Sarah McIntyre (jabberworks) wrote,
Sarah McIntyre

4 may: the phoenix children's comics festival!

I have a dream! ...A furry, tentacled, twitching dream that one day this nation will rise up and children and grownups will make comics, side by side; people will make books and read books and swap books and love books. We will read each other's stories; we will look up from them, we will connect with each other, and we will make more stories together. ...And hello, what is this?!! It is already happening! Hurrah!

Comics festivals are springing up all over the country, where anyone of any age can sell their own comics! But most of the festivals are aimed at grownups, there aren't dedicated children's comics festivals. But The Phoenix Comic is planning to change this! On Saturday, May 4th, they're going to start up Oxford's first Children's Comic Festival at The Story Museum. People can meet and draw with comics creators, take part in and lead workshops, buy and sell comics, and get comics signed by The Phoenix Comic team, the DFC Library, LOAf magazine and other comics. But what I'm hoping is that some kids will also take up the opportunity to get their own tables and sell their own comics. This beats a lemonade stand any day! If you're new to this, here's what you need:

And it's a good idea to have some of these things, too (especially the tablecloth, maybe some cello tape for fixing stuff).

Just imagine having your own pop-up shop for a day! Quick, grab your drawing supplies, get drawing, then find a photocopier or scanner/printer!

I'm excited about The Phoenix Children's Comics Festival because it'll have some of the best people in the business there. (Find out more about The Phoenix Comic and its creators over on its website.)

Neill Cameron, Jamie Littler, Laura Ellen Anderson

Do kids do this sort of thing already? You bet! Ace and Zoom Rockman are proof that kids can do it, too; Zoom's been self-publishing comics since he was eight and sort of become comics poster kid for entrepreneurship.

Think how fun it will be to sign copies of your own self-published comics along with the pros! Don't forget to bring your signing pen!

Oxford's own Neill Cameron signs copies of the DFC Library's Mo-Bot High

You don't have to go down expensive publishing routes to make your own comics. All you need is a way to make copies (a photocopier, a home printer), a stapler or sewing kit, and a bit of ingenuity. Here are some examples from grownup creators:

And you can have loads of fun building a beautiful display! Philippa Rice comes up with some of my very favourite displays with her cardboard dioramas for her comic My Cardboard Life.

And my other favourite is Oliver Lambden's Curtis & Terrorist comics display; he actually hand-drew each individual cover!

Nikki Stuart and Will Kirkby often go nuts making big cardboard artwork to make their table look eye-catching, then sell it.

Lizz Lunney has made toys here to go with her comics:

And she's made badges, too! You can order these fairly cheaply from online sellers, you just need to upload your image and they post you back a bag full of badges. My studio mate has a badge machine and makes them herself.

Craig Conlan makes a colourful display with his comics and key chains:

Asia Alfasi likes to draw portraits for people on the day of the festival. One time we drew pictures of each other! You can experiment with different prices and see what people will pay to have you draw them.

John Allison gets his own tea towels printed to sell. And check out this beautiful doll made by Declan Talbert!

Some people tempt potential customers with sweets!

Not everyone dresses up for comics festivals, but it's always fun to see when people come in costume. (If you don't know what 'cosplay' means, click here to look it up on Wikipedia.)

If you want to get involved in The Phoenix Children's Comics Festival, tables are free (hurrah!), but there's limited space, so you'll need to book yours! Send an e-mail to Caro Fickling at caro at

Oh, and I didn't even mention the awesomeness that is Oxford's new Story Museum. Have you seen the shiny whizz-banging, stop-popping STORYLOOM? No? Click over here for photos...

I'm seriously excited about the way things are going with comics festivals; I really do believe that kids don't want to sit and passively watch people make stuff, they get inspired by seeing creators at work and straight away want to make it themselves. And when kids make their own books, they start to take more interest in the books that other people have made... this reading scheme isn't rocket science. (But a comic about rocket science would be awesome.)
Tags: oxford, phoenix_comic

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