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1. Tonight in New York: Animation Block Party Opening Night

The opening night screening is free and open to the public.

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2. Ottawa 2015 Selections Announced

Seventy-nine animated films were selected for competition at Ottawa this year.

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3. Fairy Sewing Project

About a month ago I started a project, a sewing project. I decided to create my own costume for the World of Faeries Festival, something I've always wanted to do, but never felt I had the know how or guts to do.

I decided it was time to just "do it".

Although each step took several deep breaths, I am very happy to say I know how to use my machine well enough to sew without a manual, and I am way more confident in using the foot and speed. :) The costume is coming along too. It'll be interesting to see it all come together in the end.

When designing, and as I continue to create this costume, I keep asking myself "What would one of my fairies wear?". I want to personify one of my own creations. When do we ever get that opportunity!? It's way fun!!

Here are some progress shots. :)

Pockets!


Took apart a beautiful skirt to make my own "artist" apron. It will also allow for no cashbox.


A crown of course!


My parents bought me a beautiful costume for the ren faires this past Christmas. I decided to modify the chemise to make it longer and more like my fairies' design.


Apron on the chemise. The idea is to have a half bodice in the future, but for now this will do.
Also, HUGE shout out to my mom, who did all of the hemming and sewing for the apron!! 


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4. South African Artists Are Drawing Attention With ‘Kariba’ Proof-of-Concept Trailer

A small team of Cape Town-based artists are set to pitch their feature film at Annecy.

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5. dinosaur police: hay festival 2015

I had my first Dinosaur Police event yesterday, at the Hay Festival in Wales! And I got to wear my brand-new dinosaur-inspired hat! My sculptor friend, Eddie Smith created it (the same guy who helped me build the giant Seawig and talking cake hat), and my local tailor, Esther Marfo, made the dress. (Oh, and I made the book!)



This photo's by Jay Williams for Telegraph Books, and I was awfully excited to be included in the gallery between Pam Ayres and Virginia McKenna, both of whom I got to meet in the Green Room. Here's a doodle of my awesome Scholastic UK publicist, Dave Sanger, bravely helping me on stage to lead the audience in a very rousing rendition of the Dinosaur Police SONG. It might not have been the most tuneful number on the day, but we all sang it with great gusto. (Thanks, Philip Reeve, for writing the lyrics, and Sarah Reeve, for teaching me some ace uke chords to play with it!)




Here's Dave, sheltering from the rain under the umbrella of my enormous hat. Oh... and I have some exciting news about David!



Not only is he a fab publicist, but he's signed a book deal with Quercus for a book for adults, All Their Minds in Tandem, coming out next spring. Yay, Dave! I can't wait to read it.



So for our event, we did some drawing, and some roaring, comics, and general mucking about.



I showed everyone my way of drawing Trevor the T-Rex, and here's one of the drawings from a girl in the audience named Grace. We discussed various possible dinosaur professions, and this one's a dinosaur astronaut. (Here are some guides on my website to drawing dinosaurs, if you want to have a try.)



And it wasn't just people in Wales drawing dinosaurs; here's a picture tweeted in from South America of Inspector Sarah Tops at the same time by Mercedes Ortiz!



And then I got to sign and draw in lots of books. Thanks so much, everyone who came along! (Photo tweeted by Steph Roundsmith at @kidsrwreview.)



Big thanks to the other Sarah, who managed our event, and Glyn Morgan (@GR_Morgan), who was working another event but made me feel very famous by pulling me aside for a photo to tweet.



Actually, a lot of us had fun with the hat. Here are authors Ed Vere, Holly Smale and Tom Moorhouse.



I only had time to go to one event, so I went to see Holly give a talk with Megan Farr and Arabella Weir. Holly and Arabella have both written stories about teenage girls very much like they were as teenagers, and it was kind of funny because I think it they'd met each other as teenagers, they would have loathed each other. Since they're both grown-ups now, they can talk about these things in a friendly sort of way, but I think the audience could still feel the undercurrent of their semi-fictional teenage selves at war. (Which made everything way more interesting than if they'd been very similar.)



The most surprising question actually came from a child in the audience, who said: "You're both obviously very intelligent women. So why are you writing books for children?" (Cue a big intake of breath from several people up front and in the audience who make books for children.) Holly and Arabella answered it well, saying that it can be even harder to write for children, because children don't let writers hide behind unnecessary literary nonsense: either a story works for them, or it doesn't. In fact, Holly didn't even set out to write for children. She made the Geek Girl protagonist 15 years old, and that's what made the editor decide it was a children's book. Both Arabella and Holly said they never dumb down allusions and jokes because they're writing for kids, and Holly pointed to Shakespeare references in her stories.

Both writers said it's harder to make people laugh than cry, which I very much agree with. It reminded me of a line tweeted recently by Ewa SR:



Being funny doesn't mean being dizzy or less talented, on the contrary, it takes more skill.



Another thing that takes a whole lot of skill is moderating talks. Big cheers to people who moderated MANY talks, including Daniel Hahn (who was compere for 18 talks during the festival!) and the Telegraph Book's Martin Chilton, who also had to read a whole lot of books and ask a lot of good questions. Here's Martin, looking lovely in the dino hat. (And yes, he DID suddenly sprout a lavish blond fringe.)



I was sad to miss illustrator Jamie Littler's event with Danny Wallace, but I hear it was a storming success. (Here he is, with the newspaper rose we were all given.)



One of the hardest things about this year has been not having enough time to catch up with friends. And this festival was wonderful for that. On the first morning, I came out of my bedroom at George House to find my great friend, writer Moira Young, also coming downstairs to breakfast. Yay! Here's Moira, with wonderful Shirley Smith, who lives in the house and turns it into a guesthouse once a year, just for the festival. I stayed with her in 2012 and was thrilled to be back.



And it was great to catch up with Moira and her architect husband Paul. Another big treat was getting to have a girly slumber party with Holly Smale, when she found she wouldn't be able to catch the last train home. After dinner, we stayed up WAY too late chatting in the pink bedroom, in our little twin beds, then came back together on the train. Good times.



And the other people who made it a fun visit was the group of Norwegians at the festival - a 'noggin' of Norwegians as I've decided they're called - and they took me out to dinner on the first night: Helga and John Rullestad (who hosted me in Norway for the SILK Festival) and their good friend Odd Henning Johannessen. (Thanks so much, Norwegians!)



Thanks so much to Mary Beard and Heather Salisbury at Hay Festival for inviting and looking after me, Shirley for putting me up, Dave for being my glamorous dinosaur assistant, the team at the Hay Festival bookshop, Dave and Harriet Bayly for the second night's dinner, drivers Darren and Mark, Sarah, the stewards and everyone who made the festival run so smoothly and be so much fun. And big thanks to Eddie and Esther for all the costume help!

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6. 11 Ways Animation Festivals Can Support Filmmakers

A filmmaker offers a few tips for festivals to attract animators—and ensure that they keep coming back.

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7. As Animation Booms Globally, So Does Annecy

Annecy's Marcel Jean and Mickael Marin speak with Cartoon Brew about the Annecy festival, which begins today in France.

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8. Annecy 2015: Thoughts From a First-Time Attendee

Observations and tips from a first-time attendee of the world's largest animation festival.

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9. DIY democracy: Festivals, parks, and fun

Wimbledon has started, the barbeques have been dusted off, the sun is shining, and all our newly elected MPs will soon be leaving Westminster for the summer recess. Domestic politics, to some extent, winds down for July and August but the nation never seems to collapse. Indeed, the summer months offer a quite different focus on, for example, a frenzy of festivals and picnics in the park. But could this more relaxed approach to life teach us something about how we ‘do’ politics? Is politics really taking place at festivals and in the parks? Can politics really be fun?

The post DIY democracy: Festivals, parks, and fun appeared first on OUPblog.

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

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

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11. 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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12. Annecy Unveils 2015 Shorts and TV Competition Lineup

Annecy has selected 199 short film and TV projects for its 2015 edition.

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13. New Symposium of Animated Abstract Art Comes to Spain

For those who like their animation in its purest form: a feast of form, color, motion and sound in Spain.

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14. Europe’s FMX Conference Celebrates Joe Letteri, Pixar, and ILM

The 20th anniversary edition of the conference will present some major industry players.

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15. Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ and ‘The Little Prince’ Will Premiere at Cannes

Festival director Thierry Frémaux continues to show his love for animation.

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16. lismore castle: stepping into a storybook

I've read stories about princesses who have rooms in 'the highest room in the tallest tower' of a castle, but I never thought I'd actually get to live that story for a weekend!



When former Irish Children's Laureate Niamh Sharkey got in touch to see if I wanted to be part of a new festival at Lismore Castle called Towers and Tales, of course I said yes. And I brought along my trusty Jampire (knitted by Ann Lam). I'd been asked to do some picture book events for Jampires and There's a Shark in the Bath (but sadly, I seem to have lost my inflatable shark). Here's a drawing inspired by one of the Van Dyke paintings on the wall in the dining room:



It was better even than staying in a castle; we got to stay there with the family who own it, and they were so kind and gracious and provided HEAPS of food! Here's my writer friend Philip Ardagh, tucking in. (We did a lot of tucking in.)



And I wore a lot of hats. But not one with Philip Ardagh on it, unlike Lady Betty Compton, who couldn't resist:



(Ha ha, here are the two paintings the drawings are based on.)



And here I am in the entrance hall with lovely writer-illustrator Chris Riddell, when we first arrived, both of us looking slightly overawed and massively excited.




But I really ought to go back and start chronologically. What's it like, going to visit a big fancy castle? Well, here's Ardagh with his leprechauns, about to board the flight at Gatwick Airport.



And Riddell, who really does draw all the time.



Look, he drew me!



I sketched him, but I was slightly intimidated. Both of us had met book deadlines the night before we left - I finished Pugs of the Frozen North and he finished the third Goth Girl book - and we were both a bit shattered and had packed in a big rush.



Chris let me borrow his super-duper brush pen and I liked how the lines came out on this drawing a bit better. (Note: must order myself a Japanese Kurtake Million Years brush pen.) It's nicer than my Pentel brush pen and I can get more control with it.





After a driver brought us from Cork Airport to the castle, one of the first people we met was William Burlington, who owns the castle with his wife, Laura. He was so kind and down-to-earth and made us feel utterly welcome and at ease.



He and Laura are really into art (that's how they met) and have added some beautiful pieces to the family collection and set up a gallery in the castle and another in the town. But William's also a photographer and I found his website here, with some beautiful portraits. Here's a lovely picture he took of painter Sir Terry Frost (who, coincidentally, had a solo show in 2001 at the gallery that I used to run with friends).



I couldn't believe it when the footman helped me haul my suitcase up the stairs to the bedroom where I would be staying. Here's Jampire sitting on our bed, looking a little bit amazed.



And looking out the bedroom window:



We regrouped for drinks in a beautiful sitting room. Here's Philip, looking rather magnificent.



And Chris on a very flumpy sofa:



Somehow Chris managed to draw a picture of us while he was talking, which is something I find very difficult. I either make a bad drawing or I have the most spaced-out conversation, but he manages to be articulate AND draw, which is quite a skill.



We were given lovely customised festival welcome packs. Check out my hand-drawn shark!



Here's writer Archie Kimpton holding up Jumble Cat from his book with illustrator Kate Hindley.



I share an agent with Kate and absolutely ADORE her work, so I shall have to look out for these two books:



Then we had Afternoon Tea, looked a bit around the gardens, and pottered down the road as a group to see an art exhibition at St Carthage Hall, which is part of the Lismore Castle Arts project. Then it was time to get dressed for dinner. (Actually, William and Laura were so easygoing that I don't think we really had to worry about what we wore, but as you know, I like a good frock.) Here I am at my dressing table, feeling like I'm on the set of Gosford Park.



Such a fabulous dinner! That's Laura, standing on the right, and the butler, Denis, standing next to her. I'd heard about the super-efficiency of Denis, but I sat next to William on the second night's dinner and he said he'd been working for the family for over 30 years. And I got a sense of just HOW quick-on-the-mark he is when I was being filmed on the second day and said I needed to go get my ukulele. And seconds later, Dennis suddenly appeared with another ukulele from a cupboard, in case I wanted to use that one. I was massively impressed.



Here's William's sister, their actor friend Dominic West and Elaina Ryan from Children's Books Ireland.



Then lots of people chilled out on the flumpy sofa. Here's Brown Bag animation director Norton Virgien, Elaina, writer Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Niamh Sharkey, and Niamh's husband.



I finally couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, and also, I had ambitions of trying out the huge bathtub in my room. But I ended up going to sleep quite late because there was so much to look at, even in my room, including a bunch of old copies of Vogue:



Funnily enough, there was even a long 1935 feature article about Bryn Mawr College, where I'd gone to university, and the article was hilariously anti-feminist. There were loads of funny bits but here's one:



I was talking later to Laura, and she said that they'd found the magazines after the room had been derelict for awhile and was being rennovated. They've been bought by Adele Astaire, the sister of Fred Astaire. And she said that when Fred and Adele had started out, she'd looked even more promising as an actor and dancer than he had. So I did a bit of research on Adele before falling asleep and found this video, with the Lismore Castle link. How cool that we'd been reading the same magazines!



The next morning was FESTIVAL DAY. And the sun shone brightly on the castle's towers!



I reached out the bedroom window to take these photos.



Fortunately we didn't have too early of a start - the festival didn't start until 11am and my first event wasn't until noon - very civilised! I'd seen a small staircase next to my room and heard from secretary Ed Lamba that the Gruffalo had been doing a photo shoot earlier on the roof. So I made a little foray up it, to see if it was the roof staircase. It wound up a very long way.



First I came out on a high platform where I met a friendly plasterer named Pat, who was fixing the crenelations by replastering them and drilling metal strengthening rods through them. He took me up a level higher to the very tip of the tallest tower. WHOA!



Then there was a great comedy moment when I had to go back down the ladder through the little trap door but I went down and my skirts and petticoats didn't, with a great FWOOMP, and billowed out around the top of the stair hole. So Pat fought back laughter as I had to go around tucking all the bits of my skirt back down the hole, so I could at last descend and go to breakfast.



Once again, it felt like something out of Gosford Park or Rebecca. I remember this one scene in Rebecca where the second Mrs de Winter has a huge breakfast buffet to choose from but only takes a boiled egg (or was it a little bit of fish?) and worries about all the food going to waste. Philip and I did our bit and I don't think anything will have gone to waste.



It was fun to see the castle courtyard gearing up for the festival, with lots of people in costumes.



I got to draw some characters on the library bus:



I did a big of song warmup (Photo borrowed from CBI on Twitter):



And then it was time for SHARKS! I read There's a Shark in the Bath to the big assembled crowd of kids and parents at the Heritage Centre and we sang the Shark song. (It was a bit tricky, not having my stage show buddy Philip Reeve there to lead the kids in the song motions and do all the Papa Shark voices, like we did at Mountains to Sea festival, but we did all right.)



Then I led them in making paper sharks! I usually just have the kids draw sharks, but wonderful organiser Maura O'Keeffe provided quality paper and craft supplies, so we were able to make them look extra special. I loved how they all had such different personalities!



Then the Heritage Centre coordinator hung the sharks out front on the railings, which hopefully did not intimidate any passersby TOO much. (Photo borrowed from the Lismore Heritage Centre Facebook page.)



I came back to the castle for a quick costume change, and William's brother-in-law decided he'd play the Queen of Hearts, so I helped him out with a hair pom-pom and lipstick.



His real name's Nicky but he made me guess his name, so I called him Colin all weekend.



And I got to sit in for a story about a dragon from Dominic.



I didn't manage to get a photo of writer Darren Shan, but I said a quick hello to writer Shane Hegarty between events:



And writer Sarah Webb, who'd organised Mountains to Sea festival in Dun Laoghaire. (You can see my blog post from that here.)



My next event was a Jampires Hat-making tea party. (http://www.jampires.com">Jampires</a> is the book I created with David O'Connell and featured creatures who suck the jam out of doughnuts.) I'd never actually done this event before, but Maura said she could supply all the materials, so I decided to try it.



The hardest thing was drilling holes in the paper plates and getting everything to stick on; the Pritt sticks and glue weren't so helpful but we made good use of the elastic, staplers and pipe cleaners to anchor everything.



The hats came out very nicely! I loved the netting, it made everything bigger and frothier.



And the pom-poms were good fun.



We even had a couple adults making hats, such as this one:



And here are some of the finished hats!















Then I had a big tired flop in this beautiful room (I could live happily in this room), and Mike Skinner from The Streets came and filmed me for a documentary video about the festival.



Then another lovely Afternoon Tea with the festival volunteers, and pre-dinner drinks:



William gave great kudos to Maura O'Keeffe (pictured here) for all her excellent planning work.



After dinner, I took photos of Niamh and her daughter, who was proudly wearing the hat she'd made at our workshop. (Yay!) The whole festival idea came about from a conversation one evening in this room, when William, Laura, Niamh and John Huddy from the Illustration Cupboard were having dinner. Lismore had hosted lots of arts events, but no children's book events, and this was a first.



I desperately wanted to stay awake so I wouldn't miss anything, but by 1am, my eyes just wouldn't stay open, I was babbling like an idiot and I had to go to bed. So I was quite envious of Philip, who managed to stay up with the gang until 5am! Many fine drinks and tower-climbing shenanigans. But we had an early flight back to London and Philip didn't look quite so hot when he came down to breakfast at 6am. It was hard to leave. I wrote a message in the guest book:



Chris made a drawing:



Jampire flat-out refused to go.



When I finally got him out of bed, he took long, weepy looks out the window at the sun rising over the Blackwater River. I knew how he felt, this was a storybook I didn't want to close. There were so many things I'd missed and still wanted to do: explore the gardens more, catch a glimpse of the kitchen, take a walk in the woods and see all the follies, see the castle art gallery. But I felt tremendously lucky to have been able to do and see as much as I had.



Jampire was not so mature and the only way I could convince him to come out of the room was to leave a copy of Jampires, so at least some of his friends could stay.



But then he threw a final tantrum on the lawn and could not be consoled.



Thanks so much, William, Laura, Maura, Niamh, John, Denis, Ed, and all the staff and volunteers who made this festival happen. You were amazing!

PS It's not inexpensive, but if you have a party of 16 people or more and want to hire Lismore Castle and its 21 bedrooms, you can find details on its website. And if you want to see an earlier blog post I did about visiting Chatsworth (where William's parents live), you can visit it here.

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17. Annecy Selects 17 Feature Films For 2015 Edition

A record 73 animated features were submitted to the festival this year.

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18. Annecy Will Host Genndy Tartakovsky, Masaaki Yuasa, ‘Zootopia’ Directors, Richard Williams

Annecy is taking over San Diego Comic-Con as the place for Hollywood to preview its major projects.

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19. stratford-upon-avon and space suits

This weekend, the Reeve & McIntyre Roadshow hit the home of England's greatest playwright at Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival! (It's also where Shakespeare lived...)



Here I am, back in the blue wig and flight cap for Cakes in Space shenanigans with the festival's director Annie Ashworth and one of our top-level space cadets from Oxford University Press, Elaine McQuade.



These kinds of events are usually pleasant, but working together as a team on books with Reeve makes them loads of fun. We were pleased to see that while we were busy at the festival, The Guardian ran an article on co-author teams, with a good emphasis on illustration and comics:




And Reeve and I got a mention, hurrah! Thanks, Imogen Russell Williams!



Speaking of all things space-themed on May the Fourth (be with you), Philip's just written a blog on Star Wars and why it's been such a big influence on his work:



(And if you're looking for more good Star Wars reading material, check out these models cut from single sheets of paper.)

But back to Stratford Lit Fest! One of the best things about a festival is when we hear afterward how people in the audience have been inspired to go away and make their own drawings and stories. Philip and I led them in drawing Pilbeam the robot and a killer cake, and a girl named Erin went away and started her own Pilbeam-inspired comic! Yay! I hope she keeps going with it. (Thanks to @KathrynEMarsh for tweeting it.)



While we were in town, Philip could feel the bard looking down over not one, but both of his shoulders:



And he signed copies of the Uncorrected Proof edition of his new book, RAILHEAD, which is coming out about the same time this September as our Pugs of the Frozen North book.



One of the fun things about a festival is getting to meet other authors. (In fact, it's how I met Philip, at the Edinburgh book fest.) Here's Philip getting served his asparagus starter on a plank, with a bit of fake grass, next to Elaine and Professor David Crystal.



We got to meet David, his wife/manager Hilary and their actor/writer son Ben Crystal, who worked with his dad to create an Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary for young teenagers.



Other fab people we saw at the festival: Nick Butterworth! I love Nick's work and studied it quite a lot when I first started out. And funnily enough, he looks so much like his characters, including Percy the Park Keeper:



Here are Ashley Harrold and Philip swapping books in the Green Room:



Ashley, Steven Lenton and Tracey Corderoy all came to our Cakes in Space event (thanks so much!) but I didn't manage to snap a picture of Steve before he had to run and catch his train. But here's his fab co-author Tracey, with some of their charaters:



A quick hello with Chris Riddell:



And somehow I entirely missed seeing the marvelous Neill Cameron, but here's a photo tweeted by the festival. (Hope to catch you next time, Neill!!) He's come straight from taking part in the Phoenix Fest in Oxford, which sounded amazing. (Check out some of the tweets from that festival here!)



Big thanks to Annie and her team which made the festival run so smoothly! I hope lots of people went away inspired.

And I went back home to Stuart, and we spent a day in Kent visiting the bluebells and eating wild garlic. (Whiffy!)



I promise no bluebells were harmed in the making of this photo.

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20. Festival Call for Entries: Festival by Pixelatl, Corfu, New Chitose Airport Festival

Three new calls for entries from Cuernavaca, Mexico; Hokkaido, Japan; and Corfu, Greece.

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21. Festival Report: Pictoplasma 2015, Where Character Is King

Cartoon Brew's European correspondent reports from an art event that emphasizes characters above all else. But is that a good thing?

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22. 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!

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23. 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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24. ‘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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25. 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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