’re not escaping me and my incessant posting that easily! I’ll be back in the Space regularly to keep up to date with what’s happening and hopefully to keep broadcasting information about DCCS over social media. But for now, Caitlin Mitchell, signing out!

Introducing the Team: Damon Herd

Here is the final profile we have for you this week – some (Damon) may say we have saved the best for last. Introducing DCCS Coordinator, Damon Herd!

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Damon Herd, I’m 45 and I’m from Fife.

What do you do on a day to day basis?

I’m coordinator of DCCS, so that means I have day to day responsibilities for running the space – liaising with outside organisations and partners, programming workshops for our after school clubs, and arranging artists and facilitators for our studio space.

How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve always been interested in comics, as a kid I used to draw my own Danger Mouse comics with a school friend. I would go to the local library and pour over Asterix and Tintin books. Like Phil, I also used to get Rupert the Bear books at Christmas – I think that places us in a certain age group! I had my first published drawing in issue 26 The Nutty – a comic from DC Thomson – at the age of 9. When I left school I worked as a draughtsman, when you still drew with pen on boards, and then fell into Civil Engineering. It was never really what I wanted to do though, so I eventually ended up working in a record shop in London, and then got a job in the film and TV industry. That lasted until my mid-life crisis when I went back to art school in my thirties. I studied Book Arts and then later did an MA in Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. When that finished, I was accepted to do a PhD on comics at DJCAD. It was titled Truth Games: Fact, Fiction and Performance in Autobiographical Comics and I just handed it in a couple of months ago. As my PhD was coming to an end, the job at DCCS came up so I applied. And here I am!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m a practising artist, I like working in screenprint and I’ve made installations and murals in the past. I also make my own comics such as The Adventures of Ticking Boy. During my PhD I conceived DeeCAP (Dundee Comics Art Performance), which is a theatrical event where we project comics on to a screen and the authors recreate or perform their comics. I also like to ride my bike – I recently combined my love of comics and cycling by doing the whole of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail in one day on my bike! I’m also one of the regular posters at comics blog Graphixia which has a roster of comics academics, mainly from Canada and Europe, blogging on all things comics.

What is your favourite comic of all time?

Love and Rockets is probably my all time number one favourite comic, especially the stories by Jaime Hernandez. It began in the early 80s as a slightly sci-fi inflected tale of punk living in LA, but it slowly lost the sci-fi trappings and focused on the characters, who have grown older as the comic has continued over the last 30 years. I love Jaime’s black and white drawing style, he is an artist who really knows how to use black on a page. Another favourite would be Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée, her work is really delicate and beautiful and personal, but sadly she died this year. Like Norrie, I agree that the best Batman book is Batman Year One. It’s a great combination of Frank Miller’s writing, David Mazzucchelli’s art and Richmond Lewis’s colouring.

What is the best thing about working in DCCS?

Just seeing what the kids come up with during our workshops – they are endlessly inventive, some of them are really natural instinctive cartoonists and their work is always surprising. Usually there’s a good fart joke. It’s great working with artists day to day and it’s also given me the opportunity to continue creating my own work. Everything about the Space is great!

(I think he also enjoys bossing around interns.) What are you working on at the moment?

The after school clubs have been a bit quiet over the holidays but now the schools are back hopefully it will get busy again. We’re working towards getting our Comics Clubbers to produce comics so we can sell them at the Ex Libris book fair at the Dundee Literary festival in October. In a personal capacity, I’m currently guest editing the next issue of Scottish literary journal The Drouth. It’s a comics special and it’s given me great pleasure selecting artists and writers to produce strips and articles for the issue. It should be out in October and it’s going to be great!

How can we follow you on social media?

Twitter – @tickingboy

My website – damonherd.com

Thanks Damon!

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Review – ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi

Before I began reading Persepolis, I didn’t know what to expect. This was my first comic in book form (or what some people call graphic novels) – I didn’t even know they existed! I think Persepolis was maybe marketed towards people like me, who don’t have a lot of experience with comics, as from the outside it looks like an ordinary prose book. This is a clever technique and it paid off as I was more confident about starting it!

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The storyline grabbed me immediately; it is an autobiographical comic, memoirs about Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I also didn’t know anything about this topic prior to reading Persepolis, but I’m interested in politics and feminism so the first chapter, where a young Marji is forced to wear the veil at school, captured my attention. The book taught me a lot about the Islamic Revolution, from the severe laws that were put in place by the new regime (such as the banning of alcohol) to the consequences that it had for Iranian families like the Satrapis, who are ultimately separated by Marji’s parents’ desire to protect their daughter when she is sent from their home in Iran to Vienna by herself. Although there was lots of information in the book, it never felt like a task; I think that it was easier to read because it was a comic, rather than a prose book. Lots of the story was told through the images, along with Marji’s narration, but there wasn’t as much text as in a prose book which I think made it flow very well, and meant I could read a lot of it in one go without getting tired. I think that overall it being a comic added to the book; the gutter, the spaces between the panels in a comic, allowed parts of the story to be more implicit than they would be in a prose book – you make the links between the images automatically in your head, rather than being told explicitly what happens.

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The pictures in Persepolis were in black and white, and were drawn in quite a simple style, which previously I could have thought of as boring, but which was actually really engaging. It meant that more emphasis was put on the characters and the storyline, as opposed to bright colours and really detailed images. As someone who has never read a comic like this before, I really enjoyed Persepolis and would definitely recommend it both to people like me, who don’t know a lot about comics, and to diehard comic fans! The story ends almost on a cliff hanger as the last panel is Marji about to board her flight to Vienna, so I am definitely going to read the next book – Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return – to see where Marjane Satrapi ended up!

Caitlin Mitchell

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The final page of Persepolis

Introducing the Artists: Andy Herd

The seventh and final artist in our studio to be profiled is Andy Herd!

IMG_4614Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Andy Herd, I’m 37 and I’m from Fife but have lived in Dundee for 15 years.

What made you want to become an artist?

Well I always doodled when I was young – I’m a big doodler, I doodle at work and I doodle most places, so I guess I’ve always had something in me that wanted to draw cartoons. I did read The Beano a lot when I was young so I think that helped a lot as well.

Do you have a preferred style of art?

I work entirely digitally – I used to use Wacom tablets but now I actually draw on an iPad, which is fantastic because I can take it with me and draw everywhere. From start to finish, everything I do is on the iPad, from sketching right down to the final stuff. Having worked digitally for so long, I now find I suck at drawing with pens and paper! I really love digital drawing, I think it suits my style, which is quite cartoony and bold. I use an app called Procreate and I also use Adobe Draw, but Procreate is the main one that I use now, which is fantastic I love it.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Hmm, I like to watch horror films on Netflix, I play video games sometimes, I like to read books and I like to think about owls or shrews – they’re really fun animals – and ducks as well, big fan of ducks. My favourite book is Watership Down, it’s fantastic I love it, it’s the only book that ever made me cry.

What is your favourite comic of all time?

It would probably be The Far Side by Gary Larson, which is a selection of one panel newspaper style cartoons. I had a lot of his books when I was young, they’re so funny and so stupid. I think they influenced me a lot. They’re timeless and they have a lot of funny animals and ducks in them.

What is the best thing about working in DCCS?

Being around other people who do comics is very motivating, and having desk space is fantastic, a place to put your things and work in peace. Sometimes when I work at home there’s too many distractions, so having this desk is brilliant. Working with the kids in the workshops is great, they come up with some completely insane comics – sometimes I mentally steal ideas from them. Overall it’s a really encouraging and inspiring atmosphere.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on Episode 7 of my comic called The Cases of Detective Skip Tobey, which is going to be about pan-dimensional crime reptiles who have taken over the city. It’s online on my website, and I’m part of Treehouse Comic so all of my Skip Tobey comics are also in Treehouse.

How can we follow you on social media?

Twitter – @_pandy

Website – www.pandyland.net

Thanks Andy!

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Introducing the Artists: David Robertson

Here is the next in the series of profiles of our DCCS artists – meet David Robertson!

Fred Egg Comics logo (1)Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name’s David Robertson, my age is 44 and I’m from Dundee.

What made you want to become an artist?

Well, I always liked drawing and I’ve always read comics so it was just natural to start making my own as well as reading them. I remember reading things like Hulk, Star Wars, Spider-Man, The Dandy. Up till now, comics is more what I’ve done in my spare time. I knew Damon prior to coming here so when he got the job I told him I was interested. I’ve always made comics so this is a good place to come and do it.

Do you have a preferred style of art?

I guess I’m old fashioned – pencils, paper, and ink. I do use computers and digital stuff for certain things – scanning artwork and tidying it up. But primarily I work the old fashioned way.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Apart from making comics, I listen to podcasts and also make comics podcasts. I’m just starting to get into that. I like watching telly – I like Columbo!

What is your favourite comic of all time?

That’s a difficult one. I’ll say two that my sons made – The Concorde story and The Stick Guy. My sons are 10 and 7. The Concorde Story is a factual comic about the plane. The Stick Guy is a day in the life kind of thing – a man having everyday adventures.

What is the best thing about working in DCCS?

It’s good to be involved in the Dundee comics scene, which seems to be growing all the time. That’s really good. Also when you make comics a lot, you’re kind of sat in one room for hours and days on end so it’s nice to get out the house and come and meet people with similar interests. I do enjoy doing the workshops with the kids – they have great ideas.

What are you working on at the moment?

Today I was working on a new comic, a one pager, called The Making of Space Film Episode 7, which I’m hoping will be in this magazine called Star Jaws. I was pencilling that today. Yesterday I was doing a story with my son who wanted to do another one called Shopping for Tuna. He told me what the story was, while I planned out how it would be on the page. That’s been done over the holidays and I need to draw that up now. I’ve got an ongoing web comic that I do called Bell Time which goes up at the Redbird Review website. I’ve just released my own comic called Zero Sum Bubblegum. I just make comics all the time, I never stop – so I never know what I’m working on, what’s just been finished, what’s just been accepted or rejected, what’s just been published. I do stuff for Treehouse comic regularly. I’m also collecting together my first two mini comics that I did, and putting them into a book called Berserkotron and reprinting it. I want to get that done for this year’s Thought Bubble which happens in Leeds in November.

Finally how can we follow you on social media?

Twitter – @FredEggComics

Blog – fredeggcomics.blogspot.co.uk

Website – fredeggcomics.com

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Meet the Comics Clubbers Part 2!

The next Comics Clubbers to be interviewed about their time at DCCS and their love of comics were David and Mia from our Tuesday workshops!

Tell us a bit about yourselves!

D: I’m David, I’m 11 and I’m from Blairgowrie but I live in Dundee now.

M: I’m Mia, I’m 11 and I’m from Wormit.

How long have you been coming to Comics Club?

D: Since the beginning, in March! I saw about the DCCS on the news on TV. I came because I like reading comics so I wanted to have a chance to make my own.

M: I’ve been coming for a few months. My dad used to work in DC Thomson and I’m interested in comics so I came along! My dad heard about it and told me.

What are you working on at the moment?

M: Pugtato Time! It’s basically about a pug who is a potato, and her adventures. It’s for the fair at the Literary festival in October.

D: The fruit family – so far I’ve got Banana Steven, he’s the first in the family.

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A sample from the first chapter of Mia’s Pugtato Time

What are your favourite comics?

M: I like The Beano because it’s funny.

D: Deadpool because I watched the movie and liked it.

What’s the best thing about coming to the DCCS?

D: Drawing lots of fun comics! And getting to make your own.

M: I just like comics!

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An excerpt from Tim’s Great Adventures by David

What else do you like doing apart from Comics Club? 

D: I go to Scouts, there’s not a comics badge in Scouts yet but there should be!

M: I do Scouts and swimming.

What would you say about Comics Club to people who might want to come?

M: You can express your feelings by drawing them!

D: It’s really good! Damon and the artists help with your ideas and also Damon’s funny.

Finally, what’s your favourite joke?

D: What’s a cat’s favourite colour? Purrrple!

M: What did the doughnut say to the person? Doughnut eat me! I made that one up.

Thanks guys!

Introducing the Artists: Andrew Strachan

The next artist to be profiled by Caitlin Mitchell is the newest member of the DCCS studio; meet Andrew Strachan!

AndycarTell us a bit about yourself.

My name’s Andrew Strachan, I’m 55 and I’m from Edinburgh originally but lived in Dundee for 20 years – I now stay in Newport.

What made you want to become an artist?

That’s a really good question. I suppose it comes from being influenced by comics at a young age – my first aspiration was actually to be a comic book artist, but everybody said that was daft so I kind of got deflected. That’s why I’m here at 55 coming back to comics after doing other art related things – I’ve worked as a graphic designer, an illustrator, and a character designer. I also spent a few years in the games industry, which was a lot of fun.

Do you have a preferred style of art?

I like to use both digital and traditional methods – I suppose I’m focused on old school just now, as I’m getting into the art of inking. Also I don’t have the budget for technology like Cintiq tablets – that’s a wee bit in the future for me. I do use digital Photoshop a lot – I use blue line pencils and scan things in, and when the work’s scanned in I can do a  bit of editing – not too much hopefully.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading, which has also been caught up in my focus on comics – I’m reading science fiction books that might be an influence for me at the moment. I like to keep fit by going running, and like a lot of people I enjoy watching movies and that sort of thing – my favourite movie is American Beauty because the themes touch on me, being of an older generation, and I slightly identify with the main character. It’s not your run of the mill plot but it appeals to me quite a lot. My favourite animation might be The Jungle Book – I like the old classics.

What is your favourite comic of all time?

I’d probably have to say 2000AD – I like it because it’s one of the only surviving British comics. I read it for a while as a kid but it got put aside. Then when I started thinking about comics again, I looked back into it and started reading it again. I suppose it’s because I like the writing of the comics and the diversity of the scripts.

What are you most looking forward to about working in the DCCS?

I’ve got a wee studio of my own at the moment but I’m looking forward to working not just on my own but in a more social studio environment, where you can see what other artists are doing too. It will be good to meet and make connections with other people.

What are you working on at the moment?

At this moment I’m working on a sample script for 2000AD – I’m illustrating this and am looking to send it within the next three or four weeks, when 2000AD have an open submissions period. One of my ambitions is to be published but this is more if you send it in and they like it, they might do a Future Shock strip or something.

How can we follow you on social media?

I’ve actually almost actively avoided social media in the last few years because it uses up a lot of time and all of my time is spent drawing or reading at the moment – but sometime soon I will start it up!

I do have a blog of my caricatures –http://caricaturesbyandy.blogspot.co.uk/

Also some of my work for 2000AD is online –https://www.behance.net/AndyComics

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Introducing the Artists: Ashling Larkin

A new week, a new artist profile – meet Ashling Larkin!


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Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name’s Ashling Larkin, I’m 22 years old and I’m from Eastbourne in England.

What made you want to become an artist?

Well, I’ve read comics since I was a kid, and I was also fascinated with the art of animation. So it was a mix of reading these Brazilian comics (“Monica & Friends”) and also seeing some behind the scenes footage of how they made Snow White that kind of did it for me.

Do you have a preferred style of art?

I really enjoy drawing traditionally, because it lets me draw in lots of detail. The best way to describe my art style is probably as a mix between anime and Disney.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Mostly reading comics of course, catching up on my TV shows and cartoons, and socialising – I think I’m an extrovert. My favourite cartoon show at the moment is Steven Universe and my favourite TV show is The Mindy Project.

What is your favourite comic of all time?

Well I have a favourite artist, and pretty much anything he makes is gold for me – Bryan Lee O’Malley. But my number one comic by him is Lost at Sea because it’s so emotional and it’s similar to the way I tell stories, so I guess it’s one of my influences. I love all of his work though.

What is the best thing about working in DCCS?

It’s really really great to have a dedicated space that is just for working and creating – I’ve noticed that my productivity has gotten way way higher since I’ve been here. Also the workshops are really fun and interesting, and it’s great to get a fresh perspective from the kids we work with.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m finishing up the last chapter for my comic Fundee, and I’m also in the middle of writing The Enchanted Book – it was my fourth year [of university] film which I’m currently transferring into comic form. Those are my big projects at the moment, along with the odd commission here and there.

How can we follow you on social media?

Facebook – Ashling Larkin – Art & Illustration

Instagram – @ashlingdraws

Tumblr – ashlingtumbls.tumblr.com

Twitter – @ashlingtweets

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