Thursday, 29 March 2012

Long Gone Don Fan art part 2!

Some top fan art here of Don and Castanet as re-imagined by top fan Harry Rickard! Awesome! Have you had a go at drawing Don, or Doogan, or Sid, Rivet or Randall? Or ANY of our other characters? Send 'em in to us! See them right here! Whoop!


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How did we get into comics? Only TEACH has the answer...

Okay, so that's not STRICTLY true. If you catch us at a show, festival or bookshop appearance and ask us how we got into comics in the first place, we'll probably spill the beans, but until then only TEACH Primary magazine has the answer, and more specifically the brand new issue 6.2.

A short while back I was asked to write an article for the magazine looking at our childhood memories of reading and writing and how it influenced our lives. This is the sort of feature I love working on, as it takes me back to a time when Lorenzo and I were pretty much obsessed with comics ... um ... yeah...

The value of comics in the classroom, as both a teaching tool and a method of encouraging reluctant readers, is increasing. It is fantastic to be asked to comment on the power of this storytelling medium as I genuinely believe in the benefit and pleasure to be had from sharing comics with young students.

After all, if Lorenzo and I had not filled our early years with pictures and words who knows what we'd be doing now...

Teach Primary magazine is a great resource for teachers (obviously) and enthusiastic parents alike. Go HERE to read more and grab a subscription.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Von Doogan hits the cover of this week's Phoenix!

YES! The current issue of the mighty Phoenix is adorned with a picture of the bequiffed adventurer - Von Doogan! SURE to become a collector's item, rush out and get your copy TODAY!


Friday, 23 March 2012

Doogan's Dozen!

 That' right, soldier! Von Doogan has some new members in the ranks of his much coveted puzzle cracking army!

Puzzle number 9: ‘The Big Shipmate Mix-up’ 
- solved by SAM BUCKLER
Puzzle number 10: ‘The Secret Snapshots’
- solved by SAMIRA YOUNG

Doogan salutes you, recruits! Welcome to the team!

Want to join up? You have one chance each week, only in The Phoenix Comic!


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Long Gone Don - How I paint it!

A few screen shots I took of a Long Gone Don panel while in production a little while ago - enjoy!


Friday, 16 March 2012

Lorenzo in Charity Art Auction with Simon Pegg, Raymond Briggs, Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench, Rob Ryan and more!

That's right! You have just SIX DAYS from the date of this blog post to bid on an original piece of Lorenzo artwork through the Pushing The Envelope charity initiative. The Charity auction, organised in partnership with those fine folks at the National Literacy Trust, features original artwork and designs from a whole load of celebrities and artists, and this year I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute a piece. Each contributer has created a small original artwork on an envelope, along the theme of inspiration.

To see the full list of who's involved, and check out all their designs, go HERE!

To Check out and bid on my piece, go HERE!

Good luck, and if you win, you get that warm glow of knowing that your payment will go towards very worthy causes such as:

- Providing disadvantaged children with free books, opening up a new world of reading
- Helping parents to support their children's literacy and language skills
- Helping disadvantaged teenagers to improve their communication skills in preparation for working life
- Supporting families and adults with community projects that develop reading and writing skills


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A Warm Wigan Welcome!

The Baggage 'Lost and Found' tour continued last week with a three day excursion to Wigan.
It was a trip full of surprises and Lorenzo got the ball rolling on the train up, by growing a thick mustache while sketching. Impressive!

Things then returned to sort of normal (and if you've seen us live you'll know 'normal' is a stretch at the best of times) as we launched into the first of our workshops, entertaining two local schools at the central library.

We then checked into our hotel only to discover that we'd been treated to EXTRA soft mattresses!!! Whoops!

The next day began in typical fashion ... yep, it's BREAKFAST CAM TIME! We were delighted to see the presence of hash browns on the buffet table - an all-too often overlooked ingredient to the perfect cooked brekkie.  

With a little time to kill we strolled the local shops and jumped with joy to discover my wife's debut, The Book of Summers, had been picked by Waterstone's as a perfect gift for Mothers Day - which it is!
If you're looking for something special to get your mum, try this beauty. She'll love you forever.

Following another workshop for two different primary schools (and more teachers than I have ever seen present at one of our shows!) we grabbed a bite to eat at a local pub where I discovered the most useless staircase of all time. What was the architect thinking???

That evening we visited the Scholes and Whelley Community Centre for a night that simply blew us away. Not only was our event sold out, but the audience - a mixture of ages ranging from 5-85 - were one of the most enthusiastic we've ever encountered. Barbara, who runs the centre, has been hosting manga art classes for local young artists for a while, and the ability on display was stunning. Best of all, those same talented creators had taken the time to reinterpret Lorenzo's work in a series of fantastic pictures.

Compliments don't get any more awesome than this!

The following morning, after hosting a final open event in the library, we boarded the train bound for Bristol, exhausted but elated. Many, many thanks to Carole Ogden for organising the trip, and all the library staff for your unstinting support. We look forward to returning in the future.

- Robin

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Birmingham Young Readers 2012 Highlight Events announced: Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon) and the Etherington Brothers!

 Whoop! We're very proud to announce that our show is going to be one of just two Highlight Events at the awesome Birmingham Young Readers Festival this coming June. Ourselves and the exceptional Cressida Cowell (creative force behind the fantastic How to Train Your Dragon books and movies) will be appearing at the Birmingham Library Theater on seperate weekends during the festival.

Here's the festival's official announcement:

"The Young Readers Festival always includes exciting highlight events. In past years these have included appearances from: Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, J K Rowling, Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne. This year we have Cressida Cowell (2nd June) and The Etherington Brothers (9th June)"

So what are you waiting for?! We'll see you there!!


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The President of the USA has been kidnapped!!!

Thought that might get your attention.

Yes, it's true, the President HAS been kidnapped ... by a Decepticon! Which can only mean it's time for brand new Transformers Prime action with Issue 6 of Titan's ongoing comic series!

In "All the President's 'Bots!" Megatron - tiring of Starscream's hopeless efforts to find the Autobots - charges his Lieutenant with the task of luring Prime and his team out of hiding. The bait for this cunning trap is none other than the leader of the free world!

The resulting showdown (written by me and drawn by Dario Brizuela) is suitably epic.

You can grab a copy in any good newsagent NOW, or head to the online store and grab yourself a subscription HERE (you'll also get two free Transformers toys!)

Lorenzo and I are off on tour for the rest of the week but we'll be back with more news, pics, photos and sneak peaks next week.

- Robin

Ben French joins Von Doogan's Army!

Huge congrats going out to the latest member of Von Doogan's Army! BEN FRENCH gets high fives and air guitars all round for solving Episode 8: "Finding Captain Nemo"!

But  Doogan's adventure is just starting, and he needs all your help if he's to unravel the mystery of the Ramona and it's evil Captain! Join him, won't you?


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Long Gone Don: From the Slums to the City

Another full page from Long Gone Don today, you lucky people! Episode 10 arrives this Saturday, only in the Phoenix!


Monday, 5 March 2012

World Book Week report and bedtime stories with the Etheringtons!

Last week Lorenzo and I toured the South West on a little mini World Book Day/Week tour. Over two and half days we managed to visit three schools and perform 10 shows to over 1100 pupils! Phew!

Coombe Dean School, Lipson Community College and Sir Bernard Lovell School were playing host to the madness and we were treated superbly by all concerned ... especially the students who provided the energy and ideas for some of the most inspirational, amusing workshops we've run.

But the highlight of the tour was without doubt the moment Lorenzo and I (upon request) jumped into a bed that had been assembled INSIDE the Coombe Dean School library and proceeded to read the first three chapters from Monkey Nuts to a surprisingly enthusiastic Year 7 group. Dividing the voices between us, Lorenzo tackled the Caption Boxes, Chief Tuft and Rivet, while I plumped for Sid, Goober, Burple and The Amazing Amazing. Hilarity ensued...

I mean, come on ... if THAT isn't comedy gold, I don't know what is!

Many, MANY thanks to Sam Davey, Linda Williams, Alison Pope, Caroline Martin and all the staff who made sure the tour ran as smoothly as melted chocolate poured on a stack of warm pancakes.

- Robin

Friday, 2 March 2012

Regina Magenta from Long Gone Don costume for World Book Day!

This is the absolute definition of cool: From the Twittersphere we were sent a pic of one of our young fans dressed as Regina Magenta (from Long Gone Don) for World Book Day!

Truly, truly AWESOME!


It's the attention to detail that makes this so completely and utterly brilliant - just compare the hairstyle and ribbon to the panel below. Amazing work - well done!!! The next challenge is to see if anyone can make their own Count Valush costume (pictured on the right).

World Book Day Tour and the arrival of Summer!

Yesterday was amazing for three separate reasons.

Firstly we completed our South West World Book Day tour in epic fashion - 10 shows performed to over 1100 children in two and a half days!!! We'll be posting a full report next week with some truly amazing pictures from the schools.

Secondly, it was - obviously -World Book Day. This is the greatest day for young readers around the country as EVERY SINGLE child up to the age of 18 can get their hands on a free book token which can be exchanged for one of eight different titles, including Skullduggery Pleasant, Where's Wally, How to Train Your Dragon and many more. To find out how to get your hands on the good stuff, either talk to your teachers at school, or visit the website HERE.

But the third reason why yesterday was particularly amazing ... and this is the BIG one ... is that March 1st marked the launch of my incredibly talented wife's debut novel, The Book of Summers!!

Mimi (writing under the name Emylia Hall) has created a breathtakingly beautiful story that is guaranteed to win adult fans all over the world. Readers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand can get their hands on a copy now (available in all good bookshops or online HERE), with the American and Canadian versions launching in June; Italian, Spanish and Portuguese later in the summer; and German, Dutch and Swedish copies next year ... which is basically awesome.

I think we all owe Mimi a big thank you for starting the summer early.

- Robin

Four new members of Von Doogan's Secret Army!

YES! We have some new recruits to Von Doogan's Secret Army! The following brave brainiacs have successfully cracked some of Doogan's toughest cases!

Episode Five: ‘The The Telltale Cell’ 
- solved by EMILY & KYLE BEEDEN
 Episode Six: ‘The Big Poker Face’
- solved by ELLA EASTON
 Episode Seven: 'The Knotty Problem’
- solved by OSCAR STRONG

Awesome work guys, and remember, YOU have a chance to help Doogan and become an honorary member of his puzzle cracking army each week only in The Phoenix!