This is a comic strip version of an autobiographical story Sarah Millican told on the radio programme ‘Women Talking about Cars’ (R4). I wanted to remember this story, because it illustrates both modern relationships and also our dependency on ‘men who can’.
There were a few technical problems to resolve that took a little time. Firstly, the use of formatting for the strip. For this, I adapted Argentinian cartoonist Liniers way of working on an A3 sheet with the strip space at the top. Liniers does fascinating innovative things within that space – describing it like a ‘free space’ – the only thing that seems decided in his case is that the dimensions are 10 cm by 33 cm. I liked the doodle space offered around the mapped-out grid – this also potentially provides a nice reference for future of process and imagery.
However, this large format appears problematic for automated social media such as this website and Instagram. This needs further thought.
I used some aids to create this strip, for example, I referred to a couple of cartooning manuals for ideas on expressions. I was not entirely sure what feeling to go for – I thought ‘upset’ was pivotal, but after exploring possibilities, it became apparent that it was really more about anger or frustration at the loss of independence juxtaposed with the neutral calm of the husband (oh god, it’s dull to contemplate the bones of this!). Anyway, I used Bishop and Byrne’s cartooning manuals for ideas about expressions. Also, also looked at illustrator Peter Kneebone’s work, because I love his characters (and his use of expressions). Finally, I used ‘google ref’ for a rough idea of how Sarah Millican and her husband (Gary Delaney) look even though they are represented only very loosely. Eventually I elected to keep Sarah’s hair blonde (although she tends to be brunette these days) and to remove her glasses, which she mostly wears – and invented a dress for her.
Initially, I had problems scanning this strip as my printer has A4 limitations but discovered the iPad can do this under Pages. It is amazing! It just saved me from purchasing a larger scanner that I do not have space to store in my small study.
- Bishop, F. (2006) The Cartoonist’s Bible. London: Search Press.
- Byrne, J. (2008) Collin’s need to know? Cartooning. London: Collins.
- Sarah Millican, S (2020) on ‘Women Talking about Cars,’ Radio 4, BBCiPlayer available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b084xr59 [accessed 31/08/2020]
- Kneebone, P. (see Trim)
- Liniers (aka Ricardo Siri Liniers) teaching online with Domestika
- https://www.domestika.org/en/courses/623-graphic-humor-give-us-our-daily-comic-strip [accessed 31/08/2020]
- Trim, J. (1965) English Pronunciations Illustrated. Drawings by Peter Kneebone. CUP.