Anthropologist-turned-illustrator and comics scholar, Nicola is author of award winning graphic memoir ‘Billy, Me & You’ (Myriad 2011). This is the first published graphic memoir by a British woman and received a British Medical Association Award in 2012. She is co-founder ofLaydeez do comics an international forum for the presentation and discussion of comics works. Nicola is currently working on an AHRC funded PhD at the University of Sussex researching the cultural history of British feminist comics from 1970. She was awarded a Research Led Initiative grant to direct the inaugural symposium of the British Consortium of Comics ScholarsBritish Consortium of Comics Scholars 2015 at the University of Sussex, co-sponsored by The Sussex Centre of Cultural Studies. Nicola was shortlisted for a British Federation of Women Graduates Award 2015 on the basis of overall academic excellency.
studied Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex and Art and Design at Middlesex Polytechnic. She was awarded distinction for a Masters in Research Degree in Art, Architecture and Design completed at the University of Lincoln in 2012. Nicola is currently working towards a research PhD at the University of Sussex supported by an AHRC scholarship. She has worked as a freelance illustrator since 1996 beginning to develop the comics aspect of her style in 2007.
She lives and works in a converted methodist chapel in Lincolnshire with artist husband John Plowman . If you are interested in renting the chapel for a short break, it's an amazing and affordable venue for friend and family reunions, birthday parties, hen nights, photoshoots, work retreats and fun weekends. It is perfectly situated in the middle of the country and confortably sleeps up to 8 people. It's currently bookable via airbnb - links below...
Nicola's specialist areas are the application of a cartoon style to maps, buidlings and people. Most of her illustration work incorporates text and image. Illustrations have been commissioned by publishers, businesses, charities and private clients. See more. Nicola's Becoming of Age cartoons have been published online by Comikka. To look at them on your phone or computer FREE at any time (no app or fussing around required!) click here and click in the top right corner to move them along...
Nicola began work on her graphic memoir, Billy, Me & You in 2007. It was published in 2011 in the UK by Myriad Editions, with a Spanish edition published in 2013 by Norma Editorial and an e-book version available from Sequential. In September 2012 it was awarded Highly commended in the Popular Medicine category of the British Medical Association Medical Book Awards 2012. Chapters of the memoir were first published in Liquorice Magazine, a comic/zine that Nicola produced with her daughter Sally Plowman.
Since 2012, she has been working on her second graphic novel, Hymn, a fiction based on issues around abortion. This will be published by Myriad Editions in the UK. She received an Arts Council England award to research and develop this work in 2012.
Research and Academic Activity
Nicola is in the receipt of an Arts and Humanities Research Council scholarship towards a research PhD on The Cultural History of British Feminist Cartoons and Comics at the University of Sussex in Gender Studies in the department of Media, Film and Music where she is an associate lecturer. She also teaches on widening participation programmes run from University of Sussex. Nicola is currently teaching on the Critical Theory modules on BA courses in Illustration and Animation, Filmmaking and Graphic Design at Kingston University, London and the BA Animation course at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. For a full description of her academic activity visit Nicola's academic profile here
Associations Laydeez do Comics
In 2009 Nicola co-founded a monthly graphic novel forum, Laydeez do comics. Presentations are hosted from those in the field of autobiographical graphic novel and comics works. The group operates in London, Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow, Dublin, Chicago and San Francisco, with pop ups in Brighton, Toronto, New York and Israel.
Beacon Art Project In 2004, Nicola and John Plowman set up Beacon Art Project, a not for profit visual art organisation with charity status. This was predicated by their move to the rural from London and a reflection on the difference in the way contemporary art is experienced outside the urban setting. It is a non-venue based curatorial project, with an interest in siting contemporary art in heritage and non traditional spaces and forefronting the role of audience. Nicola is a trustee of Beacon.