Saturday, 21 July 2018

Man Made Of Bottoms, and Simon Cowell - comics by kids


What's more delightful, on the cover of a comic book created with a group of schoolkids, than a unicorn climbing up a rainbow lamppost? Well the answer, obviously, is seahorses, fire extinguishers and a man made of bottoms. What are the chances that two of the most delightful things should come from classes in Hemel Hempstead library?


From the air conditioned luxury of Hemel, on the hottest day of the year (NB this being the 30th consecutive hottest days-of-the-year of the year), it was up the road to the Latitude Festival where the kids and I produced these two comics in a tent. Then didn't actually produce them as there was no photocopier. Cos we were in a tent, in a field, on the hottest day of the year (31st consecutive thereof).



In Enniskillen, in contrast, it was quite cloudy and overcast. But the kids were as brilliant as ever, and their comics equally so. Though, I'm told, Kill It With Fire is a "dead meme". Me neither.


The celebrities these 6 groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Simon Cowell (a career-resurgently three times), Jake Paul, Tom Cruise, and - best suggestion of the month - William The Conqueror.



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

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Animated gifs and Neath Preview


The Socks Superhero Preview in Neath on July 11th was the most surprising for the very fact that it took place.

Having done a Comic Art Masterclass in the afternoon, I was quite prepared for the evening show to be cancelled taking place, as it did, slap bang in the middle of England v Croatia in the World Cup Semi Final, England's most important football match for 28 years. As it happened I needn't have worried. Neath is a rugby town, in the valleys in Wales, and no-one gives a toss about either the English or football, so I got a bigger audience than last week in Harrow. About twice the size in fact.


(Here, have an animated gif. This was my first attempt at trying to look like a 3D lenticular. I'm sure I'll master it in time.)

The Neath crowd was mostly folks who'd seen the Socks before so were very supportive, but also a good test of when material wasn't as strong as the rest. As a result of which I was going through the whole show thinking "this bit goes on too long", and "this is good, we need to build on that", etc.


So we were doing exactly the same script as Harrow, and I'm now sat at my desk script-editing. Having run through the script, and all the prop changes, with the fully erected fully propped socks' set in my office, my various notes go:

Motion Capture - needs tightening
Ang Lee - needs shortening
Batman - needs to build on audience interaction
Various costume changes - need off-stage banter to cover
Joker calling Harley and Ivy - now has a new prop, and is separated into two scenes
Doctor Strange - needs more action
The Kents - need tightening
Falling out scene - needs callbacks
Final Brother scene - shorten
Finale - more callbacks

So, Bedford Fringe on Thursday should get the best script ever. I hope they're ready for it.


The Award Winning* Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are Superheroes at The Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe from August 1st to 26th - ON SALE NOW! 

*Winners of the Bath Comedy Festival Lovehoney Best Joke Award 2018


Previews:  
July 19 - Bedford Fringe

Friday, 13 July 2018

Bible The Sequel - comics by kids


This week's classes were blissfully short of long distance travel, indeed a couple of them could be classed a positively local. These two comics, produced at Bridlewood Primary school in Swindon and Swindon Academy, were a mere hour's drive away. Luxury. The Trump theme was a coincidence, but also notable that we've hardly ended up with a Trump cover for months, after the dozens we've had in the past year or two.


St Katherine's Academy in Pill, just 20 minutes from home, came up with a possibly contentious title with Bible The Sequel, and also another of the many Pineapple titles that occasionally crop up. Pineapples and potatoes are the most popular edible subject matter for kids comic, for reasons I can't fathom.



What did I say? This post-school session at Neath Comedy Festival gave us another potato classic. And the next day at Churchill Academy (again, just 20 minutes drive from home), which was an all day class with one group, was the first of the summer to mention the World Cup. The day after England got knocked out, and they come up with a cover rubbing it in. Kids eh?


I produced a couple of good flipcharts this week, maybe not as busy as the ones I managed the previous week. But this one from Churchill managed to include Gareth Southgate and his characteristic waistcoat from the World Cup. The other one's from St Katherines in Pill.


The celebrities these 6 groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were John Travolta, David Beckham, Boris Johnson, Taylor Swift, Kim Jong Un, and Theresa May.



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

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Chuffing Wazzocks - new comics by kids


If it's the latest hottest weekend of the year, then it must see me spending three days in Scunthorpe. Thanks to the smashing 2021 Art Centre, I had an extended trip, which included staying in a hotel with a view of the Humber Bridge and lakes all round. V pleasant. One thing I was up against, for my class at Scunthorpe Library on Saturday afternoon, was the England v Sweden World Cup Quarter Final. Amazingly we attracted a class of 12 and did a fine class. On kid, oddly, was wearing a football shirt but wasn't bothered about the football. I shall be hoping this same syndrome extends to Welsh comedy fans when, this coming Wednesday, The Scottish Falsetto Socks attempt to do an Edinburgh Preview at the same time as the Semi Final.


The trip began with two Scunthorpe schools in a day. Well, to be accurate, it began with a 90 minute drive from a hotel on the M1 near Nottingham which came, in turn, after a drive from the Socks gig in Harrow which took three and a half hours (longer than it should). So these classes were managed on five hours sleep after five hours driving. Ironically they only added up to four hours of teaching.


Scunthrope's 2021 Visual Arts centre had organised the three day trip, and they got the final day's classes, on a hot and humid Sunday. Two more perfect classes, though I say so myself.




The timing of the two classes on the Friday meant that I had more time than usual on my hands to draw the flipchart. Sometimes I arrive in school just when we're about to start and getting nothing drawn. In this case, I arrived at a primary school at 8.30 in the morning and they didn't need me till 9.30, then in the afternoon at the secondary school I was there at midday and not needed till 1.30. So, a couple of nice looking flipcharts to leave them with.


At Scunthorpe Libray on the Saturday I gave them a tribute to Steve Ditko, whose death was only announced that morning. And on Sunday I took the opportunity to reference 2000AD comics - which hardly ever happens as no kid has ever heard of 2000AD and I haven't read it myself for ten years, sadly. It was too good an opportunity to miss to make the 2021 logo look like 2000AD's classic masthead.


It wasn't all Scunthorpe this week. There was also a one-off class at Coleford Library in The Forest Of Dean. Jolly good fun, and nice to work somewhere that doesn't take half a day to get to.


The celebs these seven groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Kim Kardashian, Dwayne Johnson, Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Will Ferrell, Kim Jong Un, and, most original of the week, Sir Isaac Newton.



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, 6 July 2018

Quad posters and Harrow preview


I think it's been 10 years since I paid to have posters displayed on the streets of Edinburgh during the Fringe. Way back in 2007 there was a company called Diabolical Liberties who did it. We celebrated them in song in fact. (With a video that's not aged well...)



Back then it was the last days of flyposting when, as we say in the song, "a man with a bucket and a big fat brush" would stick your posters on any available surface. This was, obviously, rather destructive to the look of Edinburgh, and you'd find remnants of many of these posters clinging to their various surfaces when you returned a year later.

So it was that the council and the venues and promoters got together and got the distribution of posters officially licensed, and every year since it's got a bit more professional, and a bit more expensive. Ten years ago I paid £250 to get (I think) 100 A2 posters flyposted all over Edinburgh. This year I decided to dip my toe in the water and found, for £150, I could afford to have two posters put up. They are, it has to be said, quite big (Quad size, which is 30" x 40") and printed on thick vinyl, and attached properly to specially erected stands. But, blimey, the amount some companies are paying for posters is mind boggling. I'm perfectly aware that my tiny drop in the ocean will go unseen among the millions, but if they put 15 and a half bums on seats, then they've justified their investment. (That's fiftenn bums and one buttock, and don't think I won't be counting).



Oh yeah, and we did another Preview of Superheroes, and it went brilliantly. Too soon to be getting cocky, but I think, short of a few nips and tucks, we have the show that we'll be keeping. We were on at the Trinity Bar in Harrow, and many thanks to Alison Kent for putting this on. We didn't get a big audience - this being the hottest summer for years, and most people being more interested in football than going to comedy shows - but the dozen or so in the room gave us a marvellous reception, and a perfect test of our stuff. There were only two people who'd seen us before, and so we won over a handful of strangers then really made them laugh with all Superheroes and no fallback stuff.

The running order is now:

SUPERHEROES RUNNING ORDER, Thurs July 5 2018
(All items good as before unless mentioned)

Opening Batman/Ditko/Flash 
I’m A Sock song
Cosmopolitan / Bob Kane
NEW - Wonderful World song - Perfect! Why hasn't this been in the show all along?
Motion Capture
Scottish Superheroes
Hulk Ang Lee
Plot/ Maguffin 
Batman/ Teeth / etc
Bechdel Test song 
NEW - Joker calls Harley & Ivy - good, works
Cock Robin 
Science/Faraday/Sagan
Helium routine 
Brother 1
Racist Brother song
Avengers
Avengers Reel 
Dr Strange / Wong / Thanos
Wonder Woman routine 
Fantastic 4 
Superman / JorEl / Kents / Glasses
Dead Ringer song
Brother 2
Science 2
Joker 2 
Harley & Ivy
Brother 3 - now shorter
What I’ve Learned - now shorter
All By Myself song 
NEW Finale -  with extra Thanos, even better.

The show came to about an hour & ten minutes last night, with a lot of audience play (we adlibbed Saltire Man from audience suggestion and had some good banter) so we can lose a lot still. If anything it's the Brother subplot that's now not as funny as the superhero material, which is pretty much the opposite of where we were back in March. I'll just keep trimming as we go, and hopefully the adlibs and banter will bed in while the structure stays the same. Well done us. (Cue the next preview being horrible and me wanting to rewrite the whole thing. Wouldn't be the first time.)


The Award Winning* Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are Superheroes at The Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe from August 1st to 26th - ON SALE NOW! 

*Winners of the Bath Comedy Festival Lovehoney Best Joke Award 2018


Previews:
July 11 - Neath Comedy Festival

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

New Socks Superheroes t shirt - available now



Here it is at last, the 2018 Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: SUPERHEROES Official t-shirt and it can be yours now! Ready to post now! Am I using too many exclamation marks?!?

It's our traditional black t shirt, available in Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, and Female Medium, bearing the new Socks Superheroes roundel (detail below, clearly fake shirt in photo above)

To order one, simply pay £20 (UK) /$30 (to USA) by Paypal to sockpuppets@sitcomtrials.co.uk including in your order the size you want and your full address. A shirt will be yours by return.

The print run has been made, so sizes are limited to the ones shown above (thanks to those who pre-ordered kids sizes and super-duper-large shirts, those are now sadly out of stock). In Edinburgh the shirts will be £15 each direct from me (ie postage free).


Thanks in anticipation for your orders. Love The Socks.

NB: Postage. Two shirts are £35 / $50 inc postage, three shirts are £52 / $75 inc postage, four shirts are £70 / $100 inc postage.

Here's the actual shirt itself (though this time it's the Socks that are fake):





The Award Winning* Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are Superheroes at The Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe from August 1st to 26th - ON SALE NOW! 

*Winners of the Bath Comedy Festival Lovehoney Best Joke Award 2018


Previews:

July 11 - Neath Comedy Festival

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Celery & Constipation - comics and flipcharts by kids


June has been the quietest month of the year for my Comic Art Masterclasses, being the height of exam season and with no Bank Holidays or half terms to fill. But inbetween working hard at my desk producing the Socks comic and finalising the show, I've managed a few days at the chalkface. These two examples are from Dean Close School in Cheltenham.


It was a long hot six and a half hour drive to Felixstowe for these two classes, but well worth it they were. Thanks to the Felixstowe Book Festival for laying on these sessions at the library.


This month saw a couple of events where I was invited to give a talk, but not to do the full class. So on both these occasions - at Croome House in Worcestershire, and a park in Maidenhead - I had lots of spare time on my hands in which to turn out a nice page of flipchart for them to keep. The examples above are from Croome, which was Beano themed as you can tell, and Dean Close school where my classes had a late start cos the kids had to get their innoculations. The one below was Maidenhead's flipchart.





At Ludlow Fringe I did one class on the afternoon ahead of doing the Socks show in the evening, and here's what they produced.


The celebrities these 5 groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Kim Jong Un, David Attenborough, Donald Trump (twice), and Tom Holland. PLUS - an added bonus - I did three talks (in Maidenhead and Croome) which didn't involve making a comic but did involve the demo strip, for which those three groups chose Simon Cowell, David Walliams, and Mary Berry.



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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