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Posted by Kate, June 1, 2011

Nikalas and Tim’s Mega Mash-up event at the Hay Festival

Nikalas and Tim’s Mega Mash-up event at the Hay Festival yesterday was fast, furious and funny.

They took the – big and lively – audience through the creation of the series, a unique and silly blend of doodle book and young novel that they describe as “draw your own adventure” which they both write and illustrate.

They said that some of their ideas come to them on the Thinking Couch in their studio. Here’s Nikalas on the Thinking Couch:

And here’s Tim on the Thinking Couch:

However, they also confessed that they traded ideas for cookies with the elves at the bottom of their garden.

Conveniently, Nikalas is right-handed and Tim’s left handed, which means that they can illustrate the same picture at the same time without either getting in the other’s way… and they demonstrated this on a flip-chart at the event:

They pulled in audience suggestions and questions brilliantly. Here’s Tim getting a suggestion from half-way up the theatre:

They asked, for example, what the roundish object might be that they’d drawn being spotted through a telescope hurtling toward the Romans’ and Dinosaurs’ Martian city, Romasauria. “A grape!”, suggested one child (it was an asteroid). In turn, they were asked whether they liked brussels sprouts. So we covered a lot of ground, not all of it fruit-and-vegetable-related, as well as drawing mashed-up characters together.

There was a long queue of enthusiastic children waiting for them to sign books, and I was surprised and pleased to see how many girls were in the audience, as I’ve always thought that these books skewed towards boys, and reluctant boy readers in particular:

Described by Library Mice as “… exactly the kind of books us parents need to be able to hand to our offspring in school holidays or on long car journey!” you can find out more about the Mega Mash-up books on the Mega Mash-up website, where you can also post your own pictures, like this one by Alex Kosowicz: