Graphic Brighton

Graphic Brighton 2022

Graphic Brighton 2022 – Comics by and for young people, is a FREE event at the University of Brighton (Edward Street building), with talks, panel discussions, book signings and a workshop on how to make your own comics.

Friday 27th May consists of talks by academics and local creators about childrens comics, Saturday 28th invites a variety of creators including former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen to the University to chat about their work and sign comics, plus a workshop by young graphic novelist Coco Kirkland.

In order to make sure we have enough seats, please book FREE tickets by clicking on the links (underlined days / times) below, if you would like to attend several / different sessions at this comics festival. N.B. if you want to attend all five events, you need to reserve tickets for all five!

Friday 27th May, 11.30am – 6pmdaytime academic talks from former Comics Laureate Hannah Berry, authors Helen Bate, Daniel Locke and Richy Chandler, comics experts Paul Fisher Davies, Helen Jones, Stephen Silverwood, Deniz Altındağ and Dona Pursall, and many more.

Friday 27th May, 6.15pm – 7.30pmBob Molesworth (Star Wars Lego comics) and Richy K. Chandler (Eco Kids Planet Magazine / Wallace & Gromit comic strips) discuss their work.

Saturday 28th May, 10.15am – 2.45pmdaytime comic creator talks by various cartoonists including Zoom Rockman (The Beano), Jaime Huxtable (G Bear and Jammo), Matt Baxter (The Phoenix), Zara Slattery (Tomboy), Sally Kindberg (The Comic Strip History of the World) and Woodrow Phoenix (Donny Digits).

Saturday 28th May, 1pm – 3pmworkshop on comic book creation run by Coco Kirkland (Project: Immortality), who had his first graphic novel published when he was 16 years old!

Saturday 28th May, 3pm – 4.15pmMichael Rosen and Cole Henley talk about recreating Michael’s book You’re Thinking About Tomatoes as a new graphic novel.

Full listing of events:

Fri 27th May

11.30am: Combining comics and podcasts: Former Comics Laureate Hannah Berry & audio producer Lance Dann discuss their multi-media project The Rez about promoting kindness and resilience for kids during lockdown, using science-fiction stories

12.30pm: Panel discussion on Considering new approaches for young readers: Helen Jones (Goldsmiths College / UCL) discusses Children’s literacy and comics / Dona Pursall (University of Ghent) looks at Censorship in Children’s comics / Stephen Silverwood (Upside Comics charity) investigates bringing Comics to Disadvantaged Children

3.00pm: Panel Discussion on Approaching difficult topics in children’s comics: Helen Bate (Otter Barry Books) discusses her comics on refugees and warfare / Richy K. Chandler (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) talks about his books on parental break-up and dealing with difficult times / Daniel Locke (Nobrow / Bloomsbury) chats about making rewilding and health issues approachable in comics

4.30pm: Panel Discussion on The form and structure of Children’s comics: Alex Fitch (University of Brighton) talks about the use of cross-sections in Children’s Comics / Paul Fisher Davies (South East College, Lewes) discusses the differences and similarities between picture books and comics / Deniz Altındağ (Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts) looks at how narratives for young people deal with memory and identity

6.15pm: Making comics for high street shops: Bob Molesworth (Star Wars Lego Comic) and Richy K. Chandler (Eco Kids Planet Magazine / Wallace & Gromit comics) discuss the fun and occassional frustrations of working with licenced characters for comics sold in UK newsagents

Sat 28th May

Sat 10.15am: Moving between formats: Matt Baxter (The Phoenix) and Danny Noble (The Meow Meows) talk about moving between comics and children’s books, with different types of illustration for different projects.

Distributing comics to young readers: Chris Thompson, & Will O’Mullane from charity Comic Books for Kids UK discuss initiatives to bring comics into hospitals and other medical facilities to help and entertain children (Unfortunately Chris and Will can’t make it to the event, but we are very to have Danny step in to take their place)

Sat 11.15am: Starting at a young age: Coco Kirkland (Project Immortality) & Zoom Rockman (The Beano) chat about breaking into comics as tweenagers, how they came up with their ideas for characters and their experiences of being published when still young

Sat 12.15pm: Designing characters with youthful appeal: Jaime Huxtable (G Bear and Jammo) and Zara Slattery (Tomboy) talk about tailoring their individual styles to create comics for younger readers

Sat 1.00pm Making Comics workshop: Coco Kirkland runs this workshop with advice and practical tips on creating your first comic, desiging characters and getting published

Sat 2.00pm: Humour and young audiences: Sally Kindberg (The Comic Strip History of the World) and Woodrow Phoenix (Donny Digits) talk about bringing their cartoon style to childrens comics and illustrated books to combine humour, storytelling and learning about the world

Sat 3.00pm: You’re Cartooning About Tomatoes: Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen and artist Cole Henley discuss turning Michael’s much loved book You’re Thinking About Tomatoes into a new comic book / graphic novel, and why comics are a great story telling medium for all ages (with book signing after, if time allows)

University of Brighton, 154 Edward Street, Brighton BN2 0JG

(All talks in room 105, except Coco workshop in room 103)

Featured post

New opening panel on Saturday 28th May

Covers and art from Tilly and the Time Machine, and Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talked, illustrated by Danny Noble

Due to unforseen circumstances, the opening discussion about the charity Comic Books for Kids! has had to be cancelled, but as a replacement we have an additional guest and slight rearrangement of the programme to begin the day with a chat about illustrators who work on children’s books as well as comics and graphic design.

Danny Noble is the illustrator of two children’s books written by Adrian Edmondson – Tilly and the Time Machine, and Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talked – which tell uproarious tales of chatty ponies and time travelling girls. She is also the creator of an autobiographical comic, Shame Pudding, about eccentric Jewish Grandmas, and a much loved strip about two elderly actors – Oliver Reed and Alan Bates – who really ought to put some clothes on!

Matt Baxter is half of the award-winning creative design agency Baxter & Bailey who have designed stamps for the Royal Mail, and adverts for New Scientist, The NSPCC and Oxford University Press. In children’s comics, Matt created the cover for the pilot issue of The Phoenix, several covers for Doctor Who comic featuring cartoon versions of Tom Baker and David Tennant, plus the ongoing strip ‘Hire a Horror’ for the revived bimonthly comic Monster Fun!

Danny and Matt will be talking about their work at Graphic Brighton, at 10.15am on Saturday 28th May. Book tickets here:

Graphic Brighton Guests

Cover of You’re Thinking about Tomatoes – the Graphic Novel by Michael Rosen and Cole Henley

Many of the guests coming to Graphic Brighton 2022, to talk about their work on Children’s titles, are luminaries in the world of comics, here’s more info about four of them!

Michael Rosen is a British National Treasure! A former Children’s Laureate (2007-2009), and well known for his love of comics, having spoken many times about words and pictures on his Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth. A handful of his short picture books for children have been in the style of comics – including Red Ted and The Lost Things (illustrated by Joel Stewart), and Send for a Superhero (illustrated by Katharine McEwen) but the adaptation of You’re Thinking About Tomatoes is his first full length graphic novel. Michael will be joined at Graphic Brighton by Cole Henley, the artist of this new graphic novel, and after their talk, signed copies of the book will be available for sale for the first time in the UK.

Hannah Berry is a University of Brighton alumnus who was the UK Comics Laureate from 2019-2021 and the author of three graphic novels. She has worked on a couple of projects during COVID lockdown to help younger readers help with issues of kindness and resilience – these include Planet DIVOC-91, an online comic series empowering young adults to make sense of the challenges from the pandemic, and The Rez (with artist Racheal Smith), a Sci-Fi adventure intended to help young people build meaningful relationships in a world of social media. The latter comic’s story extends into a podcast produced by Lance Dann, which won two accolades at the 2021 Audio Production Awards.

Woodrow Phoenix is also a University of Brighton alumnus who has worked on animated projects for the Cartoon Network and Disney, and edited the Eisner Award nominated anthology Nelson, which was The Guardian’s Graphic Novel of the Month, and The Times’ Graphic Novel of the Year in 2011. At Graphic Brighton he’ll be talking about his Children’s Comic Donny Digits, which was serialised in the weekly British Comics title The Phoenix, and has been collected into a graphic novella by Bog Eyed Books. His graphic novel Rumble Strip (released in the US as Crash Course), was used to help spread information about Road Safety by the NGO ArriveSAFE in India.

Dona Pursall (via zoom) is a researcher at Ghent University, who won the 2021 Sabin Award for Comics Research for her essay Why are you laughing?: Mischievous forms of humour in British children’s Comics. She is investigating childhood, imagination and culture within the history of humorous comics. She is specifically investigating the relationship between the British ‘funnies’ from the 1930s to 1960s and the experiences and development of child readers within the context of wider social unrest and political change. Her recent area of research has been on the history of types of humour in the 80 year history of the British weekly comic institution The Beano, which was pulished online in a three part series.

Graphic Brighton 2022 – Comics by and for Young People is sponsored by the University of Brighton’s Widening Participation and Outreach department, and Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, and runs from May 27th – 28th at the University’s building at 154 Edward Street, Brighton. Book FREE tickets here…

Call for Papers 2022

Extract from The Comic Strip History of Space by Tracey Turner and Sally Kindberg

Comics, Younger Audiences and Creators Graphic Brighton 2022 focuses on the state of comics for younger audiences in the 21st century. Compared to fifty years ago the number of children’s comics easily available has dwindled, with only titles used to promote toys and cartoons on most newsagent shelves. However, with new anthologies aimed at children arriving in recent years, such as The Phoenix, 2000AD Regened, and Monster Fun, it seems that new comics are now coming on to the market and appealing to new readers. In addition, manga and graphic novels aimed at younger readers are rapidly finding new audiences. Illustrated books for children have often flirted with the language of comics with Brighton’s own Raymond Briggs a pioneer for this crossover audience, and recent series such as Dave Pilkey’s Dog Man and Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid showing a large demand for such titles. Also, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s award-winning books for children show the same creativity and comic book stylistics found in their graphic novels for adults.

This, alongside increasing scholarship that indicates that comics reading aids literacy and educational development, suggests that comics for children and younger readers are once again gaining traction. This symposium hopes to explore these areas further. As an event which aims to be interdisciplinary, we invite speakers and contributors from academic and creator-based backgrounds in comics, visual cultures and education, so as to open discussion across the disciplines. We invite 20-minute papers themed around, but not limited to, the following:

  • YA manga, readership and translation
  • Younger creators and their work
  • Comics and agency – enabling younger voices and perspectives
  • Comics creation, youth wellbeing and social engagement
  • Adapting adult narratives for younger readership
  • Adaptation and transmedia children’s comics and texts / Comics with cross-media presence (for example work that is a comic, podcast and animated series)
  • Comics and literacy
  • Comics and pedagogy in the classroom
  • Educational comics
  • The language of comics in illustrated books / crossovers between illustrated children’s books and comics
  • Comics, memory and nostalgia
  • Collectables and memorabilia
  • Creativity in licensed comics
  • Kids’ comics paratexts
  • Relaunching old titles for new audiences
  • New publishers for younger audiences

Please submit your abstract (300 words) and brief biography (100 words) to A.R.Fitch [at] and B.J.Chamberlin [at] no later than Friday 1 April 2022. Comic book creators and children’s book illustrators will be attending the event, to talk about their work in panel discussions, so this is a unique opportunity for academics undertaking research in this area to meet practitioners and discuss their work in this medium. Confirmed guests so far include former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, plus cartoonists Cole Henley (You’re Thinking About Tomatoes), Sally Kindberg (The Comic Strip History of the World), Woodrow Phoenix (Donny Digits), Bob Molesworth (Star Wars Lego comic), Matt Baxter (The Phoenix), and Coco Kirkland (Project: Immortality). Graphic Brighton is curated by Alex Fitch and Barbara Chamberlin. This event will be held at the Edward Street Building, University of Brighton City Campus on Friday 27th May and Saturday 28th May 2022. This event is funded by the Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, plus the Widening Participation and Outreach Department at the University of Brighton. For more information about the symposium and previous Graphic Brighton events, please visit

Comic Making workshops for Teens

Update 03/03/22: These workshops have unfortunately been cancelled, as we were unable to find enough teenagers from the University’s catchment area. Coco will be running a workshop during Graphic Brighton itself, details TBC. In advance of Graphic Brighton 2022, which will be on the topic of comics by and for young people, the University of Brighton will be running four FREE ‘Saturday Clubs’ on March 12th, 19th, 26th and April 2nd 2022 from 10am to 2pm with a break for lunch, run by a team of lecturers and creators who have taught and made comics themselves, including young Brighton graphic novelist Coco Kirkland (Project Immortality).

If you’re a 13 to 16-year-old living in the Brighton area and would like to learning about making comics, this course might be ideal for you! With sessions on creating characters, planning stories, and how to lay out a comic book page, these workshops are a brilliant way of find out more about how comics are made, with the intent of creating your own short comic, which will then be published in an anthology and exhibited on campus.

Please watch these videos by Coco Kirkland, and University of Brighton lecturer Barbara Chamberlin to find out why comics are a great way to express yourself creatively…

coco_image barbara_image

For more info about the comics Saturday Clubs, and to book a place, please email outreach [at] before Friday 25th February!

For more info about Coco’s work, visit his website / instagram site…

Academic Conference in Amiens


As part of the University of Brighton’s cultural exchange with Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Graphic Brighton has programmed part of their June academic comics conference: ‘L’Enfance de l’Art: Jeuness et Bandes dessinées’ (The Childhood of Art: Youth and Comics) on June 3rd and 4th 2021…

The conference is mainly in French, but former Comics Laureate Hannah Berry and Comics Academic Laurence Grove (University of Glasgow) will be giving talks as part of the programme.

Here’s info about their presentations:

June 3rd, 2.30pm
Hannah Berry will be discussing “Kindness, Resilience and Sci-fi: The Rez and Planet Divoc-91”

Author of three critically acclaimed graphic novels: Livestock (2017), Adamtine (2012) and Britten & Brülightly (2008) (official selection of Angoulême in 2010), Hannah Berry will present her latest projects: The Rez, a comic and interactive podcast series set in the distant future, designed to help 9-11 year olds foster the concept of kindness and build resilience; and Planet Divoc-91, a comic series and multi-disciplinary project to help young adults process the challenges of the pandemic through a sci-fi lens.

June 4th, 8.30am

Laurence Grove will be discussing “Depictions of Disability in YA Comics”

Comics are now a medium that embraces, contextualises and supports young people with disabilities—and tell some of the story of how we got there. A historical view of comics gives a frank (but disturbing) insight to society’s approach to disabilities at a given time. Perhaps it is the very reasons that lend comics a positive role today—immediate accessibility via images, the presentation and questioning of stereotypes, the focus on (non) action and communication—that meant historical comics also suited a less-inclusive time.

Both of these talks can be accessed via UPJV’s Zoom link: – the password can be found in the PDF of the programme for the full conference and on the Fabula Literature Research website (in French)

Also, the conference is in advance of the Amiens comics festival – Les 25es Rendez-Vous de la Bande Dessinée d’Amiens – which you can find more about on their website.

Recent Podcasts

Justin Wadlow, Hannah Berry, Elle Whitcroft, Nick Cannan, Charlotte Semlyen, Tania Suryabandara, Judith Biddlestone and Ottilie Hansworth discuss their work at Graphic Brighton 2019
Justin Wadlow, Hannah Berry, Elle Whitcroft, Nick Cannan, Charlotte Semlyen, Tania Suryabandara, Judith Biddlestone and Ottilie Hansworth discuss their work at Graphic Brighton 2019

A number of talks and panel discussions recorded at Graphic Brighton have been broadcast on Resonance FM, and subsequently podcast over the last year. If you weren’t able to come along to Graphic Brighton in recent years, these are a great way of catching up with the exciting events that take place in each year’s festival!

These include:

Architecture Culture: Anise Gallery / Amiens Cathedral – Jacquelyn Jubert and Joe Robson (founders of Anise Gallery, Shad Thames) and artists Owen D. Pomery and Alison Samson discuss the representation of architecture in graphic arts, and academic Justin Wadlow (University of Picardy Jules Verne) talks about the posters he’s helped curate for Amiens BD festival, which include representations of the city’s Cathedral and other architectural landmarks. Recorded at Graphic Brighton 2019.

Panel Borders: Researching Comics’ Histories – As part of a panel discussion recorded at Graphic Brighton 2018 hosted by Elle Whitcroft, M. J. Hibbett and Rob Fleay talk about and perform music from animated superhero adventures from the 1960s, including tracks from the Batman TV show and Spider-Man cartoon.

Panel Borders: Dramatising the RealAlex Fitch talks to Bryan and Mary Talbot about their graphic novels Sally Heathcote: Suffragette and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia on French revolutionary Louise Michel in a Q and A recorded at Graphic Brighton 2016.

and to be broadcast 5.30pm, 6th January 2021 on Resonance 104.4 FM / DAB (London) / streamed at, Panel Borders: Educating Comics – Comics academic Elle Whitcroft introduces Ottilie Hansworth and her students Charlotte Semlyen, Tania Suryabandara, Judith Biddlestone and Nick Cannan regarding their creation of a strip anthology about The Theatre Royal, Brighton, and Alex Fitch talks to graphic novelist and Comics Laureate Hannah Berry about her activities in the role. Recorded at Graphic Brighton 2019.

After a year’s delay, Graphic Brighton hopes to be back in 2021, with two events in June and November TBC. Watch this space!

Sketching Graphic Brighton 2019

At Graphic Brighton 2019, John Miers and Paul Fisher Davies drew sketchnotes on Saturday 4th May, the second day of the symposium, before, during and after their panel on their own artistic practice.
Here are their terrific sketches of the day…

10.15am Performing comics for research: Ian Hornsby, Jodie Hawkes, Pete Phillips (all University of Chichester) / (Chair: Alex Fitch, University of Brighton)

Ian, Jodie and Pete discuss the connections between comics and theatre, as part of Search Party‘s proposed 12 Acts of Kindness initiative .

11.15am Using comics as documentation: Paul Fisher Davies (University of Sussex), John Miers (University of the Arts, London)/(Chair: Clari Searle, University of Coventry)

John draws Paul talking about the art of sketchnoting and Paul draws John talking about using other comic creators’ work to inform his own biographical comics.

12.15pm Using comics for biography: Ben Dickson, Richy K Chandler, Ottilie Hainsworth

Richy and Ottilie discuss using biography and autobiography to inform their comics to help people with personal issues.

Ben talks about using historical research to create a graphic novel that deals with a father’s PTSD.

3pm Using comics to explain ideas: Dr. Louisa Buck (University of Brighton), Ian Horton (University of the Arts, London), and Daniel Locke (Chair: Barbara Chamberlin, University of Brighton)

Louisa discusses dramatising the life of Sysiphus based on her research into the use of his myth in political cartoons…

Ian talks about the Applied Comics Network of creators informing the public about their work, and Dan explores his career as a cartoonist so far, on projects in collaboration with Rewilding Sussex and the Wellcome Centre.

4pm “A Designer’s brush with Comics”: talk by George Hardie (Hipgnosis) / (Chair: Alex Fitch, University of Brighton)

George discusses his graphic design practice and interest in Tintin and other comics as a source of ideas.

Bonus image: Paul Fisher Davies included sketches from Graphic Brighton 2015 in his presentation…


Graphic Brighton 2019: Making Comics Work is supported by Creative Futures and Design Star

Creative Futures / Design Star logos
Creative Futures / Design Star logos

2019 Guests

Graphic Brighton 2019 features a selection of the best British comic book and graphic novel creators talking about their work in FREE panel discussions and individual presentations…

These include:

Hannah Berry – 10.15am Friday 3rd May
Troll strip by Hannah Berry
Hannah is the current British Comics Laureate and author of graphic novels Adamtine (2012), Britten and Brulightly (2008) and Livestock (2017), all published by Jonathan Cape. She also draws strips for Prospect and New Statesman and has written scripts for 2000AD and Misty in recent years. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a podcaster and Arvon Foundation Tutor.

Warren Pleece – 11.15am Friday 3rd May
Extract from Freedom Bound, illustrated by Warren Pleece
Warren has been illustrating comics for over 30 years including a variety of titles for DC Comics including Sandman Mystery Theatre, John Constantine: Hellblazer, The Invisibles and Lucifer. He often works with his brother Gary, creating such titles as Montague Terrace and The Great Unwashed, and has recently illustrated the graphic novels Incognegro: Renaissance (Berger Books) and Freedom Bound (BHP).

Alison Sampson – 12.15pm Friday 3rd May
Shadows by Alison Sampson
Alison is the illustrator of Genesis and Winnebago Graveyard for Image Comics, a contributor to Femme Manifique and has been a cover artist for The Wicked + the Divine. She is a fully qualified RIBA Architect and curated the immersive Think of a City tumblr, inviting artists from around the world to create unique aspects of a fictional city. She is currently illustrating Hit Girl: India, the latest Kick-Ass sequel.

Richy K. Chandler – 12.15pm Saturday 4th May
Lucy the Octopus by Richy K. Chandler
Richy is an artist, musician and webcomic creator, known for his popular strip Lucy the Octopus, recently collected by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. He has written the official comic strips based on Adventure Time and Wallace & Gromit and over the last couple of years been creating children’s books based on coming to terms with difficult life experiences such as You Make Your Parents Super Happy!: A book about parents separating.

Ottilie Hainsworth – 3pm Friday 3rd May
Extract from Talking to Gina by Ottilie Hainsworth
Ottilie is an artist and tutor at The Phoenix, Brighton, where she helps people turn real life stories into comics and graphic novels. She is the author of the graphic novel Talking to Gina, a memoir of a beloved dog, published by Myriad Editions and curator / editor of a collection of comic strips on The Theatre Royal, Brighton, produced with and by her students who will be joining her at Graphic Brighton.

George Hardie – 4pm Saturday 4th May
Pink Floyd: Dark Side sticker by George Hardie
George is an award winning graphic designer who worked with Hipgnosis on classic album covers such as Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, Futurama: Be-Bop Delux and Led Zeppelin I. He incorporates comics into his work on a regular bases, from the stickers that came with Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here to magazine covers and restaurant menus, and the children’s book Cluedo: Armchair Detective.

No tickets needed for talks / panels, just come along! Book 2pm workshops here

10am-5pm, 3rd / 4th May 2019, University of Brighton Gallery, City Campus, 58–67 Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY

Graphic Brighton 2019: Making Comics Work is supported by Creative Futures and Design Star

Creative Futures / Design Star logos
Creative Futures / Design Star logos

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