Best of the Year – Sarah McIntyre
Today’s Best of the Year comes from someone relatively new to the world of comics (although not to illustrating stories) but someone who has already carved herself a good name, Sarah McIntyre. Currently working on some children’s books for David Fickling Sarah is also the creator of Vern & Lettuce in the DFC, which, as regular readers of the blog will know, was one of Molly’s favourites from 2008. As an extra treat Sarah’s given us a couple of her own sketches paying tribute to a couple of her favourite things (not tied up with string though). Let’s see what Sarah was enjoying last year:
(a scene from Vern and Lettuce by Sarah McIntyre, published regularly in the DFC)
FPI: Could you tell us what your favourite three comics/graphic novels and/or books have been this year and why they stood out for you?
Sarah: ‘Three Shadows’ by Cyril Pedrosa nearly made me weep, it was so beautiful: the drawings, the three shadow figures, even the paper’s deckled edges. Pedrosa’s use of shape and line made me painfully nostalgic for so many artists whose work I’ve seen in the past, such as Daumier, Doré, and even Alaskan folk art.
(Sarah’s reaction to Three Shadows)
‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan: This book is perfect; subtle and ingeniously crafted. The way Tan turns the reader into an immigrant along with the story’s main character is pure genius, and I love his use of internal symbolism. (Here’s a review I wrote.)
‘How to Heal a Broken Wing’ by Bob Graham. I don’t think the comics world gave this book a huge fanfare when Walker Books published it, but I see it as the quiet way forward for the introduction of European-style Bande-Desinée to English-speaking children. I thought Graham did a sensitive and graceful job of telling the story of a boy rescuing an injured pigeon from a busy city street (Review here.)
FPI: In other art forms was there anything in the world of radio, TV, film or other artistic endeavours that really drew your attention this year?
(Vern and Lettuce go all Monkey in this sketch by Sarah)
Sarah: Three things: the staging at the Royal Opera of ‘Monkey: Journey to the West’; the first screening of Marc Craste and studio aka’s magnificent new animation, ‘Varmints’; the jaw-droppingly energetic European premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s ‘Percussion Concerto’ by the London Philharmonic, conducted by Marin Alsop. I wish I could draw they way they bash their xylophones.
(a Varmints tribute by Sarah)
FPI: On the professional front how did you see the comics world in 2008, from your own point of view as a creator putting your work out there (did you feel it was a good year for you?) and what did you think of the way the comics biz was in general this year? The business becoming more diversified, more accessible to new readers and creators or less welcoming?
Sarah: The launch of the DFC made this a hugely thrilling year in comics for me. David Fickling took a real risk commissioning my strip, ‘Vern and Lettuce’, since almost all my past experience was in picture books, not comics. So much in comics is new to me that I’m making new discoveries every day, which means I’m hugely optimistic about comics in general. And I can see marvellous work brewing by other upcoming artists whenever I check my LiveJournal friends page (see here for Sarah’s own LJ blog). I hope more publishers more follow the lead of David Fickling and Walker Books and make comics to appeal to children, in all sorts of genres. Get ‘em young, I say.
FPI: What’s the next project you are working on that we can look forward to?
Sarah: Look out for more episodes in the DFC of ‘Vern and Lettuce’! And I’m coming out with two picture books, one with David Fickling called ‘Morris the Mankiest Monster’, written by Giles Andreae, and another which I have to keep secret!
FPI: Lastly, are there any new names you’ve come across recently you’d like to pass on as one to watch for?
Sarah: Yes, so many! I’ll choose Ellen Lindner, the person who shepherded me toward comics as a medium, who’s recently come out with ‘Little Rock Nine’ with Aladdin Paperbacks.
And David O’Connell, who took me on the most exciting-ever comics jam this year, and creates a comic called Tozo.
And have a browse of the DFC’s creators page; you’ll find a whole host of new talent there!