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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. Annecy Selects 17 Feature Films For 2015 Edition

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

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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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.

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11. 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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12. 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.

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13. 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.

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14. 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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15. 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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16. ‘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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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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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22. 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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23. 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.

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24. 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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25. 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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