Our next guest is definitely someone who’s work you HAVE to pick up. She’s the critically acclaimed creator of The Inflatable Woman, please welcome Rachael Ball to NCC!

How did you get into drawing and more specifically the comic industry?
After art college I moved to Manchester in 87 when I was 22. It was after a stint of travelling and I didn’t have a clue what to do next. I was working in bars, doing cycle couriering and signing on intermittently. I saw an ad in Manchester’s listing mag ‘City Life’ for a Cartoon competition. The winner would become their cartoonist. I entered and won. When I got it they said to me ‘D’you want the good or bad news first?’ The good is you’ve won, the bad is we don’t pay anything.’ I worked for them for 2 years. I think the last 6 months they could afford to pay me £20 a strip then they went under soon after. The strips I produced for City Life were a kind of light hearted pi** take on left leaning women in Manchester (myself included), and the politics of sisterhood.

The strips I did though I bundled up and sent to Deadline and that was how I started working for them. They paid better. I produced a regular series of strips for them for 4 years including some of the City Life series, Box City, Ruby Chan, Jessica’s House. After 4 years Deadline wanted to try some new artists and I had a period of freelance illustration before I went into teaching art in secondary schools for 16 years. The breast cancer experience got me back into cartooning via inspiring groups like:

Laydeezdocomics and having a strip published in Ellen Lindner’s The Strumpet.  This was down to a lot of encouragement from my old deadline buddy Nick Abadzis (Hugo Tate, Laika, Dr Who)

You’ve had some amazing reviews of your book The Inflatable Woman. Can you tell us more
about it?
I have… that was wonderful. Its funny as a cartoonist as you work in such a bubble you lose a perspective on how it will be received. My favourite reviews though were from in house at Bloomsbury. Before they made me an offer they asked for a pdf of the whole book and then sent it to all their staff over the weekend. On Monday they made me an offer and said everyone had loved it. I got a review form a lady in the HR dept saying how moved she was. That was a great review.

And if you haven’t read it yet here’s some reviews that may get you interested:

 A Guardian Best Graphic Novel 2015
 Paul Gravett’s Top 10 British Graphic Novels 2015
 “Read it. Inspiring. Poignant. Wonderfully unconventional” –  Sunday Telegraph
 “Startling and imaginative … poignant and funny. Ball combines visceral imagery of everything from prodding needles to breast reconstruction with a carefully considered, sparing use of text that lets her drawings tell the story … There are no flashy images or graphics in The Inflatable Woman, just an unassuming pencil depicting a gritty reality. This is a thoughtful and original debut that brings the plight of a cancer patient into full focus” –  Irish Times
 ‘An imaginative psychological study and a joyful testament to self preservation.’ – Financial Times

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a GN called the Wolf Man (although the name will change as there is already a GN called the same name.) It’s based around the loss of my father when I was 6 but it focuses on a fictional family who move to a new house just after losing their father and a strange neighbour the local children called the Wolf Man. It will be published by Self Made Hero in sept 2018 and is funded by the arts council. I’m doing a monthly blog about process and the thinking behind it and episode 1 is on my site: rachaelball.tumblr.com

What will you have for us in October?
Some signed copies of ‘The Inflatable Woman’ and some printed limited edition first chapters of the ‘Wolf man.’

Make you definitely pick up work by Rachael and visit her table at NCC – 14th October! Pick up your tickets now if you still haven’t.