busy weekend!

Where do I start? Well, I totally forgot to use my camera at the SCBWI writers and illustrators conference this weekend. But we had a buzzy breakfast this morning at the lovely hotel in Winchester, so I made a very rough drawing of it on the train ride back. Conference highlights included going to two talks by the marvellously poised and articulate Geraldine McCaughrean, despite her claims to be otherwise (I’m a huge fan of her novel The White Darkness); getting to have conversations with the guy who makes all those marvellous linocut prints, Chris Wormell; leading a workshop with my friend Layn Marlow that went even better than we expected; seeing all the cool Comixtravaganza stuff going up on the wall; and wandering for miles on the streets of Winchester at midnight with Candy Gourlay, probably one of the most fun people I know to get lost with.

In the afternoon, I took part in the Comica panel and got to see a whole bunch of colleagues from the DFC, including meeting Adam Brockbank and Jim Medway for the first time, and Laura Howell, whom I’d only met once very briefly. I got to the ICA a bit early and got to have a good chat with Adam Brockbank before the panel and hear about his concept work in the Harry Potter films. (He’s working on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows right now, which will be split into two films but filmed together.) I was again awed by his work when we saw some new images on screen during the panel, really beautiful work, created mostly in Corel Painter.

Patrice Aggs, John Aggs, Paul Gravett, me, Gary Northfield, Adam Brockbank

The funniest thing about the weekend was the huge division between the children’s book writers and illustrators group, which was about ten women to every man, and the children’s comics event, which was the complete reverse of that. The Comica panel before us (five men) gave a great talk but it was the most boy-zone thing ever, all about war comics and football. Funnily enough, I showed a war poster by Fougasse when I was talking about my own influences, and mentioned the large amount of time I spent at the Imperial War Museum looking at wartime posters when I first arrived in London. But there’s a big difference between those guys’ high-drama paintings of soldiers in the middle of combat and the posters I like, which show regular citizens pulling together on the home front, in a very cosy sort of way.

Adam Brockbank, John Aggs and his sister, Rachel Aggs

Woodrow Phoenix and David Leach

Showing picture of the clay sheep I made, who later turned into the DFC’s Vern

Jim Medway, Jenny Linn-Cole and Gary Northfield

Rob Hinchcliffe, Alex Milway and Stuart

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