MANDY ORD – Melbourne Artist
elbourne artist and author of the new collection of graphic stories Sensitive Creatures, Mandy Ord, guest blogs to tell us the story behind her book and her experience moving from self-publishing to being published by Allen & Unwin.
I was asked by someone the other day the question ‘when did you start drawing comics’. It occurred to me with slight surprise that I had always drawn comics. But when I was younger I don’t think I ever used the word. I guess I considered them more ‘drawing’.
The art of telling stories through comics is in my blood I think, a little life force filtering through my veins. I think about comics all the time. I draw comics all the time. And I read comics all the time. Not to imply I don’t lead a balanced lifestyle, I just have an insane love for them. So I had been drawing and self publishing comics books for a long time. I created stories reflecting my experiences out in the world when I left the cocoon like environment of my house and studio.
I often chose to recreate and examine scenarios that were challenging, but ultimately left me with a greater insight into my relationship with other people as well as the nature of my character and internal life in the way I reacted.
I often see everyday dramas in life as small skits in an otherwise larger performance. And each skit is worth examining as a whole within itself. I also like to use humour as a way of defusing otherwise potentially nasty scenarios. I find reflection on a challenging event combined with humour make for some of the best storytelling around. If you don’t laugh, you cry right?
ne night a couple of years back I was approached by Erica Wagner of Allen & Unwin about the possibility of doing a book. Honestly I was in shock. Me? My first thought was ‘oh man, I’m going to have to come up with something really good!’ But as if she was reading my thoughts she said ‘We just want you to do what you already do’. It was quite amazing to know that being myself and expressing myself creatively in the way that felt right to me was the ‘right thing to do’.
I mean the whole reason I self published for so long was because ultimately that was the only way I could be true to myself and was what my work was about. What a relief.
I rushed back home to my little studio and got cracking. I remember drawing the first panel of the first story for the book and thinking with excitement and terror ‘oh my goodness, this is the first panel’. But to sit and draw is to get lost in a world, and I found myself swept away for hours on end.