Superheroes & Comic-making at the Holburne Museum

The Big Draw!

Superman, the Hulk and Wolverine looked a little out of place amongst all the old masters but it was the young masters and mistresses whose art was important yesterday!

I took part in a couple of events at possibly the grandest venue I’ve ever worked in: the Holburne Museum in Bath. Originally a hotel that formed the entrance to some eighteenth-century pleasure gardens, the building is now an art museum. It’s made quite a few appearances in period films, and ‘Great British Bake-Off’ viewers will have recently seen it in a featurette about Sally Lunn buns!


I was there to take part in the Big Draw 2013, conducting a superhero draw-along with a very keen crowd of artists, some of whom had even turned up in their favourite superhero outfits! We got through quite a few superheroes in a short space of time, but everyone kept up and those difficult superhero action poses proved to be no trouble to anybody, as far as I could see. I can report that old-style pants-outside-trousers superheroes were much more in favour than the current fashion for pants-less superheroes!

comic making

Next came a monster-themed comic making workshop that was part of the Bath Children’s Literature Festival. I’d been very fortunate to briefly meet David Almond, author of Skellig and the festival’s Guest Artistic Director, that morning who was looking tired but happy after a successful festival fortnight. The workshop took place in the Holburne’s Gardener’s Lodge, now an education centre. Workshoppers learnt about character design and basic story-telling techniques and also how to make a quick minicomic. I never fail to be impressed by the imagination of the creators who come to these events – I think I probably learn as much as they do!

Thanks so much to the Festival and the Holburne Museum for being such welcoming and helpful hosts – I really enjoyed myself! Also, apologies for walking off with the museum keys – I hope they get back to you safely! Huge thanks as well to HarperCollins publicist Mary Byrne for looking after me for the day, and smoothing a woolly-headed illustrator’s path!

Photos pinched from Mary’s and the Bath Festival‘s Twitter streams.

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