Book review : Persepolis

It’s rare for me to read a book from cover to cover these days, and apart from reading Asterix the Gail books as a child, I have never read a graphic novel before.

This book was a revelation. It taught me things about life in Iran that I could never have got from the media. I guessed at some of the political issues around Iran but didn’t know much. This graphic novel tackles the early life of Marjane Satrapi and how she was affected by the Iranian revolution. It is honest talking about how people and particularly women have been repressed by the regime. It made me think.

The illustration is clear and understandable, the text clear. It is well written and engaging. Difficult themes are tackled with some graphic images of war, but they are not excessive. The support, and sometimes lack of it, from family and friends is explored.

I was engrossed. I read it from cover to cover. Now I have passed it on to my hubby.

Rating five stars. (Even though I don’t do reviews).

Prevaricating

At the moment I’m stuck with my college work. I have ideas, I seem to know what I want to do. But I have a fear of failing. The heat doesn’t help. I’m ending up doing things at 3am, but it’s not enough. Words circle in my mind, like vultures, ready to sink down on the ruin of my ideas. Prevarication prevents failure. I don’t feel I can do a good enough job.

I must start. By writing this down I’m trying to give me a kick start to things. I need to order a couple of books, but I’ve even held back from doing that. I know I can do the course, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t get higher marks. I have passed each semester though. Why would this one be different? Easier to think than write…

My style?

A torch shines. It’s light illuminates a running figure. A trail of blood shows its steps.

This was a transformation we had to do in our illustration workshop this afternoon.

How to show up the image? I used post-it notes to show the shape of the surface as the figure is running across the floor. If I hadn’t had just 20 minutes I would have added a chequerboard pattern. As it was it was fun to do.

Books in the post

Books for college. A great many words arrived in the post over the last couple of days. A book called visual methodologies by Gillian Rose, illustration research methods by Rachel Gannon and Mireille Fauchon. Beginning Theory by Peter Barry and Picture This by Molly Bang. I hope the information in them will sink into my brain. Such a lot to look at and try and understand. It’s hard to take in so much, and this is just a small piece of the puzzle. I must improve my knowledge of crytical analysis. To go from descriptive to forensic. That’s hard. Generating new ideas and opinions without being opinionated. I want to try not to be cruel or condescending. To be honest and to use understandable language because some of it just feels selfish and snobbish. Hmmm.

Easy rider

Part of the college course is narrative and storytelling. The webinar today was to write a short story then retell it in different styles. We had to use headings such as metaphor, dream, vision, retrograde etc.

For instance for the subject ‘dream’ I could say :

The day was quiet when a sudden roar was heard outside the door, a figure wearing a helmet and visor appeared in the room. I shall tilt at windmills on my steed he said. I will search out dragons. I watched as he rode up our street but as he rode the landscape turned to a seascape. He was riding a seahorse, his sword raised to kill the Kraken, but it turned into a wisp of smoke and he was swallowed whole..

From this you can see I probably don’t have the ability to write fantasy stories!

Playing

I sort of see birds, owls, flying out of these flowers? Or old fashioned rocket ships, or a totem pole. When you play with patterns you can find all sorts of things. I like seeing faces in things. I recently found out it’s called Pareidolia. We studied it during one of the semesters at college, the mind looks for patterns and sometimes finds them.

drawing of a profile

drawing with an ink roller

This was one of the portraits I did in a student led portrait group at college during the last few months.

The face was mostly drawn with one of those ink rollers you can use to blank out your address on letters so that you can throw them away without anyone seeing your details and stealing your data. Its quite hard to use because you have to sort of turn and twist your hand and press firmly to sketch curves. AfterId done that I added colour using pastels and the thick black lines were done with black calligraphy pen (most of these have run out so I need some more).

I quite like the strong feel to this. I am trying to find my illustrational voice. I have been told to look for illustrators that my work resembles, but I think mine is different? Is this a good or bad thing? I’m definitley developing my analogue skills. Digital work is more difficult for me.

Trying to think of a three panel story

Rough sketches, three panel wordless piece. I experimented with colour and the positioning of the panels. Also could it be a front, side or top or bottom view of the cat and of it breaking out through the cat flap? Could the sequence change? What are the cats emotions? Why does it want to get out? Fear, adventure, looking for a friend? Lots of reasons, even sunshine….? Or a bird it’s seen singing outside… Oh dear!

Self portrait

A self portrait done when I would have been drawing portraits of other students, but the server was down. Its a mixture of collaged magazine paper, watercolour paint, black ink and ink spray and post-it notes. I think I wasn’t in a good mood when I drew it. I had been doing the drawing session once a week for about seven weeks and then something went wrong and I couldn’t join in. Anyone that follows my blog will know that creating art makes me very happy, it cheers me up, (although I don’t look it in the drawing!)