Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Writers in Residence at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Yesterday was our last session with the pupils of Shawlands Academy in our capacity as Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015 - as part of the Booked programme. The pupils have created four comic stories based on fairy tales and raps which we are now in the process of assembling into a special publication. We'll see them all again at the end of January for the final Burns Night celebration event at The Glad Café​ where Dave Hook​ will also do a performance and the pupils' work will be showcased.

Can't believe that's the sessions all over already - the weeks have all flown by in a flash! Have thoroughly enjoyed working with the book festival, Dave Hook, and the pupils and teachers of Shawlands Academy. We'll post a link to the finished work in the new year, in the meantime, here are a couple of drawings that the pupils created.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Writers in Residence at Edinburgh International Book Festival

It's been three weeks now that we've been working with pupils at Shawlands Academy, in our capacity as Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, helping them to create fairy tale comics. We have two more weeks to go and they have already produced lots of great work! We'll soon be able to gather all their stories into a publication and are really looking forward to hearing the raps the pupils have produced with Dave Hook! There will be a Burns Night celebration event in January to wrap up the whole project.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Writers in Residence at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Our sessions at Shawlands Academy as Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival got off to a good start this week. The pupils have already created fantastic fairy tale raps with Dave Hook​ and now they're beginning to transform them into comics. Our mission is to get them to complete four stories by the end of November! We especially like the Pinocchio comic which already looks amazing.

Pinocchio comic in progress

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival

    Had a great time at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival launching our new graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales. In fact we were so busy we completely forgot to take pictures! Jeremy Briggs was kind enough to send us photos he took throughout the weekend. 
    'Shiny New Red Shoes' launch talk chaired by Melanie Gibson
    One of our three Family Zone events at the
    Westmorland Shopping Centre
    Thanks to Melanie Gibson for being such a fantastic chairperson, to Page 45 for their support in launching the book and to the incredible festival team for making the weekend such a success and looking after everyone so well. 
    At the Page 45 book stall...
    We only managed to go and see the Steve Bell talk which was packed, but wished we could have gone to more events. It was great meeting and catching with Bryan and Mary TalbotSimon GrennanNicola Streeten, Corinne Pearlman of Myriad, Darryl CunninghamSarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve who stayed with us at the amazing Ash Meadows guest house, Chris Pitzer over from the US, John FreemanBenoit PeetersGary Erskine and Mhairi StewartPaul GravettJohn McShane, Stref, Bill Morrison of The Simpsons, Matthew Gibbs (thanks for the books!), Stephane Beaujean and so many other great people.
    Steve Bell talk
    In other news, we are afraid that the winners of the festival's "Draw a Ballerina" competition have been cursed: brother and sister Alec and Nicky Anderson won a copy of The Red Shoes and Other Tales graphic novel and a pair of red ballet shoes.
    The prize for the 'Draw a Ballerina' competition
    However, their mum Sofi Croft, author of YA books, sent us these pictures. It seems the shoes have come to life and her daughter can't stop dancing.
    The Red Shoes have come to life!
    She can't stop dancing! A curse?
    Nicky Anderson's drawing
    Alec Anderson's drawing

Friday, 9 October 2015

Red Shoes Launch at The Lakes Festival

    So excited! Next week is the official launch of our new graphic novel THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival co-launching with Page 45!

    Our main talk SHINY NEW RED SHOES is on Saturday 17th at The Clock Tower and is chaired by Melanie Gibson - we'll be signing copies afterwards. Published by Papercutz the book is a beautiful quarter-bound volume.

    We are also doing 3 children's events at the Westmorland Shopping Centre on Saturday and Sunday.

    We won't have our own table during the festival as we have so many events on, and the book will be available all weekend at the PAGE 45 table in The Clock Tower's Georgian Room.

    To book tickets to see our Saturday talk go the festival's website: http://www.comicartfestival.com/index.php/saturday-metaphrog

    We've been looking forward to the festival for ages! There're lots of other great talks and events, so if you're in the area, do attend. It's family friendly, with lots of workshops, talks and exhibition, as well as publishers and artists with tables selling their books, and if you want to see 3 talks, you get an extra ticket for free! Children's events are free too.

Islay Book Festival

    Had a great time at the Islay Book Festival last weekend, where we did two events for children and families. It was enjoyable to spend time with all the other authors and see some of their talks: Vivian French (pictured here far left, with ourselves, and Violet and Jean, two of the organisers) Simon Puttock, Caroline Clough, Christopher Brookmyre, RJ Mitchell, Shirley MacKay and Andrew Crummy. We also managed to find time to explore some of the island.
    Islay Book Festival was celebrating its 10th anniversary - it's a great festival with a relaxed atmosphere, and the organisers look after the authors really well. It almost felt like a holiday!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Writers in Residence at Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival may be finished, but our residency at the festival was just beginning today. Over the next few months, with hip-hop artist Dave Hook of Stanley Odd fame, we'll be working with pupils at Shawlands Academy, to help them create comics and rap songs based on fairy tales and folk stories. After our first, joint session today, Dave will be go on to work with the group focusing on stories and rap. While we concentrate on the graphic storytelling and design aspects. The whole project will culminate at the end of January in a Burns Night celebration at the Glad Café. A massive thank you to the Edinburgh Book Festival team, in particular to Catherine Campbell who is overseeing the project. It's going to be an exciting few months and we look forward to seeing the work the pupils create. In fact they already produced some fantastic drawings today!

Pictured: Mrs Kirk, teacher at Shawlands Academy, John and Sandra (that's us,
Metaphrog), Dave Hook, and Catherine Campbell.

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015

We had a great time at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015. 

Our new graphic novel, The Red Shoes and Other Tales, premiered with gold stamped exclusive advance edition copies. The book isn't officially out until October 13th in the US and November 1st in the UK.

Gala Day, the final day of the festival is open to schools only and saw us deliver a talk to over 80 children. 

The festival may be finished now but for us as Writers in Residence at the festival, it's all just beginning: for the next few months, we'll be working with hip-hop artist Dave Hook at a Glasgow school to help pupils create fairy tale comics.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Talk at Momentum

Yesterday we gave a talk to book festival directors from around the world, about our work and also about graphic novels (including the Scottish scene).

It was part of Momentum, the Edinburgh Festivals International Delegate Programme delivered through a partnership between British Council Scotland, Festivals Edinburgh and Creative Scotland.

Also speaking were Adele Patrick and Sue John of Glasgow Women's Library (were the event took place), Jean Cameron of Glasgow Life, Bob McDevitt, programmer of Aye Write! Glasgow's Book Festival, and Glasgow Poet Laureate Jim Carruth, and it was great to hear about their work.

It was also fantastic to meet such an interesting group of people. Huge thanks to Emma Turnbull at Creative Scotland who invited us to speak.

All pictures courtesy of Glasgow Women's Library Facebook page.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Gold Stamped Exclusive Advance Edition of The Red Shoes and Other Tales

A very limited number of gold-stamped 'Exclusive Advance Edition' copies of our new graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales will be available from the Edinburgh International Book Festival bookshop on Charlotte Square, for the duration of the festival, which takes place during the last two weeks of August.

Exclusive Advance Edition of The Red Shoes and Other Tales

The book itself is beautifully printed and comes in a hardcover quarter-bound edition (that's with cloth all around the spine), and has a gold printed spine. We're really delighted with the way the finished book has turned out. Many thanks to our publisher Papercutz!

The official release date for the book is October 13th in the US and November 1st in the UK.

Also, a very limited quantity of signed giclée prints and greeting cards will be available at the Edinburgh International Book Festival bookshop. The giclée prints are mounted in a black frame and wrapped in clear plastic sleeves, the greeting cards come with envelopes.  All are available at affordable prices. The printing and print finishing is absolutely top notch, thanks to Pennybatch Gallery's attention to detail and high quality materials.

The Red Shoes and Other Tales signed giclée prints and greeting cards

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

First reviews for The Red Shoes and Other Tales

Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews have both written great reviews of The Red Shoes and Other Tales, to be published on October 13th 2015 by Papercutz.

Publishers Weekly says: "Hope, joy, and pain intermingle in these dark, alluring stories, which may leave readers thinking of Andersen as a precursor to modern horror."
Full review here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-62991-283-7

Kirkus Reviews calls it: "A darkly pensive read, perfect for chilly fall evenings."
Full review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/metaphrog/the-red-shoes-and-other-tales

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Patrons of Reading Activities: Great Scottish Scientists Project

This year, as Patrons of Reading at Northfield Academy, we had the pleasure of working on an exciting project, organised by librarian extraordinaire Mandy Wilson.

The project involved art and science teachers, and S1 pupils were set the task of creating comics about Great Scottish Scientists. Scotland has a rich history of invention and, for a small country, a surprisingly large number of famous discoveries to its name.

Allan Burnett (author of “Invented in Scotland”) delivered a talk to inspire the pupils, who then each gathered information on a scientist, engineer or mathematician of their choice.

We then delivered sessions with groups of pupils to help them get started on researching and developing their own comic, which they later finished working with the art department.

The pupils were encouraged to use photographs as reference or even for use as part of a collage, mixed in with their own drawings.

Mandy has created this excellent film about the project.

We then selected three of the best comics which where photographed to create the three short videos below. The soundtracks were produced by S1 pupils.

The whole project was made possible thanks to the Scottish Book Trust Live Literature Fund.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Edinburgh International Book Festival Residency

We are honoured and delighted to be writers in residence for the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015. As part of the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme, we will be working in collaboration with hip-hop artist Dave Hook doing a series of workshops in Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, exploring stories, translations and fairy tales from different languages and traditions. This is an exciting celebration of storytelling in its many different forms, and we are very much looking forward to being involved. The workshops will take place after the book festival and will culminate with a celebration on Burns Night 2016.

We are also looking forward to our schools event on Sept 1st on Charlotte Square, Graphic Novel Fairy Tales with Metaphrog, for ages 9-10, which will premiere our new graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales. More information can be found in our previous post: http://metaphrog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/edinburgh-international-book-festival.html

Monday, 20 April 2015

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015 Event

We're thrilled to be part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival again this year and honoured to be doing an event as part of the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme. The other exciting news is that we will be premiere launching The Red Shoes and Other Tales at the festival. Limited numbers of a Special Festival Edition of the graphic novel will be available in advance of the official release date. 

Graphic Novel Fairy Tales with Metaphrog is on Tuesday September 1st, 1.30-2.30pm. The event is open to children age 9-10 and the venue will hold up to 100 pupils.

The programme is packed with exciting events and fantastic authors and illustrators, including: Debbie Gliori, the festival's Illustrator in Residence; Cathy McPhail; Nicola Morgan; Lari Don; Keith Gray; Alex T Smith; Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve; Barry Hutchison; Alison Murray; Vivian French and many more. Check out the full programme here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/learning/schools/baillie-gifford-schools-programme

Book now to be the first to hear all about The Red Shoes and Other Tales and get a Special Festival Edition of the book! There's also a 25% discount on books ordered in advance of the festival for schools, and a £3 book voucher for all pupils attending events.

The official release date of our graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales is October 13th 2015.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Red Shoes cover and trailer!

Here it is: the cover for our new graphic novel The Red Shoes and Other Tales to be published by Papercutz in October! It's going to be a nice quarter bound hardcover in full colour and contains our interpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic.

And here's the trailer!

THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES by Metaphrog - Coming October 2015 from Papercutz! from Papercutz on Vimeo.
An original graphic novel from the award winning team behind the LOUIS series! The first story in this volume adapts the classic fairy tale "THE RED SHOES". This volume also includes Metaphrog's adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, "The Little Match Girl" and a tale of their own invention, "The Glass Case".

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo

We're really looking forward to being part of the Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo on May 30th. This one day event in Sunderland University's City Space will be a celebration of comics in their book form, with panels, workshops and publisher hall. Patron Bryan Talbot, author of the Grandville series and (along with Mary Talbot) Costa winner  Dotter of her Father's Eyes worked on developing the programme, and the whole event is organised by Sunderland Mac Trust.

We'll be kicking off the day on the Young Adult Graphic Novels panel, along with Benjamin Read, Paul Register and chaired by Dr Mel Gibson. We will also run a comic workshop suitable for age 12 up to adults.

Posy Simmons, Steve Bell and Dave Gibbons are headlining the show, as well as of course, Bryan and Mary Talbot. Check out the excellent programme on the Wonderlands website, including guests Hunt Emerson, Dylan Horrocks, Woodrow Phoenix, Kate Charlesworth, Darryl Cunningham, Paul Gravett, Paul B Rainey, Ian Culbard, Ian Edington, Al Davidson, Stephen White, Kev F Sutherland... and publishers Emma Hayley, Dan Franklin and Ben Smith who will be discussing the current and future state of graphic novels.

Wonderlands is a free, family friendly event held on Saturday May 30th at Sunderland University, CitySpace, Chester Road.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

New Graphic Novel: The Red Shoes and Other Tales

We're really excited that this year will see the release of our new graphic novel! The Red Shoes and Other Tales will be published in October 2015 by Papercutz. The book includes our interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic along with two other short tales. There will be some really exciting events at prominent festivals to mark the release, but more on this soon...

Papercutz is the publisher of New York Times best-seller Lego Ninjago, Nancy Drew, Geronimo Stilton, The Smurfs and other fine graphic novels for all ages. Check out papercutz.com to see all their exciting titles! The book will be available in the US and UK through their Macmillan distribution, as well as via Diamond Comic Distributors.

As a first glance, here's a pencil drawing from The Red Shoes and Other Tales.

The Red Shoes pencil by Metaphrog

Special thanks to Creative Scotland who provided substantial funding last year for us to create new work, one result of which was this book.

Keep your eyes peeled on this blog for more info over the coming months. You can also email us on metaphrog@metaphrog.com and request to be on our mailing list to receive more information as release date approaches and keep informed of our festival and in-store appearances.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Book Week Scotland 2014

Once again it's been a busy few weeks and we've had great fun travelling around visiting places as far afield as Helsinki and giving talks and delivering workshops at  The Lakes International Comic Art Festival and Craigmillar Book Festival among others. Last week was Book Week Scotland 2014 and we did a string of events in schools and libraries up north.

With pupils at the Craigmillar Book Festival

First stop was Portlethen on Monday 24th November for two sessions with 13-14 year olds. We then went on to Aberdeen, to Northfield Academy, where we are Patrons of Reading until 2016. We have been going there regularly since we were appointed in 2013, and this time we delivered a series of very hands-on workshops over two days, with the younger pupils.

Sandra's Xmas character to inspire the pupils

Post session photo with pupils of Northfield Academy

The pupils produced some really fun Xmas-themed characters and comics....

... such as this really crazy comic made by a young girl about a killer snow clown! The cartooning is hilarious.

Some pre-Xmas pychopathicness, in pink

It has become a custom that when we visit, John is challenged to a chess game during lunch break by pupils. 

A big thank you to Mandy Wilson and Neil Hendry at Northfield Academy - they are such dynamic and fantastic people and are doing such great work at the school. It's always a pleasure to work with them.

With librarian Mandy Wilson and head teacher
Neil Hendry - Northfield Academy
Next stop was Meldrum where we gave two talks to a total of 300 students!

One of the Meldrum events

We then briefly came back to Glasgow before heading to Oban on the Friday for two events, one in a school and the other, an open event, in Oban Library.

Oban school event

Oban Library event, pictured with the librarians
All in all: a packed week!