A zine on friendships and loss

Friends,

I have been missing in action for a few months now, and I’m sorry I didn’t leave a note or an explanation. So many things have happened in between then and now – life got in the way (among many other things) and I just couldn’t bring myself to write for the past few months. The good news however, is that I’m easing myself slowly into being back into the groove of things (it feels like 2018 has just begun for me!)

While I didn’t do much writing here on the blog, I do have something new to show – I created a new zine in collaboration with Weng Pixin and it talks about friendship. Or rather, the lack and loss of it, all wrapped up and titled “This Ship’d Sailed”. Now, I’ve experienced friendships that have gone on and off, or perhaps even on again. We’re not bitter nor angry about them – we just felt that there’s a certain mystery about friendships, of how feelings and emotions tied to such relationships can affect us so much.


Who hasn’t lost a friend in their life? Or who hasn’t felt the stung of rejection that arose from not feeling like they belong? Or what about feeling less than memorable? So much so that you feel tossed aside and ultimately forgotten? It hurts a lot, and I can relate.

This was the reason why Pixin and I decided to create this zine – it’s 40 pages long (yes!) and consists of 7 artists sharing their stories of lost friendships – from friendly fallouts to eventual growing-apart-itis. It’s a less talked about subject – so many people were celebrating friendships that we thought that it might be interesting to talk about the flip side to BFFs.

Having had my fair share of friendships that did not turn out as well as I had hoped, I was hoping that I wasn’t the only one who felt hurt, left out and bewildered by such incidences. Turns out, it’s quite normal (if what I see and read from the contributors are anything to go by). Perhaps you’ve gone through something like this as well, to which I say sharing is really caring.

So do share with me:

Have you ever lost a friendship that was near and dear to you? Or perhaps you’ve felt a little sidelined by a group of friends before? I’d love for you to break open those floodgates and release your frustrations and feelings, and share them with me. Who knows? You might just help a friend or two (even if you don’t know them as one yet).

To see the insides of This Ship’d Sailed zine in all its full-colour glory, head over to my Etsy shop for more pictures and to get yourself a copy!

Artist interview: Mel Stringer

Mel Stringer

I had the joy of conducting an email interview with the lovely artist Mel Stringer recently – you might already be a fan of her work on Frankie Magazine, or her well-stocked and extremely popular Etsy shop; but if you aren’t, you might just change your mind.

Hi Mel! Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Are you a full time artist?

I am a full time artist, yes. It was a tad scary making the leap from part time to full time but every day is rewarding when you work for yourself. There are definitely days when I need to force myself to dig my feet into the sand on the beach or watch movies in bed though, a charging of batteries so to speak. There’s always so many possibilities!

Where do you live? What stands out about living where you are, and what is your daily schedule like?

I’m currently based in Brisbane, Australia. It’s a sub-tropical city with a healthy list of artists and musicians. I work from my home-based studio and I love it.

A typical day would be waking early, feeding my pug Grover, checking emails and clicking around on the internet. Checking my calendar and making a to-do list for the day. At the moment I’m really inspired to work when listening to 70’s R&B, so I’ll crank up some tunes and start working on packing orders, commissioned portraits or just scribbling and dabbling about – dreaming up new ideas in my sketchbook.

Then I’ll head out to the stationery shop to get supplies or the post office to mail stuff off. Most days I’ll bring Grover in with me but he won’t sit still.

Do you keep a journal/sketchbook, and would you mind if we had a sneak peek?

Of course! Here are a few snapshots taken from my Instagram.

sketchbooks

I love your style – how did it come about?

I was brought up with such inspirational sources as my Dad who is a cartoonist himself, Disney, Looney Tunes, The Simpsons, Astro Boy, MAD Magazine, Sailor Moon, Don Bluth and those sorts of cartoons that most kids my age grew up watching.

As I got older my influences started to include artists like Robert Crumb, Yoshitomo Nara, Dan Clowes, Ross Campbell, Plump Oyster. A running thread throughout these artists was the way they depicted girls and women in their work. I really connected with it and identified with the shapes and figures they were putting down.

I started drawing my own body and face more and more after I left highschool. It’s a form of self love when I can be proud of what I see on paper and in my reflection.

You have a new book out – Cute Yum, published by Belly Books. Can you tell us a bit more about it? What was the inspiration behind the book, and how did it all come together?

Mel Stringer for Cute Yum

Mel Stringer for Cute Yum

I was approached by Belly Kids late last year about the possibility of working with them on a publication. I had a long think about what I would most like to make and what’s been bubbling up inside me for some time that I just needed to express. I decided on creating a huge collection of female fashionistas (both minimalist and ott) modeling their clothing combinations. That way I could draw my girls, my most favorite types of clothing and have it all in a big collection.

I was inspired by the Japanese street fashion book FRUITS when I found it in late highschool. Since then I’ve been so impressed by street fashion blogs and Japanese fashion. Cute Yum is my own version of street fashion photography.

What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Girl Glue #2 is coming out soon, it’s a zine that’s focused on creative females that I put together. A few other projects being brewed too! I’m hopefully setting up a new studio in the near future soon, somewhere to spread out and get into my musical project Sparkle Gang as well.

In the next few years I can only hope to be happy and doing cool stuff that I love.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you were just starting out as an artist/illustrator?

Stay strong, be brave. Everything else just happens naturally if you are truly passionate about your work. In saying that, I feel I’m still only just starting out so this advice is for me in this present moment as well.

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Thanks so much Mel! You can pre-order Mel’s latest book Cute Yum, published by Belly Books over here.

The Pikaland Gift Guide for All Seasons: part 7

giftguide

The Pikaland gift guide for all season has come to the end – and to cap this year’s edition, I wanted to do a bit of recap of the books that I’ve featured here on the blog, which has been some of my favourites. They’ve opened up new horizons for me, inspired me and to a certain extent, changed my life. I still flip through them from time to time, and I do think that the ones here have stood the test of time. (P/s: this list is done in no particular order!)

Enjoy!

Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

 

Lighter Than My Shadow (Amazon UK) is Katie Green’s first graphic novel – a tale of struggle and recovery; of abuse, betrayal and awakening. I’ve known Katie online for several years now and while I knew she was working on her first graphic novel about her eating disorder – I didn’t anticipate the range of emotions that bore into me as I turned each page. All 500 of it. I was curious, confused, shocked, angry – some of them all coming together in a flurry of emotions that caught me off guard as I devoured it in one sitting. It was beautiful, uplifting, and most importantly – incredibly brave of her to put her story out into the world.

Read my review here.

Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists by Marion Deuchars

 

Marion Deuchars has done it again. In 2011 I reviewed her book Let’s Make Some Great Art (reviewed here) and it was a unique book which made me squeal with delight when I peeled open its pages back then. In her latest book, Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists, she reprises the original concept of inviting the reader (or in this case, the artist) to dabble their fingers into some paint and let loose in between the pages of her book.

You can read my review here.

Birch field Close by Jon McNaught

 

The brilliant work of Jon McNaught is captured beautifully in Birchfield Close – a book that describes frame-by-frame of the suburbs in all its mundane glory. Each scene seems to blend into one another effortlessly, much as the day turns into night in places such as these – behind the subtle chatter of neighbours to the quiet unsymbolic passing of days. Throughout the book there’s no conversation; just sounds and noises against backdrops and textures of subtle color. Jon’s a genius.

Read my review here.

An A-Z of Visual Ideas by John Ingledew

 

If you’ve been stumped for ideas on how to push the envelope in your work or to add context by twisting thing ups a notch, then you must, absolutely, get The A-Z of Visual Ideas:How to Solve Any Creative Brief. What this book does is to link, connect and inspire new ways of thinking and creative solving. From A to Z and start to finish, the book not only outlines how to breathe new life into your ideas, but show you many examples of how others have done them.

Read my review here.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

 

Malcolm’s mind is like a giant repository of ideas, questions, answers, and the magic lies in how he tells and links all of them together. Facts that I never thought of learning are brought to life so vividly; facts that never crossed my mind and facts which seemed insignificant at the time — all of them were carefully dissected and presented in simple, layman terms. And in Outliers, he talks about success and the makings of it.

You can read my review here.

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

 

Thought provoking and written in a conversational style, you’ll feel as though you’re sitting down with Youngme herself for a chat about the topic of how to differentiate yourself from the crowd in Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd. While the title sounds like a business how-to, she mentioned that this was precisely why she set out to write a book that eschewed the norm of dishing out one-liners and pep talk. Instead, she manages to maintain the interest of the reader to delve into the subject matter further to decipher for themselves the points she puts across so eloquently in her book.

Read my review here.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it for Life

 

First, a little background. Twyla Tharp is a choreographer who has created 130 dances for her company and many others like Joffrey Ballet and London’s Royal Ballet. What shines throughout The Creative Habit, is how Twyla talks about creativity in the way she knows. Although choreography is a different way of expressing one’s ideas through art, the formula to achieve creativity in all levels of your life is a common thread that binds all creative types together. Drawing, writing, performing, singing and even business — she doesn’t discriminate what field you’re in. Rather, she offers learning through her eyes and opens up the reader’s mind via her experiences.

Read my review here.

How to be an Illustrator by Darrel Rees

darrel

 

I first reviewed this book  in 2010, and a second updated edition was just released this year which contains updated information about the field of illustrations. The past 4 years has seen big changes in how artists market themselves (which is reflected in updated interviews), and they’ve added in sections on social media presence as well. \

You can read my review of the first edition here.

Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? by Mark Todd & Esther Pearl Watson

 

As a simple start off point for wannabe publishers, making a zine is surprisingly simple, yet effective. Staple together (or fold) a stack of papers with your idea in it and you can get your message across to any audience you wish! As one who came from the glossy publishing world of magazines, I loved the smell of paper hot off the press. I loved flipping through pages of my hard work and seeing the eyes of others lit up as they consumed each page. As I struck out on my own however, I thought that would mean the end of publishing for me as I knew it. Boy was I wrong.

Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine opened my eyes to a world of zines and you can read my review of it here. It’s easily one of my most favourite books ever.

How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

 

How to be an Explorer of the World is Keri’s fourth book after so many other inspiring creativity-inducing books such as Living Out Loud, Wreck This Journal and The Guerilla Art Kit. I was always interested in the topic of creativity, and its many manifestations throughout my daily life, but Keri brought clarity to my thoughts and inspired me with one of the articles from her blog that first caught my eye: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love.

Read my review here.

And that brings an end to The Pikaland Gift Guide for All Seasons 2014! Thanks so much for sending your recommendations – you guys are amazing!

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