Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tour Report - Leeds!

Last week we packed our bags and headed North to Leeds for a four-day tour. It is fair to say we had an absolute ball.

The fun began on Thursday with a full day of comic workshops at St John the Evangelist Primary School in neighbouring Bradford. The pupils in years 3-6 proved, once again, that the only quality you need to unlock genuine creativity is a willingness to say something silly. The number and variety of amusing and original ideas flying around the classrooms had Lorenzo and I in hysterics. Many thanks to Sam Waugh for organising the trip.

Then it was back to Leeds to check in at The Met, our rather swanky looking hotel.

Despite the grandness of the entrance (and it was grand) we were most impressed by the giant Christmas tree in the foyer! Here I can be seen posing as a fairy ... or perhaps a bauble.

We rose early on Friday in order to make the most of the buffet breakfast (that's just good sense) and, as is traditional on this blog, our camera was primed to capture our selections. I opted for a classic platter.

Lorenzo ... yes ... well...

He did eat a lot of pizza the night before, but still ... that is pathetic!

Friday was all about the Young People's Graphic Novel Awards, in which Monkey Nuts had been nominated. The event, organised by Deborah Moody, took place in the Art Gallery exhibition space in Leeds Central Library (a wonderful labyrinthine building filled with hidden rooms and staircases). A packed audience was treated to presentations from three of the shortlisted titles, as Sarah McIntyre, Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers (the Metaphrog team) and we Etheringtons took to the stage. Afterwards, Dave Shelton (last year's champ) announced the winner - many congratulations to fellow DFC Library contributor Sarah for scooping the title - a raffle was held (with the shortlisted books making for VERY popular prizes), and we then spent an enjoyable hour signing books and sketches and chatting with the audience.

Oh, and look at this lovely etched crystal paperweight we were given - cool!

That night Lorenzo and I found a superb Mexican restaurant near the Corn Exchange, called Neon Cactus. If you're ever in Leeds, we urge you to visit. GREAT food and good times all round!

Which all brings us to day three and four - the big one. Our debut appearance at the Thought Bubble Comic Festival. Nicely timed, I might add, to the show growing from a one day event to a full weekend of panels, signings and more comics than you can handle.

And here we are in action!

We'd been looking forward to meeting lots of new readers but we never realised how many there would be. Our entire stock of Baggage, Monkey Nuts, El Sketchbook Lorenzo Deluxe Collection and Malcolm Magic was feverishly snapped up by Sunday lunchtime, leaving Lorenzo and I with little to do but purchase comics, grin and finally, head home. We came, we sketched, we comiked!

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make our first trip to Leeds such a success. We had an incredible time and we can't wait to return.