Friday, 9 December 2011

Leeds Con: Nelson - Blank Slate Books

Whilst at the Leeds Thought Bubble Festival a couple of weeks ago, I (accidentally) went to a panel discussion/launch of a comic anthology called 'Nelson', published by Blank Slate Books.

I had no idea what the panel or book was about, but I stayed, and it ended up being quite interesting!

The book is a collaboration between 54 comic artists, covering 54 days in the life of the title character Nel. Each artist did a day each (which was one day per year, so the book spanned 54 years, with a single day each year being told), and they had quite free reign to come up with their part of the story as well as doing the imagery for it. All the profits from the book are also going to charity.
At the panel there was one of the editors, Rob Davis, as well as four of the contributers. They spoke about how they each went about thinking of their day/year, and what it was like collaborating.

I think it was interesting that they spoke about why they wanted to contribute to this anthology inparticular (they got everybody they asked to contribute!). Firstly it was raising money for charity, but they also liked that fact that unlike many other anthologies which are just a collection of different peoples seperate works, this had a throughline and continuous thread of it being about one person. Each artist could put their own spin on it via their drawing style and obviously coming up with a section of the story themselves. Someone mentioned that this also helped in getting everybodys work seen too. In a normal anthology, people might just flick through to the artists they like, but because this was one long story, it meant that people had to read through everyones work so that they knew what was going on. Clever.

None of the artists knew what others had written before or after their day/year in the story, so I'm sure it was probably hard to make sure it all came together for the final product. Each artist worked independently and just liased with one of the editors, who gave minimal notes on the work, you know, like dont kill off the main character etc.

There are a couple of names in there that I recognised such as Luke Pearson and JAKe, but other than that I didn't know any of them, but having a flick through the book at the stall later, they all looked fantastic. 

Overall I think it was interesting to hear about a successful collaboration project and how they went about it. Definitely seems like something that could be applied to just illustration rather than comics, too. Maybe something to think about for next year...hmmm...


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