A couple of years ago I was put in contact with the writer David Gaffney by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. David’s books Sawn-Off Tales and More Sawn-Off Tales feature stories that are exactly 150 words long. I found them dark, funny and sad. Directly up my street.

The festival wanted to know if I’d be interested in adapting some of David’s stories into comics, only with a twist. Could we turn it into a performance as well? We chatted it through and figured we could do a comic that would be projected large, a dramatic reading of the stories all accompanied by live music. We managed to get together with the wonderfu Sara Lowes who wrote a great soundtrack for the project.

David and I found a way of taking these short stories and compiling them into a coherent narrative and set about the work of putting the whole thing together.

This was a really fun project to work on. It was initially tricky to balance the idea that it was going to be narrated, with a soundtrack and appearing on a huge cinema screen, but once we’d figured out the pacing and timing everything fell rather neatly into place. I really enjoyed trying a few new things with this book - to get the different voices of the characters, I changed the art tools I was using - I used coloured chinagraph pencils for one section and for a few pages I drew with my left hand to get a wobbly vulnerability into the artwork. It was a lot of fun.

The project was launched at Toronto Comic Art Festival in May 2015 and was performed in Kendal Brewery Arts Centre in October 2015. Following that, we approached a few publishers and I’m delighted to say that the book will be published by Top Shelf in January 2018! 

David and I are currently working on a second graphic novel but I’ll save details of that for another day. I will say it is shaping up to be really good though. Very exciting!