Winch SP Event Review

Posted on October 29th, 2016

Friday 28th October saw the culmination of the inaugural Winchester Small Press Event, curated by Tom Mortimer and co-curated by Kieron from the Dalston Comics Club. The week long event sought to pay homage to the current crop of Small Press talent, providing a full blown gallery display alongside stalls, workshops and a range of talks by prominent names in the UK small press community. We turned up for the final day of the event, to lend a hand and help see it off in style.

To Winchester

We arrived in Winchester around 10 am, in time to set up and take a look around before the day kicked off in earnest. The gallery space was large, light and airy, and Tom had laid it out well, with a range of titles on display in cabinets and a large selection of prints and original art displayed on the wall. The table set up offered a big workshop space, and there was ample room for stalls alongside the exhibit.

Alongside ourselves, exhibitors on the day included Olivia Sullivan (review of her latest book here), Danny Noble, Gareth Brookes, Gareth Hopkins, and Henry & Stanley Miller.

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Talks by Gareth Brookes and Gareth Hopkins were well attended and greatly informative, offering insight into the post-production process and Kickstarter funding respectively. From speaking with attendees, there is clearly a keen audience among university students for this type of practical, hands-on advice. We daresay some practical know-how and insider knowledge may be of more use than theory in today’s world, but that may be a conversation for another day.

Attendance was slow in the morning, but picked up over the day and the event was busy by mid-afternoon. Perhaps being half-term week there were fewer students around, but those who arrived seemed to really enjoy what was on offer. Our feeling – and this is true of the comics community in general – is that more people would take part if they only knew what they were missing. As one attendee on Friday said: “I wish our lecturers told us about these events!”

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Tom also invited us to run some Six Minute Comic workshops across the day. The Six Minute Comics Method is one we use to help loosen ourselves up creatively, and has been a staple of our regular Beer and Comics meet-ups in the past. It’s a fun exercise that involves multiple participants creating short – often zany – comics within a six minute time-frame. We ran two workshops on Friday, and all who came along seemed to greatly enjoy the activity. The results were impressive (and remarkably coherent!), and we’ve highlighted a few of our favourite examples below (click for bigger versions). Thanks to everyone who turned up, and to Danny Noble for helping co-facilitate.

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We rounded off the day with a couple of pints in the local, and a sly McDonalds to prepare us for the journey home. All-in-all, the Winchester Small Press Event proved a very enjoyable day, and has renewed our enthusiasm for small press comics and the great work that’s being done within the community. Due to its success we hope that the event returns next year, and pulls in a larger and well-deserved crowd.