Pop Up Festival of Stories in Essex, UK

illustration

More pics from the festival.

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Summer Events. One Down…

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, From the sketchbooks, idea, publishing

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The Carnegie Greenaway award winners were announced on the same morning I was doing a workshop in front of around 100 children, where they showed what their picks were for the Winner. This took place at Platform in North London which is quite near where I live. The event was well organised by Islington Library Services.
A full list of winners, including this year’s can be seen here.  The Greenaway winner can be seen here, along with a list of previous winners. Teams of children stepped up and made presentations about their favourite books in what was a very enjoyable morning. Before we started, Sylvia Cohen warmed the children up with a few exercises to sharpen the mind and build confidence. She’s good at that.

I had to comment on each team’s work, and then run a workshop on creativity.  During the workshop we discussed where ideas come from and how to hold onto and then make something of them before setting them free. I read an unfinished text for a book idea as an example (the Bear above is part of that).

At the end we handed out One page books on the creativity workshop which the children could take away. That part of the event was made possible by the sponsoring of the print run, something I hadn’t considered doing until recently. It worked fantastically well; the children went away with something they could use later, the sponsors, Singer Financial Trust and Spot On Print were able to play their parts in giving schools a little more than usual and of course for us, it marks the beginning of a collaboration that will bring literature and drama in new and enjoyable ways. 

I am working on a digital version of the one page book which can be downloaded from this site

I’m still waiting for some images of the event that I can post.

 

K

 

 

 

African Mythological Creatures: Adze, The Vampire

idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max

creatures-adze

 

The Adze is a vampiric being from Ewe folklore in Togo and Ghana. It normally looks like a firefly, but it will transform into human shape when captured.

In its human form, the Adze has the power to possess ordinary humans and turn them into witches.

A person is suspected of being possessed in a variety of situations, including: women with brothers (especially if their brother’s children fared better than their own), old people (if the young suddenly started dying and the old stayed alive) and the poor (if they envied the rich).

The Adze’s effects are generally felt by the possessed victim’s family or those the victim is jealous of. In firefly form, the Adze can pass through closed doors at night and suck blood from people as they sleep. Victims would fall ill and die.

Tales of the creature and its effects were probably used to describe the potentially deadly effects of mosquitos and malaria. There is no defense against an Adze. 

Source: Bunson, Matthew (1993). The Vampire Encyclopedia.

Who Still thinks Educational Books Can’t Be Fun?

idea, illustration

hesse

 

I subscribe to Good magazine and I read a short article called ‘We Should Probably Turn Text Books in to Comic Books‘ by writer Liz Dwyer. In ti the writer points out that the debate about books being physical or digital might actually be a side issue: more important, according a to university study is ensuring that “the academic content within the book is in a format that’s going to help students retain more information.”

It reminded me of a time, decades ago, when I was very enthusiastic about designing educational books and material for young people. I was particularly keen to introduce a comic book look or feel  to heavy subjects. PErhaps my skills were n;t honed enough, or the time wasn’t right, but I never managed to convince anyone else that this was not only a good idea but also a beneficial one top the young learners. I didn’t want to create super heroes to describe  a mathematical formula or anything like that, but It was clear that children and young people respond very well to comic strips. This is probably because the comics are very well thought out tools of communication with very little wastage of bot words and pictures. Whatever is in these books works very hard to tell the story. Perhaps 20 years ago they were not thought of in this way.

As the graphic novel makes its way into the mainstream, surely this is the future of both printed and digital publishing? It works well on both platforms without adaptation. Could it also be the future of educational publishing for younger children too?  It will need authors, experts and illustrators to work from the same script, something which is not always possible. Egos get in the way, as do time and money.

Wouldn’t be great, though? The result would be well though out mini plays, window by window, explaining the mysteries of science and literature to hungry and appreciative young minds.

So my request this week is this; Are you an illustrator, writer, teacher, editor or designer keen to work on such a project? If so, get in touch and let’s start conversation…

 

K