Archive for Caroline Parkinson

Journey, by Caroline Parkinson

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on February 6, 2010 by comicmole

This review was originally written for REDEYE magazine.

‘Journey’ by Caroline Parkinson, 9 pages, A5 full colour stapled single issue, £2.50.


Journey is a one-shot single issue wordless comic that tells the story of a relationship as it begins, blossoms, and matures, all under the watchful gaze of an underground station’s security camera.

The comic tells a subdued story with little action or passionate romance, however the reader’s attention is held by Caroline Parkinson’s attention to detail in the layout of her pages.  A feast of different angles are utilised in the panels: wide-angle establishing shots, close-ups, overhead shots from the security camera’s perspective, and even top-down views where appropriate.  The cover showcases this style: it features a crowd of people at an underground station, all drawn from a demanding overhead perspective.

Most of the art is drawn very accurately, however proportion is sometimes a little off in close-up shots of the characters. The colour palette is quite bright and the colours have reproduced very well in print, giving a light and airy feel.

I can’t say too much about the story here as it would be too easy to spoil 9 pages worth, but the characters are easy to relate to, and lets just say that the course of love as told here doesn’t necessarily run smoothly.

To some readers, Journey will be a worthwhile read that leaves them pondering over their own experiences in love.  However, the somewhat experimental art might leave others feeling that it is a little dry: rather like it was an extended drawing exercise for the creator.

Personally I would like to have seen the concept of a relationship as seen through the eyes of a security camera pushed a little further than it was in Journey.  For example, I wonder what Caroline could have come up with if she had restricted herself to only using shots taken through the ‘eyes’ of a network of security cameras, and perhaps with a more muted colour palette to reflect the dull, fluorescent light of underground stations.  But I have to commend Caroline on basing her comic on normal people.  Her characters don’t have any special abilities, they’re not from some crazy parallel universe, and they’re not suffering from any out-of-the-ordinary angst.  They are believable everyday people: anyone you might see whilst waiting for the underground, or even yourself.

I would recommend this thought-provoking short comic to those who enjoy stories that are predominantly told through quiet pictures, rather than lots of text and effects.  This is one to absorb over a calming tea break.

Journey can be read for free on Caroline’s website http://carolineparkinson.co.uk/ (just go to the ‘comics’ section and scroll down until you see a thumbnail for it – click on the numbers to read each page in order).  More of her work, and contact details, can also be found there.

A review copy of this comic was provided.

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Dusharbi: Do Not Feed the Bear, by Caroline Parkinson

Posted in Review with tags , , , on January 23, 2010 by comicmole

This review was originally written for REDEYE magazine.

‘Dusharbi: Do Not Feed the Bear’ by Caroline Parkinson, 12 pages, A5 black and white stapled single issue, £3.

Before I start on the review I was just visiting Caroline’s website to check if she had prices listed for her comics and wow this comic is an oldie!  It was drawn in 2005!  By the looks of her sketchblog (linked from her website) she’s still drawing, but I can’t help feeling I’ve somewhat missed the boat on this one, even if I did get a copy provided for review.

In another interesting internet-based development – I’ve just found that the comic is free to read on Willie Hewes’ old short-webcomic-hosting site, aptly named ‘Webcomic Shorts’.  So if you’re curious about it but see no way of getting your hands on this hard-to-find issue, you can still read it! (the wonders of modern technology)

And so before I stumble upon any other stupendous finds, to the review!

In ‘Dusharbi: Do Not Feed the Bear’ a young girl called Li gets sent out shopping in the market, but when the greengrocer’s is shut and she is pointed in the direction of some likely-looking trees on the East side of town, she finds more than she bargained for…

This issue is a standalone side story to the author’s main ‘Dusharbi’ comic project, which revolves around a mobile library that serves villages in an Eastern desert.  ‘Do Not Feed the Bear’ is a neat little one-shot that wraps itself up tidily within the page count.  This comic could therefore be enjoyed on its own without needing to buy any of the rest of the main series.

The best thing about this issue is the way it is presented.  The peephole in the front cover gives a handmade feel, the library stamps on the inside front cover and the advertisement for the travelling library on the back cover point to this being a series with a lot of personality.

However, having seen these elements before reading the one-shot story inside, I was a little disappointed that this issue wasn’t about the library itself.  I think, in the end, picking up issue one of the main Dusharbi comic might be more satisfying than a short side-story – however, this did succeed in getting me interested in the series in general.

The artwork has no glaring problems and I could understand everything that was going on.  Some of the smaller panels may have benefited from having less detail though, in order to help the pace of reading.

It looks like the grey tones that the comic is shaded with were originally laid down with marker pens, which was then converted into screentone-style dots before printing.  This results in some areas of muddy mid-grey tones.  The detailed linework here would probably benefit more from some simple, flat areas of screentone that provide some contrast but allow the linework to speak for itself.

The comic consists of black and white printed pages with a black and white lightweight card cover.  The pages are stapled together.  Printing is clear and easy to read, with no smudging.

‘Dusharbi: Do Not Feed the Bear’ is a neat one-shot side story to an intriguing main saga about a travelling caravan in the desert. The presentation of this comic is quirky and fun, although hearing about the caravan that is only hinted at here might have made for a more satisfying read.

More of Caroline’s work can be found on her website.  This comic is free to read online at Webcomic Shorts.

A review copy of this comic was provided.