Taking part in a terrific arts festival, is what! I've just been to Wales for Take pART 2019, which writer and performer Kjartan Poskitt assured us would be absolutely unmissable. I started out with a Dinosaur Firefighters picture book event. You can see here a list of jobs that I've had the kids help me come up with, and we paired the jobs with various dinosaurs to make pictures that might spark off other fun dinosaur stories.
It all went very well until one of the kids asked me to draw a Batman Diplodocus, and I have to say, my picture was pretty bad. So on the train ride home, I tried to do a slightly better version:
The kids' drawings were brilliant! I love this T-Rex card one little boy handed me at the end of the session:
The Venue Cymru is great, really state of the art. Although the vivid colour of the loo made me laugh; that is the pinkest loo ever.
After Dinosaur Firefighters, my co-author Philip Reeve and I did a joint event for Pugs of the Frozen North. We didn't get any photos of that, but some people's fab pug drawings popped up later on Twitter:
Philip also did a great event featuring his Railhead and Mortal Engines series. My favourite part is when he reads aloud from Railhead to the video projection, with music composed by his wife, Sarah Reeve (aka Lufthansa Terminal).
When Philip does his signings is often when people realise that he started out as an illustrator:
One of the cool things about Take pART festival is that it ties together all sorts of arts, not only books. So people meet our books who might not have specifically come for a book festival, and we get to see lots of awesome performers! Here are the magnificently lit and marvelously noisy Spark Drummers:
We even got to see acrobats:
And opera was everywhere! (This IS Wales, after all!) We had a lovely book signing serenaded by members of the Welsh National Opera:
I took some pics of Philip with his former writer Kjartan Poskitt. (They used to make books for Scholastic together, back when Philip was an illustrator!) Poskitt's also a god in the Mortal Engines books, although he was rather disappointed not to appear in the film like Reeve's other friend, Nicholas Quirke (who got a statue in front of St Paul's Cathedral and appeared on the coins, if you didn't blink).
We managed to nip into the theatre and catch half of Poskitt's Murderous Maths show:
And Poskitt drove us on a wonderful windswept tour of the Orme, the rock that juts out to see just beyond Llandudno.
Cue obligatory album covers:
We also got to see illustrator and animator Jonny Duddle! He recently did the art for a reissue of Philip's Goblins trilogy, which hit shops this spring, I think. (You can see a preview of the covers on Philip's website.)
I had dinner at Dylan's with some of the festival crew, including Philip, Jonny, Kjartan, and JAKe, who was featuring some of the Star Wars and Doctor Who books he'd drawn.
One more pic of Reeve, then one of excellent coordinator Sarah Ecob, who set this whole festival in motion. Thanks for hosting us, Sarah! And to sponsors Llandudno Bay Hotel for putting me up in such seaview style!
We'll miss you, Llandudno! Thanks for being amazing.