It’s taken me a while to get these up on my website but that’s no reflection about how I feel about them – these weird smeary monochrome images helped me show who I was and where I was going.
I’d started an MA because I knew my illustration work could be so much more than it was, and I hadn’t quite found out what I wanted to do with it. The curse of being able to draw well means that I could create with pencil, brush pen, dip pen, acrylics and oil paints but none quite gave the feel that I was trying to reach – until I tried Pfeil woodcutting tools on lino and something exploded.
The book itself is 33 passages, each of 333 words, around identity, being trans, the blurry nature of the self, magic and grief. It’s a book about losing my mother, coming out, and the impossibility of representing a personality through words. The illustrations were a third oil paint, a third linoprint and a third oils over lino print. Each passage runs over a double-page spread and the illustration is printed onto tracing paper which allows some of the words to show through, and there is a playfulness there. I successfully crowdfunded to have the pages professionally printed and I hand-bound 50 copies (I must have been mad to decide to do this!) and sold them all.
I won the course’s creative writing award (no small thing – there were some excellent writers on the degree) and was awarded an MA with Distinction in September 2018.