Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Super busy days...

Hi everyone - long time no see! I have had a really busy March, and have just about got to the moment when I can breath out and report on everything that's been happening. - For a couple of weeks in March, I was Lead Artist in Residence at Downham Library in south-east London. This was part of SPINE Festival, organised by Apples and Snakes.I also acted as a mentor to Rue Gumbochuma, an amazingly talented young poet, musician and performer (who didn't need much mentoring - she was awesome anyway!) Together, we developed a programme of workshops for young people, and produced a legacy booklet featuring our art and poetry, as well as that of our participants. This was my first experience of being an Artist in Residence, and I absolutely loved every minute of it (the Cambridge-London commute - not so much!)

- I have been creating lots of artwork - commissions, residency-related, and some new artwork for my Artist Teacher Scheme course (I reeeeally need to update my Art section...)

- Last but definitely not the least - my graphic novel in progress, Witchmarked, has been shortlisted for the LDC Prize!!! (excuse the exclamation marks) The two-day festival last weekend included a review with an amazing comic artist Una, presentations from publishers such as Unbound, Self Made Hero and Myriad Editions and an evening reception (with wine) where the winner, Niki Banados, was announced. Although I didn't get the first prize, I received one of the runner-up cash prizes, and had a chance to meet so many amazing people. I am still buzzing from the excitement of last weekend!

- Next thing on the agenda would be to get on with my Uni work, and prepare a poster for the upcoming Get Published! conference at Oxford Brookes, where I will be presenting. No rest for the wicked (although with the Easter hoildays coming up, spending time with the kids and much-needed chilling time is definitely on the cards...) As always, keep up with my news/updates on my Instagram account @irinarichardsart Enjoy your Spring and #staycreative!

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Back to School update + Artist Teacher Scheme!

Hi! I thought it's been such a long time... so here's a very long-overdue update of what I've been up to:

- I've been running a lot of manga workshops and projects this year. The Dunstable one finished in early May - it turned out to be extremely successful, so much so that many of the participants have decided to keep in touch and meet up in the Library for a bit of drawing and a chat! Here's some of the (very flattering) feedback from the project:

"I learned to let my imagination run wild sometimes"

"I learned how to draw and adapt my style in different ways. It also helped me overcome my social anxiety (I only had a little) and I'm glad I went here. I am going to miss you all"

"The best thing was that I was around people that liked what I do"

- This summer, I was also part of Bradford Literature Festival - it was amazing, and I really want to go back and take part in Bradford Comico, an up-and-coming comics, manga and book-related mini-convention. I discovered so many talented creators!

- I've been working on a new graphic novel - as a historical fantasy set in early medieval Britain, it couldn't be more different from Chemical Blue! I'm absolutely relishing the creative process, and wish I had more time to spend on it.

- Last but most definitely not the least... I have gone back to University! I am studying on PGCert Artist Teacher Scheme at Oxford Brookes. So far, it has been absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. The course is run in partnership with Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford - if you have a chance, please visit it, it's incredible! I have only just started the course but it has already broadened my horizons and made me re-evaluate my practice as an educator and artist. I intend to regularly document my progression on the course, so watch this space!

- As always, keep an eye out on my Workshops and Events page for details of upcoming events, and keep up with my art and stuff on my Instagram account @irinarichardsart Enjoy the new school year and #staycreative!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Dunstable Library Manga Mania!

Over the last few weeks, I have been honoured to work on a series of workshops at Dunstable Library. Manga Mania is a 10-week project for 11-16-year-olds, focusing on different aspects of manga drawing. I have been very lucky to work with extremely talented and overall lovely young people, and have another great artist and person, Arkolina, as my mentee. (Yes indeed, I feel like I'm a proper adult now - a mentor, no less!) The project will run for another 5 weeks (until 19th May). Here are some highlights:

In other news, I've got a few things in the pipeline, including... a new graphic novel! Watch this space...


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Update + "But they don't teach manga at school..."

Hi everyone! How's your summer going? I've been quite busy both at home (with three kids out of school/nursery life can become a bit manic!) and art-wise. I've been leading manga workshops at Newmarket Library and have come across many young people who are genuinely interested in drawing, improving their skills, and manga/anime/comics. They have been a pleasure to teach!

In my workshops, I often come across people saying "I wish they taught manga at school", "but in art lessons we don't do anything manga/anime related" etc. First and foremost, I have to say - your art education doesn't finish the time your school day finishes. You can always continue to evolve and develop in your own time - practice, sketching, following video tutorials on YouTube, anything that helps you. If you want to draw manga - just do it!

Having said that, it's always nice to come across teachers/courses that are supportive towards budding manga artists. I have recently found out about Online College of Art and Design - it is part of Cambridge Online Education that offers a range of online courses, from GCSE level to Foundation degrees. But the main reason that this college caught my eye is that it offers manga as one of their Art&Design pathways! So if you want to work towards a GCSE/BTEC level qualification while pursuing your special interest in manga, this course enables you to do so. It's always great to see manga-style illustration to be more accepted! Please see the College's website for more info!

Another very good option is, of course, the Arts Award - I have been an Arts Award adviser for a number of years, and I have to say it's a really good programme to be a part of. Not only does it allow for creative freedom (you can practice any art form you choose!) and gives you a recognised qualification, it also lets you develop leadership skills. You can find a centre in your area and join up any time if you are up to 26 years old!

So don't limit yourself, explore your options - and #staycreative!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Project Bootcamp in Newmarket

A few weeks ago, I attended a Project Bootcamp - a day dedicated to bring artists and other creatives and arts organisations together to discuss community arts projects. It was the first event of its kind I attended and I really enjoyed it! The atmosphere was really friendly and productive (no phones allowed!) and the Market Place staff leading it really made the whole event a success. I've made some really interesting connections with other creatives - it was so great talking about art (and how little time we have to create...)
Here are more details about it (I can't believe they included my derpy feedback as well!). I have learned a great deal - but the three main points are:
1. Connecting with audiences. If you are planning a project, your first question should be not "What is my project going to be?", but "Who is it going to be for?".
2. There are so many interesting art-related things happening around us. Around you, wherever you are, there are exciting projects going on - just come off your customary Facebook-Twitter-Instagram route and search for arts organisations near you!
3. If you have a project in mind, it is possible to make it a reality. IT IS. Really. Whatever it is. There are opportunities and possibilities, people who are interested in the same thing. Connect with them, discuss your project with them, make it happen! #staycreative

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Happy 2017!

Hi everyone! Welcome to the new year!
I am planning my events calendar for 2017, please keep an eye on the Workshops and Events page ^^

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Many thanks for all those who came to Linton Children's Book Festival today! I enjoyed drawing portraits, and the drawing session was fantastic (and very lively). Hope you all had a good time ^^ Lots of photos from the festival are here!