Bristol Cultural Development Partnership wishes to commission a writer and an artist for a comic-book style publication telling the story of Thomas Chatterton, the legacy of the Romantic poets and other past writers in Bristol, and the city’s contemporary  poetry scene.

The comic will be given away free as part of the A Poetic City programme from summer 2020.

It will be a 24pp A4 publication. About half the content will be in cartoon-strip format; the rest will use a mixture of archive and specially-drawn images to accompany blocks of narrative text. (See the Homes for Heroes 100 comic for example of similar format)

The comic should aim to engage audiences who currently do not feel an association with poetry or history, as well as those who do. The content should be presented in a way that can be understood by averagely interested readers aged twelve and upwards.

Ideally, successful applicants would be based in or near Bristol so they are available for regular collaborative meetings during the development of the written and illustrative content.

We would consider joint applications from an existing author and illustrator partnership. Due to the tight timetable we think it unlikely that one individual could manage both roles.

For each position there is a fixed, non-negotiable fee of £5,000 which will be paid in three instalments: £2,000 on the signing of the contract; £2,000 on uploading the print-ready file; £1,000 on publication.

Writer Brief/

The Role

  • To research the subject of Thomas Chatterton, and Bristol’s past and contemporary poets including picture research (for reference for the illustrator as well as for inclusion in the final layout).
  • To plan the content on a page-by-page basis and write all the text, working in partnership with the illustrator and with the agreement of the client.
  • To meet all deadlines, as set by the client.
  • To support the promotion of the comic as agreed with the client.


The writer must have, or be able to develop quickly, a rich understanding of the life and works of Bristol-born poet Thomas Chatterton, the Romantic poets and their connections with the city, and the local poetry scene today.

As this is a comic about poetry and words, language and style are of the upmost importance. Poetry should be at the heart of how this story is told.

Provisional Timetable

  • By 24 March 2020: Page-by-page outline of content planned and agreed.
  • By 8 April 2020: Text completed and proof-checked for at least six double-page comic-strip spreads for the artist to illustrate including guidance on what visual details are to be included in each frame.
  • By 7 May 2020: Remaining text completed and proof-checked, ready for illustration and layout. The writer must be available to liaise with the artist throughout the process, clarifying specifications for images and adapting content if necessary.
  • By 13 June 2020: Print-ready file uploaded. There will be one printers’ proof for final checking.
  • By 6 July 2020: Publication.

Download the full brief (PDF) Chatterton_ComicWriterBriefFINAL

Illustrator Brief/

The Role

  • To illustrate the text written by the author.
  • To manage the layout of the publication and prepare a print-ready file in the format required by the printers following consultation.
  • To meet all deadlines, as agreed by the client.
  • To support the promotion of the comic as agreed with the client.


In addition to having the necessary technical skills, the ideal applicant will also be able to demonstrate:

  • An extensive knowledge of, or ability to research, eighteenth-century costume, particularly among the UK working-class.
  • Some knowledge of historic architectural and interior features to provide depth and background detail to the illustrations.
  • Some knowledge of the history of Bristol and its literary environment in the eighteenth century.

The client and author will provide old photos and illustrations which the artist can use for reference, but the artist may need to do some independent research of their own.

Provisional Timetable

  • By 15 April 2020: Initial character sketches and other sample drawings completed for use in promotion and fund-raising campaigns.
  • By 7 May 2020: At least six double-page comic-strip spreads completed based on the text and structure provided by the author.
  • By 8 June 2020: All artwork and layout completed, ready for final proof-read.
  • By 13 June 2020: Print-ready file uploaded. There will be one printers’ proof for final checking.
  • By 6 July 2020: Publication.

Download the full brief (PDF) Chatterton_ComicIllustratorBriefFINAL

Application Process/

Applications for both roles must be received by noon Friday 13 March 2020.

Email direct or use We Transfer marked for the attention of Mel Kelly, Research Director and Project Manager, at

Application must contain the following:

  • Written account of relevant experience to date, including evidence of being able to respond effectively to client requests and adhere to deadlines. (Word)
  • Explanation of why this particular commission is of interest and the particular contribution you can make. (Word)
  • Two examples of previous work. (Word / PDF)
  • Responses to the TWO assessment assignments set out in the relevant brief.(Word/ IMG)

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend interviews in Bristol on Tuesday 17 March 2020 (illustrator) and Wednesday 18 March 2020 (author).

Cover image: Chatterton’s Holiday Afternoon engraved by William Ridgway. Bristol Reference Library collection B28436 SR50.

Share this/