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Last night I met up with Michael Czerwinski, the guy who hosts Sketchmeet at the House of Illustration, and we thought up some drawing challenged set around the theme of JAM.



Here's a video from the last Sketchmeet I went to, with my Jampires co-author David O'Connell (who also appears in the video):



The biggest surprise this time was discovering someone had one of my VERY FIRST books! It was one I'd made at a children's book night class with tutor Elizabeth Harbour about 17 years ago, and I'd only made perhaps three copies of this book, printed out on my computer and hand-bound. Suddenly I clicked and realised this was Anna Sørensen Sargent, a friend I hadn't seen in over a decade; we'd taken the same class together and continued to meet up for illustration critique groups at Borders cafe on Charing Cross Road (which isn't there anymore).




Such a massive and great surprise! Anna told me she didn't do illustration so much these days, but she'd gone down the route of historical costume design and wig making with her company Fat Cat Fabrications, which sounds pretty awesome to me.



So for our Jam Session, I thought we'd have a real collaborative focus to the evening, since the reason so many people come to Sketchmeet is exactly that, to meet people and do stuff you couldn't do if we were sitting alone at home at our desks. We started with the wonderful old-fashioned game of Consequences:




Some people were illustrators, but there were a lot of people who don't draw all that much but just came along for the fun of it (which was great). The second task Mike and I set was to ask people to draw someone on the theme of 'What's your Jam?'



Then we took the tack of 'stuck in a jam'. What could this mean in a picture?





Next we had everyone draw three pictures to make a story along the lines of 'stuck in a jam'.



Here's my studio mate Elissa Elwick! :)






After a drinks break, we all designed characters, starting with 'Jam Thief', whatever that could mean. Then people passed their papers to the left and someone else designed the character a sidekick.






And then we launched into a four-panel Comic Jam! Everyone drew a panel for five minutes, then we passed them to the left, and everyone picked up a new story where the last person had left off, and drew the next part of their story. And we kept passing every five minutes until all four panels were filled!



Here's a little graphic and a printable page on how to set up a Comic Jam on our Jampires website!



I often use Comic Jams in workshops and you can see some videos I made with Booktrust so people can use them in classrooms (or at home). Click here for all four videos. And if you'd like to take part in some online drawing with me, visit the Virtual Studio, @StudioTeaBreak, on Twitter and jump in to our daily drawing challenges.



To finish, everyone drew a portrait of the person across the table, and by this time everyone was friendly and chatting and it was a lot of fun and and really quite cosy.




Sketchmeet happens regularly, so keep an eye on the House of Illustration events page, Twitter account (@illustrationHQ) and Facebook page for updates on the next one! All abilities welcome. And a big thanks to sponsor Winsor & Newton who supplied the pens and drawing pads!