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  • Matt Johnson 10:45 on May 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


  • Matt Johnson 12:08 on May 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Swindon Town Football Club 

    Swindon Town’s crest

    The Old Swindon Town Crest

  • Matt Johnson 12:03 on May 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Who Do I Base My Team On? 

    There are many different types of football club in this country and abroad. I like the idea of keeping it in this country so that it is easier to relate to for those most likely to read it. it is also more personal to me. There is also something that appeals about a team that isn’t a massive club. This may be a team in a lower league or just a smaller club in the big leagues.

    Whilst a big club offers the chance to look at the money and riches involved in football and also the large crowds and supporter base, a smaller club is perhaps more believable since smaller clubs are less well known. portraying a fictional club as one of the top teams may be asking people to stretch their imagination too much. A smaller club also allows me to look at the less pretty side of football more convincingly.

    That in mind here are some clubs I could look at:

    Leeds United – Formerly a big club, so have the infrastructure but now playing at a lower level and so a good blend of both.

    Swindon Town – The team I support which gives them a more personal feel for me. They have played at the highest level in the past, but have always been a smallish club.

    Queens Park Rangers – A medium sized club with a lot of money. They have rich investors but aren’t at the highest level of football.

    Stoke City – Play in the Premier League, but are a small club with limited funds.

    These considered, I would like to do Swindon, for personal reasons as well as them reflecting my aims best.

  • Matt Johnson 11:52 on May 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    What Makes A Football Match? 

    Having looked at all things football and some football comics as research, I notice there isn’t much about how football is made possible and how people prepare for a game. Having been involved in this stuff at a Sunday league level I know a bit about the work required and I would like to reflect this in my work. I will concentrate on each characters night/morning before the game to show how these things build up to the football match.


    Obviously a football match can’t happen without the players, but I don’t want to focus on the actual match. I would instead like to look at how they prepare for a match (training, relaxing, getting mentally prepared and physically prepared for the game etc). Maybe instead of looking at the full squad I can focus on a couple of key players, a ‘star’ player and the captain.


    Managers and coaches do a lot of work to get the right team and tactics for a game. I would like to show the work that goes into squad selection and preparing the team for the game. Added to this is the work Physio’s and Groundsmen do to make sure that the players and pitch are ready for the match


    There are lots of different types of fans who go to football matches and I would like to illustrate this. I would also like to explore the routine or ritual involved in these people preparing to go and watch their favourite teams play.


    There is a lot of rivalry between clubs which may be a factor in what I produce. However, I would like to avoid this is reality, therefore I will invent a fictional club, club colours and crest in order to steer clear of any actual rivalries and make my graphic novel more accessible. I may, however, base my club on a real club to help give it an air of reality.

  • Matt Johnson 09:50 on May 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Football Comic strips 

    This is a short comic strip and therefore not concerned with the whole story, but rather an element relating to football. The use of anthropomorphic characters removes some realism and the drawing style isn’t the most detailed, but there are more details in the grass etc.

    This Spanish comic focuses on another aspect of football, a fan who seems to be based on a mascot type character. This again removes the need to show great amounts of the actual game which may be harder to represent. Interesting things to look at are the selective palette and the way they have dealt with details like the nets, grass and crowd scenes.

    This comic shows the ball movement using movement lines which makes sense as it denotes the pace of the ball and direction of movement which is so hard to portray in graphic novel form otherwise. The little details like clumps of earth being left behind when the ball is kicked or players run is a nice touch as well.


    ‘Roy of the Rovers’ is one of the most famous football comics in this country. Roy plays for a fictional club which makes the comic more accessible as it avoids any of the club loyalties that can be so fierce in this country. The level of drawing is high, and in these two examples above, you can see the similarities between the older and newer comics. The details of the crowd and the detail in the kit remains similar.

  • Matt Johnson 11:27 on April 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    And Here Comes Hurst… 

    I have done an 8 frame strip of this goal, the most famous goal in English football history, to test out some ideas and see how I can tell the story of such an event.

  • Matt Johnson 14:33 on April 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    ‘Both’ is a book by the illustrators Tom Gauld and Simone Lia. whilst they have slightly different drawing styles they have a similar sense of humour and their work compliments each others.


    Their is no real story or narrative running throughout the book, but there is a series of short stories within it, some which crop up on more than one occasion, as well as reoccurring characters and settings. Running throughout the book is the same dry, dark humour which is what ties everything together, rather than a consistent theme or story.

    I like the idea of having everything brought together with a sense of humour, and humour is something i would like to try and include in my graphic novel. If I can’t tie everything together successfully with a certain type of humour then using other themes than a single story is quite appealing because it gives a bit more freedom I feel.


    Since this book has two different illustrators there are two different styles on show. Simone Lia has a more naive style with more simplistic illustrations and less detail. Her drawings often include no human characters or even non-humanoid characters. Tom Gauld tends to draw in more detail and his work is recognisable by the detailed backgrounds and heavily shaded images.

    the simplicity of Lia’s illustrations would obviously make the workload easier, but the point is that her style works with what she is trying to create. If my final theme suited it, then I would certainly consider using a simplifies style. The more detailed style of Gauld is visually impressive and perhaps a bit of a juxtaposition to the simplicity of his storylines. I like this idea as well, juxtapose a drawing style with a story style.

  • Matt Johnson 14:07 on April 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    So, I read ‘MAUS’… 

    I read the graphic novel ‘Maus’, by Art Spiegelman. I enjoyed it. It’s a very easy to read graphic novel, despite the difficult nature of the topic. The constant shift between two times, that of the war and the present, is dealt with fluidly and without causing confusion or breaking up the flow of the story.


    The story itself has tow difficult elements. that of the atrocities faced by the Jews and other minorities at the hands of the Nazis and also the difficulty suffered by the author in his relationship with his father whose story he is trying to tell. The anthropomorphic characters remove some of the harshness of the brutalities depicted, as does the comic book format. However I still found parts of the story disturbing and saddening. The difficult relationship between generations also told in the story is something that is easy to relate to for many who would read ‘Maus’. Whilst it may not be on the same scale or levels, I think most people can understand the clash of ideas and morals between a parent and child due to growing up at different times and experiencing the world in a different way.

    The idea of making the story easy to relate to is appealing, and maybe something I would like to explore when I begin to make my graphic novel. I think this is helped by the honesty and truthfulness of the story.


    Ina¬† graphic novel the artwork is often as important as the story. Art Spiegelman’s style is simple and clear. The draftsmanship is not the greatest ever but it is ideal for the size of separate images being drawn. Expression and detail are simplified so as to be easy to decipher and not clog up the page too much. Shading is done with cross hatching and backgrounds are often simple. The size of box used for images varies depending on what the image is depicting. Larger boxes show scenes or allow for more action or characters to be involved. Generally the pace is fairly steady due to similarly sized and shaped boxes, however the odd box that is different draws more attention from the reader. Another interesting tool is the use of diagrams and maps which reinforce the realism of the story.

  • Matt Johnson 17:32 on March 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Real Events 


    Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ is a retelling of his father’s memories of his time in Auschwitz and the way he, himself, dealt with his difficult relationship with his father. It won Spiegelman the Pulitzer Prize.

    As you can see from these images, different people are represented as different characters. Jew’s are represented as the mice of the title, a satirical comment on Nazi propaganda that Jew’s were vermin. Germans are represented as cats, who hunt the mice. The colourless illustrations may also be a comment on the period represented. Perhaps one of the most interesting things is how the content works with the media used to portray it. Comics books are often considered fun, fantastical things, however the subject portrayed is one of the most harrowing tales of mistreatment in human history.


    Joe Sacco is a journalist who produces comics and graphic novels of his travels and people and places he encounters. His best known work is ‘Palestine’, a graphic novel about his time there and the stories he was told by the people he met. It won him the American Book Award in 1996.

    This page from ‘Palestine’ shows the sort of everyday issues he encountered, everyday for the people there but not for those the comic is aimed at. Aesthetically, I really like the uses of perspective and the highly detailed illustrations, a strong emphasis on the feet and walking.

  • Matt Johnson 16:57 on March 31, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    David Shrigley & Tom Gauld 

    In contrast to the more traditional graphic novel, both Shrigley and Gauld tend to focus more on single illustrations or a short series of illustrations, therefore the the ‘book’ will contain many, individual narratives instead of a single long narrative. Both illustrators use humour and the bizarre as part of their work.


    With this example we can see Shrigley’s ‘Anti-drawing’ style, a deliberate naivety and limited technique that is representative of Outsider Art. This is also an example of his dark humour, implying that joy will result in arrest, trial, prison and murder and therefore that anything fun is banned.

    This series is an example of Shrigley’s comic strip pieces. Again his humour is shown in the juxtaposition of a character whose work life is out of context with his home life, but who is also out of context with the time he lives in. The contrast of bizarre and normality is really interesting. Another contrast is between Shrigley’s shaky freehand drawings and the precise ruled lines of the backgrounds.


    Tom Gauld is probably best known for his regular cartoons in The Guardian newspaper and London Time Out magazine. He has also produced a number of books.

    As you can see from this example, Gauld’s style is more neat and accomplished than Shrigley, however you can still see that similar sense of humour and use of the unreal and bizarre. Also like Shrigley, he produces a mixture of single images and series of images, plus comic strips.

    What I like about this illustration is that the whole page is essentially one illustration, but the boxes break it up to provide movement and a passing of time, so instead of reading it as one image we read it as a series of 12 images. It again shows the humour of these kind of illustrators. It is simple but engaging.

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