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1. ireland: mountains to sea book festival 2015

I used to think Dun Laoghaire in Ireland was pronounced 'dun leg hair', but in fact, you say it 'dun leery'. And that's where I went this weekend for Mountains to Sea Book Festival, along with a gorgeous gaggle of other writers, illustrators and book people, including this gang here: Oxford Story Museum's Tom Donegan, writer Judi Curtin, fellow space cadet and co-author Philip Reeve and writer Steve Cole:



But I'm so madly busy working on Pugs of the Frozen North right now (my upcoming book with Philip Reeve), that Philip kindly offered to do the blogging for me! So pop over to his blog for ALL OF THE NEWS:


***Keep reading Philip's blog here!***

Huge thanks to organiser and writer Sarah Webb for making everything go so smoothly! Also, big thanks to Oxfordshire Book Awards for making There's a Shark in the Bath your runner-up winner in the Picture Book category. Fab!



One more thing, journalist Fiona Noble in The Bookseller magazine just featured Pugs of the Frozen North as one of her top books to watch out for. Thanks, Fiona!

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2. Don Hertzfeldt’s ‘World of Tomorrow’ Tops SXSW Animation Category

A full list of animation winners from SXSW in Austin, Texas.

0 Comments on Don Hertzfeldt’s ‘World of Tomorrow’ Tops SXSW Animation Category as of 3/19/2015 9:35:00 PM
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3. world book day 2015: biggest book show on earth!

Today World Book Day UK hosted my co-author Philip Reeve and me along with a stupendous line-up of book people. Do we look excited?



It's been a ten-city, ten-day tour, and we were the London stop.



I never thought I'd be on stage with the amazing Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Francesca Simon, Holly Smale and Steven Butler!



The venue was a big surprise. I'd never visited Walthamstow Assembly Hall before, and it felt like the big People's Palaces I'd seen during my student days in Moscow. Heavy, grand, and a bit imposing. But cool!




Check out the words above this doorway: FELLOWSHIP IS LIFE AND THE LACK OF FELLOWSHIP IS DEATH. ...WHOAAAA.



I guess it's the Fellowship of the Rings, check out the ceiling pattern. Here's what the hall looked like before the school coaches rolled in. (That's Reeve ahead, carrying my red Sea Monkey bag and his ukulele.)



And here's our presenter, magnificent ringmaster Steven Butler, who grew out his twirly moustache just for the occasion. You might know him as the guy who writes the Dennis the Menace books. He's been ringmaster for the whole tour, and he's still on his feet. Wow!



Steven memorized 'three unknown facts' about each of the speakers, which was rather impressive. My facts were:
1. When Sarah was born, her parents thought she was a sea monkey.
2. When she escaped from the zoo, they were sure of it.
3. She now draws sea monkeys in an attempt to distance herself from these silly creatures.

Philip's facts:
1. Philip wrote his first book when he was five, and it was called When Spike and Spook went to the Moon.
2. Philip is actually a highly advanced android named Wilf.
3. Philip hates being called Wilf; please never call him that.



Here we are, just before going on stage.



And we did our thing, drawing a Sea Monkey, singing some songs, reading from Oliver and the Seawigs, demonstrating the Power of Science with the Nom-o-Tron from Cakes in Space. (I told the kid that if they wanted to learn how to draw their own Sea Monkey, they could find out on my website.)



I love meeting other authors at festivals and things, but I hardly ever get to sit and watch their talks; I either have to leave or we're on at the same time. So it was great to get the chance to watch Holly Smale, writer of the Geek Girl books, in action!



Holly got almost as much fanfare as Jacqueline Wilson, who entered to screams that rock stars would envy.



Jacqueline's famous not only for her books, but also for the chunky rings she always wears. So Steven decided he had to give her a run for her money on that front. Check out all the BLING!



We got to hear Michael Rosen tell stories:



And Francesca Simon talk about Horrid Henry (and Perfect Peter):



Holly accidentally left her phone on-stage, so Steven took a big selfie.



I thought, with that many other amazing authors present, we'd have a great time but probably not sell a lot of books. But I was WRONG! Oxford University Press brought a big table full of books and sold every single one, and kids were sad not to get even more! The kids were going absolutely mad buying everyone's books and getting them signed, it was awesome. And even kids who didn't get our books brought Holly Smale's World Book Day edition of Geek Girl up for me to sign. So I drew geeky Sea Monkeys, which was fun.



Huge thanks to the colourful Kirsten Grant and her team, who organised the tour, Steve who did our tech, Steven for being a wonderful ringmaster, Newham Bookshop for organising books, our lovely OUP publicists Harriet Bayly & Camille Davis, and the local libraries for the use of the venue. And, of course, to all the schools who came along, and to my fellow authors, who made the day such fun. I'm excited to see which book characters people are going to dress up as on Thursday, World Book Day!

WORLD BOOK DAY DRESSING UP:
If you dress up as a character in one of my books with Philip or any of the other books, please please send along a photo, I'd love to see! Here are a few ideas from past years, if you're looking for some inspiration:

From There's a Shark in the Bath:

From Oliver and the Seawigs:

From Jampires (you can print a free mask from here!)


Princess Spaghetti from You Can't Eat a Princess! and You Can't Scare a Princess! (tiara-making tips here):

And you can download and print a free GOBLIN mask from Reeve's GOBLINS books!


Reeve and I would love love LOVE to see some Cakes in Space costumes! Astra, Pilbeam the robot, Poglites, killer cakes....DO IT DO IT DO IT!

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4. reeve & mcintyre: bishop's stortford lit fest & society of authors

Whenever my Cakes in Space co-author Philip Reeve lands his spaceship in London to do an event, we tend to pack in a few more events to make the most of his visit. This week was a busy one! On Wednesday night, we managed to catch a party for The Bookseller magazine at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross. Then we were off on a train bright and early to visit the Bishop's Stortford Festival of Literature. (Here's a warm-up picture I drew on their flip chart, to add to the prep school library's picture collection.)



Visits are always far better when the kids are prepared. Our first event was in front of hundreds of kids and they'd all read BOTH Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space! Here's a great drawing of killer cakes by one of the girls in the after-lunch book club meeting:




Dropping in to see the book club between our two big stage events was fun; they sat around us and told us what they liked best about the books and we got to sit and soak it up and eat star-themed cupcakes. Nice!



Here are some of the kids at the end of our second stage event, holding aloft the sea monkeys who joined in so vigourously with the chorus of our Sea Monkey sea shanty.



Huge thanks to the team who made it all happen! We hope lots of kids (and maybe some adults, too!) went away inspired to write and draw stories. From the left, here's fabulous stage technician Martin, festival oganiser Rosie Pike, Lynn Bailey (bookseller from the excellent Norfolk Children's Book Centre) and poet Stewart Henderson, who was also doing events with the kids that day at Bishop's Stortford College prep school. I got to wear my brand-new space dress, created by tailor Esther Marfo.



After signing loads of books, we hustled off to the train and rushed down to London to the Society of Authors headquarters, near Gloucester Road tube station. (Note background nosepicker.)



I'd been wearing the blue hair all day, so I switched over to a headscarf in an attempt at a slightly more grown-up look. Or something like that. (Here's a picture by our event technician, Niall Slater)



Writer, illustrator and illustrious YouTuber Shoo Rayner chaired our session and gave us a great intro and helped with question time. I didn't have any photos from the session so I've raided Twitter:



Philip and I talked about how we got started collaborating on our books with Oxford University Press, and we also talked about working relationships we've had with other people we've made books with. We also talked about writers and illustrators being co-authors, something I wrote about in an article for the Awfully Big Blog Adventure. We even had librarian Joy Court in the audience, who was so wonderfully instrumental recently in changing the Carnegie listings to include the illustrator when the books are illustrated. (Here was my blog post about it, which got constantly edited as the situation changed.) Right at the end of the event, we gave the audience a first-ever public reading of our story The Dartmoor Pegasus.



Big thanks to Jo McCrum and the Children's Writers & Illustrators Group for hosting our talk! It was fun bringing Oliver and the Seawigs to the place where the title and central story idea sprang out of (the acronym CWIG). If you've written or illustrated some books, I definitely recommend joining the Society of Authors; they're our best advocates when it comes to politics, complicated contracts, otherwise-unknown sources of money, and tricky legal things I can barely get my head around. Plus, they do events like this one! You can follow them on Twitter at @Soc_of_Authors.



Thanks to Shoo for being lots of fun and chairing, we had a good laugh with him afterward over dinner. He hosts a YouTube drawing channel, where you can learn how to draw almost more things than you can imagine: check out the Shoo Rayner Drawing channel.

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5. Richard Williams To Present ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ Director’s Cut At Annecy

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival has confirmed that animation legend Richard Williams will attend the festival this year.

0 Comments on Richard Williams To Present ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ Director’s Cut At Annecy as of 1/1/1900
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6. SXSW 2015: Animation Shorts Lineup Announced

SXSW has announced the animated film selections for their upcoming edition, which will take place in Austin, Texas next month.

0 Comments on SXSW 2015: Animation Shorts Lineup Announced as of 2/11/2015 8:33:00 PM
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7. Dreaming of Spring

The weather outside is frightful.  In southern North Carolina, we have dealt this week with an ice storm and power outages. While this winter weather in no way compares to the months and months of freezing temperatures and blizzards in the Northeast and Midwest, it is safe to say that many of us all over the country are sick and tired of winter by this time of year. We long for warmer temperatures and blooming flowers.  We long for spring.  At work we are also anticipating the change in seasons as we prepare for all of the special programs we offer during the next few months. What special events or services are rolled out during the springtime at your libraries?

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

Spring in many ways allows us the time to finish our last minute plans for our busy summer reading program. We promote our summer reading schedule to the schools in May and are fine-tuning our programming plans during these last few months.  Is spring your busiest time of year as you prep for summer reading or do you complete most of your program planning right before the programs begin in the summer? How will these next few months get you best prepared for summer reading?

Spring is also a special time of year for us as we participate in system-wide festivals.  We anticipate the spring season with a Storytelling Festival at all eight library branches at the end of February. At the conclusion of the Storytelling Festival, we turn our attention from storytelling to science. During two weeks in April, library staff present interactive science programs as part of the North Carolina Science Festival.  Spring is associated with science in our state. What special festivals, programs, or services are associated with spring within your library system?

School partnerships are also an important focus for public library staff during the spring.  The highly popular Battle of the Books Competition is gearing up with county contests. Library branch staff have connected with public school teams to practice questions with students to help them prepare for their upcoming competitions.  Other public library staff serve as judges or volunteer in various roles during these all-day events.  Are there any special collaborations you enjoy with your school systems during these spring months?

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

In our library, spring is associated with summer reading planning, festivals, and special school partnerships.  The cold, dreary weather may still be upon us, but starting this discussion may help us leave the ice and cold behind as we imagine warmer days ahead. What services or programs will be the focus at your library when the season changes? Please share your plans for spring in the comments below!

The post Dreaming of Spring appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. Problems of Presentation - Joan Lennon

A while back I tackled the ticklish problem of how we present ourselves at readings, festivals, author visits - any time we are obliged to get out of our pjs and face the public.  That post focused on women writers and their clothes dilemmas.  With men writers, there are fewer versions of shirt/trousers, sweater/trousers, jacket/trousers to get wrong.  But there is one thing - one vital decision - that I would like to address today - and that is ...




Nobody said being a writer was going to be easy - here's wishing you luck in your decision.


P.S. Apropos of nothing writerly, I'm a big fan of this video too - Yo Mama.


Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.

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9. ‘Mune,’ ‘Jellyfish Eyes,’ and ‘The Prophet’ At NY Children’s Film Fest

Cartoon Brew readers receive an exclusive discount on screening tickets.

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10. manx lit fest 2014

So Philip Reeve hijacked my previous blog post and turned it into a Manx Reeve & McIntyre pop quiz. But it wasn't exactly a comprehensive look at my visit to the Isle of Man for the Manx Lit Fest. The main reason I blog is so that I don't forget things, and Manx Lit Fest was so fabulous that I absolutely must go back and record it.



Writer Rakie Keig plunged me straight into a Manx cultural lesson when she drove me from the aiport to Douglas, where I would be staying for the weekend. We drove over the Fairy Bridge and she urged me to greet the fairies (as everyone does on the island, I learned from asking around). She also advised me never to say the word r-a-t, and subtitute the wod 'longtail' if I needed to say it. Her third tip was never to say I had come over from 'the mainland', but to call it 'the adjoining island'. Thanks for the tips, Rakie!



Douglas has a lovely long promenade along the beach, with a sort of faded grandeur that makes it easy to imagine the old days, when it was a prime seaside holiday destination. The Regency Hotel had lots of quirky old features, including a beautiful but tiny lift.




The lift had those sorts of grated gates you see on Russian lifts, and of course, I had to take a photo down the shaft. And then I imagined the pile of dropped camera phones at the base of it.



The lift became a major feature of my stay, and got tinier and tinier as my costumes grew larger.



My first event was a reception for the festival's sponsors, and one of the nice surprises was getting to meet a young author named Harri Sansostri. I meet a lot of kids who write, but I'd connected with Harri a year ago, when he was just beginning to try to promote his book on Twitter. He was sending the same promo tweet to everyone and I at first thought it was spam, but then realised his age, and we had a good conversation about promotion, which led to me writing this blog post for him. There was too much to say on Twitter, and I thought it might help Harri and other kids (possibly even adults!) who are trying to walk the fine line between promoting their books and being annoying. I'm sure I often go about it the wrong way, but Harri is proof that just getting out there and trying something, even if he got it wrong at first, can pay off in the end.



Harri's learned so much since then about using social media and his mother came up to me and thanked me for giving him that advice, and he tweeted me later to say how helpful it had been. (Which was good to hear; some people would just get angry if another person referred to their early tweets as spammy!)



I was so pleased to see he's ploughing forward with his books, having finished the second one and working on the third. Here's an update about it on his website, and it's great to think he's already being invited to a literary festival. He's also done quite a few school visits, which is very impressive!



Another person I met at the reception was teacher-turned-rap-battler, poet Mark Grist. The only things I knew about rap battles are from watching Eminem's film 8 Mile, but talking with Mark so intrigued me that I went to see his event later, which was undoubtedly the most entertaining poetry evening I've ever been to.



The actual rap battle videos are quite sweary (one of them has over 4 million views), but you can see a family-friendly version here, where Mark talks about taking rap battles into schools. The thing I loved most about his gig was the way he wove stories about his teaching experiences in between poetry recitations; it was great comedy.


http://markgrist.com/video.php

After the reception, my Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space co-author Philip Reeve and I hosted the annual Book Fanatics' Quiz Night (see the previous post). The next day was Schools Day, and I spent the morning with the kids at Marown Primary School.



I led an Oliver and the Seawigs session with Years 2-4 and we finished by drawing Sea Monkeys and singing the Sea Monkey sea shanty.



These cheeky Sea Monkeys made me laugh:



The youngest children, Reception and Year 1, had already been reading Jampires, so I was able to build on what they already knew. We started out by drawing Jampires (who love jam), but then I had them think of their favourite food, and invent a little critter that might be obsessed with it. We even did a little bit of world building, talking about their creatures' homeland, filled entirely with their favourite food, and we drew trees with the food hanging from them (sausages, chocolate, salmon, etc).



Besides the Jampires, it was fun seeing Pizzapires, Sausagepires, Chocopires...



And then I finished with the oldest kids, Years 5 & 6. I led them in a Comics Jam, which was quite intense.



It's always fun watching them at the end of the session, when their comic is returned to them, and they can see where other kids have taken their story.



This loo door made me laugh, but no, the Marown staff do not have visible horns! Huge thanks to the school's Literacy Coordinator Megan Udy, who organised my visit, and to Nicki McMullin, from festival sponsor Isle of Man Bank, who drove me to my events.



I did solo events in the morning, but I was glad to join up with Philip in the afternoon for a shorter visit Cronk-y-Berry School. (Isn't that a great name?).



In the evening, we had a Serious Literary Event in St Bridget's Chapel on the gorgeous Nunnery Estate, just outside of Douglas. (Here's Philip being all posey in the evening sunlight.)



We were joined in our event by novelist Sara Crowe, author of Bone Jack
, and we talked on the subject of 'Creating a Lifelong Love of Words'. A lot of what I talked about was the importance of visuals in getting kids reading, their love of comics, and the importance of making books to inspire kids to love books. You can get an idea of what I talked about in an earlier blog post I wrote here, about setting up school comics festivals. Actually, we talked about A LOT, but you really had to be there. Come to one of our events sometime!



The next morning was Cakes in Space morning, and I assembled various bits of my costume on the hotel window ledge. Standard illustrator equipment, you see.



And then we went to Douglas' Family Library, where we were met by an eager crowd, and possibly our youngest ever!



We demonstrated the power of SCIENCE with the Nom-O-Tron:



Delighted everyone with the tuneful strains of our Cakes in Space song:



And presented awards for the best Cakes in Space-themed craft projects! Check out THIS HAT:



Utter genius, such a beautiful hat! It was created by the contest winner, a boy named David. Hurrah!



The hat was almost good enough to eat. (Stop that, Reeve!)



Oo, look, David also made a Cakes in Space Poglite! So fabulous!



We didn't get explanations for these drawings, but they looked pretty amazing.



And we also did a bit of drawing ourselves, on the day!



I led the group in drawing Pilbeam the robot, whose voice was so expertly reenacted by Philip.



Check out some of these great Pilbeams!



When we first started doing our Cakes in Space event, Philip and I were worried that drawing Pilbeam would be too complicated. But somehow, the step-by-step approach seems to work with even very young children. You can learn how to draw Pilbeam (as well as Astra and killer cakes) over on my website here.



One of the nice things about the book signing session after the event is getting to see people's drawings up close, and having little chats with everyone.



Big thanks, Family Library team, for a great morning! We were so pleased to see wonderful decorations everywhere, and the competition was a real bonus!



After a quick costume change, our next stop was Laxey Glen Gardens for the Roald Dahl Family Day, where we did an open air Oliver and the Seawigs event. And we got to hang out with fabulously funny writer Mark Lowery! If you haven't read his Socks are Not Enough, go read it now, it had me laughing and dying with embarrassment for its main character.



One of the cool things about the Isle of Man was just HOW many people had read Philip's books. Here's a Murderous Maths fanboy popping out from the trees, and so many people told him how his Mortal Engines books had a huge impact on them. Even Mark Grist said he walked into a lamppost reading the end of A Darkling Plain.



We were VERY lucky for sunny weather for the stage event, and we had to shout quite a lot to be heard, but we had a good audience and the dog on the stage slept peacefully throughout the show. Thanks to everyone who came along!



We were hoping to do a bit of sightseeing, and just before we left, festival Treasurer Pam Cope kindly drove us to Peel, for a look at its magnificent castle. I'd been to the Isle of Man for a wedding 13 years ago, and I'd forgotten an awful lot, but I knew Peel Castle would be worth revisiting. And gosh, it's pretty.



And so many interesting parts to explore! Hey, where has that Reeve gone off to?



Hmm, something's flitting through that bit of ruin there...



Let's zoom in. Ah, 'tis just a little Manx fairie.



Of course, in such a dramatic location, one must create dramatic album cover photos:



And I took a photo of a beautiful, rusty, old boat in Peel Harbour, for Ian McQue, who draws such things so well.



Festival photographer Steve Babb had us pose with the local Viking rope sculpture, and tweeted that we were arguing over our next book title.



Here's my photo of Steve! He was great fun and took so many terrific photos! Thanks, Steve!



Manx Lit Fest was a brilliant festival and I recommend it to any authors or visitors. So much to see and do! Huge thanks to the festival team (having a tiny breather in a Peel cafe): Festival Director John Quirke, Pam Cope, Jane Quirke and Technician Andrew Kniveton.

\

But that's not the whole team, there were SO many other people involved, driving, running events, baking, you name it. Here's volunteer Rakie Keig, the person who drove me from the airport:



Harri Sansostri with the excellent staff of Bridge Bookshop in Port Erin, who sold books at our events:



And one more photo of John Quirke, just because in the Mortal Engines books, 'Quirke' is a god, and that is undoubtedly why we got invited, ha ha... Thank you so much, John and team for a brilliant festival!

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11. Interview: Anim’est Festival Director Mihai Mitrică on Romania’s Budding Animation Scene

While animation has been made in Romania for many decades and the country has even produced some internationally recognized figures like Ion Popescu-Gopo, the contemporary animation scene hadn't received much exposure until the founding of the Anim'est festival.

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12. scribble: my 24-hour comic

Hello! Here's the comic I made for the 24-Hour Comic Marathon at this weekend's Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal.

The challenge I set myself (besides making a whole book in 24 hours!) was to make a comic book that an adult could read aloud to a child. (Usually comics are rather difficult to read aloud.) So there are bits that might be slightly wordy, but I was doing that to try to make it read better. It was an experiment, so see if you think it works!


















































Ta-DAH! Thank you for reading! I'll blog more about the event and creating process soon, but big thanks to Scott McCloud, who set the original 24-Hour Comic challenge, and came all the way from the USA to give the festival a boost and pop his head into the room a couple times with his wife, Ivy, to cheer us on. Here we are in the Page 45 room with the six other creators who were working on their own books along with me through the night (from left): Jack Teagle (@jackteagle), Kristyna Baczynski (@kbaczynski), Warwick Johnson Cadwell (@WarwickJC), Scott ((@scottmccloud), awesome coordinator Dan Berry (@thingsbydan), Fumio Obata (@FumioObata), Joe Decie (@joedecie) and me. Dan was amazing and worked with a local Kendal printer, Absolute Digital Print, to roll out 50 copies of each book by that evening. (Wow!) I've sold out of my copies, but perhaps sometime I'll print some more.



Oh, and did you notice that big crowd scene, when Jamie the scribble is on display at the art museum? I got some help with drawing the crowd from the amazing team of Kendal College assistants who stuck with us through the night, in two shifts. A lot of the people were drawn by Janet (here with her sketchbook), who's ace.



And here are Phil Welch and Katie White, who stayed with us through the WHOLE 24 HOURS and created an AMAZING BLOG, tweeting as @24hcm and using the #24hcm hash tag. Also, a little look at my work desk, and a pose on the following Sunday with festival-mascot-creator Felt Mistress and the two top festival coordinators, Julie Tait and Sandra Wood. Thanks so much, everyone!



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13. a peek at the 24-hour comic marathon

So what's it like to make a whole book in 24 hours? Last weekend I took part, with six other artists - Jack Teagle, Kristyna Baczynski, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Dan Berry, Fumio Obata and Joe Decie - in the 24-Hour Comic Marathon at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal.

I've posted the pages of my comic so you could read them online here. And you can read about the 24-Hour Comic dare on Scott McCloud's website.



I was kind of scared in the days leading up to our 24-Hour Comic Marathon. The longest I've ever worked without going to bed is about 17 hours, and that was miserable. That was when my picture book You Can't Scare a Princess! was due, and I started to go a bit mental from lack of sleep. I did it a few days in a row and went between feeling horrible and headachy to feeling sort of elated, and thinking that everything was terribly funny and posting a very stupid video song on YouTube. I wasn't looking forward to doing that again.




In the week before going to Kendal, I'd been very busy doing thumbnails roughs for the next book with Philip Reeve, so I hadn't had time to do much planning. Not that we participants were expected to plan for the 24-Hour Comic. The original idea was that people would begin the challenge completely unprepared, sometimes even get the story topic when the clock started. But our coordinator, the fabulous Dan Berry, let us think of our story in advance, and write down some ideas. Nearer the date, people started posting thumbnail roughs, and even pencil roughs. Dan tweeted that he'd made a whole rough draft of his book like this:



To be fair, he was running the whole thing and would be helping us if we needed it, so we couldn't begrudge him being prepared. Also, we were getting the comics printed and so he wanted them to be GOOD, not just finished. Kristyna Baczynski has a very detailed, precise style, and was also worried she wouldn't have enough time, and made pencil roughs (tweeting this photo):



I got very nervous that my comic was going to look terrible compared to everyone else's. I don't usually like to compare myself to others, but I didn't want to let everyone down by making the one sloppy, nonsensical book. I did start with a storyline, something I'd considered for a picture book but thought I'd like to try out as a comic. And I did these rough thumbnails, trying to see how it might adapt. But that was all. I could barely read my own doodles.



Here's Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and me looking at Dan's amazing sketchbook. And Dan's colour palette preparations, stuck to the wall of our workspace at the hotel.



In the hours leading up to the 3pm start, I thought, I could either stress out and get started by doing some pencil roughs, or I could walk outdoors and get some fresh air, since I'd be sitting flat on my bum for a very long time. That seemed the zen thing to do. I went on the Woodland Trail behind the hotel. I tweeted photos of my fingers. I pretended I was BRAVE.



I wrote a postcard. My stomach was doing flips.



Some people arrived with a big delivery from Morrison's, who had donated extra food for our venture. The night before, Donya Todd (who was there with 24-Hour comicker Jack Teagle) promised she'd stick around while we were working and punch me if I started to fall asleep.



We'd had a good dinner the night before, and tried not to drink too much of the Fighter Fluid bitter, brewed specially for the festival. (That's Jack with a pint.) Kristyna was the last to arrive (here's a photo of her with Fumio Obata) and then we were ready to start.



It was great working in a room full of other people. If I needed a stretch, I could get up and see what everyone else was doing. It's fascinating seeing other people's working methods. (You can see Kristyna and Dan, hard at work.)



Kendal College loaned us the equipment, and the lightbox (for tracing) was better than the one at my studio. I might have to get me one of these:



Here's Jack at work. There were several of us who used very limited colour palettes, partly to save time: my colour was yellow, Jack's was red, Warwick chose blue and Kristyna chose green.



I hit a bad stumbling block very early on. I thought I'd use my new Letraset pens for colouring, and I'd tested them on a Letraset pad that came with the pens. It seemed to work very well, with no colour bleed. But when I started colouring the comic, the ink started pooling in a horrible way (particularly when I painted faces), and it ruined my first page. Fortunately I'd bought a pad of Fabriano cartridge paper as backup, so I redid the first page and recoloured it. But it cost me time. (You can see the difference in papers.)



Dan had some blue-tack and as we went, several of us started posting our pictures up on the wall above our desk, to give ourselves a sense of our comic was progressing. (PHoto of Warwick and Joe Decie.)



One of the awesome things about the way that Dan and the Lakes fest planned the event is that we all had Kendal College assistants! They arrived in two shifts (here's the first), and they stayed up to do anything we needed, whether it be scanning, getting cups of tea, whatever we needed.



Here are Phil Welch and Katie White, who stayed with us the whole night and blogged the whole thing. And we had a visit from 24-Hour-Comic originator Scott McCloud, who had come all the way from the USA, and his wife Ivy!



The assistants didn't seem to have a lot to do, and they could draw, so I thought I'd set them a task. I had a big crowd scene in my book, and I thought, I can either draw boring bumps for heads, or I could ask THEM to draw lots of people for me! And they did! I drew Jamie the Scribble, the speech bubbles and the basic museum architecture in this double-page spread, and they drew everything else:



Here's how I found them when I popped into the next room to see how they were getting on with it:



One of the students, Janet, was particularly good at drawing and also made this picture of us while we were working:



A few people jokingly protested that I wasn't allowed to get help, but I never have a problem with that; I always think that a book wouldn't exist if I hadn't started the project, so I'll do whatever it takes to get a good book! I wasn't the only one who got help; Donya sat between Jack and me for some of the time and coloured in some of the red bits of his comic. It was nice having her there, and I could half-listen to their conversations.



Here's Jack at his desk:



And Fumio, just beginning to look tired:



I started to get more confident about the whole thing as the pages went up on my wall. But I had one assistant coming in on the hour and telling me how much more time I had, to meet the target, and I didn't have a lot of extra time built in. Every one in awhile I'd look over at Warwick's amazing wall and have to remind myself not to compare our work.



Before we started, Joe and I had discussed the possibility of going upstairs for a few hours' sleep, around 1am or 2am. Joe DID go upstairs for a bit, but found he was so wound up about the comic that he couldn't sleep at all, and he came back down. I got too nervous, it didn't look like I'd have any extra time, and I thought I might be groggy if I had to wake up. So I kept going, all through the night. About 7am, my Comics Dark Night of the Soul hit; my brain was in pain and my hand was hurting from drawing too much. My comic got very graphic - harsh silhouettes - and I had my character weeping in agony.



Just a litte while after I drew that page, Scott and Ivy popped in again to see how we were doing. I felt DREADFUL, but we wanted to take a group photo of them, so I roused myself to look okay for the photo. And something weird happened, I suddenly felt totally fine. It felt like I'd known I was supposed to be tired, so I was acting the part, but I wasn't actually tired at all. I guess it's just getting a second wind, but it took me by surprise. Actually, I think this photo was from the evening before, so maybe Scott popped in three times. Anyway, it helped. (And spot Junko Mizuno and Nick Abadzis in there, too.)



The OTHER thing that helped was that the Lakes festival planners had booked a MASSEUR to come in and take care of us! I've never had that at a festival before! And hardly any of our team had ever had a massage, so it was so funny listening to them fret before they went into her room, and then watching their faces as they came out. (They all loved it.) I had my slot booked with Linda Ashton for 9:50 and I had that time implanted in my brain half the night, looking forward to it. Linda's the best.

In the end, we all finished our comics. And everyone's came out remarkably well. Dan managed to get them all printed that same night, and we had a chocolate medal ceremony at the festival in the Page 45 Room, where we all got presented with big Marathon bars.



Big thanks to Kendal's Absolute Digital Print, who printed up 50 copies each, free of charge. Thanks to the amazing Dan Berry, who made sure everything worked flawlessly and put so much heart into the project, to Kendal College and to Julie Tait, Sandra Wood and the Lakes team who supported it so well.



We were all allowed to sell our comics, with a few kept back for the festival. Some of the creators are going to sell their comics at Thought Bubble in Leeds from 15-16 Nov. I don't have any copies left to sell, but I'll be running the family activity area there with my Jampires co-author David O'Connell. I'm hoping to be able to do something with my story, we'll see.

Did I enjoy the 24-Hour Comic Marathon? Unreservedly YES. I always want to make these sorts of projects and this gave me such a good excuse to do it, knowing it wouldn't stretch out for weeks or months. Someone on the night remarked that it was the amount of work you'd often get from someone doing a whole term of art college. Having other people around, doing the same thing, made the process exciting and kept me from seeing going to bed as a better option. Would I do it again? I don't know, but I'm awfully glad I did it this time.

Read my full comic here.

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14. north cornwall book festival 2014

CAKES IN SPACE landed in North Cornwall! And there was much merrymaking to be had with the Earthlings there, and CAKE.


Photo by Mike Bralowski


Such a fine location for the North Cornwall Book Festival, at Sue Harbour Robertson's house in Endellion, we rejoice to find Earthlings inhabiting such fine dwellings. Also, the abode contained the perfect materials to rebuild a perfect Nom-O-Tron machine, as the original had somehow been left behind on the mothership. (Thanks for your help, Sue!)


Photo by Sam

My co-pilot Philip Reeve and I discovered that our host, Sue, was also not entirely of this world, for we assembled ourselves for her very first SELFIE. With alien expert Moray Laing, editor of the Doctor Who Adventures magazine.



And what fine humans there were to be found after our landing! Unfortunately we did not get a photo of our wonderful co-host and writer Patrick Gale, or writer colleagues Matt Haig and Christopher William Hill. But I got to meet one of my children's book heroes, writer and illustrator Jill Murphy.



Jill's such a natural, convincing storyteller and her detailed pictures are warm and bring you right into the lives of the characters. I think my favourites of her books are Five Minutes' Peace and Peace at Last, both about weary parents.



Thanks so much to Patrick, Sue, the schools in the audience and everyone who made us feel so welcome!


Photo tweeted by @NCornBookFest

Travelling to Cornwall was also a good excuse to stop off at the Reeve Ranch, where Philip, photographer Sarah Reeve and I raced out for a couple quick hikes on Dartmoor.



Here is Philip doing a good Serious Author face. Also, he is branching out in his career to knitwear modelling, which is always a fine thing.



He laid the grave accusation upon me that I was not taking the walks entirely seriously.



One evening, Philip was on a songwriting roll and he and Sarah helped me come up with a couple more book-related songs. So a very useful trip. Thank you, lovely Reeves!



OTHER NEWS
:
Zoe Toft at Playing by the Book has posted an interview for HAT WEEK(!) with one of the illustrators who most influenced me, Satoshi Kitamura. Go have a read!

And Scottish Book Trust have posted a encouraging response to our discussion about Co-Authorship. You can read it here, and I've added a bunch of links to the end of my blog post on the subject here.

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15. SILK festival 2014, skudeneshavn, norway

Hello from Skudeneshavn in Norway! I've been doing intensive school visits today and Stuart's been traipsing about town, and we're both crashing in our guesthouse lounge having a rest before the official SILK Festival Opening Ceremony this evening.



We're staying in the same town I visited in February, Skudeneshavn, and it's great getting a chance to show Stuart around. (And if you're a burglar in England reading this, we have a big, scary German looking after our flat, so don't get any ideas.) We're staying at the guesthouse on the far right:



So here was my first visit this morning, to Grindhaug Primary School, where I showed the 11- and 12-year-olds how I made the Jampires picture book with David O'Connell (and the original comic book that inspired it). I led the group in drawing their own Jampire, then we talked about our favourite foods and designed creatures that could steal other food - Pizzapires, Chocopires, Spareribpires, etc. Then we used our characters to write stories in a big Comics Jam! Everyone finished with a four-panel comic, but each panel was drawn by a different person, so no one knew how their story would turn out. (When I explained about the word 'jamming' meaning something other than sticky fruit spread, they all knew the Bob Marley song, so that was good.)



And here's the second group, same ages, at Norheim Primary School!




I had a few minutes before all the kids were assembled when I could draw this poster for them:



Big thanks to everyone who looked after me for the day, including John Rullestad (not pictured here), Head of the Department of Culture, Jan Arve Hveding (who popped in to say hello), the culture coordinator (let me check her name!) and Head of Karmøy libraries Hanna Mulelid.



After Hanna drove me back to Skudenshavn, Stuart and I retired to the festival Green Room, where we found Norwegian writer Arne Svingen, who'd joined us at dinner the previous evening. Arne writes spooky books, mostly for older children, but all sorts, and does lots of school visits. He gave me a big list of Norwegian illustrators that I want to look up (I don't really know anything about Norwegian illustrators yet), and hopefully post links here. Here are a few, for starters, if you want to peek at their work:

* Ragnar Aalbu
* Stian Hole


* Øyvind Torseter
* Svein Nyhus
(More later!)



Speaking of spooky, I was a bit nervous of sitting in these two chairs in the Green Room; they looked like they might be alive.



But other than that, he Green Room's awfully cosy. I rewarded myself for the school visits a bit too thoroughly with lovely CAKE.



Okay, here are a few of the Comics Jams, in case anyone from the school is checking to see if their work got onto my blog! (And if you look here on my website, you can read a comic I made recently and find more comics here.)



A lot of the kids had never made any comics, so I was impressed with how well they did. Also, notice that they are in English. *gape* I hate to say this, but Norwegian kids write almost as well in English as a lot of the English children I've worked with.















And I'll include a few more Skudeneshavn photos, just to help me remember this place; it's awfully pretty.



Last night we had a music concert in a little house that wasn't a pub, exactly, but had the same nice feel to it.



And when we went for dinner at Smiå restaurant, the downstairs was packed with guys from this ship:





Another shot of our lovely guest house:



More news soon!

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16. SILK festival 2014, skudeneshavn, norway, part 2

Exciting, I got another page in the Haugesund Avis! Apparently the headline reads, Pencils in the Air, which I'm afraid is a bit of a stock phrase I use to get kids' attention while we're drawing. But it looks cooler in Norwegian. (Here's the whole article online.)



And here's lovely Stuart modelling for the SILK Festivalen Nordic Knitwear catalogue:



While I was in Skudeneshavn in February, I had waffles at Johannes' cafe and drew his portrait in the guest book. So this time, Stuart stopped by for waffles while I was doing school visits and spotted my picture in the cafe, framed! Johannes is the best; anyone visiting Skudeneshavn absolutely must stop by to see him.




My main festival event was a talk moderated by journalist Rosie Goldsmith, whom I'd first met in Dubai, and then Hay-on-Wye. Here she is in the festival Green Room, wearing the beautiful new jumper commissioned from and knitted by Skudeneshavn local, Silje Skaadel.



I went to another of Rosie's events earlier in the day and drew this picture:



Rosie was interviewing Dutch writer and journalist, Geert Mak, whose book In Europe was translated into a zillion languages and had a 35-part television series. His new book, In America: Travels with John Steinbeck documents the same road trip made by both men, more than 50 years apart.



I think I need a stronger prescription of glasses, as I had a hard time making out their faces from the distance, but here's the best I could do, drawing Geert:



And we got to have dinner with him and his excellent wife that evening; I hope we get to see them again some day.



We got to hear several good bands while we were at the SILK Festival, including a group called Poor Edward. (The Jampire approved.) It's kind of odd hearing Norwegians singing to a Norwegian audience in English, but they did have lovely voices.



On the way back, I managed to bash my Bakewell Tart hat on a door frame; here's Stuart being my excellent road manager and doing some surgery on it. (He managed to track down a shop selling red glitter glue surprisingly easily.)



One of the school events I did was in the Sea House with about 80 16-year-olds, and I taught them a bit about comics and led them in a Comics Jam.



The 16-year-olds were MUCH more shy about saying anything in English than the 11-13 year-olds I'd led the previous day. I really had to work to get them to volunteer ideas, but I think in the end that they got something out of it and, I hope, enjoyed it.



Here's a quick demo comic I made while they were jamming:



And a few of their Comics Jams. (It's a storytelling game, in which a different person draws each panel.)





Thanks to the enthusiastic teachers who took part!



I did a second Comics Jam session at Skudeneshavn Primary School with this gang:



I led them in designing characters inspired by Jampires, but which had their own food obsessions. (So they came up with Pizzapires, Chickenpires, Noodlepires, etc.) I was struck by how many Norwegian kids LOVE tacos. Apparently it used to be pizza, but now they're taco crazy. It's a think people there eat particularly on Friday nights.



Back in the festival Green Room, here's musician Maria Toresen, who taught me a new Shark song to use with kids when I present my Shark book. So now I have two shark songs! Thanks, Maria! :D



And I made a new friend! Here's Helga Rullestad with Danish fantasy and crime writer Lene Kaaberbøl. I had a good long natter with Lene and Rosie in their cottage and they're ace. I really want to read Lene's The Shamer Chronicles books.



We had a reception for the festival sponsors and got to listen to Moddi perform, good stuff.



And here's culture minister Jan Arve and his wife. (I drew his portrait on my last visit.)



This time in Skudenshavn, I made a foray into a fishing shop, which turned out also to have salvage stuff from old ships, including these two, rather odd, crystal deities.



Before we left, we got to go on a wonderful beach walk with our fab friends John and Helga Rullestad, who are a big part in running the festival. They have so much energy, it's incredible.



This is near where Helga likes to go swimming. It's been a warm summer in Skudeneshavn and she'd been swimming until two weeks ago.



Some more landscape photos:























Here's Stuart with Silje, who knitted Rosie's jumper:



And Helga and John, wearing a fine fascinator. Thanks so much for inviting Stuart and me to be a part of the festival! We had a brilliant time, and I hope the events went down well!



(Read Part 1 here.)

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17. Festival Call for Entries: Holland, Stuttgart and Chilemonos

Cartoon Brew is pleased to announce the launch of our Animation Festival Guide.

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18. Festival Call for Entries: Annecy, Zagreb, Melbourne

Our new Animation Festival Guide is a hand-picked list of calls for entries from respected festivals around the globe. This week, we add three new calls for entries from Annecy, France; Zagreb, Croatia; and Melbourne, Australia.

0 Comments on Festival Call for Entries: Annecy, Zagreb, Melbourne as of 11/21/2014 10:44:00 AM
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19. leeds thought bubble 2014: jampires comics jamtastic!

Last weekend, the Jampires were out in force at Thought Bubble comics festival, to spread Comics Jam over Leeds! Here's team Jampires' David O'Connell, Matt Badham, Molly Bruton and me:



So what distinguishes Comics Jam from, say, raspberry jam?


Badges designed by David O'Connell; Jampires jam by the Butch Institute

A little explanation (as seen in the Thought Bubble anthology):




Our Comics Jam session attracted fellow Jampires like, uh, bees to honey. (These were Phil Welch and Katie White, who stayed with us and blogged all the way through the 24-Hour Comic Marathon at Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, earlier in the autumn.)



We ran a Comics Jam competition, and here's the winning comic! It's by 13-year-old Jordan Vigay and 10-year-old Jonathan 'Jonny Toons'.




Congrats, guys! Here are Jordan and Jonathan drawing away at our activity area tables, buoyed up by jammie dodgers.



Actually, the competition was a close call. Their original Comics Jam was in black and white:



And was competing hard against this Comics Jam, which really zinged off the page with its colours.



So we struck a deal, that if Jordan and Jonathan promised to colour the comic right after the festival, they'd be the winners. (And they did, using a mix of digital and coloured pencils.) You can find out more about running Comics Jams at home (or in school!) over on the Jampires website.

So let's meet the creators: I filmed Jordan and Jonathan each giving a lesson on how to draw a character from the comics they self-publish. And you can get a glimpse of other kids getting involved with Thought Bubble:



If you're scrolling through this and can't see the video, here's the shot of Jordan and me with the Red Crow comic he publishes. (You can buy the latest issue, No.8, for £1.75 via his website.)



Issue 8 includes a Comics Jam that Jordan and I did at the end of my signing session in Page 45 bookshop's room at the Lakes festival.



Oh, and you may have noticed that Jordan dressed up! He's cosplaying as Captain Spaceington from James Turner's Star Cat (which is hugely funny and I recommend it for kids AND adults). Here's an interview with James on Comics Beat.



James was super-pleased to see his own cosplayer! Right behind him, you can see Liz Payton manning The Phoenix Comic table (a weekly comic which I also highly recommend).



And here's Jonny Toon's table! Not many 10-year-olds are on Twitter, but you can follow this one at @JonnyToons. (He's just tweeted the work-in-progress cover of his Christmas issue.)



I was very impressed with Jonathan's design skills for Crystal Orb...



...and the comics inside are funny and remarkably sophisticated for someone his age! Keep an eye on this guy, I think he may go far. It was great to see him teaming up with Jordan to draw stuff; they're a real power duo.





And of course, if you read the Guardian, Independent, Vogue, almost any newspaper, you'll have seen articles about Zoom Rockman, who's been making comics since he was 8. He's 14 now, and has a lot of issues under his belt. He sources local advertising and has been a real pioneer in kids self-publishing comics. Check out his website and you can follow him on Twitter as @The_ZoomComic



I love the Skanky Pigeon quill pens!



His younger brother, Ace Rockman, also loves to draw and drew up a storm at the activity tables. (Great hat, Ace!)



Here's a video Zoom made about how to make comics when he was much younger and still too shy to talk on camera.



And it was great to see the debut of TEAM KETCHUP with their comics anthology Issue No.1! They found local Yorkshire funding and the kids involved worked shifts at the table, selling their comic and badges and running their doodle area. If you have questions about how they did it, have a chat with coordinators @_Joolze, @Coldjenius and @beth_k_t.



And you can follow Team Ketchup collectively as @theteamketchup! Here's a recent tweet of their doodle wall:



One of the coolest thing about Thought Bubble is seeing parents and kids geeking out together about books, comics and artwork. It's such an awesome way to spend time with your kid and let them see that reading is fun, without turning it into a lesson. This family were a joy to watch, and that little Green Lantern Guardian went straight for the books and got stuck into them. Ha, one of the funny things about Thought Bubble was that my picture books sold much better than my chapter books. Usually it's the other way around at book festivals; people see Oliver and the Seawigs or Cakes in Space and prefer them to the picture books because they have more words and are therefore deemed more like 'proper books'. Whereas I'd see Thought Bubble people leaf through them, realise they didn't have quite as many pictures, and move on to the fully-illustrated picture books, with 'proper illustrations'. This crowd is a visual crowd, and they appreciate reading pictures as much as words. It's a wonderful place to be.



My Jampires co-author David O'Connell and I kept looking over and breaking into broad grins as we saw our teammate Matt Badham working his magic. He's SO GOOD at relating to people, I wish I could work with him full-time. He could talk to anyone, on their own level, and he made a lot of people feel very welcome. It was almost poetic. (And he also sold a heap-load of books. Matt could very easily lead courses for booksellers.)



Here's a look at the two activity tables we had in our area. We had four tables in total: one for display, one for talking with people, book signing, laying out drawing supplies, and two table with chairs around them for families (and anyone who fancied a sit-down) to gather and draw. Some people wanted to keep their drawings, but we hung a lot of them up on the backboards and had a flip-chart ready for people to draw on and other creators to come over and do drawing demonstrations.



Some people did Comics Jams with other people, but a lot of kids were happy just to draw comics on their own. We found they didn't actually want much adult intervention; most of them were familiar with comics and happy to be left alone to get on with making things.



There were LOTS of jammie dodgers. When we ran out, we gave Jordan and Jonathan money to go off to the Tesco and buy us more.



It was fun seeing people of all ages getting stuck in.



Some people were a bit young to draw comics, or just wanted to do something a bit more relaxing, and we had a sheet posted, showing them how to draw a Jampire.



I always love seeing the Jampire variations. (I hope someone someday writes a symphony called The Jampire Variations.)









Flip chart fun times:





(Who can even SPELL 'submarine'?)














Here's Jordan and his mum, running The Phoenix Comic tables for awhile, so Liz could run around and talk to people.



And look at the fabulous volunteers, in their matching Thought Bubble staff t-shirts! They're designed by partners Donya Todd and Jack Teagle. (I sat next to Jack and Donya for a full 24 hours to do our 24-hour comic, and they're both ace.) The lady in the middle was our main contact for the family activity area, Martha Julian, and she really worked with us to make the best possible space for everyone. Thanks so much, Martha and team!



Of all the comics festivals I've been to, Thought Bubble and Lakes have by far been the best organised, and you could really tell, the way everyone talked about them so positively afterward. They made creators feel welcome, and we didn't have to fight like cats to make sure we had all our backboards, and they went out of their way to get stuff for us, to make things work more smoothly. Having a team in matching t-shirts is really helpful, there's always someone in view that you can run over to and get some help. I also did some planning with Lisa Wood (shown here) and Clark Burscough. If you follow @ThoughtBubbleUK, that's Clark manning the Twitter feed.



Huge thanks from Dave and me, and team Jampires!



Another cool thing about Thought Bubble is that kids can meet their favourite creators milling about everywhere! Here's The Phoenix Comic's Matt Baxter at the activity table:



Hey, look, it's my studio mate Gary Northfield! Gary did some awesome drawings and little watercolour paintings at his table. Check out his family-friendly The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs and Gary's Garden comic books; they're ace. Gary's the guy who originally walked me through how to do workshops and went with me on my first library event.



Check it out, Glasgow-based Adam Murphy and Lisa Murphy, creators of Corpse Talk! Lisa's done colourist work for Adam, Gary and lots of other people, and she's an important part of The Phoenix Comic team. I'd never really talked properly with her and Adam (other than fleeting festival chic-chat) but we had dinner together on our first night and really got to chat, which was one of my highlights of the whole trip.



Here's a look at their latest Phoenix cover. ZING!



And it's Neill Cameron and family! Neill's latest book, How to Make Awesome Comics is something I've been waiting a long time for; something I can recommend to kids who want to know more about making comics but are too young for the Scott McCloud books. Neill packs in loads of inspiring challenges and tips to get kids drawing and writing comics. And he's great at running workshops, too. In fact, Gary, the Murphys and Neill are all good at that, book 'em into your event diary, librarians, festival people, teachers, etc. His wife, Di Cameron, works at The Story Museum in Oxford, so they're a story-packed power team.



Neill and Adam had printed up their own Comics Jam for the festival, a humourous horror story called The Curse of Barry Starkey, which you can read about on Neill's website here.



Thought Bubble was so large this year that it filled three separate huge venues, all inside the big square at the Royal Armouries. The Jampires Comics Jamtastic area was in the Royal Armouries Hall, and there was a real effort to make that area the most kid-friendly place, including a special chill-out lounge for people with autism. In the middle of the square, the organisers erected a white marquis called 'The Teepee', a slightly misleading name because it was Enormous. A lot of the celeb signings were happening in there. And across the square was New Dock Hall, which has much higher ceilings, black walls and hosted more of the grown-up comics (although there was still a lot of family-friendly stuff there).

I first made a bee-line for Philippa Rice's table. I love Philippa's comics, and she always makes the most beautiful table displays. When I do talks about getting kids involved in comics festivals, I always show photos of Philippa's tables because I think I would have LOVED to have made dioramas and things like this as a kid. Check it out:



And a closer look. Those are real lights in there! So awesome.



Last year I came to Thought Bubble as a punter and had a great time going to events, browsing comics and talking with people at their tables. I'm quite tempted to do that again, one year at table, one year as punter, on and off. This year I hardly had any time to see anything, but the Jampires team let me off for half an hour to run around and see as much of the festival as I could. (Huge apologies if I didn't manage to say hello to you as I madly dashed about!) This book by Becky Palmer caught my eye, La Soupière Magique (The Magic Tureen?). Becky originally wrote it as The Biggest Helping but she couldn't find an English-language publisher, so she got it published in French instead, by SarBacane. You can see some pages of it here on her blog and it is GORGEOUS. It's quite startling to think that this is her very first comic book. Wow!



Hey look, it's Dan Berry, who ran our 24-Hour Comic Marathon! He makes fab comics and always uses hand gel. If you're not following him on Twitter, get on the case: @thingsbydan. And he also makes wonderful, professional-quality podcasts with my favourite comics creators for his programme Make It Then Tell Everybody. Check it out!



Here's Mhairi Stewart and friend manning the Roller Grrrls table she runs with Gary Erskine. There were table neighbours at the very first comic con I did by myself, and I was very clueless and they made me feel incredibly welcome. I love those guys.



And I'm a big fan of all three people here! That's Moshi Monsters' Nana Li, buying prints from North-Wales-based Jonathan Edwards (aka Jontofski) and Louise Evans (aka Felt Mistress).



Coffee time for Lizz Lunney, Joe Decie and Joe List. ...Oh, look, Decie has posted a Thought Bubble DRINKS TASTE TEST.



On Saturday night, Molly and I trotted along to the British Comic Award ceremony, hosted by a blue-suited Adam Cadwell and David Monteith, where we got to hear Maura McHugh interviewing Hall-of-Fame winner Posy Simmonds. Here's Molly, Posy and Maura with Alison Sampson, who won the New Talent award. Congrats! I was also hugely chuffed that Isabel Greenberg won Best Book for The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. (You can read my fangirl meltdown blog post about it here.) And it was no surprise, Luke Pearson winning the Young People's Comic Award again, this time for Hilda and The Black Hound. The competition was stiff, but Hilda is MEGA.



You can read about the awards over on their website here. (Vern and Lettuce won it back in 2011 and you can read my blog post about that here.) I was a judge last year and it was great to see fellow judge Jamillah Knowles again! She caught me up on some of the comics I was missing out on by being at a table.



Okay, now for a few costumes:







Ha ha, here's when things started to get a little weird:



And finally, a good place to end, Dr Mel Gibson with the elephant in the room:



Oh wait! One more thing... what is this? Ha ha, this is what I look like to the kids I'm working with:



(THANKS, Jordan and Jonathan.)

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20. Sundance 2015: Animated Shorts and Installations Unveiled

The Sundance Film Festival has announced the film and installation selections for their upcoming edition, which will take place in Park City, Utah between January 22 and February 1, 2015. Among the sixty short film selections are 13 animated projects, including new works by indie favorites David OReilly and Don Hertzfeldt, animation-to-fine-art-world crossover Takeshi Murata, and Réka Bucsi’s Oscar-shortlisted Symphony No. 42. Also worth listing are the installations in Sundance’s New Frontier programming. The New Frontier space is dedicated to exploring “the crossroads of film, art, and media technology as a hotbed for cinematic innovation.” The thirteen projects selected for the exhibition include numerous pieces that incorporate animation.

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21. Annecy Festival Will Make History in 2015 With An All-Women Jury

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival will make history during its 2015 festival by having an all-women jury for the first time in its 55-year existence.

0 Comments on Annecy Festival Will Make History in 2015 With An All-Women Jury as of 12/25/2014 5:04:00 PM
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22. jampires book launch!


Photo by James Petrie

Hee hee, it's great fun to stand in the middle of a field wearing sparkly red platform heels when everyone else is walking around in wellies. This weekend my co-author David O'Connell and I launched our new picture book, Jampires, at The Big Feastival in Oxfordshire.


Photo by James Petrie

I couldn't believe it, I forgot to pack my Bakewell Tart hat! Nooooo!


Photo by Dave Warren

But never mind, our book was well and truly launched with a dramatic reading by David and me. (Dave's very good at doing the voices.) And I can rock a converted poodle skirt. (Thanks to my mum for helping me sew on all the Jampires.)


Photo by Neill Cameron

And I taught everyone how to draw a Jampire! 'But what is a Jampire?' you may ask. Well, if you've ever bitten into a jam doughnut and found it disappointingly dry and jamless, they are the culprits. These little critters suck out them jam. They LOVE jam. Our book is basically a hymn to jam.


Photo by James Petrie

And you can learn how to draw a Jampire, too! David and I have put all sorts of goodies on our new website, so do have fun exploring it: jampires.com


View as a PDF

We have masks, too! Check out the website! :)


Photo by James Petrie


Since the Jampires are obsessed with jam, we had actual jam on site...


Photo by James Petrie

...and an actual jam maker, who has joined our Jampires team! Meet Emma Preston-Dunlop, jam maker extraordinaire, who gave us a little lesson on how to make jam, and treated us to samples of her tasty concoctions.


Photo by James Petrie

Emma runs a jam company called The Butch Institute and while raspberry jam is always my favourite, she gives it a real run for its money with her Cherry Bakewell with amaretto syrup and almonds.


Photo by James Petrie

Since The Big Feastival's all about food, we explored, and went straight for the PIE. Gotta love a pie. Emma taught me how to eat it from a carton without getting gravy all over my skirt.


Photo by James Petrie

And our lovely publisher, David Fickling, cycled all the way over from Oxford - a two-hour journey across many hills - to be there for our launch. Hurrah! (He didn't cycle in his signature bowtie, but he put it on as soon as he arrived.)


Photo by James Petrie

JAM. Who doesn't dream about The Great Jam Pot in the Sky? *wistful sigh*



Dave and I couldn't be there both days, so actor Devon Black stepped in and led her own Jampires session on the Sunday, which looked brilliant. She made a costume, a whole new show, and I hear she did a brilliant job! Thank you SO MUCH, Devon!!


Photo tweeted by Philippa Perry

Feastival had some rival vampiric creatures, not all as small and cuddly as our Jampire.


Photo by James Petrie

After a little scare, he got a cuddle from Neill Cameron, and everything was all right.



So Neill was mostly busy drawing comic characters over in The Phoenix Comic area. He's the amazing creator of stories such as Pirates of Pangaea, Mega Robo Bros and has a new book out, How to Make Awesome Comics. Here's a Cyborg Mode Jamie Oliver (the chef who hosts the festival, along with Blur bassist-turned-cheesemaking-farmer Alex James):



The drive to Feastival was quite a long one, and our friend James Petrie was a hero and gave us all a lift in his car. As you can see, Dave and I were terrible back-seat drivers.



Lovely Dave. It's not just his genius talent, you see; I mostly work with him because he has such beautiful flowing tresses.



Big group selfie! Huge thanks to David Fickling for publishing us, Emma for being such a great Jam Master, Devon for Sunday's awesomeness, Feastival for hosting us, fab publicist Philippa Perry for organising the day, James for driving and photos, and Ann Lam for our knitted Jampire. Jammy times!



Head over to the David Fickling Books website to see their blog about Jampires, and jampires.com for all your jammy needs.

Jammy Twitter links: @davidoconnell, @DFB_Storyhouse, @ButchInstitue, #JAMPIRES

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23. Ottawa Winners: ‘Hipopotamy,’ ‘Seth’s Dominion’ Win Top Prizes

Veteran Polish filmmaker Piotr Dumala won the short film grand prize for "Hipopotamy" at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which wrapped up its 2014 edition yesterday.

0 Comments on Ottawa Winners: ‘Hipopotamy,’ ‘Seth’s Dominion’ Win Top Prizes as of 9/22/2014 1:12:00 PM
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24. budleigh salterton lit fest 2014

Traveling to rural Devon in full space costume must be the zenith of my career. Look at Spaceman Reeve, he's practically glowing with radiation.



Devon people, do not be alarmed if you look toward the end of your garden and see an other-worldly figure emerge.



He mostly comes in peace.



Invite him in to your home, for he is quite handy in the kitchen.



The Western Morning News printed a double-page spread to commemorate the spectacle.



Once we got used to the earth's gravity, we set off for Budleigh Salterton.


Photo by Sarah Reeve


And there we were, Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival! We demonstrated some of the gadgetry in our book, including the wonderous Nom-O-Tron, which can, from a simple protein formula, synthesise any sort of food you like.


Photo by Sarah Reeve

And I was pleased to find it produced a most excellent coffee walnut cake. (My favourite!)


Photo by Sarah Reeve

We always get people drawing at our events - everyone drew Pilbeam the robot with me - but this girl, Lauren Taylor, drew a whole comic strip in between the time we finished the show and the book signing session!



Check it out: killer cakes, robots, even little Reeve and McIntyre royalty! I like my victorious arm gesture at the end.



It's so fun getting people to draw Pilbeam. (Reeve does a great Pilbeam voice when we do one of the readings from Cakes in Space.)



I think people get a lot of confidence seeing that, if they take a drawing step by step, they can turn out something interesting on their paper. And I love how the drawings don't all look exactly like mine; they all have their own intriguing character.



Thanks so much to everyone who came along to see us and made drawings!



And big thanks to the organisers of Budleigh lit fest, we enjoyed our visit very much.


Photo by Sarah Reeve

And here's our production team, the most excellent Sarah Reeve and Stuart! Sarah did a great job bringing a killer cake on stage for us to examine in a Great-British-Bake-Off style, and Stuart worked the music (composed by Sarah Reeve). Thanks, team!



We even met one of the stars of the Save Budleigh Library documentary film and, when our event was finished, we stopped by the library for a peek. A nice lady with a zimmer frame insisted I wear her scarf for the photo.



I contributed a bit to the video, which you can see here. We do hope the government reconsiders closing this heart of the community and listens to local people who are throwing themselves into the campaign.



It was quite funny walking around Budleigh Salterton in cognito. We passed several people who had been at our event and they didn't recognise us at all without our space gear. Hey, check out the stone pictures on Budleigh beach! A masted ship, a panda, a bee, a Dalek, a whole pebble exhibition.



It's a beautiful place and I'd never been before; so glad to have had the chance.



Sarah's a professional portrait photographer and took lots of photos of us in her studio when we got back to the Reeve Ranch. They're great; I'll show those off soon! In the meantime, you can follow Budleigh lit fest on Twitter as @BudleighLitFest. And if you missed us this time, be sure to keep an eye on my Events Page if you want to catch us in action!

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25. manx lit fest quiz 2014

Last weekend Philip Reeve and I flew out to the Isle of Man for the Manx Lit Fest. We'll blog about it in more detail soon, but here's a quick taster of our adventures.

Our first assignment was to be quiz masters for the Book Fanatics’ Quiz Night.



We’d never run a quiz before, but while we wouldn’t want to blow our own trumpets, we were magnificent. So we’ll put our new-found quiz-running skills to use in the rest of this blog.

Test Your Reeve & McIntyre Knowledge

QUESTION 1: How many authors can you fit into the lift at the Regency Hotel in Douglas?



ANSWER: Just Sarah: all the other authors have to walk up the stairs.

QUESTION 2: Can you guess the purpose of these unusual objects?



ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION 3: What is this?
a) A hat?
b) A cake?





ANSWER: Both! It’s the winning entry of the Family Library’s ‘Cakes in Space’ competition, designed and made by David.



QUESTION 4: What happens if you press this button?





ANSWER: All of the above.

QUESTION 5: When exploring the ruins of Peel Castle, can McIntyre do a good brooding face?



ANSWER: No.

QUESTION 6: Can Reeve do a good brooding face?



ANSWER: Yes, it is one of the most impressive things we have ever seen.

QUESTION 7: Can you guess who is typing this blog?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION 8: What is the title of Reeve and McIntyre’s next stadium rock album?

a) The Unforgettable… Um… Errr….
b) The Joshua Hatstand
c ) Appetite for Destruction and Biscuits
d) Kippers By Post




ANSWER: The Unforgettable… Thingy, you know, oh, it’s on the tip of my tongue…

(Kippers by Post is, of course, the title of McIntyre’s new solo album of Gaelic lullabies.)



QUESTION 9: How much is this 1960s Sarah McIntyre action figure worth? (Note that it is still in its original box.)



ANSWER: It’s yours for a tub of Manx Knobs and a fistful of fresh Queenies.

QUESTION 10: Where does McIntyre keep her emergency doughnut supply?

a) In her hamster-like cheek pouches.
b) In an offshore bank.
c) Concealed in her wig.



ANSWER: C. These doughnuts have not been concealed well enough, and have attracted the attentions of local wildfowl.

HOW DID YOU SCORE?

0 - 3 Well done! You are a very sensible person and probably haven’t bothered reading this far.

4-6 You have a profound appreciation for Manx culture and literary life.

7-10 Congratulations! You are awarded honorary membership of the Reeve & McIntyre Appreciation Society! (Meetings held regularly in the lift at the Regency Hotel, Douglas.)

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