We’ve known Alex for a number of years, but we only read his writing as it started to emerge in anthologies: his stories in Markosia‘s Bayou Arcana and Aye Saw Comics’ Into The Woods were real standouts. Dark and sensitive, twisted and gentle. His self-published comics – rare artefacts – are peppered with humour and disillusion. We needed his words!
We nearly met Nadine at London Film and Comic Con. Nearly. She was at the other end of a row of tables from Disconnected Press, so we definitely saw her artwork on the way to buy coffee, but didn’t get a chance to say hello. Fate intervened in the form of Mike Garley, editor extraorinaire of the recently launched Dead Roots anthology. Nadine was assigned to draw Lizzie Boyle‘s script Blame, which will feature in the second issue of Dead Roots.
Something about the combination of Alex’s writing and Nadine’s art meant that we had to bring them together. And their story – Plans – combines gentleness, regret, dreams and a twist of magic in a way that makes us do our editorial dance of joy.
It was interesting to watch them working. Alex says that:
The process varies for each project, but it generally follows the same pattern. It starts with a theme or a scene or a message. I have to ponder indefinitely and note ideas, which I’ll try and expand into the outline of a story. I’ll write it down, then roughly break into panels, and those panels into pages, then I’ll add key dialogue and descriptions. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, stress, stress, stress.
Finally, I’ll decide that I can’t meaningfully improve it or am totally sick of it and I’ll submit the dang thing. Deadlines permitting, I try to resist the temptation to submit immediately after a re-writing session and leave it for a few hours, ideally overnight. Of course that’s not the end – after editorial feedback it’s time to repeat the rewrite process again!
Nadine is a joy to work with – always communicating, sending through pencils, inks, colours, page after page. And – importantly – happy to engage in a dialogue about tweaks and new ideas. Predominantly a colourist, who created the TAG web comic and is currently working with the Halcyon and Tenderfoot team, Nadine has used colour to bring to life the complexities of Plans, a story which follows two brothers back and forth through time.
Here’s Alexi again on what his comics dream would be:
The dream is always: to make good comics – to say something worth saying that hasn’t already been said a million times that engages readers and leaves them on some level transformed. The secondary connected dream is: for that work to be recognised critically. The tertiary connected dream is: for that recognition to translate into vast monetary gain!
You can find out more about Alexi Conman at his website: http://alexiconman.blogspot.co.uk/p/published-works.html
And you can see more of Nadine Ashworth’s art at: http://hostage-fiver.deviantart.com/gallery/
Alexi and Nadine’s work will feature in Disconnected Vol. 2, which will launch at ThoughtBubble in Leeds on 17 November 2012.
To pre-order your copy of Disconnected Vol. 2, email firstname.lastname@example.org.