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 Simon Gurr face – Simon Gurr. Simon Gurr is running workshops on how to create comic books based on local history and identity as part of Portrait of a Nation.

Simon is a freelance artist who draws and writes comics, illustrates books and develops material for websites, including ARKive, an initiative of Wildscreen in Bristol. For the 2004 Great Reading Adventure he adapted The Day of the Triffids for serialisation in the Bristol Evening Post. He is a graduate of the University of the West of England.

Simon led workshops in creating comic books during the Brunel 200 programme in schools, libraries and the prison service. Feedback included:

"…we were pleased that boys were keen to join the workshop as we often find that girls are more interested in craft activities... the calibre of the work they produced was excellent."

“We thought that the workshop went really well and it covered all that we had expected. All the children… said that they had really enjoyed it.”

Pupils at Avon Primary with their completed comic books (Dympna Leonard).

Pupils at Avon Primary with their completed comic books (Dympna Leonard).

Simon illustrated the Brunel graphic-style biography that was distributed across the South West in 2006 and which was written by Eugene Byrne. He also illustrated Fingers to the Bone, a ‘penny-dreadful’ by Andrew Taylor featuring Brunel, that was serialised in the Bristol Evening Post and on the BBC website.

Download Simon’s Seven Steps to comic-book making here (Word).

Download comics created in 2006 by Blaise Primary here and Hartcliffe Engineering Community College here (PDFs).

Avon Primary pupil reading the class comic book (Dympna Leonard).

Avon Primary pupil reading the class comic book (Dympna Leonard).

 Simon Gurr at work at Avon Primary (Dympna Leonard).

Simon Gurr at work at Avon Primary (Dympna Leonard).

Simon demonstrating comic-book technique on the white-board at Avon Primary (Dympna Leonard).

Simon demonstrating comic-book technique on the white-board at Avon Primary (Dympna Leonard).

  Comic Downloads

Colstons' Girls (PDF)
Fair Furlong (PDF)
New Oak (PDF)


Visit Simon’s official website here.

Some Teacher Feedback

"This has been an excellent experience and well worth repeating for future reading projects. There were the two extremes – at one stage you could have heard a pin drop they were all so focussed, and on other occasions, they were all animated and excited."

"Excellent workshops – Simon’s workshop was well pitched for Year 3 children. He had really well planned out presentations which broke the storyboard process down into simple steps. The children’s concentration was excellent as they had to work carefully in order to produce their individual comic strips. The workshop was great ‘professional development’ for me and I look forward to using Simon’s comic strip format when I work on Myths and Legends with my class next term. The children loved looking at each others comic strips."

"The students involved were able to think about their ideas and put them into logical order which incorporated the literacy aspect. They were all engaged in the process and really liked the idea of seeing their work in print."

"Simon held the children's attention so well and taught them about how to make a comic using captions, speech bubbles and thought bubbles. The children produced an excellent comic strip each about identity and heritage issues."

"All students interested and engaged in activity. This is not the easiest group to work with – Simon held their attention throughout. They produced a lovely comic book which they were very pleased with."

"The children were really engaged. The sessions were really well thought out and planned."

"This was a new topic for the students. They thoroughly enjoyed working with an artist and the final outcome of their comic book."

"All pupils were very engaged and enjoyed the day. The comic was excellent and pupils were very proud of it."

"The combination of presenting hard non-fiction information in cartoon form really caught pupils’ imagination, and they loved the idea of presenting their own histories/ autobiographies in cartoon form. Some of the examples were stunning – we never realised the pupils were such great cartoonists, this was such an effective medium for Deaf people to communicate in and it would inspire them so much."

"Simon was excellent; he was very supportive of the children and enthused them and his talent shone through. The children were very focussed and proud of their booklet which Simon published for them within the day."

"The children were very proud of their work and keen to explain to others how it had been done and which part was theirs. It was good for team work, self esteem, interest in possible future careers and a good male role model to stimulate interest in writing."