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Songs For Beginners.

September 5, 2010

From the Birmingham Zine Festival Website, read the whole thing after the jump.  Above are some of the images I’ve been working on for the Get A Grip screenprint workshop which will take place at the Zine Fair on the 11/09.

James Nash Interview by Hannah Davis

James Nash is the designer of the wonderful Birmingham Zine Festival logo and Poster. Please see his website for more of his artwork: http://www.jamesnashlovesyou.com

  1. Your website says that you have been making a comic as a diary every day since your final year of University. How did you manage to make comics so frequently – did it naturally become a habit, or did you purposefully get yourself into this routine?

Yes. It was a project that I started at Brighton, partly in response to research I’d been doing about comic imagery as a subjective linguistic device, like, testing that theory by making everyday nothings into something readable and building narratives.

And partly, being embroiled in such a puritanically graphic, concept driven course, it was freeing to build a neat framework in which I could just write and draw without questioning what I was doing too much, as that can become creatively crippling and had previously stopped me drawing altogether.

Its been maybe about 6 years since I started it – originally it was great to test myself and produce something on a daily basis as it wrings out things you don’t know are there and that aren’t preconceived. I’ve had loads of blips in the ups and downs of the past few years – I’ve got a whole years worth of stuff that was so lazy and abject that I’ve never shown anybody. I’ve cheated a lot of times, but now doing it exactly on the day doesn’t feel as important as just having something for that day.

2. What inspired you to publish your own diaries, and why did you decide to do this in comic form?

Er, see above mostly, in terms of why I make it as a comic, the visual idea… In terms of the material and content, it is an attempt at mapping and representing life; all the good, bad, boring, exciting, happy, sad things within a structure that gives all those things equal space and consideration.

Self publishing comics is a great way of gauging an immediate and personal response from an audience. Just to know that the original idea works; that people read, engage and respond to it in such a manner is incredibly rewarding.

3. Do you always write about real life and / or your own life? (are any of your characters based on people in your life?)

Yes. It can be problematic. Mostly people love the thought of being notable enough to be included, but are guaranteed to hate anything you write about them, or the manner in which their personality is editorialised.

4. What is your favourite comic?

Woah. Difficult. I’m pretty sure its Teratoid Heights by Matt Brinkman. I also love anything by Ron Rege Jr. There’s a short story by Gabrielle Bell I love called Cecil and Jordan in New York, I think she made it into a film with Michel Gondry, but I’ve not seen it…

5. Your most recent work is called ‘Speaking of Not Knowing’. Please tell us more about this and how your decided on the title.

All the titles for my comics are just quotes the comic itself, its one of my little rules and usually its something that encapsulates the theme of the year. Speaking of Not Knowing fitted the theme of getting past bad times, about working out and rationalising things that you can’t just know, it was also just linguistically neat.

6. Do you generally stick to the same style and process when you draw and create your comics?; what materials do you tend to use?

I use a brush and ink. I don’t plan in pencil or anything. It has more purpose and is a good expressive line. I also believe that the mark you make, the mistakes you make, are all important. It seems like a perverse idea to draw something and deny the way that you made it.

7. What, and who, inspires you the most in your creating and making?

Gary Panter, his approach to working more than anything. And Coronation Street.

8. What is your favourite location and time of the day for drawing?

It used to be whenever I could get time, but recently I’ve been a lot more free; So rather than falling asleep on my sketchbook at 1 or 2am, tired and bitter and hateful, its now mid-morning at the kitchen table. More specifically, weekend lunchtimes listening to the football on the radio with a lovely cup of tea.

9. If you weren’t an illustrator and Comic Artist, what would you like to be doing instead?

No idea, I’ve been working in consistently horrible jobs since leaving college, in a bank, bar, office or whatever. There have been plenty of times where I’ve thought that was it for me, it could still be.

10. What would you rather be [and why]; A withered daisy, a coffee-soaked comic, or a pair of ripped jeans?

A withered daisy. It’s a rough situation, but you’re still a flower.

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