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Leeds Thought Bubble comics festival

Hurrah! I finally met Gillian Rogerson, writer of our book You Can't Eat a Princess!

And here's Gillian at Thought Bubble, with a fab editor from Scholastic named Ellie Parkin (whom I first met at the Edinburgh Book Festival, when she took Stuart and me for tea with illustrator Alex T. Smith). This was both Gillian and Ellie's first visit to a comics festival, and I think they were well impressed with all the costumes and mad energy.

Ellie Parkin and Gillian Rogerson

Gillian picked me up from Leeds rail station and took me home, where we spent the evening making little felt aliens! Gillian had already sewn up the bodies, and we had a great time adding faces.

We sold a lot of them at the festival, but I made sure I brought a couple home.

Here's our fab DFC reviewer for the Forbidden Planet International blog, Molly Bruton. She's sort of our DFC mascot, but this was the first time I got to meet her. Yay!

Molly Bruton with one of our aliens

And I also got to meet comics creator Rick Eades... and look what he brought me! (I think I startled Gillian with my fan-girl moment.)

Rick Eades with a tiny sousaphone-carrying Vern!

Rick also made a miniature Queen Mum for the co-writer/co-illustrator of a picture book I'm working on, David O'Connell. Dave's take on the Queen Mum is so fabulous.

David O'Connell's Queen Mum, sculpted by Rick Eades

Children's book writer meets her first cosplayer:

Gillian, Ellie and I worked an activity area of four tables, where anyone could sit down, design an alien, make a space comics, decorate a space ship or basically muck about drawing. We had a great mix of ages jump in and make things, which was good fun.

Poster drawn by Sarah and coloured by Gillian

I was dead chuffed to get an amazing Vern and Lettuce go to Leicester comic adventure from the wonderful Selina Lock, which I'll post very soon with the launch of Vern and Lettuce online magazine, The Pickle. (Please do jump in if you'd like to contribute something!)

Selina Lock with her Vern and Lettuce strip for The Pickle

We were bustling so much to keep the Space Station tables going that I only had about ten minutes to rush madly about saying hello to people, which meant I sorely missed seeing (and stealing flat cap off) DFC colleague Neill Cameron, who was also hustling across the room to sign copies of his amazing robot comic, Mo-Bot High. But the good bit was seeing Neill's dedication artwork drift round to our side of the room.

Signed copy of Neill Cameron's Mo-Bot High

At several festivals, artist Gary Erskine has pestered me to borrow my pink princess wig, so I let him have it this time. Little did I know, it made the rounds of almost every head in the building (photos to follow, I'm sure... ah, yes, on Facebook), ending up as Gary's sporan. I think I might get a new wig.

Mhairi Stewart, Gary Erskine with dodgy sporan, Ed Hillyer

I always take pictures of Oliver Lambden's Curtis and Terrorist comics with their one-off, hand-drawn covers, but the displays just get better and better. I often show Ollie's comics to kids when I do workshops and they get really fired up about them.

Oliver Lambden with Curtis and Terrorist

And speaking of lovely displays, Philippa Rice of My Cardboard Life comics did herself proud once again. But this time, she included a miniature copy of my Vern and Letttuce comic! How fab is that!

Philippa Rice with My Cardboard Life... and Vern and Lettuce on the far right!

I made a few discoveries this weekend and, while I didn't have time to browse their work in detail, I'm bookmarking them here to find out more. These included table mates Octavia Raitt and Kristyna Baczynski, with their lovely display.

Kristyna Baczynski and Octavia Raitt

I didn't even have my wallet with me, and I really wanted this envelope by Octavia.

A few more faces from the day, including another find, Canadian creator Kayla Marie Hilliyer, with Galavant, a travel comic about her three months travelling around the UK.

Backpack man, Nigel Dobbyn, a space comic creator, Kayla Marie Hilliyer, Steve Tanner & baby Sasha

I got a copy of We are Word + Pictures with - guess what - Dave O'Connell's Queen Mum comic in it!

Matthew Sheret with We are Words + Pictures

John Miers at his table, with hand-printed bags

I tried to snap a photo of Blank Slate's fab editor Kenny Penman, but he was so excessively camera shy that the best I could manage was a photo of him covered up by Rob Davis and Warwick Johnson Cadwell.

Rob David and Warwick Johnson Cadwell (who are also exceedingly fab).

Lovely popcorn-style display by Lizz Lunney

Lovely sketchbook by Irish creator Dale O'Flaherty, who looked after me most diligently on a visit to Dublin last year.

The Leeds Cosplay Group

I had to leave so many conversations unfinished, and I consoled myself by saying, '... but you're coming to the party later, right?' And I fully intended to go, but Gillian went home to check on her kids, and Ellie and I had a bite to eat, and suddenly, I was so tired I could barely stand up. The official party took place in a nearby casino, so Ellie and I popped in for an hour or so, and ran around the roof a bit with Selina, Jay Eales, Terry Wiley and Matt Brooker (D'Israeli), trying to find somewhere we didn't have to shout at each other. But then my legs buckled, and I realised it might be the last chance I got to see Gillian for awhile, so I headed back to her place for a cup of tea and a much-needed sit-down. Huge apologies if I missed talking to you!

I'm not too keen on casinos, but Ellie and I had fun admiring the chandeliers

Thank you SO much to my Thought Bubble contact Lisa Wood and to all the amazing people who made this festival happen! I'd heard great things about how friendly and well-run it's been in the past, and it was amazing, even exceeded expectations. And busy! Man, that place was PACKED. We sold lots of books and met so many fabulous people. A huge thank you, Thought Bubble Team!

Back home with Gillian and her daughter Eve

I spent the whole trip back to London feverishly finishing my book club read for the afternoon's meeting, but I had some great Fleece Station company on the way up to Leeds. I've never seen someone work as hard on a train as Lauren; she was almost going cross-eyed with concentration.

Lauren O'Farrell and Gary Northfield

I needed to come back to London for book club and to say hello to Stuart (last week, he actually said, Oh, do you live here? ...yikes!) but I'll be heading right back up north on Tuesday morning for the Sheffield Children's Book Award ceremony. Fingers crossed for Morris the Mankiest Monster! And thank you to The Book Zone for the fab review you just posted!


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
Blimey I look cream-crackered. I may send this pic to my publisher to prove how hard I'm working. :)

Fab sculpey Vern. Love it!

Nov. 21st, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: ZzzzZZZZZZzzzzzz
You were a total powerhouse. Should've gotten an official certificate or something!
Nov. 21st, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Oh this makes me feel so sad that I didn't leave my table....so much amazing stuff on offer and I missed seeing so many wonderful displays and people! Not to mention I didn't get to chat with you, hon! See you at the mobot do?
Nov. 21st, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
I know, I can't believe we didn't get to talk! You were SO hard at work when I ran by.

Argh, I really, really, *REALLY* want to go to Neill's party, but ages ago I booked (rather pricey) tickets to see my friend's daughter act in Waterloo station version of The Railway Children. Can't BELIEVE I double-booked that night! Totally gutted. :( It should be a fabulous event, I want to hear all about it!
Nov. 21st, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Lots of lovely stuff there...
It was lovely to see you & chat. I had fun doing the Vern & Lettuce strip... first fan strip I've ever drawn , so you obviously inspired me :-)

We gave in & went at 9pm too, as I was shattered.
Nov. 21st, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Lots of lovely stuff there...
That comic is BRILLIANT!! :D

Ah, I was wondering if you guys were going to stay! Lauren said Ellen was dancing til late. I'm sure we missed a lot, but I wouldn't have been much fun. Still a bit tired! Really glad I got to catch you and Jay before we headed off.
Nov. 21st, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
It all sounds so great! I really wish I could have gone, but alas, a bit too far for a day trip. Next year I'm booking a hotel!

That was the main thing I loved about Expo, all the new discoveries I made. So many amazing people out there *_*
Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
True, there's so much self-published gold to discover. Really hope you can make it next year!
Nov. 21st, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
I'm an internet kiddie, and I still think it's sort of surreal that you can do a book together without ever meeting.

Mr Northfield appears to have got over his kinder egg.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
True, it IS a bit surreal! I'm sure it would have been fine if I'd met Gillian straight off, but I can imagine, if she'd been a totally different sort of person, it could have been tricky navigating between an editor's expectations and how a writer might visualise something. That said, Dave O'Connell and I are working very closely on a book, and it's so much fun to create alongside another person. Both ways have their pros and cons.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 01:03 am (UTC)
I was eager to read and see your report on the Leeds Bubble fest. I was not disappointed. So glad to be introduced via Live-Journal to Gillian.
What a whirlwind venture -- with some lovely surprises.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And yes, it was great to meet Gillian, she'd lovely! From our phone conversations, I suspected she would be, but I'm so glad I got to meet her in person.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
Man there was so much creative stuff bursting out of that hall, so great to see. That Queen mum statue is beyond cute!!!
Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
Isn't it, just! Sorry we didn't get more of a chance to chat; looking over at you, I could see we were both going like the clappers there!
Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
yeah it was pretty gung ho from the word go all day and with the crowds the few times I ventured out to find stuff it took me ages to get anywhere....that was prob best for my bank balance as othewise I would have just bought everything!
Nov. 22nd, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
Oh dear, what do I look like in that photo? I blame the Beechams and cough sweets I was was using to power me through the day, which accounts for my rather glazed look?!

It was good to meet you, I was in 'rabbit caught in the headlight' mode for most of the day, with it being the first such event I'd visited!

My kids loved the signed copy of 'You Can't Eat a Princess' and insisted on having it as their bedtime story.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad I got to meet you, Rick! I've been a fan of your comics for a long while now. And a HUGE thanks thanks for the clay Vern, he's so fabulous! I keep picking him up to look at him again. I hope I'll get to see you at a lot more festivals, and I'd love to buy your comics in books or minis if you get any printed up. And the first drink's on me.

Glad your kids liked the space princess book! :)
Nov. 22nd, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Great write up Sarah! It was lovely meeting you again!
Dec. 6th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
Hi, Dale! Meant to say earlier, it was lovely to see you, too! x
Nov. 23rd, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
looks great!
It looks like everyone had a great time, I would of been there but I was signing at the Supreme Cat show in Birmingham. I do love the comic community though, lots of fun energy in the room. Maybe next year...all the best Simon T.
Dec. 6th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Re: looks great!
Hi, Simon! Cheers! Yes, I'm sure they'd love to have you there, as would we! I meant to socialise a bit more with everyone afterward, though, and I was just too tired. It's a busy day.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 6th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
Hi, there! Meant to write back to you earlier, thanks for stopping by! Lovely to meet you, too. :)
Dec. 4th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Who you calling "dirty sporan"?

(to be intoned to the old S-Express tune…)

Dec. 4th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
didn't mean to be all sinister and anony moose (aka WHO MOOSE, the moose of mystery)

hmm, and it doesn't let me do it any other way, I'm now discovering. bah.

…it's pretty obvious who I is, if you think about it (waste of time, I know…)

ILYA (no idea who this Ed Hillyer fella is though…)
Dec. 6th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Re: ooh, WHO MOOSE?
Hi, ILYA! Could you maybe tell that Ed fellow to clean up his sporan then? I wasn't going to say it, but it might need a wash. ;)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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