Sally Kindberg’s Space Trail workshop at the Institute of Physics Family Day

What a fantastic day at the Institute of Physics on saturday at their Moon Adventure Family Day!  Over one hundred and seventy people came in to draw comic strips and their journeys into space, and encouraged by an army of volunteers, made space badges, tried to assemble Lego whilst wearing astronauts’ gloves and posed for photos.  As well as exploring space by drawing it, families explored the Moon Adventure exhibition in this great venue close to Kings Cross in London.

The workshop wasn’t exactly a game with dice etc (my original idea above) as there were logistical problems with so many families dropping in at different times, but what brilliant ideas from those taking part!  A space hotel, a melting planet, shark spacecraft, a diversion to the sun, alien attack, the Rubber Duck asteroid – and lots of other challenges  including my contribution – a couple of Black Holes.  Luckily I’d included a Health & Safety warning, so no astronauts were lost.  As far as I know.  Great to see children reading copies of The Comic Strip History of Space afterwards.

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Sally Kindberg’s comic strip workshops at the Institute of Physics

As it’s the anniversary year of the first moon landings, the current exhibition at the Institute of Physics is all about the moon, where I ran comic strip workshops yesterday. After some live drawing all about facial expressions and using comic strip framing, I encouraged children to become space explorers, asking them to draw their adventures.  What challenges and/or dangers did they encounter, and how did they overcome them?  One story showed an astronaut trying to write in zero gravity, with her words just floating away, another involved cosmic cake … immense fun, and exciting to see children gain confidence in their narrative and drawing skills throughout each session. Great stuff!

Here’s a page I drew for the youngest children in the workshops.  They drew faces on the astronauts and the very youngest did some colouring in.  I’ve included Ed White’s glove by the way.  He was the first to do a space walk in 1965, and lost one of his gloves, which circled the earth for about a month before burning up in the earth’s atmosphere. And here’s a photo of the floating glove …

PS Although he didn’t actually come to my workshops, cartoonist/artist and occasional astronaut Glenn Marshall kindly decided to add some facial expressions etc to my space characters this morning …


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Sally Kindberg’s visit to Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

At last I got my timing right and managed to catch Herne Bay Cartoon Festival  and chat to some of the many cartoonists doing their stuff on the pier, and enjoyed putting faces to names. Good to see Martin Rowson again, this time painting a bottom – its cheeks eventually transformed into the faces of Trump and Johnson.

Great to catch Glenn Marshall’s moon landing, complete with dry ice (it drifted away), the soundtrack of 2001, dancing and the Clangers – what fun! Then an ice cream at Makcaris (established 1931).  They specialise in unusual flavours such as, erm, Marmite or Mushy Peas, but even one scoop of their plain chocolate was a bit too much for me.

I wandered up to the wonderful mosaics by Rob Turner near the Clock Tower, past the statue of inspirational aviator Amy Johnson, visited the town’s excellent Seaside Museum and nipped into the Divers Arms, intrigued by its history and painted pub signs, some of which were in a little courtyard round the back. Its motto translates into ‘while I breathe, I hope’ by the way.

The original pub was opened in the 1830s by former smuggler William Wood, who’d been transported to Australia.  On his return to Kent he worked as a diver for a salvage company. It’s said that he paid for the pub with money he’d made salvaging treasure from a Spanish galleon shipwrecked off the Irish coast. The Divers Arms is now a live music venue, and is apparently haunted by a man in a bowler hat – shouldn’t that be a diving helmet?

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Sally Kindberg’s children’s book Funny Fingers

A cover proof of one of the children’s books I wrote and illustrated some years ago for Macmillan. Interesting to see Mr Punch has managed to appear on the cover – he always manages to pop up every so often ..

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Camden tea and coffee stall

If you’ve just done your shopping in Camden Town, St Michael’s churchyard is a quiet spot to have a cup of tea or coffee and watch the world go by for a few minutes. Love this fairground style coffee stall with its sugared almond colours and wooden fretwork features. A tall man wearing a spotless white apron with a red cross on it saw me hesitating as I noticed the stall for the first time, although I must have walked past it many times. “Come and sit down,” said the man.  I knew about the church and its reputation for welcoming homeless and refugees, and although I was neither I was attracted by the quiet space and the thought of a (reasonably priced) cup of tea.  I was intrigued by the wheeled stall and its closed and padlocked shutters.  ‘What do you keep in there?’ I asked.  “Ah,’ said the tall man, ‘that’s where I keep my secrets.’

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Comets and meteors

When you’re playing, and comets get in the picture … If you happen to be looking up into a clear sky on August 12th or 13th, you might see some other flying objects … the Perseid meteor shower which is made up of debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, not to be confused with the Leonids that appear in November, the dusty trail of the Comet Tempel-Tuttle.

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One of Sally Kindberg’s Space Adventure comic strips – quails in space

Next month I’ll be running comic strip workshops at the Institute of Physics, celebrating the anniversary of the first moon landings, but before humans were sent into space …

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Sally Kindberg’s The Hand Book launch celebration at Swedenborg House

The Hand Book (of hopes and dreams) unfolded its leporello pages in the Magic Lantern Room of Swedenborg House last night in celebration of its launching.  There were toasts and book signings.  The distant strains of old music hall songs were heard, mysterious Madame C made a brief appearance and Joe Pearson, Design For Today publisher of The Hand Book, as well as about forty guests, braved the evening’s wet and windy weather to celebrate my leporello’s launch. Great to see Emerald MosleyBridget Marzo, Jane Smith,  other members of the Society of Authors, Fellows from the Royal Literary Fund and many others.

With thanks to Swedenborg House for kindly letting me use their fantastic Magic Lantern Room, to Madame C, to Roland Denning for taking photos, to all my guests (especially those who bought books!) and of course to Design For Today for publishing The Hand Book.

Copies of The Hand Book (of hopes and dreams) are now available from Design For Today, and will soon be on sale in the rest of the wide world.

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Sally Kindberg’s The Hand Book launches at ELCAF

Great day at ELCAF  (East London Comic Arts Festival) meeting up with fab comic strip makers and friends and seeing The Hand Book (of hopes and dreams) on sale there for the first time.  Now available from publisher Design For Today – hooray!

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Sally Kindberg’s workshop at Swedenborg House – back by popular demand!

When a room suddenly goes quiet (apart from sounds from the Whispering Cupboard of course), you know that everyone is happily concentrating.  And what wonderful results!  Very happy to be asked back to Swedenborg House to run another workshop, and see more than forty children, and some adults too, draw mysterious objects, inventions (18th century polymath Swedenborg was a prolific inventor), intriguing comic strips and facial expressions.  Lots of drawings in copies of my Swedenborg leporello as well!

Thanks to participants who obligingly pulled faces so we could draw them! Some children decided to time travel back to the 18th century – with the help of a wig or two …

One of the many quotes from parents: It was really fab. Everyone was so lovely and bright and helpful. Thank you so much for all the care and effort you put in to the day. The kids really enjoyed it. And I got to have a go so I did too! 

With thanks to Avery of Swedenborg House for extra photos.

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