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Hello all!

Well, there’s no denying it; this blog has been sorely neglected. There’s lots of excuses for that – they all boil down to “I’ve been horrifically busy” –  but rather than bore you with the exact details, I thought I’d give you a short news update.

The first is very nice news indeed. I was fortunate enough to to win the New Talent Category Award for Research and Knowledge Communication in the 2013 Illustration Awards. Run by the Association of Illustrators, the awards cover all of the UK, with a significant number of international entries. Apparently the number of entrants this year was very high,  the shortlists were evidently long, so I’m very gratified that  The Showman’s Yard in the East End of Glasgow met the judges’ approval.

Myself and Mrs Dialectographer will be heading down to the awards ceremony in early October to get as glam as doodlers generally get.  As well as picking up my new mantelpiece ornament, I will be eligible for the overall New Talent award across all the categories. To be honest though, I’m just delighted to get this one!

There’s a lot of updates to give you on my current projects, but I have exciting plans for how that will be done, so I’m going to hold off just a tad longer. I’ve been working with the artist Chris Leslie to completely redesign and structure this site. This will bring better support for visuals, zoomable dialectograms and webcomics, as well as dedicated pages for my current projects.

The new site will be up in late August/early September. In the meantime, please keep up with me on twitter @Dialectographer and enjoy the rest of your summer.

best wishes and thanks for following,

Mitch

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A quick and to the point post here: there’s a new project of mine in the works just now featuring Glasgow Green. I’ll give a full update soon, but for now, here’s a picture you might find interesting…

songline

From 15th October I will be starting work on DRAW DUKE STREET a residency at Market Gallery. The caps are purely because this is possibly the craziest thing I have ever done: I am going to set up shop in one of the gallery’s space for about six weeks, and attempt to draw all of the shops and places of interest on a particular stretch of this Glasgow suburban high street (between Duke Street and Bellgrove Train stations). I will draw stretches of the street on the usual A0 board and piece these together in a strip along the walls of the gallery, representing the street. I will be working in the same space, day in, day out, and will be running an open workshop policy where anyone can come on in, say hello, ask what’s going on and, if they feel so inclined, contribute.

I am however, going to need to put together a team of volunteers to help with two broad areas of the background research, of, broadly speaking ‘local’ guides (I am local myself, but I know there is stuff I don’t know). These are people with particular stories to tell about the street, a long association with it, and a good knowledge of the ins and outs of Dennistoun.

And I also need to assemble a team of fellow field-researchers to assist with the process of contacting places on Duke Street, interacting with shopkeepets and helping to gather the information that goes into creating the dialectogram. This would be particularly suited to students in anthropology, geography, architecture or environmental art, but I’d be interested in talking to anyone who think they might be able to give a few hours here and there to help me pull all the info together.

For your time and trouble you would be acknowledged as a co-creator of the final piece.

So, if you think you can help – glasgowdialectogram@gmail.com – very much looking forward to hearing from you.

 

So, the next Dialectogram is very (very) imminent – so while you wait, and because you never asked for it, here’s another postcard sized illustration from the literary world –

It’s from James Kelman’s Busconductor Hines. Kelman is generally taken to be an arch-realist and purveyor of grit, but this passage from his first novel is almost metaphysical in nature, and to my mind, encapsulates the titular character very well. So what is it about then? Well, here’s the whitespacecubegallery style caption…

In attempting to illustrate this segment, I ended up thinking about the philosophical concerns of the text, the way the main character’s anarchic imagination bucks against both the rhetoric of authority and his own variable capacity to adjust to prevailing realities.

Except that description describes a sequence of events entirely at odds with reality.  I flicked through the book for some time and had thought of a composition I thought was very clever. The Hines character would seem to emerge out of a particular piece of text – here it is from my notebook –

The idea has its merits. The quote in this image is from another part of the novel where Hines is considering buying a gun. I like how the spinning revolver seems to be turning itself on Hines  – in the novel, he obsesses about getting a gun, but we never know why – to use on others, or himself? However, it is perhaps a little too literal. I found it a bit of a strait-jacket and the composition became increasingly staid as the postcard size was much more punishing than the leaf in my notebook. None of the attempts satisfied me, or had any sense of fluidity about them, so I ruined a couple of nice acryllic boards pursuing an idea that wasn’t quite going to come good.

So it was almost in exasperation that I began drawing, without pencilling first, the figure in the foreground of the final image. Liking the sense of movement in my Hines here, I drew in other positions for him to take. Seeing that his hands seemed to be grabbing at something, I added the ball (I could easily have left it to the viewer’s imagination, I suppose) and the LAST thing I did was actually select a piece of text that fitted the image. I had to look long and hard – I knew this illustrated something about the novel, but I did not know what exactly.

And that’s all there was to it.

I’ll admit it, I’m pleased with this one. Dialectograms tend to be quite ‘static’ in nature so it is nice to get a chance to draw bodies in motion and focus on things other than the correct arrangement of bingo seats or the correct name for a box room! The discipline of working in this postcard sized form is also appreciated; if your marks fall outside the tiny frame, they’re lost , so make every stroke count and think carefully about where you put things (a useful lesson for the big drawings too). So I shall do more.  I have  other excerpts from authors I likecued up for this treatment, so expect more postcards from nowhere in particular.

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