nelson exhibition at london’s cartoon museum!

You just can’t keep Nelson within the pages of a book! Here’s the most recent contribution to the collaboration with Blank Slate Books, from my fab studio mate Lauren O’Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade). The story in the book goes up to 2011, but Lauren’s taken it to 2012, when Nel writes a book about her little brother, Sonny. We all got to see her creation for the first time at the Cartoon Museum, at the launch of an exhibition of comic roughs and final artwork from our book. You can see some of our pictures on the wall behind Lauren… exciting!

Look at all the detail Lauren put into this! She was up til 4am the night before, making these tiny polaroid photos of scenes from the book. The exhibition runs until late February, so do pop by for a look! It’s just a couple streets away from the front of the British Museum.
Edit: I just found out that you can bid on Nel at the Gosh Comics party on Friday, and the profits will go to Shelter’s charity for the homeless! Go look at Lauren’s amazing post about her Knitted Nel.

Speech! Speech! Here are our fab editors and fellow creators Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis, the original two who mused about the Nelson book idea on Twitter and then took it forward with our whole gang of 54 creators. (My web designer, Dan Fone, took the photo.)

A lot of us listened to the speeches from the first floor:

Here’s Woodrow’s mum, proudly holding our new book. Mrs Phoenix is more of a legend than all of us put together: she’s fostered more than 200 kids, founded loads of programmes in the community, and was the first black woman in Britain to be awarded the MBE, in 1973, which she turned down unless the council would agree to give her a house for her foster children. And they did. (I once rang up Woodrow when we were both working on the DFC and caught him on the way to Buckingham Palace, where he was taking his mum to collect her OBE.)

Here’s my fab studio mate Ellen Lindner signing a copy of Nelson. She tackled the 1970 slot in Nel’s life, three years ahead of my 1973 story, with former DFC colleague (and contributor to the new weekly Phoenix Comic!) Jamie Smart and our studio mate Gary Northfield taking the years between our comics.

Photo by Dan Fone

We were all very proud to see our artwork hanging on the walls. I was surprised that curator Anita O’Brien decided to use my pencil rough instead of my inked page. But she made good sense when she explained that the pencil had a lot of life and looked very different from the final artwork, so it was more interesting to show visiting children at comic-making workshops. They could spot the changes and see how I made decisions to improve on a drawing that wasn’t quite right.

Here are Anita and comics creator Steve Marchant, who runs a lot of the museum’s workshops.

Here’s another photo Dan took of Simone Lia and me. I’m a huge fan of Simone’s comics, and they were some of the comics I saw while I was in art college that made me think I might like doing this whole comic thing.

One of the fun things about the party was putting faces to some of the names in the book. Here’s Kate Charlesworth, who tackled 1987.

Another contribute I hadn’t met, Glyn Dillon (1980), along with Woodrow’s studio mate, JAKe (1996).

I so love this picture Glyn drew of Nel in the garage:

Here’s Stephen Betts with 1990 contributor Rian Hughes.

Yup, Alex Milway and I give Nelson a cheesy thumbs-up!

Photo by Dan Fone

A big hug for the excellent Viviane Schwarz!

Photo by Dan Fone

And back to knitted Nel! She was fairly bursting at the seams with pride about such an amazing project.

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