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Comics Jam – With Philip Reeve @philipreeve1 and Sarah MacIntyre @jabberworks

Way back in February, I took my daughters to meet the amazingly talented @philipreeve1 – steampunk author – and Sarah MacIntyre (@jabberworks) as part of a comics jam. I’d never been to one before so I not only was I excited about meeting Philip, I was also excited to learn more about how comics are generated. I also decided that I would tweet throughout the event. This is all of the tweets, with links to pictures, capture in one place.

My daughters were just as excited as one loves to read and write and the other loves to read and draw. Prior to the event, we asked Philip to autograph a couple of books of his that we already had. Prompt my first tweet.

“I just met a real author! My youngest on meeting @philipreeve1” – Obviously I don’t count just yet 🙂 She was hopping in delight.

When the ‘show’ kicked off, @jabberworks gave a very interesting talk about what a comic jam was, and what was expected of the audience. – Sarah MacIntyre talking about a Comics Jam pic.twitter.com/GsD3zRBI38

Philip then introdcued himself and gave a very interesting talk @philipreeve1 introducing himself, plays with ideas for about a year before making a novel.

I especially found that point interesting. That Philip plays with ideas for about a year before he starts to write a novel. My approach is completely different as I tend to have an idea and then just start writing, the idea taking shape as I write, rather than shaping it before I write.

I can see the pro’s of Philip’s approach as it enables much better world building, resulting in less contradictions and rewrites.

Suprisingly , and it was great to hear of his insecurities – @philipreeve1 has never been approached to write about a specific subject such as Exeter Riddles, he was unsure he could do it

@philipreeve1 was struck by the amount of history of Exeter. At the cathedral he was struck by this figure of saint – pic.twitter.com/B3aJD0WANv

@philipreeve1 said he liked the idea of the figures on the cathedral moving and history leaking in Exeter.

@philipreeve1 this Grotesque is one of the core characters, the carving is about the size of a man’s fist.  – pic.twitter.com/0VxaHFFPYU

After talking about the Exeter Riddles book, Philip gave us a reading, to which the tweets below refer.

Bungee jumping saints – @philipreeve1 has a lovely turn of phrase

‘The Saint’s two heads looked sheepishly at each other’ #exeteriddles by @philipreeve1

Philip then dropped a lovely clanger when Sarah was talking about Oliver and the Sea Wigs and implied that Sarah was fat. Needless to say, the audience found it funnier than she did 🙂

#oliverandtheseawigs by Sarah and @philipreeve1 he just inadvertently dropped a clanger #fat pic.twitter.com/bkDi5YTJQz

Photo: He looks like he’s saying ‘Har har’. #ExeterCathedral #TheExeterRiddles @AnimatedExeter @philipreeve1 http://tmblr.co/ZE1F8yeok36e 

Sarah then gave a fabulous talk about how she developed the marvelous Vernan and Lettuce comic book, and the pitfalls that she came across as she did so.

@jabberworks giving an excellent talk about #vernandlettuce and how it developed, love idea of a mole obsessed Sheep!

One thing that caused Sarah a bit of a headache was a fried suggesting that a sheep living in a caravan was very much like another book. From the look of the artwork she had drawn in order to get to that stage, a lot of work went into the bin. 

@jabberworks talking about how a friend said that #vernandlettuce sheep in a caravan was like in #fixitduck pic.twitter.com/InXbN8MdnC

Sarah also spoke about how comics can be pretty much instantaneous, which was the whole thrust of the comics jam. The comic mentioned below was draw in about 15 minutes during lunch with the POV, Hayley.

Lunch with Hayley, @jabberworks drew a comic book in 15 mins. pic.twitter.com/orFZMlSWex

Hayley appears to be a somewhat uptight lady, and is shown in one of panels shouting about the lack of humous in the restaurant. Hence this tweet.

@jabberworks had to chuckle that you introduced Friggin’ to a room of under 10’s #naughtywords

There was a collective gasp from the parents gathered in the theatre at the time 🙂

Sarah then asked the audience to think about other ways to represent people and their characters and asked the children to come up with ideas as to how they would draw her and Philip. And so, the Philip and Sarah comics jam started.

@jabberworks is a hedgehog, @philipreeve1 is a supercat

This then evolved, with the hedgehog becoming a mer-hog.

Spike, the mer-hog, drawn by @jabberworks named by dort2 pic.twitter.com/Ho2EcEUZab

Eldest just suggested that Spike be a toilet cleaner #comicsjam @philipreeve1 and @jabberworks PR said that his spikes would do it #toofar

So, we have a super bat and a mer-hog on the beach and a tidal wave comes #comicsjam @philipreeve1 @jabberworks pic.twitter.com/dPiG91lKSy

@jabberworks completes the first Spike and Sprockitt At The Beach Panel @philipreeve1 pic.twitter.com/4UVI2DWLav

@philipreeve1 doing panel 2, they surfed the tidal wave into an ice cream factory in a desert island #comicsjampic.twitter.com/gVZ6vC6ROK

Panel 3 – Bit of a race against time to get panel 4 done #comicsjam @jabberworks @philipreeve1 pic.twitter.com/1kZPoz3oze

@philipreeve1 and @jabberworks working on panel 3 – Seagulls are attacking them ‘helpless landlubber’ pic.twitter.com/WzaA4n4RpD

Kids shouting out insults for the seagulls to say #comicsjam @jabberworks @philipreeve1 pic.twitter.com/Rrudj0ze7M

My suggestion of a horse in the ice cream was topical, but not accepted #satirefail #comicsjam

Panel 4 is proving hard to do @jabberworks @philipreeve1 – then dort suggested they fart their way to freedom #lady pic.twitter.com/0aEnnPyQEy

The final panel where Spike & Sprockitt fart their way to freedom #comicsjam @jabberworks @philipreeve1 pic.twitter.com/68N9XIgtEH

Once Philip and Sarah had finished their comic, it was time for the audience to have a go.

Now kids are working on their own 4 panel comic #comicsjam @jabberworks @philipreeve1 pic.twitter.com/A3TahVCM4y

Everyone drew first panel then had to pass it to work on someone else’s comic #comicsjam @philipreeve1 @jabberworks pic.twitter.com/Er7WcV8Uzg

After drawing four panels on four different pieces of paper, everyone then got their piece of paper back to see where things had progressed. Some of it was completely surreal!

If you’ve never been to something like this before, I heartily recommend you do. It was a fabulous afternoon and a great opportunity for everyone to see just how easy it can be to create a comic quickly, and just for the fun of it. It has left my daughters inspired.

Thank you for a most entertaining afternoon @philipreeve1@jabberworks and for taking the time to speak to the dorts #happykids

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


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