Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Manila Workshop

Tomorrow I'm off to the Philippines to host a presentation and workshop in Manila for SCBWI. Surprising to say, although I've overseen many such events given by other writers and artists here in Tokyo, I've never actually guested at one myself before. Prior to this the longest I've ever spoken for was 15 minutes in Paris a few years ago, as I've never run school visits either, this will be for all intensive purposes a debut speaking engagement (in English at least). I've spoken in Japanese before in casual critique classes I've run at art schools in Tokyo, which was a hell of a lot easier to contend with. Somehow speaking in a foriegn language buffers you from the nerves of your own native tongue, giving a presentation to English speakers is a lot more nerve-wracking.

Nevertheless this Manila workshop has encouraged me to think about my work processes, and I'm hoping to reuse the presentations in future events. I've never used Powerpoint before, I opened it up for the first time to put together two slide shows, one on the artists that have inspired me from Hogarth to Errol Le Cain, the second on my own work. I thought I'd be able to pull something together within a few days - in fact with the scanning of artwork and research involved it's taken me three weeks, for two 1.5 hour talks and a 2-hour workshop.

I just hope I don't turn into a jibbering jelly on the day.


Ginger*:)* said...

Those lucky SCBWI members in Manila! You will be such an inspiration to them. All the very best!

Joel Chua said...

See you there John.

curryegg said...

You're really good in art. So it's not a surprising thing for being invited to host a presentation...

John Nez said...

I've been thinking about this whole venture of bookmaking in Mongolia. It seems really significant... in an important sense of helping 3rd world countries to develop. At least I consider that lots more important that the standard 'entice grandmother to buy an $18 birthday present book' rationale that seems to drive so much of children's publishing here in the USA.

It's made me think of all the times I've heard my dad tell me about his experiences in 3rd world nations where the people have NO books at all.... let alone children's books. My dad spent about 15 years working for the United Nations in Ghana, Nicaragua, Macedonia, Romania... and most recently in Afghanistan, where they don't even have roofs, let alone books.

But what strikes me is how needful the people are in those nations... and how important making books might be for them. (As compared to the situation here where books are just a luxury item and there's 200 artists in line ahead of us and publishers have all the ideas they need, thank you). In the 3rd world, they're grateful for anything they get.

I think it would be awesome if UNESCO or the UN or some other international organization were to come up with a program where bookmakers like us could travel to 3rd world nations and help them to make books. I understand there is a great need for books there. And not just for hand-me-down books from the 1st world. But their own books. I think programs where we might go and help them develop their own books would be totally awesome... and make us feel that we were actually doing something really important as bookmakers.

Who knows, we might even get paid as much as other 'consultants' and get to live in style. I knew a couple here in Seattle, up the street, who went to Africa as environmental & health consultants. They were paid a huge fee (no US taxes) and they lived in a mansion on an estate in Uganda with 12 servants!

Anyhow, I'm totally amazed that anyone could actually go to Mongolia and have a SCBWI meeting! This really helps to revive that dying ember of the meaningful importance of bookmaking in the world... which has been so nearly extinguished.

Oh, and let me know when you're going to Tibet!!! I want to come along on that trip! I read that book 'Magic & Mystery in Tibet' by Alexandria David Neel and I've never forgotten it.