Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dreams Of A Carbon Future.

A little while ago I was invited by James McKay to contribute to a graphic novel he was involved with that would look at a future world where we had exhausted our fossil fuel supply. It would involve comic creators, scientists, local school children (well, local to Leeds) and was being organised by Leeds University.
What a great idea. I quickly responded that I'd love to take part, and sent in a few ideas, which a number of scientist then responded to with their views on whether they would work or not. They wouldn't, but when has a small detail like that put me off. I set to illustrating it anyway :o)

Cover Art by Mark Wilkinson.
My story is called 'Moonshine' and is an upbeat tale of how the spirit of mankind will shine (err, excuse the pun) through and solve the problem for the good of all.
The comic was launched at this year's Thought Bubble event, appropriately, in Leeds where I managed to meet up with James himself and collect a copy (or two). It's a free comic and the guys on the stall were busy handing them out all day.
Me and James McKay at Thought Bubble 2013.
I'm really happy to be part of what is a great little book, and even better my pages have been selected to appear in the Cartoon Museum exhibition called ‘Saving Tomorrow’ which runs from the 3rd Jan to the 1st June 2014.
I'll be doing my best to pop down there... with my camera :o)
It's a shame my two pages are on such scrappy paper... oh well... I wasn't to know.
Here's a press release of the project...
University of Leeds Press Release
Novel vision of the future

Penguins wearing reflective hats and cars that run on tomato ketchup are among the highlights of a new graphic novel published by the University of Leeds’ Centre in Low Carbon Technologies.

More than 370 schoolchildren from Yorkshire, 40 Engineering PhD researchers at the University and 20 artists contributed to the 96-page cartoon book, titled Dreams of a low carbon future.

The project was led by Professor Paul Williams, Director of the Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies, and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of its Ingenious scheme, which aims to foster creative public engagement with engineering.

James McKay, who works in the Centre in Low Carbon Technologies and managed the project, said: “The aim of the project was to work with young people in schools and other groups and to think about how current environmental issues and the challenges they pose might affect the future of the Earth and its inhabitants.”

McKay is also a comic artist, with art published in magazines including 2000AD, and contributed his own work to the project. Six professional artists took part.

Dreams of a low carbon future mixes the young people’s original ideas and art with work by professionals. In parts of the book, characters invented by the children are taken up by the professionals in their strips and in other sections the children’s own drawings are featured. The result is a highly polished and engaging comic narrative expressing the ideas of young people about the world of the future.

“Scientists in universities like ours are constantly trying to understand the future, working out what that might be, and how we can change it, but this is an attempt to visualise that future through the eyes of younger people. It is made up of stories that stand alone, but they also fit together to build a bigger story,” McKay said.

As well as producing a gripping book, the project has resulted in a comprehensive set of activities to encourage young people to think about the environment, sustainability and alternative ways of living on the planet.

Five thousand copies have been printed, and will be distributed for free at the London Cartoon Museum, specialist cartoon shops in Leeds and London, and at the 2014 Leeds Festival of Science.

The King James School in Knaresborough, Mirfield Grammar School, Wakefield City Academy, The Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School in Towcester, and schools in Skipton, Barnsley and east Leeds took part in the project. Girl Guides in the north of Leeds also contributed and activities were held at Leeds City Museum.

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