Yesterday we gave a talk to book festival directors from around the world, about our work and also about graphic novels (including the Scottish scene).
It was part of Momentum, the Edinburgh Festivals International Delegate Programme delivered through a partnership between British Council Scotland, Festivals Edinburgh and Creative Scotland.
Also speaking were Adele Patrick and Sue John of Glasgow Women’s Library (were the event took place), Jean Cameron of Glasgow Life, Bob McDevitt, programmer of Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival, and Glasgow Poet Laureate Jim Carruth, and it was great to hear about their work.
It was also fantastic to meet such an interesting group of people. Huge thanks to Emma Turnbull at Creative Scotland who invited us to speak.
All pictures courtesy of Glasgow Women’s Library Facebook page.
This year, as Patrons of Reading at Northfield Academy, we had the pleasure of working on an exciting project, organised by librarian extraordinaire Mandy Wilson.
The project involved art and science teachers, and S1 pupils were set the task of creating comics about Great Scottish Scientists. Scotland has a rich history of invention and, for a small country, a surprisingly large number of famous discoveries to its name.
Allan Burnett (author of “Invented in Scotland”) delivered a talk to inspire the pupils, who then each gathered information on a scientist, engineer or mathematician of their choice.
We then delivered sessions with groups of pupils to help them get started on researching and developing their own comic, which they later finished working with the art department.
The pupils were encouraged to use photographs as reference or even for use as part of a collage, mixed in with their own drawings.
Mandy has created this excellent film about the project.
We then selected three of the best comics which where photographed to create the three short videos below. The soundtracks were produced by S1 pupils.
The whole project was made possible thanks to the Scottish Book Trust Live Literature Fund.
We are honoured and delighted to be writers in residence for the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015. As part of the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme, we will be working in collaboration with hip-hop artist Dave Hook doing a series of workshops in Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, exploring stories, translations and fairy tales from different languages and traditions. This is an exciting celebration of storytelling in its many different forms, and we are very much looking forward to being involved. The workshops will take place after the book festival and will culminate with a celebration on Burns Night 2016.
We are also looking forward to our schools event on Sept 1st on Charlotte Square, Graphic Novel Fairy Tales with Metaphrog, for ages 9-10, which will premiere our new graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales. More information can be found in our previous post: http://metaphrog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/edinburgh-international-book-festival.html
The programme is packed with exciting events and fantastic authors and illustrators, including: Debbie Gliori, the festival’s Illustrator in Residence; Cathy McPhail; Nicola Morgan; Lari Don; Keith Gray; Alex T Smith; Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve; Barry Hutchison; Alison Murray; Vivian French and many more. Check out the full programme here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/learning/schools/baillie-gifford-schools-programme
Book now to be the first to hear all about The Red Shoes and Other Tales and get a Special Festival Edition of the book! There’s also a 25% discount on books ordered in advance of the festival for schools, and a £3 book voucher for all pupils attending events.
The official release date of our graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales is October 13th 2015.
This month we had the pleasure of running the Comics Lab, which Scottish Book Trust and Literary Dundee were hosting. The first part was a pretty intense weekend with wall to wall talks and workshops.
|From left to right: Michel Faber, ourselves, Bryan Talbot,
Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth and John McSane
On the first day, David Bishop gave a talk on comics and how to write for them, Jonathan Cape editor Alex Bowler’s talk was on the publishing side of graphic novels, and we delivered a talk about our own work and creative approach. Later we also held a workshop looking at the nuts and bolts of the medium. On day two, we hosted a second workshop on the medium looking at how to get the best out of a page. Guests William Goldsmith and Isabel Greenberg talked about their books, Vignettes of Ystov and The Encyclopedia of Early Earth respectively, and Bryan and Mary Talbot with Kate Charlesworth talked about their collaborative work on Sally Heathcote Suffragette. Finally John McShane talked about his take on the industry and opportunities for employment possibilities. It was a privilege to have such great guest speakers. That weekend the lab ran at the same time as the annual Dundee Comics Day, in the room next door in fact, and we’d have loved to attend it but had our hands full!
Day three, a couple of weeks later, was a follow-up and feedback day, where we evaluated the participants work along with Chris Murray and Phillip Vaughan, who also gave talks about their courses at Dundee University, the Comic Studies MLitt and the Comic Art and Graphic Novels Expansive Module.
|Same as above but with Caitrin Armstrong this time
instead of Sandra.
Huge thanks to the Scottish Book Trust team and to Literary Dundee for organising it all and for inviting us to run the lab. Special thanks to Claire, Caitrin, Sasha, Fran, and Peggy Hughes for their kind support and to Will Mackie for help with the initial groundwork. And of course a big thank you to the participants who devoted a chunk of their time and all their attention to the lab. The work they produced for the feedback day was fantastic and we really got a discussion going on how to best improve one’s work.
It was fantastic to have the chance to talk about the medium of comics all weekend with like-minded people. As a bonus to the whole event, Michel Faber, who was doing a reading from his new book, at Literary Dundee, attended a couple of the talks when he learned that the lab was running.
|Collection of graphic novels that was in the Comics Lab room
which were donated to the university by Grant Morrison.
|The Comics Lab ran in the
Cam Kennedy studio at Dundee University.
We’re gearing up for a really busy autumn, now that we’ve finished our new book.
September already saw us do some events at the excellent Tidelines Book Festival, and we’ll continue giving talks and delivering workshops in schools and libraries around Britain over the coming months.
We’ll also be doing several public events at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival including a talk on how we self-published over the years, two drop-in workshops for 7-10 (free), and a signing at Waterstones in Kendal. We’re very excited about “The Magic of Metaphrog”, a free exhibition which runs from October 1st until October 31st, featuring some Louis pages and also a preview of pages from our forthcoming book with Papercutz..
|The Magic of Metaphrog exhibition at LICAF|
Another exciting event is the Comics Lab, which we’ll be running for Scottish Book Trust and Literary Dundee. The event will be an intensive in-depth course on making comics and graphic novels. We’re delighted with the list of amazing guests who will be speaking and sharing their industry knowledge: Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot, David Bishop, Alex Bowler, Kate Charlesworth, Isabel Greenberg, William Goldsmith, Chris Murray, John McShane and Phillip Vaughan. This is a closed event, and the deadline for applications has now passed.
We’ve also been invited to speak at Helsinki’s International school and are really looking forward to spending a few days there, doing several workshops and assembly talks to the whole school.
Plus, Book Week Scotland will see us travelling around the country including a visit to Aberdeen and Northfield Academy where we are Patrons of Reading.
That should see us pretty exhausted by the time we reach the end of the year…
Stripped is here! A celebration of comics and graphic novels at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Over the years the festival has featured a number of graphic novel events, with guests including Neil Gaiman, Alan Grant and Bryan Talbot. We had the honour of participating in the festival a few times, doing sold-out comic workshops for children, and were also in conversation with Shaun Tan (you can read our guest blog about it for The Guardian here). This year the festival organisers were in touch with us and other industry insiders as advisers. We’re looking forward to events and are delighted to be contributing to the Stripped blog – look out for our exciting interviews and reviews! We’ll also be exhibiting at the mini comic fair, along with other Scottish independent comic creators, on August 24th and 25th.
The festival is dedicating a whole weekend to graphic novels with some 40 events. We’re particularly excited to see Chris Ware and Joe Sacco! Bryan and Mary Talbot return after their ground-breaking success winning one of the Costa Awards. Other exciting events include: Posy Simmonds; Hannah Berry in conversation with Neil Gaiman; Warren Pleece; Grant Morrison and Stephen Collins. Family events include workshops and talks with The Pheonix, Gary Northfield and Garen Ewing among many others. These are just a few highlights. You can view the full programme on the Stripped website.
Since our beginnings in the mid-nineties, we have seen graphic novels go from a niche interest to gradually getting mainstream acceptance. This is thanks to the dedication of many artists, writers, publishers, distributors, festival organisers, comic shop owners, the comic press, academics and comic lovers. We ourselves have always endeavoured to take comics out of any perceived ghetto, and our Louis graphic novels have indeed attracted a following and media interest outside of the comic industry as well as within. Most recently Louis – Night Salad was Highly Commended for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.
Of course, the buzz about graphic novels has come and gone over the years. The eighties had the big three (Art Spiegleman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen and Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) and “comics grow up” headlines, but this was followed by a real slump in the nineties, when comics were seen as somewhat less fashionable. However, since then, graphic novels have gradually been building up a new wave of interest, and there are now tonnes of exciting books out there proving that graphic novels are a medium not to be ignored. Chris Ware winning The Guardian First Book Award, Bryan and Mary Talbot winning a Costa Award, and now this Stripped event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, are the result of what has been slowly brewing up for years.
We hope that the festival will continue to support comics for years to come.