Club Spotlight with Team Ketchup

Every month here at comicsclub.blog Hannah Sackett will be shining a spotlight on some of the great work being done at Comics Clubs around the country, to share some amazing kids’ comics and to help give you ideas you can try in your own groups. Let’s get things started with a visit to beautiful Yorkshire!

13501853_645086692308769_8675773398234851199_n

Name of your Comic Club:

The Team Ketchup

Where do you meet and how often?

Once a month at Skipton Library, for a ‘Library Lock-in’ – we get to stay on after the library has closed to the public. When we’re judging for the British Comic Awards we meet once a week, but that’s only in the autumn.

 

team-ketchup  Pink Fluffy Ketchup Covered Flower Ponies Vol. #2


Average number of members:

30 members as we can’t take any more and there’s a waiting list. Ketchup Splats! the junior section has ten children at a time on six week courses, we have run two of these so far, and are planning some more to
get more children involved.

How long have you been running?

We started in 2013, just as judges for the British Comic Awards Young People’s Choice, but it really took off in 2014 when we decided to publish our own comic and take it to Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival in Leeds, and we haven’t stopped since!

   team-ketchup-comic

Tell us about your club: 

We are aged from 10 to 17, with members from seven different schools around Skipton area and beyond, run by parent volunteers and one employee of the library.  We all love reading comics or creating out own materials, and come together once a month to talk about our own comics, read each other’s materials, and make plans for events like Thought Bubble, Skipton’s Sheep Day and holding public comic-jams. We have published five issues of our comic ‘Pink Fluffy Ketchup Covered Flower Ponies ‘ (which was the original name of the group, but Team Ketchup is much easier to remember!) and have published a small run of the junior section’s comic Ketchup Splats!.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

We originally bid for some money from Craven Dragons’ Den so that we could publish one comic, but it seems to have grown since then. We have exhibited at Thought Bubble three times, and last year ran the family area of the convention, inviting the public to comic-jam with us, draw a doodle for our awesome doodle wall, or just to drop-in and draw with us. We won the Craven Community Champions Arts Award in 2015 and were runners up for the North Yorkshire Volunteer Awards for Best Community Group.

12032247_537281183089321_3462854208098701662_n

We’ve had two artists come and do workshops with us and the public, Neill Cameron, creator of MegaRoboBros, Tamsin and the Deep and other Phoenix Comic stories,  and Dan White, creator and independent publisher of Cindy and Biscuit. These were really helpful and made a difference to our comic drawing style. We’ve also worked with other agencies who have realised how awesome comics are for communicating information, and we had a commission from Rural Action Yorkshire to make some materials to go out to schools with one of their campaigns. Mostly, the group is a fun place to meet up, make friends, make and read comics with like-minded people and eat biscuits. It just so happens that the members are developing a lot of skills along the way – bidding for money, meeting and selling to the public, talking to professional comic creators, marketing their materials, time management, meeting deadlines,  matching commission briefs,  democratic decision making and creativity.  But don’t tell the kids that!
14956019_712609415556496_5660339691597662070_n

 

Do you have a comic club activity you’d like to share?

 Comic-jams are always fun and a great way to get people to work together. At public workshops we’ve had people in from age 4 to 84, and so many of them say they can’t draw or don’t know how to make a comic until they see how easy it is to develop a story working with someone else. Probably the most popular activity are the end of term parties that involve a lot of cake and balloons!

13654357_653047604846011_1753775757957790767_n.jpg

 

Which comics should we be reading right now? 

Ooh, too hard a question! With thirty members there are so many different styles and genres of comics that are favourites. The Phoenix Comic is always popular with all members, even the older ones love the stories and different styles – most of us voted for Lost Tales by Adam Murphy for the British Comic Awards, which was the winner –it is beautiful and interesting, and has such detail in each story. Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel are popular, Ghosts by Rainer Telgemeier, all the Hilda books by Luke Pearson, and of course, anything with Deadpool!

mockup-issue-254   

What are your plans for the coming year? 

We will be creating and publishing Issue 6 in time for Skipton Sheep Day (yes, it’s a thing!) and will be selling the comic on a stall on the high street as well as holding a public comic-jam workshop. Last year we had over two hundred people so we’re hoping to beat that this year. We have plans to collaborate with the Reading Hacks and the Reading Agency in holding a competition to create some zines, that’s for the older members of the group. We might be able to run Ketchup Splats! again, depending on the older members of Team Ketchup who run it. We will be at Thought Bubble again, running the family area with drawing activities, and we might have time to produce another issue later in the year!

Many thanks to Alix for answering my questions! Find out more about Team Ketchup’s activities here: @theteamketchup

Please get in touch via the Contact page if you would like your comic club to be featured here!

c_c_logo_v3

 

 

Stick Stories: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

Last week we shared our first-ever Comics Challenge – Stick Stories – and now we thought we’d share some of the fantastic work some of our members came up with! First, here are some of the stick-figure renditions of characters and stories from Neill’s Comics Club group at the story museum in Oxford. Let’s start with a classic!

…Stick Rapunzel, by Libby!

Here’s one that manages to condense not just one story but an entire 6-movie epic saga into 4 panels: Stick Star Wars, by Charlie!

And, proving that even alarmingly violent dystopian sci-fi can be rendered adorable in the right artistic hands, here’s The Stick Hunger Games by Lauren!

(Here’s Stick Katniss!)

img_0743

And here are are some of our amazing artists with their work!

(… there were *many more* great ones, I just can only take so many photos. Sorry if I missed you out!)

Once we posted the challenge online, we had lots more people join in with their own Stick Stories! Check out some of this gloriousness and see if you can identify the characters / stories! (Answers at the bottom).

 

 

 

 

 

antmanboffingnorwegianwood

(Answers, from top to bottom: Arriety from The Borrowers, Pippi Longstocking, Batman VS Superman, Pokemon Go, An Original Composition (I think), The Hobbit,  Ant-Man, Boffing Leaves The Oven On (what, you haven’t read it? It’s great), Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami).

There’s loads more – follow us on twitter at @ComicsClubBLOG or check out the #stickstories hashtag to see them! (Thanks to everyone from Sarah McIntyre’s @StudioTeaBreak gang who joined in, that was fun!)

If you’d like to have a go at making some Stick Stories yourselves, you can find the full activity and downloadable worksheets right here!

c_c_logo_v3

 

 

January Comics Challenge: Stick Stories!

Welcome to the first of our regular monthly Comics Challenges! These are designed as activities that can be used by teachers / librarians / club leaders with their groups, or indeed by anyone who wants to join in and make some comics!

To ease us in we’re starting taking our mission statement of Anyone Can Draw Comics, and really running with it. Let’s get started!

stick-stories-1stick-stories-2

stick-stories-3

stick-stories-4

stick-stories-5

stick-stories-6

stick-stories-7-spoilers

(I slapped a SPOILERS sticker on here because, hey, some people haven’t read Lord Of The Rings yet. But you get the idea).

stick-stories-8

So there you go! Have fun!

If you’d like to use this activity in your own classes or groups, you can get the whole thing as an activity sheet by just clicking on the following images:

Or you can download as a PDF, here!

We’d love to see what you come up with – please send your own pictures and comics to info@comicsclub.blog, or tweet them at us at @ComicsClubBLOG – we’ll be sharing some of the best!

c_c_logo_v3

Welcome to comicsclub.blog!

Welcome to comicsclub.blog, a new site where we’ll be sharing ideas, activities and resources all designed to help encourage children make their own comics. We believe that comics – reading them and making them – are a hugely powerful way of developing children’s literacy skills and creativity. And, also, are FUN.

There are many local groups and comics clubs around the country doing excellent work with kids already; this blog is intended as hopefully a way of joining up some of those efforts; of sharing ideas and resources and encouraging more people to set up comics clubs in their own schools and libraries and communities.

I’m Neill Cameron, I’m a writer and cartoonist (you can find out more about my own work here). I suppose what’s relevant here is that I made a book called How to Make Awesome Comics, and I’ve spent the last coming-up-on-a-decade teaching comics workshops in schools and libraries and at festivals all over the UK. I currently run a monthly comics club with a group of amazing kids at the Story Museum in Oxford, and I thought it would be fun to share some of what we do there, and also to join in with the great stuff that others are doing all over the country.

super-small

I wanted to set up this site because… well, because I think comics matter. Here’s an excerpt from a blog post I wrote on this subject a couple of years ago, which is possibly my best attempt to explain why:

Comics matter, for all the reasons that reading matters. Learning to read makes a tangible, measurable difference to children’s lives and prospects, in terms of economic outcomes and quality of life. And comics are – have been, can be, will be again – a huge part of learning to read. Of reading for pleasure; of coming to love reading; making it not something that is enforced from above, a Discipline That Must Be Mastered, but something so exciting and cool and mind-blowingly awesome that it has to be torn out of kids’ hands when it’s time to go to bed.

And if any part of you is wondering if this is still true, if children still have that response to comics, then let me put your mind to rest right now: they do. They absolutely do. Comics perform a fantastic dual purpose:

  • providing kids with a visual narrative that they can follow and engage with while their verbal literacy skills are still developing, thus encouraging the development of those skills
  • offering unique opportunities for exciting subject matter that can hook kids imaginations, lending itself to strong visuals. Robots! Dinosaurs! Mutant rabbits with laser nunchuks! COMICS.

When kids actually get to see comics, when they are given exciting stories and phenomenal artwork and funny jokes about beavers doing a radioactive poo, they flip out. They dive in with both feet and get lost and fall for comics so hard that it alternately makes me inspired and delighted and, actually, angry.

Angry because I’ve seen, first hand and over and over again, just how much enjoyment and hilarity and genuine learning and TANGIBLE INCREASES IN READING DEVELOPMENT kids get from comics like Corpse Talk, or Dungeon Fun, or Moose Kid, or Star Cat. And because I know, all too well, that those comics are not a part of the lives of the vast majority of children, right now. They’re not in the corner shop, they’re not in big rainy day trunks at school, they’re not in the dentist’s waiting room. They are, to generalise wildly, the province of a privileged few: those with parents who can afford them and have even heard of them in the first place. All of which immediately limits your reach down dramatically to a pretty small circle of ‘in the know’ people. And whilst I love those people to bits and indeed am one of them, I think we can all agree it’s not enough. We need to break past that circle, to explode the art form outwards and back to where it should be; an available, accessible, affordable part of the lives of all children.

 

comics-pages

 

To start with, this blog will be posting monthly Comics Challenges – fun activities designed to kickstart a comics club session, some of them contributed by Neill, but also by a range of amazing cartoonists who’ll be joining in and sharing ideas.

One thing we’ll be focusing on is designing activities with a view to being achievable by non-professional artists. One of the founding principles of this blog is that Anyone Can Draw, Even People Who Think They Can’t Draw, with the corollary that Drawing Is Fun And You Should Totally Have a Go. We’ll also be looking at the amazing work being done by kids in comics clubs around the country, and sharing ideas and advice from group leaders on how to set up your own club.

Our first Comics Challenge will be appearing right here in two days, on Friday 13th January 2017. Sharpen your pencils, grab some paper and sit in EAGER ANTICIPATION, it’s going to be fun!

In the meantime, we’ll be trying to use this site as a hub for Useful Resources – you can find some blank comics page templates to print off and use, a list of recommended books on making comics (including the one I made, CONFLICT OF INTEREST WARNING), and links to some useful stuff you can find around the web.

books

If you’d like to be kept up to date on what we’re getting up to here at comicsclub.blog, you can:

And finally, we’d love to hear from YOU – on twitter or you can use our Contact page to get in touch. Particularly we’d like to hear from…

  • Teachers and Librarians! If you run a comics club already, or are thinking of setting one up, drop us a line! We’re hoping to feature work from as many different groups as possible, so please do let us know what you’re doing and help us shout about it!
  • Comics Creators and festival organisers! If you have any public comics workshops / events coming up, let us know about them so we can feature them on our Events page!
  • Literally anyone with a good idea. We’re just starting out here and we’d love to hear your thoughts – on what you’d like to see, on what would be useful – on any ways YOU might be able to help us. Our goal is to Help Awesome Kids Make Awesome Comics, and we’d love it if you could help us with that.

mascotsv2_1

Image credits: illustrations (c) 2017 by Neill Cameron. Photos in this post feature work by: The Students of Neill’s Comics Club groups at The Story Museum, The Pupils of Wood Farm School, The Pupils of Lent Rise School, Jonny Toons, Jordan Vigay, Zoom Rockman, Team Ketchup, Byron & Indigo Buchan, Neill & James Cameron.

 c_c_logo_v3