Comics Pub Meets: Scotland and Wales

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

Paddy Brown Pub

(The following first saw print on on given date)


“But, as you know the pub is the natural meeting place for cartoonists” wrote Andy Richmond. It’s a sentiment I agree with: a good pub experience is romanticism, communual congregation intoxicating regardless of chemical intake. My first foray into publishing comics was at the mythological Brum PubCon in 1997. Thrown by Dek Baker, Jez Higgins and Pete Ashton among others, it featured about sixty cartoonists squashed into a tiny rock metal bar. And it did rock.

There are many variations of the Illustration associated PubCon or PubMeet. Among the most well-known is Dr Sketchy’s, where cabaret meets art school and burlesque meets illustration. Founder Molly Crabapple says “As of April 2008, there are fifty Dr. Sketchy’s, in eleven countries and four continents.” (Check out the link for a helpful guide)  I would guess that’s an understating figure. Crabapple’s graphic novel, ‘Scarlett Takes Manhattan’ certainly reflects her love of burlesque and comics.

“Drink n Draw” searched through Facebook in January 2010 brings up 121 results, majorly American: Portland, Washington, San Diego, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, NYC, Boston, Orlando. Listings also include the UK & Ireland, Canada, Australia and Malaysia. I get 121 search results, that’s the short version. Of special note, is the Southern Californian meet affiliated with Eddie Freakin’ Peters and Joenis Norac. Their dedicated not only suggests experimentation and crazed addiction levels. The blog contains evidence and a number of games to try while in the act of drawing.

This page on myspace contains links and info on a Drink n Draw book collection.

The Comics Pub meet has similarities with these three types and I’ll talk about these over this four-part series. To begin with, a look at the various ‘meets’ happening in Scotland and Wales.

“A billion miles north of anyone”, writes Vicky Stonebridge, co-organiser of the healthy Hi-Ex Festival in Inverness. Vicky refers me to Hope Street Studios, shared office space for a collective of professionals based in Glasgow, with the possibility they might have heard of something, though I was unable to follow up fully. Jim from A1 Comics in Glasgow writes, “To be honest I haven’t heard of anything like that happening in this area, might be something that no-one mentions to us or is in association with a college or uni.”

I have more success when I come across the Scottish Cartoonists Society (SCC) and an occasional Glasgow Dr Sketchy’s.
“Burlesque performers do a short turn then pose for 5 or 10 minute drawing sessions. Beer and food available from the bar, and basic art supplies are provided. A jolly way to brush up on your life-drawing and a slightly different setting in which to enjoy a swally.”
The last meeting was Feburary from 4pm to 7pm in The Arches, Argyle Street. You can find more information at the website,

Ganjaman creator Jim Stewart puts me in touch with the comics pub meet,

“..lots of folk just drawing away, and never a dull moment. Check out the comics journal discussion.” (referring to a recent TCJ article on Scottish cartoonists) “The meets are the first Wednesday of the’ll see them in the events..and if there’s a mart we try to advertise it there, doing posters for it.”

Jim mentions that his self-published imprint, Numskull Comix, is 15 years old and you can also join the Ganjaman Presents Ning for recent drawings and news. “I’m about to release Ganjaman Presents 2: I’m thinking of putting it online before i go to print.”
The Glasgow meets usually run from around 7:30pm to 11pm. “Come along and talk shop, or just get pissed, or both.” More details on events all over Scotland at the Scottish Cartoonist’s Ning.

From reading forum posts, it seems as if the Glasgow Group book a room in the pub rather than just showing up and camping down. Something for future researchers?

Ferg Handley writes, “There’s no official pub meets in Edinburgh. Some of us meet up from time to time, usually if there’s an event on. But if anyone wants to set something up, I’d be willing to help organise it.”

Pete and Mark are contacts for the Swansea Comics Collective which meets Wednesdays fortnightly from around eight at The Brunswick Inn. Pete tells me the dates are posted at their blogspot, and you’re also welcome to drop them a line at swanseacomicscollective(nospam(at))

I also came across mention of a Drink n Draw for those based in Cardiff. Information on the Facebook group.
In attending any of these as a newcomer or visitor, get confirmation the meet you intend to join is running that month. It’s worth remembering while some groups have agendas, others purposely don’t and exist as social free-forms. Newcomers approaching may experience some dirorientation. Even when well bonded in among some, trying to listen and to be heard can be a challenge. Drink safe!

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