“A has the flesh of a fruit which [he/she/it] begins to eat. B has the seeds, which [he/she/it] plants. A realises that [he/she/it] will have no source of food after eating the fruit. B begins to starve while waiting for a tree to grow. The remainder of the fruit will sustain A and B until a tree grows.”

Comics-maker, illustrator and all-round lovely chap John Miers produces work that intrigues and challenges, often using abstract forms and diagrammatic elements as well as more traditional story-telling methods. He’s currently working on a PhD in Comics (I suspect it has a fancier title than that in reality, but that’s what it is) and I was delighted to be invited to take part in a project that forms part of his studies.

John asked a bunch of comics people to interpret a supplied narrative and produce a one-page comic from it. For half the group (including me), this came in the form of a ‘script’: a set of actions performed by unidentified characters. The creators could add as much extra detail as they liked with respect to setting, character, dialogue and other actions as long as the supplied actions were preserved. My interpretation is above.

The other half of the group were given a ‘score’, a layout which specified where detail and action should occur on the page but with no other information regarding that detail or action, or story or characterisation. A difficult task, and I don’t envy those creators who had to come up with something coherent from such a complex starting point.

The results were put on display last night, as part of an exhibition John curated at the Centre for Recent Drawing in Highbury, London. It was really fascinating to see the different (and sometimes similar) approaches people had taken to the same set of instructions – no doubt plenty of material for John’s thesis. Either way, there was a beautiful selection of comics, and I was very pleased to amongst so many talented people.

The exhibition is part of the Comica Festival – details here.

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