Monday 30 May 2022

Socks in Brighton and Glasgow - compare and contrast

After a Socks performance, if there's time, I give the audience the chance to take selfies with the Socks before I pack up. Here we see, from our show last weekend at Komedia in Brighton, the delightful Sam and Aoife. The odd thing about this sock-selfie, which distinguishes it from any other sock-selfie ever taken, is that this shot comprises the entire audience.

Yes, on Sunday May 22nd, at 12.30 midday, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre performed to, officially, their smallest audience ever. Two people. And do you know what, it was an excellent show. Sam & Aoife were the perfect crowd, they'd never seen us before, and they gave Eurovision Sock Contest a really good preview, from which I know what needs rewriting, and all the usual take-aways. I also learn the downside of moving house in March, just when you should be busy finalising all the paperwork for a show in May. I forgot to pay my fee to Brighton Fringe until it was too late, so I didn't end up in the programme. I also didn't get posters or flyers to the venue, which, combined with the odd midday time slot, rendered us an invisible show. Quite how Sam & Aoife found us I don't know, but I'm glad they did.

In contrast, here's Socks fan Carolyn Sleith taking just one of the many Sock selfies taken at the Satellite 7 sci fi convention in Glasgow on Friday May 27th when we played to an audience of about 300, and they were marvellous. When we'd played there way back in 2014 we'd given them Socks In Space, which was appropriate to the theme. This time they got a special Best Of, including 4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, Earth Song, a bit of Superhero improv, Star Wars, and lots of fun interactive banter which went down a storm. There are two gigs in a week to play compare and contrast with, if ever there were two, and luckily both of them good 'uns. Just one more profitable than the other.

The following day was the last night of Britain's Got Talent auditions on ITV and, you won't be surprised to find, we never appeared. About which more anon.

You can catch the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's brand new hour-long musical comedy extravaganza The Eurovision Sock Contest live on stage in a series of previews, in the run up to their return to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

See them now at:

June 18 7pm - Ludlow Fringe

June 23 - Grassington Festival

Sun July 3 6.15pm - Derby Bar One 

Fri July 15 7pm - Beverley Puppet Fest

Sun July 17 3.25pm - Sheffield New Barrack Tavern

Sat July 23 - Bedford Fringe 

August 3 - 13 - Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe, for 11 nights only, 4.30pm. Tickets on sale NOW!

Saturday 28 May 2022

Queen Breaks Her Back - a week of comics by kids

En route to the Satellite 7 convention in Glasgow, which I couldn't fly to cos I needed to take up The Socks and my comics, I lined up four days in schools, and what an excellent four days they were.

Morland Primary School near Penrith - all this week's schools were near, rather than actually in, towns - was the first of my Lake-District-adjacent schools, most of which I'd spoken to about having me in the run up to the Lakes Comic Festival last October. They were doing a Jubilee themed day, as were a few schools. I'm not sure this rather dark title was what they were expecting. Have I ever mentioned these titles are all the kids ideas?

Underley Garden is a special school, located in a massive stately home with the highest ceilings I think I've seen. The kids were challenging but I think I did pretty well with them. The teachers seemed to think so, which is good enough for me.

Thursday was a day of two schools, with Asby in the morning and Crosby Ravensworth in the afternoon. Dragons Burn The World is my favourite bit of colouring of the week, though I've got to say there's stiff competition. To be fair, what else have I had to do every night apart from colour my front covers and eat badly?

Day four of my mini tour of the North took me back to Old Hutton, which was one of the last schools I visited, in March 2020, just before the first lockdown happened. We joked at the time about the title the kids came up for that visit's comics: The World's Ending And No-One Cares. (Look here it is again...)

The celebrities these 8 groups chose to appear, treading on a worm, in my demonstration strip were Ed Sheeran (three times), Boris Johnson, The Queen, Elon Musk, Simon Cowell, and Dwayne The Rock Johnson. 

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Ten Years of comics from Colmore

Well almost. I've been visiting Colmore Juniors in Kings Heath, Birmingham to deliver my Comic Art Masterclasses since at least 2011 (probably longer, but that's as far back as my records show). And every visit results in up to four brand new comics containing strips by every one of them. Following my most recent visit, and the blog thereupon, I thought I'd take a look at their fab creations from the past decade. Sadly, the vagiaries of the various modes of photo-uploading over the years mean that some comics have vanished into the ether. But here are the best that survive. (Above, May 2021)

May 2014, the earliest pics available, commemorate the fact that I was writing and drawing Pansy Potter The Strongman's Daughter in The Beano at the time.

May 2015, when year 5 still only had 3 forms, I included the caricatures of the kids in order to keep the symmetry of the blog post. These 10 year old kids will now be 17 years old, somewhere.

2016 saw the arrival of Donald Trump in the imaginations of primary schoolkids. He would go on to become the most-suggested celebrity in my "person treads on worm" demonstration strip for the next four years.

By 2017 I'd started colouring the front covers in full colour, and emailing these versions back to the schools I visited. And not charging any extra money for this! I am an idiot. I hope the schools and kids appreciate it.

2018's comics maintained the consistently high standard of titles the Colmore kids come up with.

By 2019 we'd reached peak inspiration from the kids of Colmore, so you can imagine I was looking forward to my return visit in May 2020.

...which was, of course, cancelled. Too late I discover I could be earning a pretty penny caricaturing at parties in Downing Street, but for the rest of us, work was off for a year. These were from my return in May 2021 when Colmore was, appropriately, the first school to have me back in after lockdown.

Here's to the next ten years.

Kev F's Comic Art Masterclass - make a comic in a couple of hours. Suitable for kids age 7 and older, Taking bookings now
My Books and where to get them:

Richard The Third Amazon - Etsy - Barnes & Noble - Waterstones
Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy - Kindle
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Space Elain - Lulu
Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy - Webtoons
The Book Of Esther - Lulu  - Amazon Webtoons
Joseph, Ruth & Other Stories - Amazon
Captain Clevedon - Amazon
Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon  

Friday 20 May 2022

The Anime Who Took Your Mum Away - comics by kids

What a fabulous range of titles, stuffed full of originality and wit. This is the sort of thing I love to see, and of course it's what I've come to expect from the Year 5 pupils of Colmore Juniors in Kings Heath, who I've been visiting now for some years, usually about the same time. They're responsible for 4 of the 8 comics you see above.

(I was going to link to the blog from my first classes at Colmore, in 2011, but sadly, as you can see, the links to the pics of the kids comics have long since broken. Blogs don't last as long as printed paper, sadly)

Here are the Colmore kids comics from 2014, the first ones where you can actually see the covers. (Here are their comics from 2012, with the images missing (but nice words about them); Their 2013 comics, images missing again) 

Colmore kids comics from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, (2020 didn't happen), and 2021

Castleford was the first of a two day stint in North Yorkshire and saw these wonderful creations from these primary school classes.

Elmsall library invited groups in from two local schools, Ash Grove and Moorthorpe, who came up with these little smashers.

As we see with the first of Colmore Juniors' comics, from this year's visit, some trends are emerging. Namely the recurrence of Peppa Pig on the front covers (once they see the little bugger on another cover, it lingers in their heads, and becomes the funniest of their own suggestions) and, less explicably, the suggestion of Tom Holland as the celeb to appear in my demo strip. He came up four times this week. Very much the new Donald Trump (who hasn't, I think, been suggested this year).

Colmore day 2 created my favourite pair of titles. Anime inspired a cover drawing I'm very pleased with, and The Chicken is just brilliantly sick. Year fives, eh.

The celebs these 8 groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were  Tom Holland (four times!), Justin Bieber, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Elon Musk and Daniel Radcliffe.

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Eurovision Volume 2 - and other business

As Eurovision itself was coming up on May 12th, and my Eurovision Colouring Book was proving far and away my biggest seller to date (81 copies sold so far this month), I felt inspired (and sufficiently distracted from ever writing that bloody crime novel which is supposed to make my fortune) to make another.

So it was that Eurovision Volume 2: The Winners came into being, with 33 brand new drawings, his time showing every single winning country and every single one of their entries. My plan was to get it published a week before Eurovision so people would buy it in the excitement of the competition.

Here is the newly tweaked Ukraine page, can you spot the massive change?
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