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jabberworks July 24 2014, 09:10

chichester mini break

So I have this big looming picture book deadline and a couple weeks ago Stuart kindly said, 'Do you want to cancel our little trip to Chichester?' And I said, 'NO!' because, you know, PRIORITIES. And it was great! Stuart often comes along to book festivals with me, but I'm running around doing events, so it's not really the same as going away on holiday.

I thought it was going to be more of a relaxing trip, but we ended up cycling 63 miles over three days; Stuart clocked it on his little bike mile counter thingie. Chichester is a great area for cycling, lots of little paths through the wheat fields and by the sea.

We even cycled a little bit through the sea when we reached Bosham at high tide (pronounced BOZZ'um, we finally worked out).

One of the only things I knew about Chichester is that amazing illustrator Warwick Johnson Cadwell runs boat tours there (Chichester Harbour Water Tours), so we met up with him down at Itchenor Harbour and went along for a ride. I knew about this because almost every day he posts his 'Passenger of the Day' sketch on his Instagram. Actually, we missed the boat on the first day because it took longer than we thought to cycle from Chichester, so we saw him two days.

Warwick's kids used to read my comics when I was drawing Vern and Lettuce, so they knew about me a little, and it was fun getting to sit in The Ship Inn by the harbour and draw with them. And look, I got to be Passenger of the Day!! :D

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astroboy12 July 23 2014, 12:08

My tweets

jabberworks July 22 2014, 08:17

oliver and the seawigs launches in the usa!

The Sea Monkeys are loose in America!!! My book with Philip Reeve, Oliver and the Seawigs launches with Random House TODAY!! Seawigs is being published in 20 countries now, but how will it fare in the place where I grew up? ...I am SO CURIOUS.

Sea Monkey knitting pattern by Deadly Knitshade... Know anyone who knits? You can download yours free here!

I'm originally from Seattle, and growing up near beaches and tidepools did play a major part in the creation of our story.

Here's a drawing I made as a kid of the rocks near Cannon Beach, in Oregon, where our family used to go on vacation almost every year. (You might also recognise it as the setting from the 1985 film The Goonies.)

I drew some of the inspiration for the setting of Oliver and the Seawigs from my family visits to the fishing village of Seldovia, in Alaska. Here you can see the Crisp family house, supported on stilts and wooden pilings.

And here are some of my drawings from Alaska. I showed Philip these drawings when we were still coming up with the story idea, and we both thought it looked like the perfect place for our tale.

My Japanese-Hawaiian uncle's family owns one of the stilted cottages in Seldovia and I love watching otters swim by, and bald eagles swoop down and steal fish from the seagulls.

Click here for more under the cut!Collapse )
yaytime July 21 2014, 20:38

Comic Con, San Diego

Here is where to find me at Comic Con International: San Diego from July 24th-27th.

Thursday July 24th

4pm: Kids’ Heroes, Capes and Journeys: Does One Size Fit All? (Room 29A)
Graphic novel authors and educators discuss how kids’ heroes have grown and changed over the years. Discussing “Hero” templates, they’ll explore old and new hero favorites and whether a mold helps or hinders the development of future heroes. Panelists will then ask the audience to help create an SDCC 2014 hero as artist panelists draw/design/experiment with hero templates. Implications for fans, educators, students, and aspiring writers, and critics will be discussed. Panelist include Jennifer Holm (Babymouse, Squish)Matthew Holm (Babymouse, Squish),, Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy) , Frank Cammuso (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde)TedNaifeh (Courtney Crumrin) , Marc Tyler Nobleman (Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, Bill the Boy Wonder), and Alexis Fajardo (Kid Beowulf).

Gene Yang

7pm: Dave Roman & Gene Yang presentation, live drawing & book signing
Barnes & Noble Mira Mesa
10775 Westview Parkway
San Diego, CA 92126
More info & store locator

Sunday July 27th

10am Kids Draw! Interactive panel. (Room 30CDE)
This fun-filled draw-off pits cartoonist against cartoonist as kids help tell the story-with Kelley Jones (Space Mountain), Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants), Dave Roman(Astronaut Academy), Dan Santat (Comics Squad: Recess), and Kirk Scroggs (Snoop Troop) and as many monsters, aliens, princesses, and plot twists as they can fit into a single panel! Moderated by Matt and Jenni Holm (Babymouse, Squish).

11:30am Dave Roman signing all books at Sails Pavilion, AA09

12pm Dave Roman signing copies of Astronaut Academy at :01 First Second booth #1323

1pm – 2pm All-Ages Comics Have Arrived! (Room 24ABC)
Quality all-ages comics are back and better than ever! We’re not just talking about “kids” comics, we’re talking about amazing comics that can be enjoyed by young, old, and everyone in between. Join KaBOOM! editor Shannon Watters as she has a lively and fun conversation with several all-ages creators, including David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity), Gene Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints), and Ian McGinty (Bravest Warriors, Adventure Time: Candy Capers).

Mirrored from it's yaytime!.

scatterheart posted to mourning_souls July 21 2014, 18:06

Olšanské hřbitovy, Czech Republic

I went on a weekend trip to Prague last week, and of course cemeteries are always the first places I choose to visit. This one is absolutely beautiful and was well worth the long walk out of the more touristy districts. (You can take the tram, but walking several kilometers in the midday heat seemed like a good idea at the time...) It's also huge, and I'm sure I missed at least half of it. Next time!

This cemetery has some of the most beautiful grave markers I've seen.Collapse )

I also got to visit Sedlec Ossuary, but I'm not sure if that falls under the theme for this community. If it does and there's interest in pictures, I'll add them later!

Edit: Since there seems to be an interest, here are some photos from inside the Ossuary - I didn't take many, because the place is small and there were a lot of people. Just a quick warning: obviously the following pics contain bones and skulls, so if that's not your thing, proceed with caution! (Mods, if this is not okay to post, let me know and I'll remove it.)

Sedlec Ossuary. Quick warning: bones and skulls ahead!Collapse )

And that's all I've got! :)
astroboy12 July 18 2014, 12:10

My tweets

  • Thu, 16:38: Advice to Aspiring Comic Book Creators http://t.co/GWkYt5DyU3
  • Thu, 19:18: digging through @AdobeDigitalPub documentation and am struck by how high the bar of entrance is. SO much process and technology to 'publish'
  • Thu, 19:19: it's great that one person or small businesses can develop and publish apps like the big kids but I want 1 page of instructions, not 200.
  • Thu, 19:19: you want to make a book, zine, or comic? print it. sell it, etc. DONE.
  • Thu, 19:20: with DPS you have to get an Apple developer account, provision certificates, set up Adobe IDs and rolls, etc. It's all too much. v clunky.
  • Thu, 19:38: RT @beatonna: Ah! The Toronto library put up the talk between @goraina, Lynn Johnston and I at TCAF this year. It was a nice time! https://…
  • Fri, 04:19: RT @ChaosMonkey: When I started listening to Weird Al I didn't know all the songs he was parodying because I was too young. Now it's becaus…
astroboy12 July 17 2014, 12:07

My tweets

jabberworks July 17 2014, 06:09

summer reading challenge: draw anansi!

Try your hand at drawing Anansi, one of the Mythical Maze characters in the Summer Reading Challenge! It's easy, if you do it step by step:

If you'd like to print it out for your library (or to use at home, or at work - adults can try it, too!), you can download a PDF here.

Some background: When I was planning out the Mythical Maze characters, some of them changed quite a bit from my original sketches. But not Anansi, I think I nailed him with my first drawing. I taped this bit of paper to the wall of my studio:

Anansi's an African trickster god, and the god of stories. When you think of spiders, you think of dusty corners and cobwebs. But I'd been reading a Telegraph article about men in the Congo who live in quite rough places, but take great pride in dressing very smartly. The basic philosophy of the Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo: to defy circumstance and live with joie de vivre. I liked the idea of making Anansi a very dapper chap. Thus, the yellow hat, cool glasses and spats.

I've heard storytellers tell tales of Anansi - he comes very much from an oral tradition of storytelling - but I can think of two books I've read about him. I grew up with Anansi the Spider, the picture book by Gerald McDermott, and much later I read Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Two books couldn't be more different, but they're both inspired by the same mythical character, and I'm sure the two books (and newspaper article) inspired me.

But those are just two Anansi books, there must be lots more. Can you tell me about any other top Anansi books or comics? Leave a note in the comments if you know of one, a really good one!

Why not try writing your own Anansi story? What sort of tricksy adventures would your Anansi get up to? Can you use spiderwebs as part of the design for your book cover or comic? Your setting could feel very African, or you could show Anansi right where you are, maybe in your home, at the shops, at a funfair, or even as far away as the moon. You can draw Anansi more like a person or more like a spider, or perhaps your Anansi will be female. It's up to you!

I'd love to see your drawings and comics, if you want to tweet photos of them on the #SummerReadingChallenge hash tag. Don't forget that the Medusa Malarky comic competition is still going on! You can download your comic Story Starter here.

Oh dear, yesterday someone in Seattle set their house on fire trying to kill a spider with a blowtorch. Do NOT try this at home! Spiders are tricksy. ...Oo, and there's another possible story starter.
jabberworks July 15 2014, 22:44

summer reading challenge + a royal reading adventure


Photo by Sarah Reeve

Yesterday the Summer Reading Challenge team took me and the Medusa fascinator to Exeter Library to talk and draw with children from St Leonard’s Primary School ...and the Duchess of Cornwall! (Camilla is no stranger to the Medusa hat; you can see hers on a Royal Hats blog here.) I talked with the kids about the Mythical Maze characters I'd drawn, then they helped me draw a four-panel comic about an yeti-Medusa adventure, showing them how easy it is to make a story. And we all drew Medusa. (One kid had something like 46 snakes on his Medusa - it looked like an explosion!)

I talked a bit about how we are still creating myths and legends; no one can second-guess which will be the stories remembered for thousands of years, but we can try our creative best and who knows, perhaps people will still remember our characters for generations to come. I introduced them to my Oliver and the Seawigs co-author Philip Reeve and we pointed out the little Sea Monkey on the poster, saying it was our contribution this year to myth making.

I invited Camilla to come help me draw a Sea Monkey, and she was such a good sport about it! I liked her monkey, it's quite ferocious! I asked her if she wanted to draw it smiling or roaring, and she said, 'ROARING!'.

From The British Monarchy channel

And we all sang the Sea Monkey song! Camilla said she wouldn't be able to get the chorus our of her head, and I apologised. (It does have an annoying catchiness to it.) The Duchess has a real heart for children and getting kids reading, and we were super-chuffed she could come along.

Photo by Sarah Reeve

By the time we got back to London, people were already sending us links to news reports! Camilla wasn't the only one giggling, after I'd read this Daily Mail article by Rebecca English:

(Actually, there are more than 800,000 children taking part, not 8000, but otherwise it's a good write-up of the day.)
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jabberworks July 15 2014, 06:41

nine world geekfest events!

Hey, I've been hearing awesome things about London's Nine Worlds Convention, running from 8-10 Aug. And the guy who contacted me about doing events was Jared Shurin, who's one of my favourite people in book world. (And I've only met him at Kitschies events a few times; I mostly watch him and his partner Anne Perry getting up to antics online.) Anyway, check it out, there's loads going on. So much, in fact, that a lot of people are booking hotel rooms near Heathrow and staying all weekend.

While you're there, come along to my Cakes in Space event with my co-author Philip Reeve. (And it may be the first time a limited number of advance copies of the books will be available for sale.) I'm getting up to a few things:

Saturday: MONSTERCLASS: Comics 5.00pm - 6.15pm, Room 30
Explore comics with illustrators Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve, and get tips on making your own. Intimate masterclass, max 12 people.

Saturday: Working with Artists: drawing up professional relationships, 6.45pm - 8.00pm
County A
How can artists get the best from their writers, and vice versa? Advice about making great things.
Q&A, with Sarah McIntyre, Emma Vieceli, Gillian Redfearn, Djibril al-Ayad, Adam Christopher

Sunday: Food in Science Fiction, 1.30-2.45pm
How do aliens eat? What do they eat? Do they eat at all? Will they want to eat us? Food is essential to human survival and to the survival of most everything we normally think of as living, so in any journey to an alien world it can never be forgotten. Our panel discuss the different ways in which we might grow or construct food in the future, as well as the role food plays in science fiction of all kinds
Panel: Sarah McIntyre, Gareth L. Powell and Aliette de Bodard

Sunday: Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre: CAKES IN SPACE!, 11.45am - 1.00pm, Room 38
Robots! Spaceships! Killer Cupcakes! Batty Battenbergs! Explore the furthest reaches of storytelling and drawing with this space-suited dream team!
The bestselling authors of Oliver and the Seawigs turn their attention to outer space in their new book CAKES IN SPACE. Grab your pencil and get set for zany adventure, in this stage show / creative masterclass / collaborative singing / storytelling spectacular!

Front endpapers for Cakes in Space, published this September by Oxford University Press
jabberworks July 13 2014, 13:38

london YA lit con 2014

Hatted up, suited and booted: just another day heading into the office...

Ha ha! It's so much fun when other people dress up, not just me. Yesterday I went to YA Lit Con (that's Young Adult Literature Convention, or #YALC), held as part of the London Film and Comic Con at Earl's Court in London. On the pavement outside, this lady in her fine threads won my heart... until she shot an arrow straight through it. Aiee!

Seriously, where else but these sorts of conventions do you get tens of thousands of mostly-unaccompanied kids and teenagers together in one place - many with MASSIVE WEAPONS - and have such a well-behaved, literate group of people? These people LOVE stories, and they often don't just want to read them, but become actual characters in these new myths and legends. I love this so much. Here's Martin Chilton's coverage of YALC in The Telegraph:

When I got to the Green Room, I went a little crazy with taking selfies with lots of people there. Steve Cole was super-chuffed to get his photo taken with one of the Doctor Who characters, Paul McGann. (Steve had written BBC books starring Paul's Doctor from '97-'99.) To be honest, I had a bit of a crush on him in the film Withnail and I; there are even two pages in Morris the Mankiest Monster based on screen shots I took of that film.

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