And then I spent two days in Northumberland, on a well planned schedule that took me from Ponteland in the morning to Morpeth in the afternoon, then Rothbury the next day and Alnwick in the afternoon, and finally back to Newcastle airport, delivering four Comic Art Masterclasses in (if you haven't worked it out in your mental map) successive towns working vertically up the map. As it transpired, a couple of schools got swapped, so I ended up staying in one town then working in the other first thing. But whatever, it was a lovely round trip. And look at the comics the pupils produced.
These are merely the front covers of their A5 comics, a copy of which they all take home, with colour added by me after the fact. And, notably, these schools straddle the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA. I was hoping the above example for Ponteland was to be the last in a long line of Trump themed comics by primary school pupils, but sadly that's clearly not the case. (They didn't plan for Trump to be the "Get in the chopper", but that's what they got.)
A moment, if I may, to celebrate the parents of, not this week's school, but an earlier one. For it was in Ipswich that we reached quite possibly the apogee of the phenomenon that is Kids Names. I can't besmirch it with a description any worse than that. They're fine names, they're lovely names, and undeniably they are great kids. But those names.
You see, what happens is that I draw every child's caricature. And, once done, I ask their names. And, for the challenge, I hazard a guess at the spelling of their names. By and large I'm considered quite good at this task. Occasionally I am stretched, maybe even embarrassed. There are many names that originate overseas, and I'm good at politely acquiring the spelling thereof. But every now and again...
"Reilly" says the child. Go on, what would you guess? Obviously it wasn't REILLY or I wouldn't have opened the paragraph with it. So, what? Riley? Ri - actually I'm out of guesses right there.
Welcome to Ipswich (for there it was. You can we see their delightful faces above). See also:
"Kieran". Spelled Kyrun.
"Mason". Spelled Maycun.
"Cyrus". Spelled Zyrus. And a girl.
It's not an unusual phenomenon. Though, I have just corrected myself by editing, it is not phenomena. Or they're not phenomena. Or... oh I don't know. Don't come to me as an arbiter of grammar. Or spelling.
But seriously. Rhylee? Kids today...
The celebs they chose for the demonstration strip were John Cena, Declan Donnelly, David Beckham, and inevitably Donald Trump.
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.