October 29th, 2010

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?
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mcm expo, day 1 of 3: the brownies are kick-ass

Another weekend of costumed madness at London's MCM Expo! But this weekend it's THREE days instead of two. As we at the Fleece Station studio suspected, the crowds today were much lighter than we've seen on the usual Saturday starting day. I'm guessing we got about 8,000 visitors. (Last year more than 30,000 people visited the festival in the two days.) Come back Saturday and Sunday, and don't forget to bring your camera! Saturdays are always NUTS.

My Cardboard Life by Philippa Rice

Lauren, Gary and I weighed the pros and cons of the festival starting on Friday rather than Saturday.
*Three days is an awful lot of working days to give to an event, even if Friday is more of a half day.
*Lighter visitor traffic meant less sales.
*Not all exhibitors (such as the Etherington Brothers, Neill Cameron and David O'Connell) could come on the Friday, so the empty tables looked a bit forlorn.
*We didn't have to fight the usual epic morning rush-hour battle to get our heavy luggage to the Excel Centre in time to set up before an early start. And on Friday, there weren't the risks of weekend engineering works shutting down the Docklands Light Rail, which they love to do, and in the past has made the journey all that more fraught.
*The start was more chilled out, so the organisers Emma, Pud and Anna looked much less stressed out than usual. (And Emma hadn't even lost her voice!)
*Because we had a bit of space, we got some time to browse, take photos and talk with the other exhibitors. I even had time to get a coffee (whoa!).
*Even though the traffic was lighter, as usual, the other exhibitors are the most likely to buy each other's stuff. I didn't sell lots of Vern and Lettuce, but of the four people at the Simon's Cat table, three of them bought copies. (Whoo hoo!)
*Kids were on half-term break, so they were able to come along. Last year, costumed kids came along on the Friday anyway and hung around outside the venue, even though the festival didn't start until the next day. So perhaps we might as well get them in.

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So then, onward to Day 2! At noon on the stage tomorrow (Saturday), the DFC Library's Neill Cameron (Mo-Bot High and the Etherington Brothers (Monkey Nuts will be talking about our work and then doing some COMBAT DRAWING! Come support us, but be sure to wear armour!