Edyth was the eldest child of a coal miner, and when her talent and ambition became evident, the family put their financial resources into sending her to the Royal College of Art in London - indeed, she was the first girl from Doncaster to go there. In the 1940s she ended up in Shrewsbury and married into an artistic family, the Coles. Her husband's uncle Edwin was quite a famous local artist, and I have mentioned him before, with a gallery of his postcards here. Her husband disappeared one day (it is thought he took his own life when the family business foundered), and she lived the rest of her life struggling to make a living, but did survive thanks to her art.
Detail from a theatre scene and a street scene (Doncaster market)
The strip was written by Bill Conselman (1896-1940) who also scripted for the silver screen, including an Ella Cinders film in 1926 starring Colleen Moore (with a cameo by Harry Langdon as himself!) The artist was Charlie Plumb (1899-1982), who continued with the strip into the early 1950s, though latterly with other artists ghosting in his place (I'm not too keen on the 1940s and later incarnation of Ella, who survived into the 1960s).
Here's my collection of Ella Cinders sheets (they measure 15.25 x 22.5"), with Ella herself keeping guard. There are some beautifully drawn mastheads (eg. the ogre above).
There are some lovely high resolution Cinders strips to be found at Digital Funnies, and a great archive also at Barnacle Press. Below we see Ella at the museum... which reminds me that a recent Charlie Jefferson panel (my DFC strip) has a similar view - I just noticed the coincidence while putting this post together.
Neat and stylish would be a good description of the two books that Blank Slate have so far published - Mawil's 'We Can Still Be Friends' and Oliver East's 'Trains Are Mint' - both well worth picking up. They've also got some very exciting stuff on the horizon, including the one I'm most excited about - the publication of Nigel Auchterlounie's* Spleenal (read more here and here. Edit: and now here on the Blank Slate blog).
Jonathon Dalton has reached 'O' in his A-Z, and a new one has popped up in the form of 'Mitz's Inevitable A-Z of Comic and Cartoon Villains'. You can tell this is going to be interesting when 'A' turns out to be Armless Tiger Man. See where it all started here.
I've been asked to give Indie Review a mention, and I'm more than happy to do so after a browse around the newly redesigned site. The news section is very good and it's building up a nice bank of reviews (I'm sure I wrote a review for Leonie O'Moore's 'Some Forgotten Part' for them, but it seems to have disappeared) and creator biogs (where I'm described as "more of a mainstream artist compared to a lot of independent UK artists"!?). I would say the navigation can mean you have to click through a lot of pages to see what's in the archives, and a few more graphics, especially on the masthead, would brighten the place up a bit, but it's still a very worthwhile link.
* My gggg-grandmother was an Auchterlonie... her antecedents hailed from Crail in Fife, and included her cousin, Robert Auchterlonie, the "Grand Old Man of Scottish Congregationalism".
It was really nice to draw Julius, Lily and Nathaniel once more. It's been nearly a year - I can't believe it's been so long! Thank you again, everyone, for your exceptional patience. I'm getting there - as soon as my DFC strip is done, I shall be back on to Orchid... and this time there's a book in sight. And we'll celebrate with a competition for some original art.
You can see the new strip by clicking the picture below.
I was delighted that his letter J was represented by Julius Chancer from the Rainbow Orchid, and Jonathon's fantastic rendering of Julius can be seen below.
Of course the script comes first (and that comes after the research and plot workings-out), but while I'm writing the script, I'll rough out the page simultaneously. As Nazaleod is in 4-page episodes, I do these roughs on A4, folded in half to give me four A5 pages.
Then I pencil the page using a Rotring mechanical pencil with a 0.5mm H lead and working on Goldline A3 220gsm bristol board. The page is inked with a dip pen (Hunt 107 nib) and india ink - as you can see from the accompanying image, I scanned this stage for some reason, with pencils still underneath, which I don't usually do. After the pencils have been erased away, the inks are scanned in to Photoshop as a 600dpi bitmap, and it's here I'll do any little corrections and add any 'white ink' (eg. the rain). Finally, the bmp is converted to colour, the black line is lifted to its own layer and colour is applied underneath, before being transferred to an A4 (actual size) master and lettered (not shown).
Firstly I want to mention a couple of new projects from Dave West of Accent UK. He's got a great little story on the way called 'Whatever Happened To The World's Fastest Man?', which takes a nice angle on the concept Arthur C. Clarke examined in his short story, 'All the Time in the World'. The project that excites me a tad more, though, is 'Stephenson's Robot', with the lovely artwork of Indio, and you can go and learn more about this at the website.
I also want to give another mention to the sketches of Andy (aka Konky Kru). Whenever I visit his website I can spend ages in his galleries of wonderous art, whether they're the ink drawings of various scenes and events (including several comic festivals), or the beautiful watercolours. I find them lively and inspiring and you'll find them well worth your time. While you're off in that direction, you can lose yourself further in his invaluable Early Comics Archive too.
Finally (for now), I hope you've been following the adventures of Super-Sam and John-of-the-Night by Darryl Cunningham that's been running over on the Forbidden Planet International blog. Darryl is a clever storyteller with an engaging art style. I loved the brilliance of a scene in episode 37 where John stares at a painting, only to see his grandfather appear and give him a warning. My description is clumsy - Darryl presents it as a perfect comic-strip moment, visual and with simple yet startling impact in just a few panels (see? I'm still trying to describe it!). It's language-of-comics ingenuity.
As is usual with these events, it was great to meet and talk with everyone I did, and I'm disappointed at missing many more. My original drawings for the Comics A-Z did quite nicely in the auction, so thank you to everyone who put in a bid. I'll try and find out how much they raised (edit: £181), but the important thing is that the auction total was over £600 - amazing stuff. If I'd have been a bit more flush myself I would have definitely gone for the Lee Kennedy sketchbook... a wonderful thing to own.
Elyssa came up with me, which reminded me that our first sort-of-date involved dropping in at a proto-Caption at the Red Sun Institute in Reading in 1992 - I don't think it was called Caption then, but I might be wrong.
(from Sarah McIntyre's Caption strip)