Despite always wanting to, I’ve only recently got over the intimidation of drawing comics (where do you even start?). Drawing an image is one thing, but drawing the sheer volume required to tell a story is a quantity/quality juggling act I’m still only starting to understand. A really nice side effect of finally making my own comics is how much more it’s made me appreciate the art in the comics I’ve read recently.

I tend to appreciate the story when I read books and comics, I only usually notice the way it’s told if it’s particularly horrible. I’m all about the narrative (kinda ironic in a comics fan, I know). So it was really nice to be reading Kate Brown’s Fish + Chocolate and actually notice how amazing the art is.

I mean, damn, look at that colour-work! Look at that plate of food! (J, coding next to me, was subjected to that pretty much every other page, lucky him.) Each of the three short stories is done in its own very limited palette, which does a great job of setting the tone for each piece. I’d just got used to the cold blues and yellows of the first story when I hit the red/pink/greens of the second, making them even more effective.

I kinda suck at colour-work – I work in mono so much that I don’t get much practice at it. But even I can appreciate how damn nice this is, and it’s really got me inspired to use more colour in my work. No, that’s not right – that implies ‘just colour stuff in’, what Brown’s doing here is using colour very deliberately, just as precisely as her linework. That’s what I want to explore.

‘Scuse the horrible scan effects on this one. This spread was probably the highlight of the book for me. I’m a sucker for unspoken story, and there’s so much going on here! The rift between mum and daughter (the position, posture, colour, even the literal seam of the book), the contrast between the natural and artificial, mum’s failed attempts at music compared to her daughter’s play… I can’t read music, and this story managed to tell me plot in music notation. That’s pretty special.