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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: morris, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 33
1. morris: how to win friends and horrify your teacher

Ha ha! This tweet from Colm Linnane in Edinburgh cheered me hugely when it rolled in last night:

Artist and web designer Dan Fone couldn't resist coming up with his own recipe for super-snot.

Thanks for standing up for Morris the Mankiest Monster, Joe Decie and @slormes!

...But it's highly debatable whether Morris is a 'nice' book. It's writer, Giles Andreae, has argued that it's actually a love poem, about the sort of love - and conflicted emotions - a parent has for a child who's covered in filth and comes running toward them, wanting a cuddle. But I'm not so sure that makes it nice. Last night I looked up Morris on Amazon and was pleased to discover it has 14 reviews now, 13 of them glowing with praise. But the other one is still my all-time favourite:

This is a more standard review. And I'm glad the book inspired the class to write their own poetry. (Thank you, Peter!)

And don't forget, if you want some activity sheets to go along with the book, or free material for throwing your own Morris the Mankiest Monster Party, you can download them from my website here.

This video also just rolled in via Twitter! It was made by Carl Loughlin, aka Grandpa Joe, and is even harder to get through than the Morris book. WELL MANKY. (Thanks, Carl!)

Direct YouTube link

Speaking of monsters, check out this link to Monsters University, a spoof website for the sequel to Monsters, Inc. (Link via Jamie Smart.) Ha ha, I love the four-armed hoodie in the shop!

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2. Poetry Friday: Under the Mesquite

Under the Mesquite Guadalupe Garcia McCall


Mami said life would change
after I turned fifteen
when I became a señorita.
But señorita means different things
to different people.

For my friends Mireya and Sarita,
who turned fifteen last summer,
señorita means wearing lipstick,
which when I put it on
is sticky and messy,
like strawberry jam on my lips.

For Mami señorita means
making me try on high-heeled shoes
two inches high
and meant to break my neck.

For Mami's sisters, my tías
Maritza and Belén, who live in Mexico,
señorita means measuring me,
turning me this way and that
as they fit me for the floral dresses
they cheerfully stitch together
on their sewing machines.
For the aunts, señorita also means
insisting I wear pantyhose,
the cruel invention that makes
my thick, trunklike thighs
into bulging sausages.

When my tías are done dressing me up
like a big Mexican Barbie doll,
I look at myself in the mirror.
Mami stands behind me
as I pull at the starched
flowered fabric and argue
with Mami's reflection.

"Why do I have to wear this stuff/
This is your style, not mine!
I like jeans and tennis shoes.
Why can't I just dress
like a normal teenager?
En los Estados Unidos girls
don't dress up like muñecas."

Señoritas don't talk back
to their mothers," Mami warns.
When my aunts aren't looking,
she gives me a tiny pinch,
like a bee sting on the inside
of my upper arm. "Señoritas know
when to be quiet and let their
elders make the decisions."

For my father, señorita means
he has to be a guard dog
when boys are around.
According to my parents,
I won't be allowed to date
until I graduate from high school.

That's fine with me.
I have better things to do
than think about boys--
like prepare for my future.
I want to be the first one in our family
to earn a college degree.

For my sisters, señorita means
having someone to worship:
it is the wonder of
seeing their oldest sister
looking like Cinderella
on her way to the ball.

But for me, señorita means
melancolía: settling into sadness.
It is the end of wild laughter.
The end of chewing bubble gum
and giggling over nothing
with my friends at the movies, our feet up
on the backs of the theater seats.

Señorita is very boring
when we go to a fancy restaurant
decorated with Christmas lights
for the upcoming Posadas.
We sit properly, Papi, Mami,
and I, quietly celebrating
my fifteenth birthday
with due etiquette because
I'm trying my best
to be a good daughter and accept
the clipping of my wings,
the taming of my heart.

Being a señorita
is not as much fun
as I'd expected it to be.

2 Comments on Poetry Friday: Under the Mesquite, last added: 4/14/2012
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3. ALA Midwinter Awards 2012

None of us got to go to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, but we're very excited about the award winners that were announced today!

A huge round of applause goes to John Corey Whaley for Where Things Come Back, which won the Printz Award (in addition to the Morris!) You can tweet him congratulations @corey_whaley.

Jack Gantos won the Newbery with Dead End in Norvelt. Once again, the Newbery was not even on my radar! 

You can find the rest of the Youth Media Awards as well as video coverage of the announcements here at ala.org. The Press Release with a list of all the awards and honors on one page is here

Congratulations to all the winners! Were any of the winners on your list? Comment below or tweet @frootjoos.

2 Comments on ALA Midwinter Awards 2012, last added: 1/23/2012
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4. morris the mankiest monster... in america!

My fab friend Donna McGee in Wisconsin just got in touch to say that Morris the Mankiest Monster has appeared here on American television! I think this might be the first time any of my books have been on American telly, so exciting!

Thanks very much to English professor and book reviewer Carole Barrowman for picking Morris and for being able to talk - in public! - about Morris's revolting personal habits. (Carole is @BarrowmanCrime on Twitter, and the bit about Morris comes five minutes into the show.)

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5. oh, bother

First, the good stuff! Morris the Mankiest Monster is Scholastic Book Club's Pick of the Week! (Which is rather spiffing of them as Scholastic don't even publish it.) You can get it through them for the amazing price of £3.99.

And for my tea break, I'm bookmarking Matt Badham's interview with Jim Campbell about the art of lettering in comics.

Now the not-so-good stuff. My landscape sketches have been going a bit badly lately. I was getting up a bit later because Stuart had two weeks off work and wasn't booting me out of bed at 6:30, so I didn't do my early-morning dashes to Greenwich Park. Here's a sketch I made on a cycle ride we took around the Thames Path. I rushed it quite badly because my fingers went numb with cold and I was feeling guilty because Stuart wouldn't park himself in the nearby warm coffee shop and insisted on standing 20 feet away, reading the newspaper and freezing. Cycling is a great activity to do with someone else, but sketching's a bit dodgy that way.

You can catch a glimpse of Java Wharf and loads of other places where we ride our bikes along the river in the boat chase sequence in the Bond film, The World is Not Enough. Java Wharf appears at the 1:33 mark on this extended version clip. In real life, it's a dead end - the river doesn't go through - but the film editors did this nifty trick of joining up all these unconnected waterways and making it look like one good, long stretch. Stuart had several friends working in the MI6 building at the time the film was being made, and they were specifically told not to stand out on the balconies to watch the filming. (But, of course, they all did anyway.)

The World is Not Enough boat chase scene YouTube link

Here's a sketch I had to abandon this morning on top of One Tree Hill when the rain got too heavy. The raindrops kept causing my pencil to make unexpected dark marks or stop marking altogether, not much fun. I've ordered my electric eraser pen, I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with that.

Right now there's a film crew downstairs filming a reconstruction of a violent rape in a police station and I've been warned not to do anything if I hear horrible screaming. Sounds like another day for music and headphones.

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6. most manky review!

First, a very happy birthday to my dad! I only sent his birthday parcel yesterday, so if you're in Seattle, please make him lots of cakes and fuss over him royally in the meantime.

Stuart was on the Internet last night and called me over, in a sudden fit of consternation, to read a one-star review on Amazon of Morris the Mankiest Monster. People are generally very kind to children's books; if they don't like them, they just ignore them. So I was a bit disappointed for a second to lose the five-star ranking. But then I read the review, and it was just SO SCATHING that it made me burst out laughing.

Review: Lucky that I had this book delivered to me first before sending it off again as a present to the grandchildren ie their parents as intended. This way I had the chance to see and vet this 'children's book'. I am sure this book would have ruined our relationship and my reputation. It will not even end up in a charity shop.

Ha ha! Wow, the power to ruin a reputation, I'm impressed. As soon as I read that, I thought, Morris wouldn't care one bit. He's totally repulsive and proud of it. For every nine people who love Morris, there's always one who thinks it should practically be illegal. Too funny.

Hey, remember the recent Morris monster poetry competition? Well, there's another one! Stories on the Web is hosting a 'Create a Comic' competition? It's a subscription website, but if your library is listed here, you can pop into your local branch and ask for a password. (And it lists other ways to join Stories on the Web if your library isn't listed.) You can read a whole bunch of pages from the DFC Library there online, and win copies of DFC Library books Spider Moon, Monkey Nuts, Mo-Bot High and Vern and Lettuce.

If you're already subscribed, just go to Stories from the Web, enter your password and find the competition in the 7-11 section.

Last thing, a huge thanks to comics creator Emma Vieceli for all the hard work she's put into running MCM Expo Comics Village for the last few years! She's stepping down to take part in it purely as a comics creator now, and passing on the baton to the very capable Anna Petterson and Matthew Sheret. Great work, Emma! And hope you get lots done on that big stack of books you're working on! (Talk about major workload, Emma takes the cake.)

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7. studio goodness + morris pics and poems

Yesterday, my studio mate Gary Northfield was pleased as punch to get a certain parcel in time for this weekend's MCM Expo. I'd say Bad Dog is a mini comic, but since it's printed like a newspaper, it's more of a maxi comic. It looks great and it's funny enough to have me spewing my tea. (But be warned, some of his characters use naughty language.) Come along Fri, Sat or Sun and pick up a copy at the Fleece Station table!

And speaking of the Fleece Station, our studio's been featured in Artists & Illustrators magazine's November issue! When editor Steve Pill got in touch with me about it, I cracked up laughing when I saw a photo of another artist's gorgeous museum-like space. But Steve wanted to show ours anyway: tight room, mess and all.

Click on the image - or here - to read a larger version. Apologies, it keeps coming up a bit over-compressed, no matter how large I save the original file.

A special thanks to Barry Griffiths and Stories from the Web, who ran a Morris the Mankiest Monster poetry and drawing competition! Congratulations to Grace and Ciara for using the online tools to come up with these monster pictures:

And to Tiarnan and Eve for their poems. Here they are! (Gotta love anything that rhymes 'clumsy' and 'bumsy'.)

MAX the Manky Monster

MAX the manky monster is famous
For swearing oaths
As well as that he loved to eat gigantic loaves
HE was funny he was clumsy
And had a big hairy bumsy
One day he went out to eat a baby
Instead he ate a little old lady
The next day he felt so bad
He was always known as "SAD"
And that was the end.

By TIARNAN, aged 10, from St Francis School, Lurgan P6

Why Morris Is Manky

I asked Morris one day,
When we were out to play,
I asked him twice,
While he ate chips and rice,
Why are you so manky?

He never answers,
There is something he knew,
When I go to ask him,
He just starts something new!
I ask him again,
Hoping for an answer,
I just want that for Christmas,
I just want that from Santa...

The next day at school,
He is swimming in the pool.
And I say,
Like before this day,
Why are you so manky?

Then he is washing his face,
Just after dusting the place.
He is very clean,
Like a washing machine,
And he's gone from nice to mean.

He's in a grump,
A right big flump,
On the bathroom floor,
He says he's ok but we know he's in a bore.
And then I walk in, throw my sweet wrapper in the bin,
And ask him again,
"Why are you so manky!?"

"I'm not manky, I'm not!" he says,
And there's a clear honest look on his face,
And he goes from mean to good as he makes the world a better place.

By Eve the Lazy Bones, aged Eleventy-twelve. Lol, jk, I'm 11., from Knowsley, England

Right, we're off to MCM Expo! Hope to see you there!

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8. monsters on charing cross road

Today was FEAR FEST at Foyles... don't we look SCARY???! Heh heh. I love how Morris the Mankiest Monster is absolutely foul, but there's no real monster fear factor, just a horrible fascination. The kids at Foyles bookshop were as bogey-obsessed as ever and we had a great time making monsters... right next to a tank full of... PIRANHAS! That wasn't too scary - they're behind glass - but then one of the staff told me Marcus Sedgwick once had to stick his arm into the tank to fish out a book, with the piranhas still in it. Okay, that's slightly edgy stuff.

Foyles will host several more Fear Fest events on Sun, 31 Oct, with Sarwat Chadda, Sam Enthoven, William Hussey, Cliff Mcnish and L.A Weatherly. Some of them might be scarier than mine.

Here are the fab Neil and Jeni, who made the event a great success. (Thanks so much!) They gave me a goodie bag which included a rather sinister-looking cupcake, complete with big, gory eyeball.

I'm off tomorrow morning with DFC colleague John Aggs and studio mate Ellen Lindner to paint murals in Nottingham Market Square for two days. We'll each have our own lounge space at Game City, where people will be able to play video games while we do graffiti on the walls around them. I've never done anything like this, but I'll let you know how it went.

I just heard from Mei Matsuoka that she's going to be at the Sheffield Children's Book Award Ceremony on 23 Nov, along with Morris the Mankiest Monster writer Giles Andreae and me. (Morris is shortlisted.) Mei's fab (she illustrated The Great Dog Bottom Swap), really looking forward to seeing her. (Here's my post about her visit to our studio.)

Apologies if you've sent me a lovely e-mail and I haven't answered it yet. I have a terrible backlog of correspondence and, while I'm loving this eventing thing, I'm teetering a bit and I think I'll really welcome getting back to picture book work. And I'll need to do so very soon, as the deadlines are LOOMING. Yikes.

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9. today's greenwich park tree + makings of morris video

Today the Chinese chestnut collectors gave me a lot of smiles and 'good morning' wishes, which was rather lovely. And it kept me from getting grumpy about wind blowing huge splodges of rainwater onto my paper, which kept turning the pencil line to greasy clay.

Hey, everyone, the British branch of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators has a blog now! It's an excellent organisation, where I've met lots of people and learn a great deal about making books, so join it if you haven't already. A big thanks to amazing writer Candy Gourlay for editing and posting this video she took at my talk with David Fickling on 'The Makings of Morris the Mankiest Monster'. I'd forgotten a lot of what we'd said, and I was a bit flustered at the time because the pub didn't have a connector cable for the Powerpoint, so I had to show everyone the slides on a laptop screen. But it's the only time David and I have really hashed through the process of what it was like to come up with the character, and talk about the editorial process. (Please look past the fact that the rather terrible camera angle makes me look suspiciously like a beached whale, hehe.) David is a fab publisher, he really pushed me on this book. Although I must add, it's not even near as hard as he's pushing me on the book Dave O'Connell and I are making with him now. (Morris website and downloadable activity sheets here.)

The Makings of Morris YouTube link

And have you read Candy's book, Tall Story
? If not, why not? It will knock your socks off, such a brilliant read! I'm really looking forward to sharing a room with Candy at the SCBWI Winter Conference in Winchester. She's my best roomie, we'll be up all night talking if we're not careful. And if I drift off to sleep, I can almost guarantee that if I suddenly wake up at 3am, it will be to the clack of her keyboard as she sitting up against the headboard, writing her next novel. Come to the conference! It's 13-14 Nov, featuring fab speakers such as Mini Grey, Marcus Sedgwick, David Fickling, Lucy Coats, and loads others. Candy and I are both on a couple panels, mine are How to sell your book and Social Networking: a blessing or a curse?.

Have you seen that Viviane Schwarz has posted an open invite to her launch of The are No Cats in this Book? Meeting Viv is a real treat, be sure to pop along and get a signed copy. Even better, get her to draw cats in it. Review Bookshop, Peckham, 15 Oct, 6:30pm, more details here. It's a brilliant follow-up to There are Cats in this Book, which I think was by far the most cleverly designed and illustrated book of the year, and which was nominated for a Kate Greenaway award.

Derek the Sheep and Vern star in this month's Stitch London newsletter! Subscribe here to keep an eye on what my fab studio mate and her mind-bending, yarn-loving gang get up to.

A great review of When Titus Took the Train by The Book

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10. fun at edinburgh book festival!

This festival totally rocked! Stuart and I had so much fun, and the best thing was meeting people I'd only ever heard about. I'd been Twittering for ages with Alex T. Smith, but my publicist talked with his publicist and set up a quick tea-and-cookies session with him before he had to dash for the train. It was fabulous to see him, but part of me was dying that we couldn't get out drawing supplies and make pictures and comics together for a few good hours. He lives all the way up in York, so I'm going to have to plot hard how to work it so we can somehow do an event together. You can just see cartoonist Steve Bell over Alex's shoulder.

A guy named Colin who's been tweeting the festival set me up with a five-minute interview an hour before we left for the train back to London. Here it is! I'm reading Morris the Mankiest Monster.

Audioboo direct link

I feel a bit guilty for not mentioning my Scholastic picture book, You Can't Eat a Princess! when Scholastic were FABULOUS at coordinating my visit. I swear, I've never met people so organised, my publicist, Alex Richardson, had this great printed schedule, booking me with something almost every hour, including two company dinners with other authors and two quality comedy Fringe events: The Penny Dreadfuls and Dan Antopolski. (The publicists were in hysterics watching Dan Antopolski giving an alternative Maisy the Mouse story, complete with twisted readings of all the Maisy book covers.) I didn't have much time to go to other book events, but I did manage to catch authors Philip Reeve and Ian Beck in conversation with Marcus Sedgwick. The little girl in the chair in front of me (in the front row) spent the whole time twisted around watching me draw, so apologies to the panel for my subversion.

I got to have a quick chat with Polly Dunbar, who's been doing a puppet show based on her amazing picture book Penguin. That's her actor husband in the lion costume! I'd love to see that show.

Write Away's Nikki Gamble booked a group of us onto a Ghost Tour, where we got to tour some of the underground vaults and hear about the gruesome punishments people used to inflict on each other in years past. We thought it would all be pretend, but our buxom blond guide Ella actually horsewhipped
Marcus Sedgwick. And that's when it really got scary, because she didn't just whip him a few times, I think she gave him over 20 lashes. I think maybe they had a secret history together or something.

The two other people I was incredibly chuffed to meet for the first time were Philip Reeve and Martin Brown. I had a few meals with Martin, and a Chinese with Philip, and just before I left,

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11. lots of delightedly disgusted essex kids

I hope it's not overkill by posting two videos in a row of me reading from Morris the Mankiest Monster, but I just found out about this video from one of the first-ever events I did last year with my studio mate Gary Northfield. (Because I was too nervous to do it myself! I've had to get over being self-conscious super-quick.) I think I've learned a little bit since then about reading aloud, but these kids in Havering were the best thing ever for making me feel more confident, and also for realising just how amazing Giles' text really is. Picture these kids absolutely ROLLING ABOUT with repulsion, ha ha...

The first part's about pirates, by Sara Starbuck. (I'm at the 4:35 mark if you scroll along the bottom of the screen.)

YouTube link

That's Gary guffawing in the background! Afterward, Ruth the librarian took us on the Gary Northfield Heritage Trail.

I'll try to post some drawings soon! I have a ton of events coming up this summer and autumn and I'm sort of drowning in all the paperwork at the moment. Someone send me a life ring, please! Or an accountant, personal masseur, dietician, or life coach would do. I'm at least trying to avoid cake at the moment (vital research for my last picture book). Lately cake hasn't been doing me any good. I'm going over to Viviane's tomorrow to make pancakes for breakfast, but that will be the only exception to the cake rule. Yes.

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12. cheltenham ink version

Here's the inked version of the programme for Cheltenham lit fest:

I left the pencil in blue, you can can catch glimpses of a few things that have changed from the original pencil version. So Vern and Lettuce and the gang from Pickle Rye are starting to get excited about their big road trip in October.

Hey, I just got a great e-mail from a new teacher about Morris the Mankiest Monster that totally made my day!

Dear Sarah,
I'm taking my PGCE at Kingston University and saw you when you came in to talk to us about animating and picture books.

I just wanted to write to thank you, Giles Andreae and Morris the Mankiest Monster as I used the book for a job interview, the book went down a storm and I will now be teaching year 2 at a great school! I had borrowed the book from my housemate who had also used it in an interview where she was successful too so Morris is now our lucky, if a little disgusting, house mascott :o)

Best wishes,
Mel Lawrence

I was so curious about how she'd used Morris in an interview, and she wrote back:

Thank you! Of course you can blog the comment - I'm telling everyone to use Morris for interviews :o)

I was asked to share a story of my choice for 10mins so I read the book and asked the children to mime disgusted faces whenever they thought something was a bit foul and then we made up our own character called Gregory the Grubby Gremlin... One of the Governors who watched came up to me at the end to tell me about his daughter who used to eat her bogies, it was brilliant :o)

...Thanks so much, Mel! :D

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13. how sweet...

They're discussing the state of my gut in Carousel magazine. Heh heh.

Giles + Sarah = tongue of silver, gut of steel.

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14. thank you, bishop's stortford!

Yesterday I went up to Bishop's Stortford for their first Children's Book Festival and accepted the Picture Book Award for Morris the Mankiest Monster from Britain's Children's Laureate and children's book creator Anthony Browne. Hurrah!

One of the teachers had even painted a great picture of Anthony giving me the prize. (It made us laugh, because it looked so much like us, but also because Anthony looks very tall in it.) The hall had kids there from loads of schools, all whom had voted for their favourite picture book, so it was an amazing honour to win. (Thanks, guys!!) I didn't actually know our book had won until two seconds before I gave a short speech, so I was a little flustered, but also very happy.

Anthony gave a talk, saying how important it was for people of all ages to embrace picture books, and stressed the importance of building visual literacy in our culture. One of the cool things about the award was that the oldest children in the school also took part in the competition, analysing the picture books and looking at them from a design and editorial perspective, thinking about what they'd do if they were creating their own picture books.

Anthony had been doing events for the festival since the day before, and was busily signing books for a long queue of schoolchildren, so I did a quick drawing of him. And here's a photo of the very funny cat play some of the kids put on for us.

Thanks, Rosie Pike, for organising the festival, and I was very glad to meet Alison Lewis (half of the 'Jill Lewis' author partnership on Don't Read this Book) and Michael Terry, illustrator of The Wide-Mouthed Frog.

After all the excitement, since I was half-way to Cambridge, I went up the rail line and kidnapped my lovely friend Bridget from her work. We celebrated by going out for bangers and mash and sticky toffee pudding and took nutty photos of us drinking from the trophy (which probably aren't suitable for a schools blog post).

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15. dan, you are even more manky than morris

Yes, this is Dan Fone, my disgustingly talented web designer. He took up today's challenge on Tweak Today: Stand in front of a portrait and make the same expression. Wow. You can see the horrified comments here.

I was going to tell you about this amazing black bean soup with salsa that I made for dinner, but now I don't think I will.

Edit: I just noticed his housemates' dog Casper also took part.

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16. kingston university: read to inspire conference

Yay, I got to hang out with some of my favourite illustrators today! Here's Chris Wormell and Mini Grey. Chris does some of the best linocuts I've seen, and Mini comes up with the most wonderful textures and beautifully wonky perspectives when she draws objects, besides telling great stories.

I've just recently been able to meet the very talented Hannah Shaw, who showed the conference's group of teachers in training some of the cool Photoshop tricks she uses in her books. (Here's me with Morris the Mankiest Monster and Hannah with Erroll the Squirrel... closeup of the Erroll finger puppet.)

I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to drawing well, but my notes kind of give a feel for what was going on. Although I didn't take many while Chris was talking, I was too enviously gazing on his studio photos of all his fabulous printmaking equipment. I loved seeing their sketchbooks, that was a real highlight.

I showed off work from my Morris book and comics, and got the teachers-to-be excited about all the amazing creative energy coming out of the UK comics community, and the potential for their students to tap into it by making their own comics. Then I did a bit of a plug for the upcoming DFC Library and led them in some character design with a story-starter. (You can get all the printouts I gave them if you click on the top banner of the Kids at Random House website, or the direct PDF link here.)

Thanks to everyone that made this happen! Here's Hannah with our Kingston University contact and organiser Liz Broad (with yummy mince pies!) and our fabulous Random House publicity team members, Andrea MacDonald and Kelly Tapper. And not in the picture, but the person who brought the whole conference together, Nikki Gamble of Write Away.

Hey, thanks, Lydia Calman-Grimsdale, for blogging about my comics workshop over on your JAPS school blog, yay!

If you're in southwest London, come along tomorrow to the great indie bookshop that is The Golden Treasury and get your Christmas copies of Morris the Mankiest Monster and colour monsters with me! I'll be there from 3pm and the nearest tube station is Southfields.

And just one more totally unrelated thing, I got a big kick out of The Onion's video for the Annual Take Your Daughter to War Day. Go have a look, heh heh.

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17. manky hugs all round

I have an insane amount of work on today, so I won't get around yet to posting reviews yet of the weekend. (I have SO many fab comic creator people to look up after the talks at the Cambridge conference, loads of links to come!) But here's one of the paintings Gary and I made to sell at MCM Expo (he drew Derek the Sheep, I drew Morris). We only sold them for a fiver, so they got snapped up pretty quickly.

Last night Alex Fitch came to interview us about the Fleece Station. Gary had to pop out (he's flat-hunting) but Viv and I talked with him and he'll broadcast it this Thursday at 5pm on Resonance 104.4 FM, streamed at www.resonancefm.com and podcast soon after at Panel Borders. We had a good laugh and talked about picture books and comics, including Viviane's amazing comic/picture book hybrid Shark and Lobster.

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18. essex workshops and the gary northfield heritage trail

Yesterday my studio mate Gary Northfield and I jointly led a couple monster workshops in Essex at the South Hornchurch library and Newton's primary school. I had loads of fun reading from Morris the Mankiest Monster; the kids got REALLY into being grossed out, and at the grand finale on the last page, both groups of kids did this thing where they all fell backward, en masse, in total amazed disgust. It was awesome!

Afterward, the librarian, Ruth Gedalovitch, drove us all around the places Gary grew up and he got rather nostalgic, which was good fun. You can see the rest of the tour over on the Fleece Station blog. (Warning: includes snogging and violence)

I got a few photos from the workshops:

Several kids informed me that I am very tall, which was helpful as I had never realised that, heh heh...

Links o' the day: Illustrator David Ercolini did an unusually classy cover for the SCBWI magazine, you can see his work here. In the related article, he recommends the New York Public Library Picture Collection Online, which I skimmed very briefly but looks like it could come in handy.

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19. morris dancing

Yay, the book Giles Andreae and I put together, Morris the Mankiest Monster goes on sale TODAY!!!! You can buy it in UK bookshops or online, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.fr, etc.

Just because it's my first book in the UK, and I'm way too excited, I'm offering this Morris painting to the first person to write an interesting review on Amazon (or another big book selling website, I'm just picking Amazon 'cause I'm a Seattle girl). I need this baby to sell and sell, so, uh, I can pay my studio rent. Woo hoo! Leave a comment here on LiveJournal when you've posted your review, and when I see it's gone up, I'll get your address and send off your piece of original artwork!

Edit: Congratulations to Rick Eades in Manchester for winning the Morris painting! By the way, he's [info]eadesmust and he writes brilliant comics, have you seen them?

Funny, disgusting and brilliant!!!
By Mr. Ra Eades
If you like laugh out loud childrens books that appeal to both adults and kids, then this is one to add to your collection. Wonderfully written and illustrated throughout this book had both me and my children, aged 3 and 7 in hysterics and going 'YUCK!' in equal measure. The level of detail in the artwork is amazing and my children loved pointing out all the little creatures who inhabit Morris's world. If you want to please your kids with a book that you and they can reread over and over or if you just like books about monsters who floss their teeth with slugs, then buy this NOW!

Let me sign your book this weekend at the British International Comics Show, where we'll officially give Morris his launch!

Picture size about 10x10cm, competition not open to people sent free advance copies of the book, although I might bake them cookies or something.

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20. junior review

Hey, thanks for the fab write-up, you people at Junior magazine!

I'm even more chuffed that it's right next to books by Lucy Cousins (whose marvellous Maisy is almost certainly inspired by Dick Bruna, see the last post) and David Roberts' The Dunderheads. He sent me a copy of the American version and it is so, so lovely. (I'm such a fan of David Roberts.)

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21. back from BICS!

A huge thanks to Shane Chebsey and everyone who organised the British International Comics Show in Birmingham this weekend! I had a great time launching Morris the Mankiest Monster (which you can buy here if you missed me)!

I think my interview of Michiru Morikawa went well. Something very cool happened in the middle of her talk; she was saying she was sad she hadn't been able to meet any of her co-creators, other than via e-mail, and suddenly one of them, Jeymes Samuel said something like, 'Hey, I'm here!', and there was a big happy first meeting! Jeymes was able to talk about the film being made, and made Michiru glow with his effusive praise of her work. That was fun!

Running my monster-making station at my table meant I didn't have time to run around the show very much, but I got to meet loads of fab people, including MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson and his son, who coloured with me while we argued about energy policy, agreed that my MP Joan Ruddock is very cool, and speculated about possible uses of the glass entry tubes in the Ministry of Magic. He bought a Morris book and went home that night and wrote up a lovely review on his blog. Thanks, Tom!

We had a real mix of people come make monsters: one kid would sit down, then the table would be full of kids; a teenage girl would sit down and the table would be full of teenage girls; a middle-aged bloke would sit down and we'd have a bunch of guys cutting and pasting... it was great.

You can see a whole bunch more photos on the slideshow here. Thanks to [info]cdave for crocheting me a brilliant set of Morris horns, to Molly Bruton for her lovely Morris picture (see the slideshow) and to everyone who stopped by!

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22. making monsters

I was so chuffed when I got the picture from Molly Bruton of 'Maggie, the 2nd Mankiest Monster' that I had to go ahead and try to draw my own version! I started with the softer one below, but it wasn't quite right, and then I painted the top one, which I like very much! Maybe I'll name mine Molly for now, and she doesn't look as manky as Morris, but she has some of her own bizarre habits. Hmm, will have to think about this.

You can see a review by Molly and her dad, Richard, on the FPI blog here, thanks, guys! I was also very chuffed to read reviewer Matt Badham's comments about the Michiru Morikawa interview over at Down the Tubes and the recap of BICS on FPI. Michiru and I were both really nervous about that interview, she was worried about her English (which turned out to be almost flawless) and I was worried that I didn't know enough about manga to be able to ask good questions. I need to learn way more, but it was nice just to connect with her as another creator who gets a bit obsessive over drawing a good line.

And talking of good lines, I just got this fab drawing from the King of Good Lines, Warwick Johnson Cadwell. You might recognise his work from editorial illustrations in The Guardian, but he also makes comics and is one of the best people at drawing in Britain. Ha ha, I love the jar of Ginger Beard...

I was so glad to get the chance to see him at BICS, he's very elusive because he's usually working out somewhere on his boat. He's contributing to the Birdsong anthology that's hopefully coming out for Thought Bubble in Leeds.

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23. cheltenham literature festival

Stuart and I decided to make a holiday weekend of our trip to the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and our friend Garen Ewing was on the same panel with me, and brought along his wife Ellie, so we had a great time. On the panel, I got to meet writer of the graphic novel Salem Brownstone, John Dunning and the slightly shy but very lovely and funny host, Kieren Phelps (who'd just a couple nights previously been presenting the annual Cheltenham Illustration Awards, where Simone Lia and Tom Gauld had given the keynote speech.) Here's a link to Garen's write-up of the event.

I felt a little funny plugging a picture book when the panel was about graphic novels, but I showed a lot of my comics work, including my Vern and Lettuce strip for The DFC. Most of the audience questions were about making their own comics: how to get their comics published, Photoshop techniques, whether it's possible to make a career of making comics, etc. I briefly mentioned my studio and when I said I shared with Gary Northfield, the guy who creates Derek the Sheep for the the Beano, I saw a kid in the front row jump about a foot and suddenly he was all ears, heh heh.

The great thing about literary festivals is that you never know who you're going to run into. I got to meet the usually elusive Lucy Cousins, creator of the beautiful and boldly graphic Maisie books:

Lucy Cousins & me with our books; Maisie in the kids storytelling tent

I had a couple of my own Morris the Mankiest Monster books in my handbag, and I ended up giving one to Lucy and one to Cherie Blair, who was waiting with me in the Writer's Room before our talks. Cherie said, 'oh yes, Giles is the Purple Ronnie guy!' and went through the whole book, laughing, then blanching at the page where Morris looks at the potatoes growing out of his pants. She was really nice, I hope her talk went well.

Stuart picked a couple talks for us to go to, so we went to a panel about spooks and spying which included Stella Rimington, the person who held the real job behind the character of James Bond's 'M'. I was slightly annoyed at the academic dude on her left who kept interrupting her, but it was great to hear her talk. Just a background note, I met Stuart while he was working for the British Embassy in Moscow, so we're familiar with a lot of the places and job positions that often come up in spy novels.

Stella Rimington at the signing table; you can just see writer Kate Mosse, the seated blond in the background

We also got to hear a great talk by John Irving about his latest novel, Last Night in a Twisted River, and about the discipline of writing. He talks a lot like my dad, taking a long time to pause and think after each question, and answering in a somewhat pedantic way but delivering lots of thoughtful insight. He talked about how he likes to work backward when he writes, getting a very solid idea about the book's ending, then figuring out how far back the book should start. I took loads of notes, so ask me if you ever want to know more about what he said, but one thing that made me laugh was when he said, When you start writing, the piece of paper doesn't know who you are; the paper is unimpressed. Heh heh, even John Irving gets the Terror of the Blank Page.

John Irving

I went into one of the tents to try out the new Sony Readers. Still not convinced I want one, but I had loads of fun drawing alien graffiti on Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and drinking their free hot chocolate.

We crashed at lunch time in the refreshments tent and Stuart read the paper while I drew monsters with the kids at our table:

They had fun reading through Morris and being grossed out in all the right places. The girl made a fun mucky mess of the table with some rain water she and her brother had collected from one of the fountains, then I got to meet their dad, a Times features writer named Damian Whitworth, who introduced us to his friend, Times journalist Ben Macintyre, someone I've always been a bit curious about because of his last name.

After our event on the first day, we went out to celebrate Ellie's birthday with a dinner at an ornately decorated Thai restaurant.

Ellie and Garen Ewing

I almost ordered this dish because it seemed very in keeping with the manky Morris theme:

We had lots of veggies carved as flowers and now that I'm an adult, I'm allowed to play with my food:

Here's a nice photo of which my mother will approve:

The other pic is Ellie and me posing next to Cheltenham's rabbit and minotaur, which at night-time look like something out of Donnie Darko.

We went on a walk around town before heading off; it was great to see someone's taken on the DFC and given it new life:

And we popped into the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum and saw this fabulous, macabre chimney sweep:

And didn't hang around long enough to find out how to become friends of the local Pig Insurance society, maybe next time.

And a last one of Stuart, the star of our show...

Thanks, all your people who made this festival happen!

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24. mucus mustard and morris

Looky look! Rick Eades ([info]eadesmust) just made this picture of Morris! Thanks, Rick, you rock!! :D

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25. making monsters in dublin

Hello, please meet Manky Horace O'Neill, one of many monsters the kids in Dublin created with me.

I met a bunch of fab people at Irish 24 Hour Comics Day, including animator, illustrator and pop-up guru Maeve Clancy. You can see some of her amazing pop-up work on the video for Lisa Hannigan's song, Lille. (You can see a larger version at the Vimeo link and if that doesn't work, here's the YouTube link.)

Here's us watching the video (Maeve's the one in front of the laptop), and here's Cliodhna Lyons, who organised the whole thing! (She's wearing Hope Larson's Chiggers bandanna she got at MoCCA.)

I was amazed how much detail some of the people were putting into their comics, considering they were going to be working at it for 24 hours on the trot. Here's one example from Eoin Marron:

I also got to meet Tsyuoshi Ogawa, the workshop leader Cliodhna had brought over from Japan, and who had been her working partner during their two-month internship at the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Here he is with his Australian translator from the museum, Cathy Sell. One fact about Tsyoshi is that he is totally obsessed with fishing, and he lit up when we went to a tackle shop in the city centre. Here he's posing with the shop's rather lovely sign, and the also very lovely fishing lures he bought:

I led four monster workshops, which all went swimmingly. We had some fab (and very cheeky!) children make monsters with me at the Comics Day workshop. (Don't worry, I got permission from everyone's parents for the photos):

I must confess, I had a little difficulty with some of the Irish accents, although I think we all managed to understand each other in the end.

We sat around a little table in Waterstone's Jervis Street and had loads of kids stop by:

Dale O'Flaherty ([info]daleof) did the workshop with me, drawing great portaits of the kids and bookshop staff. Here's the manager, Steve, with his potrait:

I didn't take any pictures of children at Eason's bookshop, but I promised them I'd post some of their pictures on my blog:

Here's Tom Donegan from Children's Books Ireland and Beata Molendowska from Dublin's Central Library.

(You can see more photos and some of the drawings I did in Dublin on the post I did yesterday.)
Thanks for your support, everyone!

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