Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How To Make (Really Really Giant) Comics (which are also THREE-DIMENSIONAL)

I am freshly returned from a gloriously bewildering weekend at Camp Bestival, where I spent three nights in a tent and three days doing dinosaur and pirate-themed cartooning workshops with the fine folks from The Phoenix! It was a brilliant weekend: there was so much cool stuff going on and the Phoenix tent was absolutely buzzing all weekend, in no small part thanks to the brilliant cartooning workshops being given by my fellow Phoenixy Phellows Adam Murphy, Gary Northfield and Jo Bowes. It's all a bit of a blur frankly, and one downside of the constant goings-on was that amongst all of it, I... basically forgot to take any photos?

But! There was one thing I managed to grab a couple of snaps of: on the Saturday, we seized the opportunity of some giant letters spelling out 'ART TOWN' in our corner of the field and, after our Comics Captain Caro Fickling went and asked very nicely, we gained permission to turn them into a GIANT COLLABORATIVE JAM COMIC. (You know how much we love making  GIANT COLLABORATIVE JAM COMICS, after all. Give us a nice large blank surface and you can be sure we'll whack a GIANT COLLABORATIVE JAM COMIC on that thing.) But this one was something new: not only was it Really Really Giant, but it was also... in Three Dimensions!

Anyway, it was brilliant fun, and really great to be able do something like that in such a spur-of-the-moment way. I started things off with the first 'panel', and then handed over to Adam to carry on the story...

 ...and then we pretty much turned it over to the kids!

 And they absolutely ran with it, taking to these slightly non-conventional page layouts with APPLOMB.

And so unfolded an epic tale of Unicorn Penguin Aliens who really really liked donuts, global destruction, and one hedgehog named Gerald.

Here is Jo, up a ladder, drawing comics. We thought it was probably wise to hand over to grown-ups to do the top tier of panels, because... well, because the last thing any of us need is a child being crushed under a giant letter 'N' covered in drawings of Angry Unicorn Penguin Aliens, right?

And then of course there were the kids climbing around on TOP of the comic, the kids chasing each other THROUGH  HOLES in the comic, and even the occasional danger of stepping on a small child crawling UNDER the comic. It was a pretty action-packed scene, let me tell you.

Action-packed and a lot of fun. It was great to see kids getting so enthused, and like the whole weekend really, it was extremely cool to kind of take comics into places, and to readers, that wouldn't normally encounter them.

Anyway, that's all the pictures I got. We were barely halfway through before I had to dash back to the Phoenix tent for more dinosaur / pirate shenanigans, so huge thanks (again) to Adam and Gary and Jo, who oversaw the rest of the jam and (As far as I know) managed to prevent any small-child-crushed-under-giant-letter-N style mishaps.

And the hugest thanks of all to everyone at the Phoenix who worked so hard to make the whole event happen and who made it - look, I'm just going to call it now - such a brilliant success: Zara Markland, Lotte, the aforementioned Caro Fickling, Jo and Will and Tom (and indeed support staff Lisa and Di and Official Pencil Monitor Logan) - and most of ALL of all to the incredible, tireless efforts of Liz Payton. Good job all! Let's do it again soon.

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