Graphic novel writer David Alexander Robertson (standing, left) is one of the 11 authors and illustrators participating in the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival officially on Saturday. (Images supplied)

Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival happening this Saturday

Eleven writers and illustrators will give readings and presentations in downtown venues

BookFest is starting early for pair of Winnipeg graphic novelists.

While the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival officially happens on Saturday, David Alexander Robertson and Scott Henderson kick things off with a presentation at Tillicum Lelum on Thursday at 6 p.m.

On Saturday morning the duo presents again and will also take part in a comic book-style youth mural project at the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Art Lab from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Robertson said it’s a lot of activity for their first trip to Nanaimo.

“We’re going to be working pretty hard out there,” he said.

The other writers and illustrators taking part in Saturday’s festivities are Barbara Reid, Isabelle Arsenault, Kim Soo Goodtrack, Qin Leng, Robin Stevenson, Faith Erin Hicks, Margriet Ruurs, Darlene Gait and Cale Atkinson. Readings and presentations will take place throughout the day at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo Museum, Harbourfront Library and around Diana Krall Plaza.

Robertson said he and Henderson, who write and illustrate respectively, will discuss the graphic novel creation process. Robertson said there are things to keep in mind when writing for graphic novels, namely how the words serve the images. He said his written stories look more like screenplays.

“What you have in a comic is you have a sequence of still images and what you have to keep in mind is how those images, when you juxtapose one to another in that sequence, how that conveys the idea or story to the reader,” he said.

“So you want to choose the right images and make it as easy as possible for the reader to connect them together and to animate the story.”

The Art Lab collaborative mural project, Youth Speak, will address the galley’s ongoing theme of ‘How can we speak differently?’

“To me that’s about mutual respect and understanding…” Robertson said.

“We’re going to unpack what that theme means and then how we would represent that through images and then we’ll talk about how would you sequence the images to tell that very brief story in a really efficient and powerful way.”

WHAT’S ON … BookFest comes to downtown venues on Saturday, May 12. To register for the Youth Speak: Collaborative Teen Mural Project, call 250-754-1750. For a full schedule of BookFest events, see

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