What’s so special about this book project, then?
Well, lots of things. Allow me to show you some photos of the dummy I made up. I think you’ll get a feel of it. And I hope you’ll be as enthusiastic about it as I am, and excited to be involved in making it happen…
Firstly: the physical side of it:
It’s likely to be a paperback, though the dummy is hardback. The size is the same as the classic Jan Tschichold Penguin paperbacks: 111mm x 181mm. Every first leaf is newsprint and every second leaf is tracing paper*. That’s the first special thing. (I’ll explain the significance of these materials and dimensions later on, in the concept side of it)
Each passage of 333 words will be laid out across a double page of newsprint. In between this double-page spread will be tracing paper. The illustration will be printed in black and white** ink and will interact with the text. By this I mean: parts of the text will show through the illustrations – significant words and phrases, passages. White ink will be used playfully, blocking out some of the transparency of the tracing paper and adding extra messages here and there.
Secondly: the conceptual side of it:
I have written 33 passages of 333 words and every one is based around one of my own memories. However, they are contradictory, loosely linked, they talk over and around each other, there are many different voices speaking and they do not tell one coherent story. Each passage is, if you like, its own sculpture, and it can stand on its own, but placed with its 32 siblings in a room and they interact, reflect, conflict.
Ambivalent at first about making my transness the central theme of my work, I was inspired by Jack Halberstam’s writing on Brandon Teena in A Queer Time And Place. I saw how I could use prose and illustration to create a layered and contradictory narrative archive that fits perfectly with my understanding of queer theory.
Some of the passages are dark, some are dark and funny, some are strange and surreal: each, I hope, has its charm. I like writing short pieces: I like the discipline of the word count and I find I keep my text taut.
The illustrations are monochrome because black and white is an obvious binary and instead I want to show you my shades of grey. It’s that simple. In this dummy the illustrations are graphite pencil, but the final ones will be monochrome oil paint.
I’m using cheap, commonplace, throwaway materials – newsprint paper, tracing paper, soft cardboard for the cover because I wanted an ephemeral feel that reaches towards elegance despite its everyday nature. I’ve 17 years’ experience in designing for print so it should look rather nice I reckon.
It will be printed on recycled materials by a local printing company that has many environmental qualifications, and it is likely to be a fairly small initial print run. Let’s say: in the low hundreds.
I’m aiming to get this project completed for the end of my Master’s Degree in Authorial Practice: Illustration at Falmouth School of Art. That’s September 2018. A lot depends on how much money I can raise to print it. I will keep patrons updated on my progress: I would like to be sending out copies by Christmas 2018. To get your name credited in the book be sure sign up as a patron by June 2018!
I need your help!
If I’ve whetted your appetite with this description and some of the initial illustrations and passages of text then I would ineffably grateful if you could chuck a buck or three my way every month, and to share this post with others whom you feel would be up for supporting the project. It’s vital trans people get to tell our own stories – and you’re making that happen.
By supporting me financially you are buying me more time to work on a book that is queer in text, illustration, design: it is queer to its core. I am more excited about this than anything I have ever done. And naturally, if you’re a patron you’ll get first dibs on a copy.
Thank you :)
*pretty much – because of the ways books are created in sections some text pages will have two sheets of tracing paper between them & both will feature illustrations
**white ink is a rather new and rare invention, I’ve worked with it once before professionally and I’m very excited about it