Monday, 24 October 2016

Strictly & Bake-Off - me in the Dandy Annual

The brand new Dandy annual's out (I just got it for my birthday) and, for the very first time ever, I'm in it. I've written and drawn versions of Strictly Come Dancing and the Great British Bake-Off starring all the great Dandy characters. For the first I've had the chance to draw everyone from Desperate Dan to Korky The Cat to Keyhole Kate to Beryl The Peril. Ah yes, Beryl.

You might notice, when you get the annual, that I've drawn two very different Beryls. That's cos, when I drew the Bake-Off strip, my only reference were the 2015 and 2014 Dandy annuals, which featured the animation-style Beryl designed by Karl Dixon, which had been running in the weekly Dandy until its demise in 2012. You see we prepare these things so far in advance, that the 2016 annual wasn't on sale when I delivered that artwork. I finally got a copy after I'd sent off the art, at which point I realised they'd reverted, for the 2016 annual, to having Beryl drawn in a pastiche of her classic 1960s look (re-done, I'm guessing, by Wayne Thompson? Someone put me right). Hence the in-joke, above, which appears in the Strictly strip which, luckily, appears after the Bake-Off strip in the order of the book.

Some gags have hit the cutting room floor, sadly. I'd rather I'd been asked to change them at script stage rather than gone ahead and drawn them, only to have someone Photoshop them out and add their own dialogue. But, believe me, I've had far worse edits before. Here it was obviously decided that cats licking their own bumholes was one truth too far for the kids. Then, in the Strictly strip, when Brassneck has been dancing with the TV camera, his punchline has changed slightly...

I was quite pleased with the "slo-mo, slo-mo, quick quick slo-mo" ballroom dancing gag. You can't please everyone. Another visual gag that bit the dust was making my Winker Watson sub-plot match up with Wilbur Dawbarn's artwork elsewhere in the Dandy annual. His strips are drawn monochrome, with just a little spot colour, so that's what I did for mine. When you get the annual you'll see someone's gone to the effort of recolouring all the Winker segments. Here's how they originally looked...

And one final stylistic change we had to make along the way was the lettering. I make a point of doing my own if I can, just so it reduces the likelihood of anyone rewriting every single word of my dialogue as they go along lettering it (yes, that has happened before now). I even went to the effort of downloading and matching the exact typeface used in the Dandy annuals 2015 and 2014, a caps and lower-case arrangement around which I designed the rest of the page. Then the 2016 annual came and you can guess the rest. Here's what the first version of Bake-Off looked like (complete with monochrome Winker Watson peeking in).

I'm chuffed and delighted to be in the 2017 Dandy annual, as well as writing scripts for this year's Beano annual. I do hope they'll have me back again.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Week of Living Voicelessly (I got a cold)

For the first time in their (approximately) ten year career, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre had to cancel a gig because I'd lost my voice. It's amazing this has never happened before. We've made our way through all those months at Edinburgh unscathed (I got a cold in 2008 but scraped through, and in 2013 wore my voice out by doing daytime classes, giving me a couple of croaky shows, but never so bad they'd be called off). But Wednesday 19th broke the voice box.

I'd most likely caught the cold when I was doing art classes last week in the Isle of Wight, or maybe Thame. Colds go through me quite quickly and methodically, and I can pretty well see the stages coming. On Monday I started to feel the cold coming on, a few aches and pains, a little dizziness, and the odd feeling in the roof of your mouth that germs were tunnelling in and making themselves at home.

On Tuesday, my birthday by the way, I continued busying myself at my desk finishing the colour art for the Feeding Of The 5000 while the cold worked through the nose-drippy and sneezy stage, the head feeling stuffed up, but the cold starting to feel like the worst was over. I knew, however, that Wednesday would be the day that the cold went for the throat.

So when I woke on Wednesday, at 4.30am, ready to set off at 5.30 to drive to Three Bridges School in Crawley, I was feeling fit and healthy, but  I knew the voice was vulnerable. I took the gamble that the voice would hold out, but as the day progressed it was clear it wasn't going to. By the end of the day I was reduced to a whisper. But it was the choice I had to make, doing the school and wrecking the voice, and sacrificing the show in the evening, knowing the school was guaranteed good money and the show might not pay so much. I was right. 

The show was in a new venue, Angel Comedy, which is a spin off from another venue, called Angel Comedy. So what punters we had, had gone at first to the wring venue. Then when they did turn up, and there weren't many, I was able to apologise, have a chat, refund the money if necessary, and appease everyone. In a mixture of grunts and whispers.

I then had Thursday in the studio to try and rest the voice. Made a little harder by this being the day my email chose to disappear. Due to some technical thing they're doing, they're made a whole load of peoples emails inaccessible. And I, foolishly, have been relying on this web-based email for over 15 years, keeping all the email addresses in it, storing all conversations in it, and not backing a damn thing up on my computer. So anyone who was waiting for a reply, from Tuesday onwards, or anyone I was in conversation with, would have been emailing me in vain. Anyone who's got my email address from the website, or my business card, or any email I've ever sent -  be they new schools, theatres, clients old or new - will be emailing me in vain, and I've no way of knowing about it. As I type, I've been without email for six days. On Thursday I spent half an hour on the phone to their technical department and they say they'll phone me back with news in 7 to 10 days. SEVEN TO TEN DAYS? I am facing the prospect of possibly never getting those emails back again and having to start from scratch. I've emailed as many people as I can with my new email address. But quite how I contact a school who's getting back in touch with me after a couple of years, trying to second guess which out of 2 or 3 hundred schools that might be, I don't know.

Still to come was Friday's Socks gig at the Ropewalk in Barton On Humber. One of our regular haunts, I knew they'd deliver a big audience, and it was indeed a sellout, so they were going to get the full 90 minute show. Of course not until we'd driven up there. On a Friday. Via our hotel in Wakefield where we needed to break the journey because I had an art class in Manchester the following day. 

Have I ever mentioned Friday nights are the worst for driving? Especially up north where the M5 and M6 have not been fully open for months, and I can't remember the last time I didn't get diverted off via Evesham, or Droitwich, or both. To cut a long story short, seven hours. Leave Clevedon just after midday, get to Barton just after 7pm. And the Socks voices held out. It was touch and go, and croaky, and coughy, and sneezy, and all manners of Seven Dwarves inbetween, but we made it.

The following day in Manchester I even made it through two Comic Art Masterclasses. Thanks to John, one of the helpers, providing me with a honey and lemon drink, and gallons of water, I saw the day through, and the 4 hour drive home too. But quite a week to test the old voice. Now I am blowing my nose for Scotland and will do for a few more days.

Of course next week I am at my desk all week and won't be needing the voice at all. Ain't that just the way.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre do Shakespeare on Tour through Spring 2017.

November 3rd - Canterbury Festival
Nov 5 - Watford Library
Nov 11 - Notts Comedy Festival 

Feb 15 - Buxton Opera House 
Feb 17 & 18 6.50pm - Kayal, Leicester Comedy Fest
March 9 - Aberystwyth Arts Centre
March 15 & 16 - Dram! Glasgow Com Fest
Apr 6 - Victoria Theatre Halifax
Apr 8 - Rondo Bath 
Apr 13 - Hexham Queen Hall 
Apr 22 - Swindon Arts 
Apr 27 - Stroud Subscription Rooms 
Apr 28 - Merlin Theatre Frome 
May 5 - Artrix Bromsgrove
May 6 - Stafford Gatehouse
May 13 (4.30pm) & May 14 (5.30pm) Komedia Brighton
May 19 - Carriageworks Leeds
June 2 - Eden Ct Inverness
May Brighton Fringe dates tbc
Walker Theatre Shrewsbury tbc
Barrow In Furness Forum tbc

Many more dates to be added and confirmed. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Bash St, Bananaman & Bonzos - me in the Beano annual

I'm in the 2017 Beano Annual, on sale now. And thanks to Wayne Thompson, drawing Bananaman (above) you can actually see me. Not a bad likeness wouldn't you say? I've written quite a few of the stories but, because I've not drawn them, you won't find my characteristic name-hiding all over the backgrounds (that happens in this year's Dandy annual, of which more later).

As well as writing the Bananaman strips, I've written the Gnasher strips and, for the very first time, I've been able to write for my legendary namesake David Sutherland (no relation) on the Bash Street Kids stories. He's been drawing the Bash Street Kids, and other stuff for DC Thomson, for literally longer than I've been alive. Yes, you do need to be over 80 years old for that to be possible.

My Gnasher strips (drawn, I think, by Barry Glennard, someone correct me if I'm wrong) are a cough and a spit, being single pagers. Though I have managed to thread some continuity through them, having the Christmas Gnasher story cross over into the Christmas Bash Street story.

And I've managed to return to writing my favourite Bash Street character, Cuthbert Cringeworthy, who I made into a surprise hero back in the days of my Bash St Kids adventures. Some years ago he was the one who turned everyone into the Bash Street Zombies, and who rescued them from the Invasion Of The Beano Snatchers. In this year's annual he crops up, in his superhero disguise, in one of the Bananaman stories, then reappears in a Bash Street story, using the egg from the Easter Egg story as his hideout. And talking of secret superhero hideouts...

Kiwi Fruit girl's hideout, last featured in one of my three-part Bananaman stories a couple of years ago, returns. It's aged a bit since then. And when I'm not incorporating characters and artefacts that I'm over-fond of (it's amazing there's no Hot Rod Cow squeezed in anywhere), I manage to get in some arcane references that I don't expect anyone to get.

"Here comes the Equestrian Statue, marching up and down the square. Little old ladies stop and say 'Well, I declare'". Does anyone recognise the obscure pop song, from neither today nor yesterday, that I'm quoting here? Indeed it was the inspiration for the entire strip. (Answer below*)

And where would Bananaman be without a confrontation between him and Spa Foon of the Squa-Trontians? Regulars in my Bananaman strips of a few years ago, their appearance has changed a bit over time. They've cropped up most recently in the recently self-published Hot Rod Cow No 2 comic - available now kids. Spa-Foon and the Squa-Trontians take their name, of course, from which line of classic comics? (Answer below**)

And to complete the obscure references abounding in this year's Beano strips, can anyone identify which newspaper strip "Whack The Diddle Oh" comes from? The same strip, of which I've had a paperback collection for many years, also gave us the phrases "It's Bonzer in Kangaroo Valley", "Yodel down the great white telephone", and "He wouldn't know you were up him with an armful of chairs". (Answer below***)

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here


* Here Comes The Equestrian Statue is a 1967 song by the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band. Written and sung by Neil Innes, here's a TV performance of it from the German TV show Beat Club.

** Squa-Tront and Span-Fon (sic) were exclamations used in EC comics' science fiction titles Weird Science and Weird Fantasy. Fantagraphics books went on to publish a comic called Squa Tront in the 1990s, and in the 1960s Wally Wood contributed to a fanzine called Spa Fon. I learn, in researching this footnote, that Warren Ellis has also used the phrases as names for aliens, in his 2006 series The Captain. Great minds.)

** Whack the diddle oh, and other colourful Australianisms, come from the strip Barry McKenzie, written by Barry Humphries and drawn by Nicholas Garland, which ran in Private Eye in the 1960s. It went on to be made into two films, starring Barry Crocker (later to play the Dad in Strictly Ballroom) and directed by Bruce Beresford (who won slightly more acclaim for his later films Breaker Morant and Driving Miss Daisy).

Sunday, 16 October 2016

40 artists answer the big question: Who uses pencil and ink any more?

Since I was busy rubbing out pencil lines on a recently inked Feeding of the 5000 page, I was moved to ask the following question on Facebook:

Fellow comic artists. Am I the last person to still use pencil and ink? And a rubber (here's me rubbing out now)? I've hardly updated my working practices in 30 years. I pencil in HB on Bristolboard, ink with a Windsor and Newton sable brush and a rotring pen. Anyone else still working 1890s style like this? (I letter and colour in Photoshop, so I've been dragged into the 1990s at least).

The answers came in their many...

Nick Miller No, you're not the only one Kev. I'm still working my way through a batch of dip pen nibs I inherited from my artist mother. There's no school like old school.

Becky Fawcett I do Kev! I thought I was the only one left!

David Leach Pencil using blue leads over light box, multiple tracing in search of 'the one'. Then finished pencils followed by ink using fibre brush pen. Scan in colour, then remove blue line, just left with black ink and colour using photoshop.

Simonetta Avossa Carvell Russ still uses, all the methods you do.

Glenn B Fleming I still use all those things, Kev, so you're not alone. I use coloured inks and paint, though... so they're slowly getting to you...

John Ross I'm the same as you, Kev, except I scan my pencils into PC, change to blueline then print onto A3 bristol board and ink using pens and brush pen. Looks like you're working on a flat desk too, which I did (for about 30 years) until recently. I had to have surgery last month to remove a slipped disc in my neck. Really hope your body's bearing up better than mine, mate, but I'd recommend you get a draughtsman's table or similar and start working on a bit of an incline. I'm guessing you'll feel the benefit,

Lew Stringer I use blue non-repro pencil on Canson Bristol Board, then ink with Zig Cartoonist pens and UniPin fine liners. (And use UniPins if I'm lettering too.) Then scan into Photoshop to colour.

Henry Flint Slightly different. I pencil on layout paper then use a light box to ink onto glossy card. Fine liners on glossy card flow nicely.

Garen Ewing I've turned to digital for most of my commercial illustration, but still draw my comics with a clutch pencil, ink with a dip pen (currently a Leonardt nib) and on Goldline Bristol board.

Jamie Smart I think a lot of artists still do don't they? For the record I never even evolved to Bristolboard, I've been working on sketch pads my entire career :)

Kev Sutherland Wow, 10 artists in and no mention of a Cintiq. I feel a lot less antiquated now.

Jim Wheelock I do a lot on paper, but finish digitally. For my GN, INFERNO LOS ANGELES, I designed the pages on paper, laid the panels out in Photoshop, did pencils on paper and scanned and then inked them in Manga Studio, inserting them in the frames. It let me work lager, which loosened up my drawing a lot. Manga Studio let me experiment more, and get past some of my blocks because I could always "fix" it. My old inked pages were piled on with white-out and corrections. On the other hand, I've been working in pencil and Prismacolors with watercolor pencils on colored paper in live sketch sessions and have been thinking of doing a story that way. Very hybrid.

Steve Bright Did all of the above for over 20 years before moving over to the Dark Side of digital, and eventually fully converting to Cintiq (there - said it!) drawing seven years ago. Never looked back! Let's be blunt here - I still use all the 'old skills', and the requirement for them and talent is every bit as important to produce quality digital work as before. I can now do it faster and cleaner though, and I have many, many more options before me, all in one neat package. I can also still use all of the old stuff, but why would I want to? Come on in, folks - the water is lovely... (why do I suddenly feel like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? "Lollipops, ice cream, chocolate, treacle tart - all free today. Come along, Children...")

Nigel Parkinson For me, 45gsm Layout paper, a bit of HB pencil, then Pilot sign pen and Staedtler Pigment liners (0.3 mainly) followed by Staedtler plastic eraser. Then Photoshop to clean up and spot black and then colouring.
Never used Bristol Board, gave up dip pen and ink a long time ago because of THIS ...

Graham Bleathman All my cutaways are hand drawn and hand painted....I'm sure I'm the last person on Earth do to them like this, which probably makes my style unique now (and if I sell the original- which I very occasionally decide to do - the new owner gets an original piece of art, not a print)....

Alex Collier Cintiq user here. Originally got it for animation work, but gradually started inking my Viz comics with it, then producing the pencils with it, and now use it all the time for everything. I personally find it so much neater, quicker, and more enjoyable to use. It's brilliant to have as many chances at getting that 'line' as you need. I chucked my old drawing board out, and keep my nibs on a museum shelf. It's a shame not have an original bit of art to hold on to, and then to clog up my spare room with, but the trade off, to me, is well worth it, and I never fancy flogging my original work off anyway. Mainly cos I suspect no one would buy it.

Guy Venables I wouldn't dare use anything so modern as a rotring pen. I use a dip pen and one of them is a feather.

Stephen Waller · Friends with Jamie Smart and 9 others
I wish I could. Ink looks so much more human. I pencil in my A4 sketchbook, but then 'ink' on my iPad. I only really get to draw comics sitting on the train to and from work, so working with real ink has never been a something I could consider when the train carriage is bumping all over the place. Maybe one day...

Joe Matthews blue pencils, on layout paper, twice size, then scan and colour up on photoshop. lettering in Illustrator,

Andrew Dodd You may find it handy to convert your own hand writing to a font you can use in photoshop too. I also have a similar method of working and it can help with a story to switch media like that.

Whilst I use photoshop alot to create digital art, I DO still do things the old fashioned way for certain art...and I love it! example...Clint...all done by hand, not a pixel in sight...

Stephen White I'm totally traditional....except for the colouring. I letter on the computer too, was surprised to see you drawing the bubbles into the artwork.

Toby Reeve I occasionally wonder whether and how artists balance being digital only with this meaning there is no other income from selling the pages at a later date.

Davey Jones Bristol board, pencil and dippy nibs here, too. Some years ago at Viz we decided to buy enough Gillott 303 nibs to last us until we die, and divided them up between us. My pile of little boxes doesn't look very big at all. Hate opening a new one, because I feel the chill of the grave.

Paul Savage I don't even use bristol board. Pencil on a pre printed border, then inked over with a rotring artpen. Letter on there as well. Then I scan, and tinker. It's just what I find quickest.

Yup, I'm pens, pencils and paper all the way!

David Roach Oh, I still use pencil on paper, which I then ink with a dip pen or brush, though I use fine line markers as well. My latest Judge Andersoin strip ( in Prog 2000) was also painted in Gouache. But I did a few panels just in pencil so yu probably can't get more retro. You are not alone Kev.

Nick Brennan Oh dear. I'm all over the place with what I use. Started with pen & ink on some hot-pressed paper from Letraset, but that was no good when the Dandy went full colour; so switched to watercolour paper for the colouringwifedroid to use acrylic paint on. Then she got Photoshop and since then it's been various pens (dip, unipin, Artpen) on various papers (bristol, cartridge, printer) for scanning. A lot of this switching about after being somewhat frustrated by finding areas of paper where the ink will start to bleed all over the shop for no apparent reason. After I've pencilled it all up and inked half of it, usually. Nnnngh. So in the pursuit of a nice clean line, I am now grappling with a Wacom tablet, at least for some of the stuff I do.

Michael How Well Kev Sutherland, I'm a comic artist of a different sort, but as a live performer you'll be pleased to know that I too remain one hundred per cent analogue. This is largely due to the fact that no one in TV will give me a job, but I don't care!

Sarah Joy I'm an occasional illustrator - I use pencil on sketchbook, then layout paper, then over the top in Pilot pen (when my Rotrings got a bit unreliable), then scan, occasionally vectorise in Illustrator then colour and chop about in Illustrator or Cocopop.

Davy Francis Yes Key, pen and ink all the way ( but no pencils)!!

Simon Wyatt Still old school pencils, ink on paper.

Anji Jane Cuttler Pens, pencils, paper , rubbers, pastels & charcoal & anything hands on , love all of the earthy stuff x

Haven't touched a pencil since I got the tablet… and I'm a little ashamed to admit that. Miss my favourite pencils :-(

Ryobina Polfuss I create illustrated paper puppet colouring kits, a moving thing which you can't really do on a computer. I use pencil & ink, and a (home built) light box to build the layers. I even hand write all the instructions. (at some point I did start using my photocopier to make the reduced size instructional image because that's faster than hand drawing it. And I use a photocopier to reproduce the finished papers to sell.)

Roderick McKie I know people who do a combination. That's among both comic artists and book illustrators. They pencil, sometimes small, with full pages on A4, increase them on the computer to A3 and work them up to a finish. That's the line work done and often that's...See More

Tony O'Donnell I am still traditional - I have tried with the computer but I struggle with it.

Seán Michael Wilson If it aint broke, dont update it!

Pete Renshaw My working method is as follows and has evolved for speed. HB pencil on Bristol Board. Ink over with Pentel Brushpen and Sharpies, the brushpen gives the same cursive line as a good sable but indian ink is an environmental hazard, you can knock it over. Indian ink is wonderful and gives a dense black but takes too long to dry. Problem solved by scanning and adjusting blacks in Photoshop which is quicker. Work on the image in Manga Studio, correcting mistakes, adding hatching and cutting into the blacks. MS includes tools that can be set to feather each line etc. Make a mistake and you 'undo' so you can be bold and experimental. Then turn Layer to multiply and check the lighthouse symbol so that the B&W layer becomes a guide. Colour on layers below. Move on to the next image in 110 page graphic novel without guilt.

Penny Sharp I use pencil on paper and then ink - usually just cartridge though - sometimes colour on the cartridge, sometimes scan and colour

Mark Irwin You mean there are easier ways to do this?:) 100% traditional here.

Richard Stone Still working freehand traditional, Kev, can't focus any other way than the pencil/pen biting the paper/bristol board. 

Only use digital to tweak contrast and blacks and greyscale prior to printing. 

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Deadpool Had A Baby - comics by kids

Another week, another handful of Comic Art Masterclasses at schools and Literary Festivals. In some cases both. The above pair of comic covers are from the creations dreamed up by a mix of kids at my Saturday workshops in the Barn Centre, Thame, Oxon, as part of the Thame Art & Literature Festival. A return booking, they'd bagsied me so far in advance that I was unable to do Saturday classes at...

...Isle Of Wight Literary Festival. Which was a shame as we'd had a highly enjoyable Friday night launch event and Saturday morning chat with our fellow writers there last year. As it was, the IOWLF had to settle for me doing two weekdays of classes in primary schools. Above was a pair of Year 4 groups at The Ryde School in, well, Ryde.

And these two schools were in Newport, another cracking set of comic creations. The comics they take away are A5 photocopied jobs, the colour is just a little bit of after-care service I like to do in my spare time. (And you can certainly see that I've started colouring The Feeding Of The 5000 strip, in my day job as a comics artist, because I'm going to town on full colour instead of just a bit of speedy spot colour. A fool to myself, I am.)

These are from a Saturday of classes at Countesthorpe College. And for the Yellow Banana comic cover, I suddenly realised I don't have to put a solid border round the cover every time. Allowing me to indulge in another little bit of comic cliche, the "bursting through" cover (an entire blog-full of which I discovered the other day.)

The celebrities these eight groups chose to tread on a worm were Donald Trump (three times), Simon Cowell, Katy Perry, Mary Berry, Declan Donnelly and Justin Bieber.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Monday, 10 October 2016

Me on the People's History Of Pop

Way back in February I recorded a couple of interviews for a show called The People's History Of Pop. One interview, shot in front of Conan in my old bedroom in Kibworth, was supposed to appear on the Midlands' version of BBC 1's Inside Out, but seems to have bitten the dust. However the main interview I did, in my freezing cold office at the start of the year, finally saw the light this week on BBC Four.  Here's the whole show on YouTube, and here's my short appearance.

The series of programmes is a marvellous nostalgia fest, looking at fans and memorabilia collectors, along with people who've been in bands, and anyone whose lives have been touched by pop music over the years. Our episode, part 3 of the series, covers 1976 - 85 and opened with me looking at my diary. The Picture Diary, which of course has its own blog - My 1970s Diary - started in 1974 and ran to late 1977, with me illustrating a full page every day, without a day missed. The thing that attracted the programme to me was my Records For The Day, which is what I talk about in the show.

Their interest in my diary has revived my own interest in it, and I'm uploading more pages from the three volumes I've been able to find (mid 1976 to late 77) as and when. There's a nice bit of cultural history in these pages and I'd love them to reach a wider audience some day. For the time being, have a glance at the blog and let me know if you like them.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Friday, 7 October 2016

Bla, Bla, Bla - new comics by schoolkids

The past week's comic travels have taken me to Ireland where, as a by product of having a delayed flight home and rattling round in a big hotel room on my own, I had time enough to add more colour than usual to the front covers of the comics the kids produced. I was a little extra inspired by the fact that both of the Dublin schools I visited had kids comics covers from my past visits still on display on the walls (one dating back to 2011, showing me how much slicker my covers have become over the years). These (above, from Clongowes Wood College) should look nifty in a frame.

These are from St Aidans in Tallaght, who have kids comic covers dating back to 2011 on the walls of the library. I'm still not sure what Big Stacks meant (the hormonal giggling of the 2nd Year boys (that's year 8 in old country money) made me think it must be sexual, but I'm still not sure). Eagle eyed readers will spot the alternative stacks I managed to squeeze in there. Spoiler alert, the answers are: a haystack, Giant Haystacks, a Marshall stack, Jean Genie loving chimney stacks, and Otis Redding who was on which record label..?

These comics are from Kingfisher school in Birmingham, a special school for pupils who've been excluded from other schools. It's good for me to see that I can rise to the challenge of more interesting and difficult classroom situations, and get good results from them all. Also squeezed in a Tardis, which is something you don't get the chance to do in Ireland (where Doctor Who can't get arrested).

And here we have the comics produced by pupils at Three Bridges School in Crawley, as part of a special day organised by The Beano. It wasn't my usual set up (usually I do a full workshop with 30 pupils maximum at a time, these groups had 60 and 90 in them and didn't run to the full length) so you might notice there are no contributions by the pupils themselves on the cover art. (Normally each pupil draws a little something on the cover while they're waiting for me to draw their individual caricatures - didn't I mention I can draw 30 kids in 30 minutes? - these classes had to live without any caricatures and only had half an hour to draw their comic strips in. But by god I made sure they were left with a good-looking cover!)

The celebs these kids chose for my never-gets-old Treading On A Worm demonstration were Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian (twice), Donald Trump, Simon Cowell, Michael McIntyre, Lionel Messi and Katy Perry.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here
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