Paint Me a Poem

Here’s a sneaky peek at a new children’s poetry book, by Julie Anna Douglas, that I’m currently illustrating.

It’s a whole lot of fun to draw and I can’t wait for you to see it and read the super poems.

Here’s ‘The Reading Dance’:

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Two Exhibitions

Last week I visited two exhibitions of illustrators’ work. The first exhibition was at Mottisfont Abbey 7th July – 2nd September 2018 of original illustrations from ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and the Mog books.  The exhibition was organized by Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books

Great to see the originals of these books that my daughter grew up with.  Admiring the 29362735967_86774819d0_osimplicity of Kerr’s characters and the very expressive faces, feeling of movement and ‘catness’ she achieves.  Much more simplified characters than Kathleen Hale’s (which I have been looking at this week).

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My sketch

He’s such a kindly looking tiger. I’ve just noticed how the stripes over his eyes give him eyebrows.

The short film of Judith Kerr at the exhibition was interesting. She showed her sketchbooks and talked about drawing things a lot of times before she got them right. She also mentioned drawing tigers from life at the zoo and using the internet to find images when she needed to draw tigers yawning (as the real ones don’t keep still with their mouths open).

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 12.01.38Shopped.  Bag and postcard images are from “The Tiger Who Came to Tea.” (Kerr, J. 1968). “Bombs on Aunt Dainty” (Kerr, J. 1975).  My photo.

(Above) Doorway image from “Mog the Forgetful Cat” (Kerr, J. 1970). My photo.

 

A lovely exhibition if you are anywhere near.  Got home and listened to Judith Kerr on Desert Island Discs, which is available on iplayer if you’re in the UK.

The second was Edward Bawden. Dulwich Picture Gallery. 24th May to 9th September 2018

I went to see this exhibition yesterday. I wasn’t very familar with the work of Edward Bawden but several people recommended (raved about) it.

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Fig 1. Brighton Pier 1958. Linocut on paper.

The range of work was beyond what I had expected.  Some of my favourite pieces were the large lino prints of Brighton Pier and of Lindsell Church.   I loved the large amount of black and strong overall feeling of these.

 

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Fig 2. Map of Scarborough (detail) 1931. Pencil, silver foil, watercolour and paper.

 

In contrast to these were finely drawn copper plate etchings and delicate watercolours. I loved his use of collage.  The Map of Scarborough was another favourite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new favourite artist.

 

x

A Brief Ramble about the 2016 SCWBI Conference

I’ll keep it short and incoherent. For those of you who don’t know SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (British Isles). Last weekend they held their annual conference in Winchester (and have lots of other exciting and interesting activities the rest of the time).

This was the 2nd time I’ve been to the conference.  It’s so fabulous I just have to tell you about it.  It’s also very intense, and fabulous.  I’m still mentally digesting all the wonderful fabulousness and remembering odd bits of fabulous stuff at odd times, so this is a very garbled account of some of the bits I did.

3The Sketch Crawl.

Drawing out and about in Winchester with a bunch of other illustrators and non illustrators. I drew skaters, buildings and other things.  Then we met up to compare sketches and chat over a mulled cider.  Here’s one of my sketches in progress:

Roman glass in Winchester Museum

Being inclined towards art the best thing about the conference for me is the opportunity to 8listen and talk to proper illustrators with books out in the real world…

This year Leigh Hodgkinson (she’s @hoonbutton on Twitter) was one of the keynote speakers and I also attended a break out session with her.  It’s completely fabulously fabulous to find out what goes on in the head of another artist. I love all her making different things and ideas, and came away with ideas of my own about collaging things and ways of working to try.

Viviane Schwarz gave an amazing picture book workshop. Lots of fast drawing, cutting up, stealing other people’s drawings and making a group picture book.  I learned a whole new way of thinking about ideas and creating characters.  You can follow Viviane on Twitter.

2One of the other things I did was to dare to put my portfolio out on a table where people could see it. That won’t be scary next time. It was brilliantly educational just seeing my work alongside other peoples.

10And there was so, so much more. So many people, opportunites, interest, books, pictures, cake.

The weekend was a lovely bubble of talking about writing and illustration.  I learnt so much and met so many lovely people.  I made friends.

You can visit the website of the SCBWI here.

Thanks to Dom Conlon for letting me steal some photos.

#memorydoodle

A few days ago I was relaxing with a beer and my feet up after a hard day’s drawing, pen and sketchbook at hand and I started to doodle a little chair…halfway through I realised it was a chair that used to be in my grandparents’ house, so I drew me sitting in it reading a big book.

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I posted my doodle on Twitter and Instagram. People seemed to like it and it sparked off a lovely idea in the ever fertile brain of my friend, Dom Conlon, which was to get people doodling their memories and sharing them. 🙂

So…if you have a memory to share, doodle, add a little text maybe, post it on Twitter with the hashtag #memorydoodle  or address it to @headfirst_dom so that he can share it on his Inkology website.

Read all about it and take a look at what other people have drawn here.  You don’t need to be an artist or even good at drawing. Here’s Dom’s effort:

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(I don’t think he’s as bad at drawing as he claims though.)

 

Hard Back (with cat)

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Sunday lolling in the conservatory with the cat and a good book.  ‘Astro Poetica’ in hardback.  It’s so nice to hold it’s putting a big smile on my face. The cover is shiny black and silver.  It has a couple of extra poems and illustrations and if you’re quick you’ll get a piece of free art (by me) when you buy it.

You may have noticed that Leo modelled for one of the illustrations.

 

Astro Poetica

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This lovely thing landed on my doorstep last week. 🙂  ‘Astro Poetica’, a volume of charming poems about space written by Dom Conlon, with some pictures by me.  It’s full of love and fun and aliens and planets and solar systems..and I managed to sneak my cat in there somewhere too.

As well as being a rather beautiful, nice to hold thing ‘Astro’ is the first time I’ve seen myself in print.  And, by gum, I think I look rather good.  (My work, obviously. Not actual me.)  I’m immodestly pleased with myself.  And with Dom.  I think we did good.  And to think, when Dom asked me to illustrate it I said “Don’t you think you should ask someone who knows what they’re doing?”  I’m pleased he ignored me.

I think children will love this book.  I hope they read the ‘Things to Think’ and ‘Things to Do’ sections and write some poetry of their own.  I have a child on loan at the moment, so I’ll be testing it out later.  I know adults will like it, because I do and I am one.

‘Astro Poetica’ is published by Dom Conlon. If you look here Domconlon.com you’ll find lots of free and lovely stories and poems for children.

You can get a copy of  ‘Astro Poetica’ from Amazon. It is also available on Kindle from Amazon or for your ipad from itunes and there is a rather lovely limited edition hardback version, which has extra content (also on Amazon).