Saturday, May 11, 2019


Busy painting two portrait commissions. And the Christine Keeler exhibition, Dear Christine, opens at The Vane in Newcastle very soon: Private View 31 May (am going of course), public opening 1st June.

Why is time speedng up so much? What can be done to slow it down? Come on, some gadget is just waiting to be invented.

Just to prove I haven't disappeared:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Why aren't huge crowds marching in the streets about this?
Why isn't it headline news in all the press?
How is 'urgency' decided?

And Donald Trump is officially invited on a state visit over here in the UK!

Please share widely.

Saturday, April 20, 2019


Plant life dies and resurrects on a regular basis with a minimum of fuss. Why don't we? The winters of our discontent more often lead to disillusion and dissolution rather than spring-like resurrection.
Speaking metaphorically of course.

The weight of the past, personally or historically, chains us to the ground, pulls us gradually deeper into immobility. Physically there's only so much we can do to regain flexibility but mentally and supra-mentally, can we resurrect every Spring, like a tree does?

I look around the room where I'm sitting. Almost every object I see is a reminder of something I need to do or have done before. Where is the explosion of flowers? The new growth on my old branches? H'm. Gotta think about this and try to resurrect tomorrow.

Happy Easter, Passover, Springtime, resurrection-time my dear friends everywhere, flowers to you all.

Resurrection. Ink drawing by NdA from Scenes from the Life Of Jesus. Old Stile Press 2011

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


It will be rebuilt but something is gone forever.
Je pleure pour toi, Notre Dame. et pour nous tous.

Yes yes yes. the Big Money should have been there immediately for Grenfell Tower survivors and yes it should be there for all the other urgent needs and crucial causes everywhere, yes yes YES! But that doesn't mean we can't also mourn this loss. It's not 'just' a buildimg, not 'only' a historical artefact. Feelings don't have to be rationed, doled out parsimoniously as if there won't be enough to go round.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Okay one last plug for this event: the group photo on Sunday 31 March at Free Word Cenre. You can always tell which one is me because I'm the shortest person.

Thursday, April 04, 2019


In my everyday life silence is the default modus vivendi and it's not unusual for me not to speak with anyone, apart from local shopkeepers, for many days. So the Laydeez do Comics Festival weekend was like going on a talking/listening holiday and all the more fun for that reason.
There were so many stories to tell and hear and look at on the long table where all of the 50 or so graphic entries to the competition were displayed and, because each one's subject matter was autobiographical, it was illuminating to realise how infinitely varied we all are in our self-image, experiences and styles of presenting ourselves to the world via words and images.

One of the bonuses of being shortlisted was to be gifted an hour's review session with a prestigious graphic novelist and my one-to-one was with Rachael Ball whose moving 541-page opus The Inflatable Woman (Bloomsbury) I had bought and admired when it was published in 2015, not knowing then that we'd be sitting together at the Free Word Centre discussing my embryonic Double Entendre. Rachael gave me constructive, practical and imaginative suggestions which will spur and cheer me on the long winding road of completing my gnovel.

On Sunday at the Awards presentation, the shortlisted sat in a row facing the audience and we were each given the mic to say a few words. I didn't expect this and probably talked too much but I have no idea what I said. A lovely surprise was to hear Rosalind Penfold (pseudonym), originator of that prize, speaking with me via Skype from Canada (voice only, no video).

Altogether a memorable, invigorating, encouraging weekend filled with creative, positive, open-hearted people doing their best to support each other and make life enjoyable. What's not to love? 
Thank you to all the marvellous LDC team, to the people I had long or short conversations with, and to all those I didn't have a chance to talk with but hope to meet again.

 Shortlisters lined up on stage (I'm the short one on the end). Andy Oliver, Editor of Broken Frontier, speaking.
A Twitter post about the Skyped conversation with Roz Pnfold.

All the writing on the Free Word Centre walls and the props around the rooms are a current installation by Travis Alabanza and Denny Kaulbach.

My video was playing on a loop on Saturday but unfortunately without the soundtrack and the room was too brightly lit to see it clearly.

Graphic novel publishers' tables on Sunday.

Rachael Ball in Renoir and/or Manet mode behind the cake bar.

A mini-comics fan.

Nicola Streeten and Lucinda Sieger taking a break on pink satin bed, part of the installation.

More writing on the walls, more props.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


Quick report. Will elaborate and post photos later .

The Laydeez Do Comics weekend festival was terrific. The main prize was quite rightly won by Niki Banados for her graphic novel in progress Shivers in London.

My own GNIP Double Entendre won the Rosalind Penfold Award, selected as best from entries by a comic artist over 50. A boldie oldie!

People were filming the awards event so no doubt this will turn up somewheret. Now I'm going to have breakfast.

Friday, March 29, 2019


Those of us who are shortlisted on the Laydeez do Comics 2019 Award for a graphic novel in progress were asked to make a short video about ourselves and our work. This Sunday, 31 March, those videos will be playing continuously on a loop at the LDC Festival at Free Word Centre.

For those who can't be at this sparkly event, here's my video. It's silent apart from a musical burst at the end (that part is from a video I made a few years ago but it fits so I added it.)

Natalie's presentation for Laydeez do Comics Award 2019 from Natalie d'Arbeloff on Vimeo.

Dinner at Kolossi Grill for Award shortlisters and LDC team on 30th March 2019.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Award winners will be announced. My fingers, toes and eyes are crossed. All welcome on Sunday - see you there?

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Just cancel the whole misbegotten misguided misleading manipulated miserable mess and let's get back to disagreeing with each other in a civil way without the spectre of catastrophe looming above our heads.

And there's THIS, worth reading too.

Friday, March 22, 2019


The God Interviews

My relationship with the Deity is argumentative but generally good. Put it this way: we believe in each other. Whether you believe or disbelieve in a Deity is not my business and frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. Religion is a whole other story, a problematic one. Please keep in mind that when I say Deity or the G-word I’m not talking about religion, any religion. I’m referring to Something which is real, unknowable, and not a human construction. 
Yes I know! The logical response to that statement is:
Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
My answer to that response is:
Ha ha ha ha! Logic has nothing to do with it.

I started drawing The God Interviews in 2004 as a comic strip, posting installments on my blog, Blaugustine. It got such enthusiastic comments that I decided to see if any mainstream publishers would be interested. Again I received the “lovely but not commercial” replies so I opted, reluctantly, for self-publishing.

Digital technology was now available and preparing a print-ready PDF, though time-consuming, was not a problem for me. I chose to have full colour throughout - a mistake which made printing the book much more expensive than it would have been had I stuck to black and white. Initially I used Lulu to print the book and sell it via a page on their website but their charges were too high so I found other companies to print extra copies on demand.

The God Interviews, the book, was launched at the Cartoon Museum in 2006 and had some excellent reviews but, as usual, I didn't have the contacts, the patience or the chutzpah to promote it adequately so it sits on the shelf, dozing. I’m out of copies at present but second-hand copies are generally available via Amazon or AbeBooks etc. Herewith the cover and some sample images.

Monday, March 18, 2019


In 1979-1980 I drew/wrote (drote?) a journal to let off a lot of steam during a period dominated by a difficult and steam-filled relationship. Existential angst liberally sprinkled with self-deprecating humour, it ended up as Augustine's True Confession.

In 1989 I applied for financial help from the Arts Council to self-publish this book. Having painstakingly filled in the many requisite forms, obtained printing quotes, worked out a budget etc. I sent in my application and behold! It was accepted! The Arts Council of Great Britain gave me about £1000 towards the publication of Augustine's True Confession for which I was immensely grateful, even if the actual costs were twice that amount. Distribution and promotion, as always in self-publishing, were the problem and I gave away more copies than were sold. But eventually they were all gone.

In the photos below, the cover on the left is the one I used on that 1989 first edition. The simpler one next to it is on the second (current) edition published jointly in 2016 by NdA Press (me) and bookartbookshop (wonderful Tanya Peixoto) to coincide with an exhibition of some of my artists' books which Tanya invited me to hold at her legendary bookshop in London in May 2016.

You can buy copies of this edition right now for £10 (plus postage) either from:
bookartbookshop, 17 Pitfield Street, Hoxton, London N1 6HB
or from me (leave a comment below).

Two different covers: left - first edition 1989. Rght: second edition (current) 2016

Front and back cover of current edition.

Page 9, Augustine's True Confession

Box I made as a stand for the original journal.

Thursday, March 14, 2019


In 1984 my cartoon alter ego Augustine was born. Suddenly there she was, my fully altered ego. Why the name Augustine?

a) I was born in August.
b) My mother’s middle name was Augustine.
c) Augustine Road was a street next to where I lived at the time.
d) in 1979 I drew a journal titled Augustine’s True Confession (not yet the cartoon Augustine and not Saint Augustine either).

Up to 1988 I produced ten Augustine mini-comics in a series called SMALL PACKAGES. This was before digital technology therefore to produce and distribute these booklets, I used ancient processes such as photocopying, folding, cutting, stapling and sending via snailmail. 
By word of mouth and innumerable letters I managed to acquire a list of about 200 subscribers. I charged only 50 pence per booklet and if they paid in advance for a year they received a new Augustine booklet every month, more or less. After a while I increased the price to 60 pence per mini-comic.

I was overjoyed when the Augustine Adventures got rave reviews from everybody who received them. See some of these reviews.

I loved drawingThe Augustine Adventures but all the photocopying, stapling etc. became a time-wasting chore and, feeling confident, I started searching for a publisher to take over the business of bringing Augustine to the wide world so that I could concentrate on creating new scenarios for her. Well, the world of publishers wasn’t ready forAugustine I have a file of pleasant rejections, including “Love it but not commercial enough.”

Discouraged, I ended the Small Packages series at booklet No.10, Augustine Angry. What a total freaking idiot I was!I should have continued, just carried on drawing the booklets, photocopying, stapling, sending them, and by now Augustine would be a household name.

Maybe I should bring out an Augustine Omnibus? Anyone want to subscribe?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Returning to the subject of publishing, here's my experience of self-publishing.

I’ve always written stuff but not writerly writing, you know what I mean? I just have a habit, since childhod, of writing my thoughts down, at least those which seem worth a second thought, usually with images, often cartoons. I've accumulated projects for books galore (hardly ever fiction).

Whenever a book project has seemed to be ready for sharing with the world, I’ve sent it round to mainstream publishers and/or agents. But when there's been no response, or when response has been “Love it but it’s not commercial” (precisely what the head of one well-known publishing house told me) then I resorted to self-publishing. I’m not including here limited edition artist’s books because I’ve posted about these often and they’re featured on my website.

The preparation of an illustrated book for self-publishing is something I enjoy and with digital technology it's become fairly easy if you have a knack for that sort of thing. The problem comes once the book is ready and you, you alone, are responsible for promoting and selling enough copies of this creature to cover your printing costs, or even make a small profit or, failing both of those goals, at least to find somebody who will write an intelligent, attentive review of it, preferably not family or friends who believe everything you do is genius (okay I don't have many of these).

Here are my self-published so-called Trade Books: intended for mass-market distribution at low-prices. I’ll elaborate one by one in the next posts.

Monday, February 25, 2019


Yessss! First longlisted and now shortlisted! What next in this listed world?
Winners will be announced on 31 March.…/

Here are some of the sample pages of my gnovel-in progress which I submitted for this Award.
The  working title is DOUBLE ENTENDRE but this might change when the book is finished. There's a long way to go yet, it will be 200 pages at least.

Sunday, February 24, 2019


Life offers experiences I can’t refuse. Some of them demand translation into a suitable medium which, for me, often requires humour. Even miserable situations have a funny side and that’s how The Joy of Letting Women Down came about.

I decided to satirise the type of man (I named him the Worshipped Male or WM) who is irresistible to women but I also wanted to make fun of the women (including myself) who, against our better judgement, are irresistibly drawn to him/them. 

After several rejections and nearly-but-not-really finding an agent, the book was taken by Robson Books and published in 2000. I was interviewed on a few radio programmes, which was fun, but apart from a couple of local papers,the book was ignored by the press. Oddly enough, it also didn’t seem to be available in most bookshops where I..ahem..looked for it. I blame the cover though it was my idea and my design. Probably a mistake.

I still think the book is funny and exageratedly accurate but what with MeToo and everything I can’t imagine it being re-issued today. Anyhow it’s available secondhand for practically nothing on Amazon and elsewhere so go for it! Here's a taste.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Always searching for sources of income which won’t require me to do things I hate doing, I started sending ideas to relevant magazines. One of them, Canvas (now defunct) accepted my proposal to write and illustrate a series called Experiments in Seeing. They published this series and others I sent from 1968 to 1970.

I then decided to expand the theme into a book and sent an outline to various publishers. It was accepted by Batsford and published in 1973 as Designing with Natural Forms
I didn’t like this title, preferring Experiments in Seeing (because that’s what it was) but I had no say in the matter. Didn’t have much say about remuneration either: sitting in the office of the head of Batsford, an old school English gentleman, I politely pointed out that the royalties offered to me in the contract were beyond ridiculous in view of all the work I was doing. He laughed in jolly English gentlemanly fashion and said that having my name on the book should be reward enough…ha ha! But he did, very slightly, increase the percentage of royalties to be paid to me. 

The premise of this book is an experiment: to take a few familiar subjects and look at them as if you'd never seen them before, allowing ideas to arise spontaneously from this concentrated but ‘innocent’ way of seeing. I didn’t want to know in advance what the results would be and they surprised me. Designing with Natural Forms got great reviews and, like An Artist's Workbook, made no money. The truth is that money and I have never had a close relationship. We don’t understand each other, don’t speak the same language, don’t iike each other, and that’s that.


Water was the first topic I chose to focus on. I filled a dish with water and asked Ted to take photos of the patterns made by the waves when I shook the dish. A lot of unexpected ideas arose from this. You'll have to get the book in order to see how this and the other experiments arose and progressed.

Monday, February 18, 2019


My adventures in publishing have wandered along two different roads. For the benefit of anyone who might find it useful, herewith a resumé in answer to the question: how was it for you? The future is yet to come and I’m hoping for an interesting sequel.

1. BEING PUBLISHED (by those whose business it is to publish)
2. SELF-PUBLISHED (doing it myself, willingly or reluctantly)
Under the above headings are sub-headings which I’ll elaborate on in due course.

I was part-time teaching a multi-media class to adults at Camden Arts Centre when the publishers Studio Vista got in touch and asked if I’d be interested to do a book on collage for their How-To-Do It series. Naturally I said yes! Then I thought: h’m, I don’t really use collage that much but I can certainly write about it. I asked Jack Yates, a colleague who worked mainly with collage, whether he’d like to collaborate and do some of the How-to examples. Of course he said yes. We signed a contract with Studio Vista and the little book did well - there were Dutch and Swedish editions and it was also published in the U.S. by Watson Guptill.

With one foot in the door of mainstream publishing I felt encouraged to gather the notes I always kept about my work and when teaching. I came up with the idea for a book to be called An Artist’s Workbook and sent an outline to David Herbert, then head of Studio Vista. He was enthusiastic. I signed a contract and was paid an advance (about £500) which seemed astonishing - this was 1968 and I was just about managing to pay my bedsitting room rent. I needed many photographs which were taken by an excellent photographer, my friend Ted Sebley. Studio Vista published the book in 1969 and it was taken up in the U.S. by Van Nostrand Reinhold. It had great reviews in the educational press.

Quote from the Foreword by Maurice de Sausmarez to An Artist’s Workbook:

“Natalie d’Arbeloff clearly defines the nature of a workbook as a personal inventory of formal ideas, and she is well aware that it has its ultimate justification only in the development of works specifically related to the individual creative talent and temperament. It is, at one and the same time, a means of study and a spur to creative thinking.”  May 1969

An Artist’s Workbook went out of print years ago but second hand copies are still available via Amazon etc. I’d love to find a publisher who would bring out a new edition (rights have reverted to me).
Here is a link to Amazon page where you can find secondhand copies of some of my books. Ignore the "unavailable" under Old Stile Press publications: not true! they are available from OSP. The artists' books on that list are not mainstream published and don't belong there. More on this later.