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@skyangel: If you have ever read Ursula le Guin, who btw was a feminist writer (she died recently) you'd need much bigger wings, an average sized human needs at least 3m of wingspan.

You can download her books from www.b-ok.org.

You can't fly a hang-glider in the UK if you are under 14, my twins fly in Italy. They are like butterflies. They are barely 1.8 m wingtip-to-wingtip, and correspondingly manouevrable.

Ursula le Guin is wickedly funny.
@Fruitbat44: It's Essex. You were close. Still East Anglia.

If you look back through the pages (there are a lot of them), you can actually work out where Skyangel lives and works, you'll find them on Google streetview. Almost every thing and every person is drawn from life. In Essex.

I could walk into her shop and say 'I'm a great fan of your art' but as I'm heterosexual and she is lesbian I don't think I'd get much more than an 'umm well, thanks'.

For lesbians, blokes just aren't on the radar. Yes, the Sapphism is there but she's not ramming it into your face. She's lesbian. That's just what she is. So what? She's not making a fuss about it.
I get the impression that the next few pages are going to tie all the strings together, and All Will Be Explained. As in an Agatha Christie novel. If Skyangel is going to reproduce Christie's prolificity, (roughly a new book every eight months), and as Simply Sarah has taken about eight years, she's going to have to live to be 1000! (-:

As will her readers. As I've recently been declared cancer-free, I'm up for the long haul.

I'd love to know the locations featured as scenery.
@skyangel: I've never thought of it as being an LGBT comic. You've never rammed it down our throats. Sure, the protagonists are girls who like girls, but it's primarily a great comic with great art and an enticing storyline, whatever your sexual orientation is. In my case, heterosexual male, with heterosexual twin daughters who also love this comic, which they have now read from the beginning (the comic is actually older than they are).

Tintin is right-wing Catholic, does that mean it's no good? As in Simply Sarah, the politics are there, but they don't dominate the message.

Sure, your portrayal of male characters is unsympathetic, but in comments you have explained you had an abusive father. So, we know where you are coming from.

When Simply Sarah ends, you're going to take a break, but I hope you will come back. The twins especially liked Cathy, which showed you have a lot more strings to your bow. Jane Blonde was just rip-roaring comedy, it was really fun!

What will you do next? If there is one thing I can be sure of, it won't be what we expect...

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The twins have just suggested a comic about being mixed-race in a country that has just elected a racist government. They'll do the Italian subtitles.
@Lordcholmondlywarner: My cousin used to live in Colne Engaine, now she lives in Halstead, so I know Essex reasonably well, and one of the joys of S_S is recognising the Essex milieu in which the comic takes place. Some frames you can look up on Google streetview and compare the frame with the photograph.
@kidcthulhu: 'pallor' - that's Becky the colourist's choice, unless Sky specifically told her to colour her pale.

Britain and especially Ireland are usually cloudy, so people tend to be quite pale - unless they deliberately tan themselves with a sunbed or a visit to sunnier climes. Even in NJ you will get more than twice as many hours of sunlight per year as Sky in Essex. I wouldn't consider Laura especially pale.

I haven't been to Essex in ages, except at 225 km/h on the train in to London - I'd forgotten how pretty parts of it are, and still unspoiled, even though it's so close to London.
@skyangel: Sare has two cars to tax and insure? And find parking spaces for?

One is enough of a problem. I've never seen any mention of her having a garage or off-road parking.

You do *not* want to have two cars without a good reason. OK it's classic, and it's been restored, but you need somewhere to keep it. This she hasn't got.

Inappropriate gift there Ron with the 1970s's bling.

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Skye's male characters have hitherto been cardboard characters, Ron is the first who comes across, he is Essex Man (which will mean nothing to people outside England).

This bande dessinee is coming to an end. It's been great!

As it has evolved it has become more into Franco-Belgian tradition than just a slice-of-life.

Qu'elle vive toujours!
This really relates to your comments a few days ago
Skyangel: I was offered the same opportunity (young minds) and turned it down for some reasons that coincide with yours. But most differ.

I'm in a field (Physics and Mathematics) where there *are* right answers. It is at the atomic level when the observer interacts with the observed, as a minimum, there are large stable crystal arrays where the atoms sit down and behave themselves, and you can observe them without disturbing them too much. At lower-level, you are interacting with the experiment. This is second-year stuff.

It's about facts.

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Art only exists between the observer and the observed. If you go round an art gallery you will experience something very different from me: I'm a bloke, I'm colourblind (these often go together). The sculpture (Rodin. etc) is something I want to touch. Off topic, Brussels is close to you and has some great museums, especially Modern Art. Touch it!

It's not about facts. It's about experiences. All the senses.

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Now, interacting with young minds. How are you going to get these ideas across to a class of 35? Most of whom don't want to be there?

The Socratic Method doesn't work for more than about six inquisitive young minds for one tutor. Yet the Socratic Method is the basis of every educational system I know of.

I'll get off my soapbox now.
@skyangel: Giving up love is like stopping a drug addiction cold turkey. It's the same chemical in the brain.

Sarah's 'strong morals' say a lot say a lot about you, Sky.

In frame 6 (ease off on the shading, you have a colourist for this) you mention depression. Depression isn't a state of mind, it's a disease, and some people are immune against it. I'm one. Medical science is working hard to find out what causes it and how to cure it.

Suicide is a common cause of death with depressives. This is a tremendous waste of life.

The Victoria University of Manchester is surveying us non-depressives, and the study is beginning to show results.

'I used to care, but now I have a pill for this?' This could be a reality soon.

It's not something special we have, it's something we lack. There is a chemical in your brain we don't have, and this chemical serves no purpose whatsoever. Like an appendix, it's an evolutionaly leftover.
@skyangel: Oh dear. I hope I didn't put you off. But I think you are right that primary kids need to play, but secondary ones (well some of them) want to learn.

I'd like to say that my bitter experience was the only one [Being hit for being left-handed in aas.ru] but sadly this is not so. A generation later my kids, who are Visible Minority Canadians (they are mestizas) got screamed at and humiliated for speaking Spanish.

They now refuse to speak English. They understand it. They will speak it only in an emergency.

Fortunately I have EU nationality and I wasn't that happy about their school's standards anyway so we moved to Italy.

Their headmistress would rather have her best front teeth extracted now than lose her two best pupils.

So...

I think you were right to think hard about how you could influence young minds.

[BTW Spanish/Italy? They are mutually intelligible, although some Campanian and Sicilian dialects aren't. A language is a dialect with an Army and a Fleet.]

Because of my experience, teaching is something I could never do, even if I had the vocation or the talent. I have neither.

If you are thinking oh, that female insecurity - I'm a bloke.

I'll present a paper to be peer-assessed, that's different. There isn't a boy in the back row fingering up a girl in the back row, and she isn't pushing his hand away.

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Actually yesterday evening I did present a paper. I was savagely attacked, I as staunchly defended. This is why a result from the LHC can take years to analyse. We just don't know. There is a lot of Physics out there that we know nothing about.
'I used to read books talking about using brushes on Bristol board yet found ink pens on copier paper perfectly suitable for my needs.'

Bristol board has the advantage that if you make a mistake you can usually scrape it off. And it's not expensive.

Because I'm left-handed I don't really have a choice, it has to be a brush. Los Bros Hernandez (they publish on paper, not on the internet) are, unsurprisingly, brothers, Xaime is left handed and uses a brush, Gilberto is right handed and uses a pen. This is not an invariable rule.

The comic has run since 1982.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_and_Rockets_(comics)

Xaime used to do shading but has mostly gone ligne claire. Umm, do you get the idea I really like ligne claire?

Their comics (started in 1982) are not all happy stuff. They deal with gang violence, abusive relationships, and racial abuse.

As my kids are mixed-race, they can really relate to this stuff. They put up with this every day.

If you are up the A1 any time, I'll give you a heavy box full of Love and Rockets. I am just off the A1. If you don't return them, I will infect your pubic hairs with fleas, crab lice, and bubonic plague.

The girl pictured on the website is Carmen. She's mixed race. That's what my twins look like. South American girls grow up early.

You might like that the protagonists of Love and Rockets are lesbians. Esperancita (Hopey) and Maggie.

One of my daughters has a South American Indian name,Tonantzin, it means Earth Mother Goddess. This is actually from a Love and Rockets comic. She really loves her unique name.
@skyangel: I have had a total of one (1) art lesson in my entire life, and that put me off drawing (I got my hand hit with a ruler because I was using my left hand - yes, this still happens in American schools; thank you aas.ru for putting me off any visual subject for years).

My drawing - I wouldn't call it art - is more akin to xkcd than Simply Sarah because I only started drawing again in my 30s. I use bristol board and a light box, indian ink and a brush. Recently I've bought a Wacom tablet - the cheapest one - and I found transitioning was really no problem at all. For doing eyes and hands it still has to be a brush. I don't even attempt to do hair the way you do. It must take ages!

Oh and Arienna had quite a comprehensive 'how to draw webcomics' guide at http://www.awlmo.com/ . I can't find it immediately,you might want to drop her a line - as the site hasn't been updated in six years, it doesn't conform to the latest web standards, which is probably why I can't find the lessons. This webcomic is sadly defunct because she decided to give up waitressing and webcomics and took a degree in Civil Engineering - quite a major career change! Her lessons are specifically about drawing and inking ligne claire, but you might find them a useful start to model your own course notes around.

And (again) if you decide to take the job, left-handers do not, as you'd expect, work right to left, we work (usually) top-to-bottom, although some people work bottom-to-top (even within one family - I am ttb so are my twins, my sister is btt). So, we're not 180 degrees away from righties, we're either 90 degrees or 270 degrees. You will also find that lefty kids absorb information quicker and better if it presented visuo-spatially rather than verbally - don't tell her, show her. [This is why so many lefties go in for arts (da Vinci) sciences (Einstein and just about every physicist ever) and politics (Kennedy, Bushes, Clinton, Obama)].

Kids these days are taught to write btt, they sit back in a relaxed posture with the writing material on the lap, so of course that is the way they are going to draw and ink. Any job that involves a lot of writing is going to cause agonising back pain in the late 20s if you write left-to-right - as I know only too well. Amazingly, some British schools still don't teach lefties how to write.

This means most lefties of the younger generations write btt but draw ttb. This is because writing isn't drawing. Your eye naturally hits the top of the page, not the bottom.

If you take the job, please think of the 13% of boys and 11% of girls who 1) will understand you a lot better if you show, not say - use your hands and your eyes, not your mouth and your ears, get them to draw their question, not say it and 2) have a different view of the world, much more about sight and sound than words and symbols. 2) means they will probably be your most rewarding pupils.
I probably comment more here than I should because I don't know that much about art.

I also comment at theguardian.com with the same name (only without the exclamation mark - ohanyname). About Physics. I'm a physicist. There have been some excellent discussions there over the last few days. These might amuse you while you wait for Sare to get over her writer's block.
Here we go again...

Female insecurity.

My kids (twin girls, single male parent) have everything going for them. They're bright and they're pretty. But they don't feel they are quite good enough.

I told them to man up. And then all three of us laughed. But they got my point.

Man up will you Sare? :-)
Frame 5 is just perfect. Lucy is in shock, her posture just says this. Sarah has her hand on her thigh, as lovers do, only lovers would touch the inner thigh in a non-erotic sense.

And then you gave us background which makes the scene so perfect.
@skyangel: Giacometti. One c not two. Most but not all Northern dialects don't make the distinction between double consonants, but we follow Standard (i.e, Southern) Italian spelling. They split the syllables differently. Ja-ko-met-ti, not jak-ko-met-ti. In most Northern dialects, almost every syllable is open, ja-ko-me-ti.

If you want an idea to follow up Simply Sarah, while still fulfilling your desire to create art, why not do a six-frames bio every week or fortnight about artists whose work you really love?

You wouldn't need a storyline, you might open some people's eyes (including mine) to artists whose art we don't appreciate or sometimes even understand, and you might even find it fun!

Oh and as always - Lucy's hair in *every* frame. I love the way you draw and ink hair. Especially because I can't.
@skyangel: I think this is why so often comic makers collaborate. When you put pencil to paper and then ink over it, it is your creation. If it's someone else's words, it's your music to their lyric. There is that little bit of detachment.

If you are doing the words *and* the music, then the fans start to overwhelm you, because to them, your characters are people they can relate to. In music, it drove the Beatles off touring, the girls in ABBA into reclusion, and in art it can be almost as overwhelming.

The skill *is* important, because you can relate to someone like Lucy (look at the jut of her jaw in frame 5!) in a way you can't relate to an xkcd character.

Also, I can look at a Tintin book and discover something new in Herge''s ligne claire after some 70 years (although he did go back and re-draw his earlier stuff, sometimes more than once) and you can't do that with an xkcd comic.

I have just discovered that a Wacom tablet works under Linux, it does line thickness, which I've never been able to make it do under Windows. So it might be a useful tool after all. It might even be fun!

I have never been happy with paintbrush/lightbox/scan; as I am left-handed I work from right to left so I don't smudge. The Wacom doesn't smudge.

I've always needed a collaborator because I'm colourblind, and the days of black-and-white comics are long past. Unlike a certain comicist I could mention, I know that shading-strokes, especially on lips. and ligne claire don't mix.

But I'll never draw hair like you do.

Umm, your comics have had an effect in Verona. My twins have read your comics and marvelled at the art (in this town of great art). They are now seven. Kids can be cruel to anyone who is different, even though of course sexuality is not evident at their age. I think they are more tolerant and less propagandised by the Catholic art all around them.

There is good reason not to argue with my twin's world-view, if you are their age.

There are two of them!

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Umm, Cathy - best thing, most passionate thing you ever did. Doesn't really show up on your website that well.
@Lordcholmondywarner: She has done side-chapters like Jane Blonde (a James Bond spoof) and an atheist one about a blind girl. I think it was called Cathy. I think the links to these vanished when she moved to SmackJeeves.

She has said in the past that S_S takes a lot of work - all that inking, but I wish she would stick to ligne claire and leave the shading and colouring up to Becky - and at times it almost seemed to be taking over her life.

When something gets that intense, it's time to take a step back into reality.

I view this site under Windows7 with Firefox with AdBlock+ enabled, this is now necessary to avoid your view of the screen being covered with pop-ups of 'girls who really want to meet you on Pontefract' - where the hell is Pontefract? If you view it using Linux you get a lot more content. There are fanart pages, and her pencil-drawn pix of girls (these are really stunning), and links and stuff.

I love the way she draws and inks hair. Frame 3 today is a good example.

OK, it's been a lesbian comic. But she's not ramming it in your face. My kids have read it almost since their eyes were able to focus (they're twins) and although the hormones have kicked in and their main interest is boys, they still look at the lineart and go wow. They don't speak English so they don't really follow the plot anyway.

They do ask why the land is so flat. I explained that Essex is not noted for its mountains.

She'll be back. S_S has been a project of I think nine years? She just needs to shrug off that heavy dark cloak and slip into something lighter.

Do you agree Sky?
'I'm not a bad person'. Actually you are Ron.

I am about the same age and the same gender as Ron, a bit more hair and a bit less weight, and I have absolutely no sympathy with him at all.

I think that Skyangel is right to end Simply Sarah. It's got really dark, and she's said a couple of times that this isn't really the place she wants to be in any more.

I imagine she just wants to take a break for a couple of months and lighten up a bit. Maybe completely change direction, like the crazy things people say when they come to her shop - slice of life rather than a continuous narrative.
Frame 6. The bits of England I grew up in were the South and South-West. It still seems strange to me that in East Anglia and the East Midlands, an arresting WPC will say 'now am I going to have to put the handcuffs on you sweetheart?' And in frame 6 Ron is calling the girl he threatened with a concrete burial 'hon'.

This is a usage that I think is only East Anglia and East Midlands - but also Bristol ('Ello there moi lovely!).

It strikes me as weird.

I am used to Londoners half my age referring to me as 'my son' and Parisians calling me 'mon cher' (my dear), but 'sweetheart' and 'darling' between heterosexual males takes a bit of getting used to.