Animated Exeter

Sarah McIntyre and I had a good day in Exeter on Saturday.  I was commissioned about a year ago to write a story for the city’s animation festival, Animated Exeter. I ended up with a magical adventure called The Exeter Riddles, and festival organiser Susannah Shaw has had it bound in a limited edition of 500, with illuminated capital letters by some local artists and one by Sarah M, whose cute gargoyle is also on the front cover.

So first we signed copies of The Exeter Riddles in Waterstones, which is just a stone’s throw from the cathedral whose carvings inspired the story.  Then we headed over to the Phoenix Arts Centre for a two-hour event. I thought an author talk in an animation festival might seem a bit strange, but a comics event makes perfect sense; there are all sorts of connections between comics and animation. So after I’d talked a bit about the Riddles story things quickly morphed into a comics jam, with the whole audience joining in, telling us what to draw and then making comics of their own.

Meanwhile, Sarah (Reeve) and Sam had been out and about in the streets of Exeter, spotting some of the curious characters who had fallen into the present day through the city’s fraying timelines – all part of the Timewinders street-game, which was loosely inspired by my story.  

Sadly we didn’t have time to have a go at the game, or to hang around for the spectacular closing performance, but everyone I know who has been to events in the festival has had a great time, and it’s been a great privilege to be involved with it.  Look out for Animated Exeter 2014!

Festivals Galore

Photo: Ruth Huddlestone

If you can look closely at this photo you can just make out Sarah McIntyre and myself in the middle, drawing Goblins and Monsters for an audience of about 600 people at the Royal Festival hall on Sunday, as part of the Imagine Festival. We had a great time, and hopefully the audience did too; we certainly met a lot of keen young comics artists and world builders. Sarah has already blogged about it in more detail here, and if you’re near central London the festival continues until the 24th February and features lots of great writers and illustrators.

And our next festival appearance is at Animated Exeter this coming Saturday! We’ll be doing a comics jam and I’ll be talking a bit about The Exeter Riddles, a short story I wrote for Animated Exeter, and which they’ve had bound as a very lovely little hardback book, available from the Exeter branches of Waterstones.  Here’s a little piece about it by Martin Chilton, from the Telegraph website last week (thanks Martin!).

The a limited edition handbound copies look wonderful, and are being auctioned in aid of the charity Literature Works.  And as with the Imagine Festival. Animated Exeter runs all through this half term week, and features lots of workshops and screenings: here’s the full programme.

February Festivals

I’ll be quite busy next month: not one, but TWO festivals to attend (and my friendly local SF convention too, if I can find the time).

One of the festivals is also local: Animated Exeter has been running since 1999 and is now one of the biggest animation festivals in the country. There will be all sorts of screenings and workshops going on Exeter from the 18th – 24th February, as well as a schools programme.

I’ve been asked to write a short story for the Festival, and I’ve come up with something called The Exeter Riddles, in which a boy has to try to stop the time slip which is causing bits of the city’s past to leak into the present.  It was initially inspired by some of the saints and gargoyles carved on the elaborate front of Exeter cathedral, but the time-slip idea allowed me to pack in other bits of local history too, from the Romans to the Blitz.  The story is being used as the basis for some of the workshops, and as the jumping-off point for a live-action game to be played in various sites around the city.  And on Saturday the 23rd my friend and Seawigs co-author Sarah McIntyre will be joining me for a character design session and comics jam at the Phoenix Arts Centre in the city.  

Meanwhile in London the Imagine children’s festival will be running at the South Bank from the 11th to the 24th, and Sarah and I will be part of that too: our Monsters vs Goblins Drawing Battle will be on Sunday 17th, details here.

And back in Exeter (if you’re still with me?) MicroCon will be taking place on the 23rd and 24th at Exeter University.  I was a guest at this small SF convention last year, and it was great; highly recommended if you are in the area. I shall drop in if I can, but unfortunately it clashes with my Animated Exeter duties, so I may be elsewhere. You can find out more about it at the MicroCon Facebook Page.