24 comic! 2017

On the First Saturday of October each year there is an event called 24hour comics day. It is a challenge for artists, industry professionals and enthusiastic amateurs to create a 24 page comic in 24 hours. Its a big deal in America, not so much here in the UK especially outside of major cities. But I heard about the challenge and thought that it’d be a great opportunity for the comics factory. So, setting myself up at the B&B project space on Tontine Street I took the challenge… but also ran a workshop during the day so that visitors could take part in mini-challenges. People could come and chat to me and watch progress.

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The Forgotten Language of Drawing (TEDx)

You can now see the video of project lead Jim Lockey speaking at TEDx Folkestone about the MCF project and about drawing. This was an amazing experience which lead to some brilliant feedback from you people and adults to boot. Lots of people have since shared their stories with me and some have even sent their drawings. This talk is another expression of the ideas at the core of the MCF; anyone can art!

(The featured image accompanying this post is a sketch by artist Jessica voorsanger)

Update June 2017

It has been wonderful to have been so busy with mobile comics factory events and plans that I haven’t had much time to document things here on the blog… it’s great to be that busy, but I regret that there isn’t more here to show you. That there isn’t much evidence of all the brilliant things we’ve been doing. 

But that is set to change. Over the next week or so I’ll be posting a rash of updates to show off the amazing work of young people and keep you updated about future plans.

Follow @mcomicsfactory on twitter Or @mobilecomicsfactory on Facebook keep abreast of these updates.

Also, follow our project leads instagram account if you like seeing pics. Lots of MCF updates end up there first. @jimlockeycomics

THE DEAD DOG

The Mobile Comics factory is proud to present THE DEAD DOG. A new comic by Alfie from Christ Church Primary Academy in Folkestone.

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Alfie tells the poignant true story of the loss of a family pet in simple words matched with illustrations that  capture the emptiness that grief can create.

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Alfie conveys some very real emotions in his comics and has been able express himself through his work in a way that would perhaps be difficult without art. His comic makes me feel all the more proud to be running the Mobile Comics Factory, as he demonstrates in a very direct manner what we believe about the potential of creativity in kids lives. But at the same time I don’t feel as if I need to special plead for his work to show you how accomplished it is. The work speaks for itself. I was particularly moved by the last page of the comic, see below:

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This final image, unlike the previous panels has no words alongside it, and he also made the drawing much smaller, leaving a chasm of negative space that really makes the moment feel more real and conveys something of the infinite emptiness of moments of intense grief.

I have no doubt that Alfie was to a degree unconscious of how this composition would affect the reader but perhaps that only proves all the more how effectively the arts can express what is otherwise hard to articulate.

To find out more about the MCF including other new publications coming out and the dates of future workshops please find us on facebook and follow the blog.

 

St. Mary’s Primary Workshops

We had an amazing term visiting St. Mary’s primary school for both lunch time workshops with key stage 2, and afternoon sessions with a small group of Year 6 boys.

The workshops generated lots of fantastic work including 2 volumes (and more than 24 pages) of a comics anthology which is still available from the Mobile Comics factory. These are great little volumes showcasing a range of styles and stories.

Also created were a whole bunch of mini-zines by individual participants including 6 that we selected and turned into printed publications to be distributed.

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I loved showcasing the work of individuals sharing their own ideas and unique perspectives. These were young people who really internalised what creative expression is about. Particular favourites were a zine about patterns, and a story we printed called ‘THE BIG PRINCE

Another published comic was ‘ORIGIN STORY’ made by the year 6 group and explained in detail here, Origin Story showcases some great ideas from 6 boys who collaborated to invent an original character and imagined his world.

I also want to mention ‘The Ultimate Book Of Monster Swapping’ designed by the year 6’s again this volume has been flying off the MCF and has been popular with everyone we’ve met. It features in the video below.

We loved our time at St. Mary’s and learned a lot about working with this age group. We look forward to visiting again. A huge thanks to all the staff who supported the project and a massive well done to the pupils who worked so hard – in their lunch times no less – to create amazing work for their community to enjoy.

 

ORIGIN STORY

We were privileged to work with a group of six year 6 boys at St. Mary’s Primary on an extended project teaching both the art of comics and principles of writing and storytelling. They produced lots of great work culminating in a vibrant comic entitled ORIGIN STORY.

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The boys looked at popular origin stories in super hero comics and we discussed how these stories gave context and motivation to otherwise peculiar characters.

Then, as a collaborative exercise, they came up with their own hero character. A GIANT ROBOT SAMURAI!

They were then tasked to each come up with an origin story for the character and we collected their interpretations in an 8 page A5 comic that also featured an A3 poster.

Download a PDF of the comic here. Please note that this PDF is designed to be printed and folded and pages will appear out of sequence when viewing digitally. Print the PDF double-sided in the landscape orientation.

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November has been a really busy time for the mobile comics factory. I haven’t posted on the blog for a while as a result and that is terrible because there has been so much news.

From upgrades to the mobile unit, to working in local school twice a week, to some fun new publications it has literally all been going on!

I will trickle out some stories in the coming week but I wanted to start with the photos below…

It has always been an aim of this project to get kids thinking about creativity, comics and culture in new ways. That is one of the reasons why we’ve always been proud to stock our library with artist made zines sitting alongside teenage mutant ninja turtles. One such artist zine by Philippa Wall became the source of some discussion one Friday lunchtime, when the factory visited a group of year 5 and 6 pupils at st Mary’s primary.

The pages of Philippa’s zine contain a precise pattern of coloured brush marks describing tonal gradients. Its ‘meaning’ not as accessible the more narrative lead comics around, so the question of ‘why’ quickly came up.

Rather than answer in any definite way (and I’m not sure I could have answered), I prompted a discussion of what the zine made them think about, what they thought it said. We also talked about if art needed to ‘say’ anything. Which is pretty heavy stuff for a lunchtime. Maybe the zine is just an experiment I posited.

It was a fun little discussion with a couple of the kids and when they walked away I thought nothing more of it. 

But I was delighted when one of them returned a few minutes later with what you see below. 

She told me “I made a zine, but my one isn’t colours, it’s patterns.”

It was so cool to see the ideas we discussed so quickly internalised and to see the work of the artists who have offered their zines having such a direct impact.

Take Shelter

We loved coming to the Big Sleep Out 2016, we got a dozen of the young people in attendance to help create a new ‘zine to create awareness of homelessness in Folkestone and the results are great.

We feel really privileged to have been a part of a super event raising money for Folkestone’s Winter Shelter and we hope what the young people have put together with support from the MCF will cause more people to look into the amazing work of the Winter Shelter and the Rainbow Centre and find out how they can get involved.

The best way to get your copy of the publication is direct from the Mobile Comics Factory, but you can also print your own at home from THIS LINK. Requires 1 sheet of A4. Some printers may require you to trim borders before it will fold properly, to learn how to fold the zine together CLICK HERE.