Old man and the 2B 2B 2b too Iyay

Its finally here.   Graf/Lit is opening tonight.  So here with this blog i’m sharing with you all a highly personal moment in my life.

This comic strip is actually something that happened to me – its a real life TRUE event.  The only reason this came about was to explain what had happened to my kids – and was done as a bit of art therapy, also being a gentle artistic nudge as I hadn’t drawn a comic in while.

The described event (including the initial drawing) all happened over seven years ago and its inclusion at this exhibition hopefully means I can finally lay all the demons to rest and get some closure.  If you want to see more or other artwork I have done head over to my Facebook page and follow Tom Kyffin ART for updates and further postings.

Go see the show – marvel at the various contributions – check the flyer for where and when. If your feeling rich buy the book (its a very limited edition, there are very few!) and most of all enjoy!


Tom K

Graflit page 1_abGraflit page 2_abGraflit page 3_abGraflit page 4_abGraflit page 5_abGraflit page 6_abGraflit page 7_abGraflit page 8_abGraflit page 9_abGraflit Sep 14


Old man and the 2B 2B 2b too

The Events are up and running.  The artists will be half frazzled and you have tomorrow to check out the ComicFest in Capetown.  The images from this blog are in the Graphlit Book available at the Fest.  Otherwise mosey on down to the Youngblood gallery to see the book and exhibiting artwork in all its glory.  Here are the final few pages from this storyGraflit page 8_abGraflit page 9_ab

Old man and the 2B 2B 2b

….and its starting the build up to the BIG event.  Here’s a little bit more for you to feast your eyes on.  Remember Graphlit and Open Book Comics fest.  Go and feast your eyes and buy stuff!  Oh and here’s a few more pages for youGraflit page 5_ab Graflit page 6_ab

Old man and the 2B 2B 2

Ok – another one to ignore.

Some last minute changes before it all went to print (like i said i’ve never worked on one of these machines and have no idea how it will turn out) so BIG thanks to Jean the magnificent printer.

I had mentioned in previous posts this is rough – its not my finest BUT after years of hearing bullshit, listening to bullshit, seeing bullshit, people doing bullshit, folks getting rewarded for bullshit, I finally get the chance to express upon you MY own bullshit.

If you are not able to get to the exhibition or can’t purchase the limited book for the event here’s your chance to see a little bit of what you’ve missed  (so here are pages 1-4).

As I said it’s MY bullshit  – but its raw, it’s real and it’s honest.

Graflit page 1_abGraflit page 2_abGraflit page 3_abGraflit page 4_ab

Old man and the 2B 2B

Ok now the boring stuff is out of the way we can finally concentrate on for me the meat and bones of being involved in Graflit this year.  It was, as I said quite an honour to be asked to contribute to the exhibition and book and it actually allowed me to finish something that had been lurking around for several years.

As an artist, early on in my career I was heavily involved in comics – it was never my main pre-occupation but it provided a strong and steady stream of work from both the UK and USA.  This of course was the time of the comic boom where millions of copies were sold, ego’s were rampant and artists and writers alike were treated with reverence and like rock stars.  I was  making some major inroads and was working for one of the first breakaway groups from Marvel and DC – that was until they were bought back!

It was then that things got a little bit different.  I was “pencilled” in to continue some ongoing series with the ultimate progression of doing my own series once i had learnt the ropes and done my dues but with this buyout it wasn’t to be.  Although i wasn’t culled in the initial retrenchment phase i was asked if i would “ape” someone else’s style.  That’s not so bad you think, except for the fact the artist in question was soooo bad even today he is treated as something of a joke – that’s when I realised business overrode the art.

I’d spent a long time building up my own skills and to draw like someone else although being a paid gig was not something I really wanted to do and I was also given some sound advice by a trusted editor that i might as well shoot myself in the foot and break all my fingers if I did it.  Luckily I had an escape as I went to work in the computer games industry and sadly watched as the whole comics scene imploded.

Disillusioned i cast myself adrift from the whole scene.

It wasn’t until many years later that i started to rediscover the joy that these little pieces of paper would bring.  I started looking at the small scale press and alternative comics which were spewing out crazy ideas, crazy art and no superheroes.  Although Superheroes are deeply ingrained in me they were just at that moment, appalling to me – bad art, bad stories, bad ideas. The alternatives offered so much more.

So where is all of the above drivel leading?

Well about seven years ago an event occurred in my life that was monumental. It was quite literally, life changing for myself and all around me.  Hard to explain and difficult to describe I turned to the one thing that I knew could actually express and emote what had happened.  It was also done with no pressure, deadline or limit.  For once in my life i could literally express what i wanted on a page.  I was able to do the art that I had been doing for so long for others just for myself.  So that is just one of several reasons that this project is so personal to me.  I know there are really badly drawn bits in it (you can check out other examples of work that i have done to see the comparison) but they are also part of the whole project and intentional and genuinely my emotion placed on a page.

Now, finally I have the opportunity to present it to a wider audience and hopefully i can find some closure on the actual subject matter.  It has also helped pull me back into the world of comics and my love for them.  Maybe I just needed some time away from them to rediscover my love of what they are and can achieve.

If you are interested and want to actually see what i’m on about – go and see the exhibition (full info on the invite) where you will also have access to some other amazing artists and work.  If you can’t make it don’t worry, we’ll make a plan.

Adios amigos.

Old man and the 2B 2

What is exciting for me this for this years Graflit exhibition is the publication that will be produced to coincide with the event. I’m just going to paraphrase here to explain:

“Launch of Graflit publication: The publication will be launched at the opening of the exhibition on

23 September. However, the publication will be on sale prior to this date in the gallery and at the Open Book Comics Fest.

GrafLit 2014 consists of a closely linked publication and exhibition – both entitled ‘Urban Interiors’.

The publication will be printed in a limited edition of 100 copies, in black & white only, on 210mm square single sheets, professionally wire ring-bound with covers handprinted in black & white, and containing approximately 20 self-standing graphic narratives. We see it less as a book than “a narrative object”, a work of “book art” that will be promoted and sold as such.” (Graphlit)

I LIKE doing projects like this I find them fun, interesting and stimulating – it’s also fascinating because its being printed on a Risography printing press.  Now i’ve worked on some pretty strange processes in my time and part of an illustrators craft is knowing and adapting their work to suit the print production.  This although not old (i think its late 80’s?) in the grand scheme of printing is something i have never produced work on and I really enjoy trying out something new and different.

What’s so fascinating about Risography? Well it looks just like a photocopier but that’s where the similarities end.

Risography is sort of like a high volume screen printer. Each print is made by scanning the artwork onto a heat sensitive ‘master film’ or ‘negative’, that is wrapped around a rotating drum, pushing ink through the exposed film and printing the pages as they pass below. Because of the nature of this printing method, there are some limitations to how your artwork gets processed and how it appears in print.” (paperpusher.ca) This was initially designed as a cheaper alternative to anyone wishing to print 20+ copy volumes.

The interior pages will be printed by comic art self-publisher Jean de Wet, who specialises in the production of hand-made mini-comics. His work has been internationally recognised and he has participated in international projects of this nature. With his involvement, we hope to achieve a publication that has the feel of a unique hand-made art book. We’ll be printing the interior pages on his Risograph printing machine, in black only.

Although there are no certainties with this type of printing, part of the mystery of the quality and outcome is exactly what makes Risography unique and attractive. A characteristic that ‘high-end’ or ‘glossy printing’ does not always possess.” (Graflit)

So there you go – I’ve produced some work for the project but i have absolutely NO idea of how it will translate itself onto the page and have tried to incorporate some elements that will push the limitations and boundaries of the machine.

I saw the edge of the cliff and jumped!  I hope I have a soft landing 😉

The old man and the 2B

OK – The BIG day is coming up soon and it’s promising to be even more exciting than the last one.

Last year saw a very eclectic blend and mix of art and artists trying to show a wider audience the more extensive role art has to play in graphic media and the impact it can have.  This year from what I have been lucky enough to see will be no different.

Why am I writing this and who the hell am I, I can hear you say?

I am writing this because as a young, divergent and emerging scene coming out of South Africa – Graphlit and Comicfest needs all the support and encouragement from both artists and public alike.  It gives a platform and a voice to people who may want to try something different, make a statement, highlight an issue that is personal to themselves or simply do something for fun.

I am really excited by this project as I have been asked to contribute to this years event, which I consider to be a real honour and privilege being placed alongside some of the finest talent SA has to offer.

Who am I? My name is Tom Kyffin and over the past 30 years I’ve been a working journeyman Artist/Illustrator.  Its highly unlikely that you’ll know my name but very probable you will have seen my work somewhere and at some point without even realising.

This year for Graphlit, I have been able to present something that for me as an artist has been truly unique and highly personal as well as being unhindered by any external influences to its’ presentation.

What is it? Well you’ll just have to keep on reading this Graphlit Blog and all will be revealed!  😉

Signing off,

The old man and the 2B

Hugo and Rhoda – Keeping it BIG.

How cool is that? South African representation at the San Diego International Comic Con. The Graflit Team would like to thank the guys from Velocity for putting local talent out there. A special thanks to Moray Rhoda and Daniel Hugo for making the effort and paying out of their own pockets to air some SA comic vibes internationally. The heritage of the Anglophone world make for some interesting myths and grungy metaphors, this, combined with South Africa’s third world setting, make for some great and gritty stories.  We have a visual interpretation to show for it, that’s pretty unique when compared what’s currently out there and commercially available. If you wanna see how hot the SA comics they put forward are, check out this link!