graphic novel workshops
- 2 day comic workshops with KS2s in Newport
- 20th Anniversary of our 1st Comic
- 6 track
- album review
- American Tour
- award nomination
- Aye Write!
- Book Week Scotland 2012
- Cherry Red
- comics in the classroom
- Creative Scotland
- Edwin Morgan comic adaptation
- Galashiels Museum comic workshops
- Graphic Novel Authors in Residence
- Graphic Novel Mentoring
- Graphic novel tips
- graphic novel workshops
- ipad game illustrations for Kelvingrove Museum
- Islay Book Festival
- Kelvingrove Museum comic workshops
- Life-size illustrations for Borders Textile Towerhouse
- Louis animation
- Mark E Smith
- National Library of Scotland events
- new LP 2013
- Olympia Building Workshops with P7s
- Patrons of Reading
- Pig series Illustrations
- Rosalie Lightning
- short stories
- The Fall
- The Fall Re-Mit music review
- The Infinite Corpse
- The Lakes Comic Art Festival Festival
- The Little Mermaid
- The Red Shoes and Other Tales
- The Red Shoes and Other Tales Deleted Scenes
- The Remainderer
- Time To Shine: Graphic Novel
- Tour for Guernsey Book Week
- visit to International School Eindhoven
- Waterstones Launch Party
- Winter's Tales comic
- work in progress
- Writer in Residence EIBF
Last year we were made Patrons of Reading at Northfield Academy in Aberdeen and, as the first ever graphic novelists to fill such a role, we were honoured and delighted. We’ll be working closely with the school for the next three years to encourage reading and creativity.
Our first author visits in this new capacity took place at the end of January and were great fun. We had the opportunity to work with the whole of the school’s first year, in class-sized groups, as well as meet with the teachers for an informal lunch where we talked about our hopes and about the patronage.
Northfield Academy have adopted us and we have adopted the school.
Everyone made us feel extremely welcome and it was exciting to see so much interest and receive so much support from the school. The head teacher, librarians and teaching staff in general were all really enthusiastic and engaged.
To start our patronage, we sent the school a class set of Louis – Red Letter Day graphic novels and some signed posters, along with an activity sheet for the classroom.
We’re looking forward to returning for a follow up session with S1 pupils and for sessions with Primary pupils too!
A huge thank you to Mandy Wilson for choosing us as patrons, to Mr Watt and the art department, and to head teacher Neil Hendry.
|Evening Express article 28/11/2013|
|Scottish Parliament mention of our partnership with
Northfield Academy as Patrons of Reading
Neil Hendry, head teacher of Northfield Academy said: “We are delighted that the talented duo from Metaphrog has agreed to work with the school in this special reading initiative. By working in partnership with Metaphrog over the next three years we hope pupils will be inspired and encouraged to read and be creative through the style and illustrations of graphic novels.”
In other news, we have just returned from a two week event tour. Firstly, we were in the Netherlands, at the Eindhoven International School, where we delivered a series of workshops and also an in-depth lecture on Persepolis. The school has one of the best libraries we have ever seen – including a fabulous graphic novel section – and International Human Rights Declaration #19 imprinted on its wall.
|The library at the Eindhoven International School|
Secondly we were busy for Book Week Scotland 2013. Now in its second year Book Week Scotland has hundreds of fantastic events all over Scotland, and we delivered nine graphic novel workshops in schools and libraries in Glasgow, Wester Hailes, MacDuff, Dyce and Dundee in the space of six days.
|Metaphrog workshop session in Aberdeenshire|
We always love travelling and had a fantastic time – and returned inspired and ready to write and draw new stories!
Last month, we had great fun returning to The Mitchell Library, this time for the Young Writers Conference, which was part of the excellent Aye Write! festival. We’ve been doing events for the Glasgow-based book festival for the last 4 years in row, and this year was as fantastic as ever (you can read more about it and see other fab authors who were involved here).
The Scottish Book Trust invited us to conduct a workshop with 25 pupils and help them all to create one giant comic strip in just 45 minutes. Take off the time it takes for introductions and to settle down, and they really had under 40 minutes. It was a genuine challenge, but the pupils did manage to do it! See their multiple hands in action in the photo below. The wonderful people at the Scottish Book Trust also asked us to write a blog about our experience on their website: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/2013/05/young-writers-conference-45-minute-comic-strip-challenge
In early May we also conducted four author visits for Crackin’ Crits. In week one, we talked to two classes of P7s about our Louis graphic novels and how we work on them. The following week we returned and this time the groups were filmed interviewing us, each pupil having one or two (or sometimes a good dozen) questions. It’s a fantastic format and was great fun to do! One of the classes had been so inspired by our first session that they spent the week creating their own one page comic that they brought back to show us. They were so brilliant we have to post a few here:
We had fun talking to entire primary schools in Glasgow and in Aviemore. The Cathkin Primary assembly even included nursery children who had great fun guessing characters!
And in we also worked with the whole of P6 and the pupils created some really great – and unexpected – characters!
|The pupils at Aviemore Primary created colourful characters|
|A young girl had a keen interest in Hitler!|
Working with P7 pupils in Bridgeton, in Glasgow’s East End, we had the pleasure of doing a series of sessions at Sacred Heart Primary. This time, the pupils were asked to create a comic inspired by The Olympia building in their neighbourhood. You can read more on this in one of our previous posts here.
Still on the theme of local heritage and history, we also had the pleasure of being invited to the Burns Monument Centre, in Kilmarnock, where we delivered a couple of sessions, encouraging secondary pupils to use the Centre’s archives as a springboard for creativity. You can read more on our visit on the Burns Monument Centre’s blog here.
We also visited the Borders Textile Towerhouse in Hawick for an afternoon. This was a special project, helping a group of pupils to design their own exhibition, and we even created some illustrations for it. We’ll write more on this soon, so stay tuned.
On World Book Day, we returned to Mearns Academy in Laurencekirk, for a fun session with 150 P1 pupils, and they all drew their own characters!
|A session at Mearns Academy on World Book Day|
The following week, we were at Aye Write!, Glasgow’s very own book festival, for four sessions. This was our fourth year in row appearing at the book festival for their excellent schools programme. The sessions were great fun, and it was very enjoyable hanging out in the Green Room and meeting lots of fantastic authors!
|At one of the Aye Write! sessions|
|An Aye Write! session with keen pupils from
Hillhead High’s graphic novel club
|In Steve Hartley’s giant pants, with John Dougherty,
Vivian French, Tracy Traynor, Margaret Houston, Gill Lewis,
and Theresa Breslin (hidden)
|Lunch in the Green Room with authors including
Barry Hutchison, Debbi Gliori, Philip Ardargh, Katherine
Rundell,and also Margaret Houston and
Anne Louise Anglim
|Philip Ardargh taught us all a
lesson in practical taxidermy
And just last week, we were in cold and wintry Aberdeenshire for fun sessions with P7s and S3s. We even went incognito: can you recognise us in the photo below?
We also met an rather embarrassed sheep while lunching at Mintlaw garden centre.
A huge thanks to all the librarians and teachers who invited us and who made us feel so welcome on our visits. And a special thanks to Margaret Houston and Karen Cunningham at Aye Write!, to Fiona Gillies at Aberdeenshire Council, and to Ross McGregor at the Burns Monument Centre.
This week we visited Sacred Heart Primary School in the East End of Glasgow to deliver a series of comic workshops. The project tied in with the the recently refurbished Olympia building, which hosts a brand new library with a vibrant children’s section.
But back to the workshops… After giving the pupils some inspiration with a short presentation, we asked them to come up with a story which could take place in the Olympia building.
It was a wonderful project to be involved in, encouraging young children to consider their environment, local history and neighbourhood. We always enjoy hands-on workshops, but sometimes feel a little sad when we have to leave after spending hours working with enthusiastic pupils.
This year saw us commissioned to create a graphic novel, and we spent the summer and most of the autumn working round the clock to produce it. At this moment we still can’t say much more about it, but it should be released in 2013.
Our short story The Photographs was published in New Writing Scotland 30, the first ever piece of comic form fiction to be included in the anthology.
She also had the pleasure and privilege of creating illustrations for an iPad game, Book of the Dead: Afterlife for Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, as part of the British Museum’s touring exhibition Pharaoh: King of Egypt.
All these projects were highly enjoyable!
Author visits took us all over Britain and even as far afield as The Netherlands!
Several events were highlights:
The Netherlands trip saw us invited to Eindhoven for two days of talks and workshops at the vibrant and bustling International School.
|At the Eindhoven International School|
It was a pleasure to speak at the Advance Higher Creative Writing Conference at Edinburgh University – our workshop was filled with highly-motivated and bright-eyed students. Also speaking there were Alan Bisset (as keynote speaker), Roy Gill, and the wonderful Cathy MacPhail (we just thoroughly enjoyed reading her book Out of the Depths).
And, it was an honour to be invited as keynote speakers at the National Literacy Network Meeting at Stirling University, where we spoke to over 70 delegates. It was an opportunity to discuss comics and graphic novels and their increasing popularity in our culture and indeed in the classroom. We wrote a blog summarising our thoughts on comics in the classroom here.
We also visited Wales for a fun two days of workshops with KS2 pupils, and returned to Taunton for the third consecutive year for a talk and full day of workshops.
|Workshops with KS2 pupils in Newport|
For the past few years we’ve been participating in the Aye Write! festival, and this time we also had the pleasure of meeting the incredibly funny and hirsute Philip Ardagh (The Grunts) and the equally funny Jonathan Meres (The World of Norm). Here’s a drawing Sandra did recently of Mr. Ardagh on tour, although even the keen-eyed reader may have difficulty spotting him. And we’ll be back for Aye Write 2013! This will be our fourth year and we’re really looking forward to it!
|Will the real Philip Ardagh
please stand up!
We also visited a host of schools and libraries around Scotland, and other events included talks in Dumfries with the Scottish Book Trust for the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and sessions at the really inspiring Gallashiels Museum!
|In a Dumfries’ school for events during the Scottish Mental Health and Film Festival,
and kids showing their comics at Gallashiels Museum
Most recently we were part of the first ever Book Week Scotland, which took us to various places, including a school, a library, CRISIS centres and also a prison! We met people from all walks of life.
Every year, children’s authors and illustrators gather for a Xmas lunch in Edinburgh. It’s a great way to catch up and to round off the year, and this time was no exception. Sandra took the picture and you can see Keith Gray, John Fardell, Linda Strachan, Vivian French, Alette J Willis, John Ward, Keith Charters, to name a few, as well as the top of John’s head somewhere in the middle.
|Children’s authors and illustrators – Xmas lunch 2012|
Now we’re looking forward to 2013!
It was an honour to be invited as keynote speakers at the National Literacy Network Meeting last week. We spoke to over 70 delegates, including representatives from local authorities, librarians and teachers, who had gathered for the day at Stirling University to discuss literacy and how to make reading more accessible. The day was organised by an incredibly dynamic team from Education Scotland, whom we’d like to thank. Our talk was broadcast live on the GLOW network and everyone in attendance received a signed copy of our Louis – Red Letter Day graphic novel.
So we started the day with a 40 minute talk: Comics in the Classroom. We discussed graphic novels, our own Louis books and the creative process, our author visits to schools and libraries and experiences with different age groups. It was great to have this opportunity to spread the word about comics and graphic novels and to encourage their use in education.
During the break we had the pleasure of discussing ideas further with several interested attendees, and it was remarked that some 10 years ago, we wouldn’t even have dreamt of comics being on the education agenda. But in recent years things have really changed, and more and more educators are recognising that comics are a great way to get the attention of the younger generations.
Indeed, as our culture has become increasingly visual, it is perhaps understandable that graphic novels have gained more attention. And recent years have seen a proliferation of comics, graphic novels and manga, with the boundaries of the medium being pushed ever further. Now there is a wide variety of work in different genres for young adults, adults and children. Graphic novel adaptations of plays, novels and novellas are increasingly being used in the classroom context.
Our comic adaptation of Edwin Morgan’s poem The First Men on Mercury, commissioned by ASLS, is widely used around the world in a variety of educational contexts. (A pdf version of the comic, and some teacher’s notes, can be downloaded free here.)
Comics are a great way to encourage children and young people to read – while some might see reading as a chore, they won’t think twice about reading a comic. And it’s not only because they don’t have as many words: they are a truly dynamic, versatile, and exciting medium which stimulates the mind. The interaction of words and pictures in rhythmic sequences takes reading to another level.
Whatever their age, children love to make their own comics, something we see first hand, without exception, every time we do workshops in schools.
Comics are great too for reluctant readers: we’ve been told by teachers that some pupils have written more during our workshops in the classroom, making their own comic, than in the entire year! They begin to overcome a barrier.
But of course comics aren’t just for kids and reluctant readers, and since our beginnings we have been striving to help erode preconceptions. Comics are an art form in their own right and can be as worthy as any piece of literature or work of art.
On this level, graphic novels can be used in further education, as a way to explore ideas and concepts such as aesthetics, design and philosophy. We had the pleasure recently of talking at the Advanced Higher Creative Writing Conference in Edinburgh to a group of really bright, sparkly and interested pupils, and also visited Glasgow School of Art to discuss comics and graphic novels with a group of interested students from a variety of educational backgrounds across the arts.
We’ve had fun doing several events this autumn, talking about our Louis graphic novels and the comic medium.
Highlights include: a talk at the Advance Higher Creative Writing Conference at Edinbugh University; comic workshops with over 100 primary school pupils for the Encounters Festival 2012 in North Lanarkshire, and comic workshops with over 100 secondary school pupils for the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.
We’re also really looking forward to a couple of events:
Graphic Novel Talk at the National Literacy Network Meeting: It’s an honour to have been invited as keynote speakers at the next National Literacy Network Meeting.
On November 8th, we’ll be talking to delegates at Stirling University. The talk, entitled Comics in the Classroom, will also be broadcast live and stored on GLOW.
We will be discussing and sharing our experiences of working with different age groups using graphic novels to explore literary ideas and to encourage reluctant readers. We’ll also share insights into visual storytelling, graphic novel adaptations and talk about our own Louisbooks, demonstrating our working methods and the creative process.
Watch this blog for a report on the events of the day.
Graphic Novel Talk at the National Literacy Network Meeting:
It’s an honour to have been invited as keynote speakers at the next National Literacy Network Meeting.
Book Week Scotland:
We’re delighted to be part of the first ever Book Week Scotland, with an open event at Musselburgh Library on Saturday December 1st, at 2pm-3pm (free buy ticketed). Click here for more info.
|Signing Louis books at the Encounters Festival 2012|
|Signing Louis books at the Encounters Festival 2012|
We’ve also been gearing up for several exciting events.
They really began last Saturday, a lovely sunny day, when we travelled to Galashiels for a workshop session.
Children love comics, especially when they have the chance to create their own. We had the pleasure of working with parents and young people between the ages of roughly 5 and 15, all extremely enthusiastic and engaged.
They produced some fantastic work including the witty comic shown below (which was drawn by a 12 year old!).
The organisation was excellent, and the room was ideal for inspiring ideas for characters and comic stories.
Now we’re preparing for several interesting future events: including a presentation at the Advanced Higher Creative Writing Conference in Edinburgh on the 7th of September, where Alan Bissett is the keynote speaker; a talk for teachers at the National Literacy Network Meeting in Stirling on the 8th of November and also a children’s comic workshop at Dundee Central Library.
It’s exciting to share the possibilities that the graphic novel medium offers.