Tags: birmingham

kevin goes to gardners trade show

On Day 2 of our launch tour for The Legend of Kevin, Philip Reeve and I were the Guest Writer/Illustrators at Gardners Trade Show in Birmingham. Of course, Kevin came along, too:

Photo from Gardners Flickr page, 3D Kevin created by Chloe Applin

We gave a brief presentation to hundreds of booksellers:

Photo from Gardners Flickr page

And signed LOTS of books! Gardners is a big wholesaler who stocks many of the independent bookshops in Britain, and their trade show is one of the ways booksellers find out about new and upcoming books. We recognised quite a few of the booksellers but it was great to talk with lots of ones we'd never met before. A few of them were brand-new to the business, with new shops, and we fervently wished them well.

If you'd like to see more photos of what goes on at a trade show, there's a great photo stream you can browse here on Gardner's Flickr page.

Photo from Gardners Flickr page

my very own library, birmingham

Such exciting news in The Birmingham Mail this morning! One does not need to be dead yet to have a Memorial Libray. When Birmgham Council asked me if I'd be a foundational part of their new hat-box-shaped library, I fully understood that it would mean letting me become part of the actual foundations. The things we do to promote literacy.

Okay, HATS, Morris the Mankiest Monster... surely this is MY LIBRARY. My studio mate Gary Northfield was pleased to learn he had a library, too - Northfield Library - but then we went on to the new app and discovered that the Suffragettes burned it down in 1914. (Sorry about that, Gary.)

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diamond jubilee tuesday

Two exciting things happened on the last day of the Jubilee holiday weekend. One of them was going to Birmingham's Book Bash festival and getting to see fancy Aston Hall and meet the Lord Mayor and a bunch of other great book creators.

The other was coming back from Birmingham to lots of nice tweets, texts, e-mails and a phone call from Stuart's Auntie Barbara, saying that they'd enjoyed watching me take part in Rolf Paints on the BBC. Hurrah! I didn't get to watch it on live telly, but Stuart and I watched it later on iPlayer. If you live in the UK, you can watch it for a week here on iPlayer. And the BBC has a Rolf Paints website here showing artwork from all the different artists and gives related links. I'm not sure if I'll be allowed to keep this video up, but I've copied some of the clips showing Rolf critiquing my lino cut print, and added a bit about comics artist Steve Marchant, so you could see his work from the day more clearly. You can read more about the day in my earlier blog post about it.

I've had a lot of people contacting me about a commemorative plate that Rolf mentioned on the show. I just found out that it will be made by Aynsley China and you can read more about it here. The exhibition of our work runs from today until Sunday in the Old Vic Tunnels. (Details here.)

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And one last thing! If you're in Wales for the Hay Festival this Friday and Saturday, I'm mucking about with pirates, goblins, drawing challenges and more... details here! Here's something I just made for one of the sessions, but I'll let you guess what it'll be used for. Here's a tiny clue...

If you get a chance to see it, there's a great show on Channel 4 called In the Best Possible Taste, featuring artist Grayson Perry and some tapestries he made, based on his study of working-class life in Sunderland. Fascinating stuff.

birmingham young readers festival

Yesterday I caught the train to Brum and drew and drew! Here's a picture I made right before an event, when a kid and I dared each other to a draw-off based on turning an object you'd find in the kitchen into a spaceship. (We chose toasters. Mine includes jam; his, a pork pie.)

I wasn't sure what to expect - library events can be such a mixed bag - but I had an absolutely stonking good day, with very enthusiastic kids, parents getting involved and generally having a lovely day out. Here are some of the fab kids from the Monsters & Aliens event at Yardley Wood Library.

Before the first event, I drew this picture in markers with one Mia and Lewis.

It was great seeing local author Juliet Clare Bell, who only last week launched her first picture book! It's called Don't Panic, Annika!, illustrated by Jennifer Morris. Her younger daughter, Esther, also created her own cool picture book called Esther Has a Nut Allergy, which she's holding here.

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british international comics show, birmingham

So much has happened this weekend! I'll start with the British International Comics Show! And there's no better place to start than the booth of amazing comics writer and artist Neill Cameron!

Neill's Mo-Bot High comic reads well for kids and adults alike; it features a girl named Asha who starts at a new school and discovers all the kids have apps in their mobile phones which enable them to fight illicit giant robot tournaments. Asha's thrown in at the deep end as she walks into the schoolyard and her phone automatically downloads the programme; she has to battle for her life against the school bullies' robots (with no idea of the strange role the dinner ladies play in all of this). Find out more about Mo-Bot High and see Neill and I battle it out in a London school. Neill's based in Oxford, and starting to get active in school events, where the kids go crazy over his live drawing and robots. Speaking of which, the marvellous Etherington Brothers, of Monkey Nuts renown, are also the most charismatic events people on the planet and were buzzing with energy at BICS.

Neill Cameron, FPI reviewer Richard Bruton, Lorenzo Etherington, Robin Etherington

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back from BICS!

A huge thanks to Shane Chebsey and everyone who organised the British International Comics Show in Birmingham this weekend! I had a great time launching Morris the Mankiest Monster (which you can buy here if you missed me)!

I think my interview of Michiru Morikawa went well. Something very cool happened in the middle of her talk; she was saying she was sad she hadn't been able to meet any of her co-creators, other than via e-mail, and suddenly one of them, Jeymes Samuel, said something like, 'Hey, I'm here!', and there was a big happy first meeting! Jeymes was able to talk about the film being made, and made Michiru glow with his effusive praise of her work. That was fun!

Running my monster-making station at my table meant I didn't have time to run around the show very much, but I got to meet loads of fab people, including MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson and his son, who coloured with me while we argued about energy policy, agreed that my MP Joan Ruddock is very cool, and speculated about possible uses of the glass entry tubes in the Ministry of Magic. He bought a Morris book and went home that night and wrote up a lovely review on his blog. Thanks, Tom!

We had a real mix of people come make monsters: one kid would sit down, then the table would be full of kids; a teenage girl would sit down and the table would be full of teenage girls; a middle-aged bloke would sit down and we'd have a bunch of guys cutting and pasting... it was great.

You can see a whole bunch more photos on the slideshow here. Thanks to cdave for crocheting me a brilliant set of Morris horns, to Molly Bruton for her lovely Morris picture (see the slideshow) and to everyone who stopped by!