Saturday saw the 6th annual St Ives Book Jam and I was there doing collage and drawing for the 6th time! It was another very splendid day which was as well attended by authors, illustrators and book-loving children as it always is. I helped create a huge mural curated by wonderful illustrator and author Pam Smy based on the theme of Heroes and Villains. In the afternoon I worked with the lovely and talented author-illustrators Trudi Esberger and Carolina Rabei to help children create villains, superhero masks and superhero emblems. I took charge of the villains of course; check out cat burglar Claws Malone, the dreadful Salamander of Doom and last but not least the infamous bank robber Bad Giraffe…
On Wednesday I had a wonderful time at Yaxley Library working with children from Fourfields Primary School and Yaxley Infant School. The children learnt about how to begin illustrating a book and how to come up with characters. After a little drawing practice using Maisie Hitchins and Bella Donna‘s cat Pegatha for inspiration, the children created their own crazy collage creatures. Thanks a million to Sue and to Richard from Cambridgeshire libraries who are both worth their weight in gold. Below are some examples of the children’s rather fabulous work!
Last week I was joined by children in Witham, Basildon and Maldon libraries where we made scores of Cheshire Cats. Being naturally solitary creatures, Cheshire Cats have rarely, if ever been seen in these kinds of numbers before, making this half-term a record-breaking Wonderland phenomenon! Last week’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” workshops in Essex Libraries were supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and I’d like to say a huge thank you too to all the wonderful librarians and volunteers who assisted with the collage cat creation. There is still one workshop to go so if your children come along to Saffron Walden Library on the 14th November they can make their very own Cheshire Cat to add to the score!
Witches were abroad at Ramsey Ram Jam this Saturday! By and large they were about 50cm high, made of paper, card and various sparkly things and looked a bit like Bella Donna…
The children who took part in my workshops made some truly magical work and I think they were extra inspired by the previous day’s visit from Ruth Symes who is the fantastic author responsible for penning the Bella Donna series.
Ramsey Ram Jam is a super event with all sorts of workshops and talks from authors and illustrators who this year as well as myself included: Matt Brown, Nicola Killen, Lizzie Finlay, Steve Antony and Helen Moss. Thanks to all the children and parents who came along and the library staff and volunteers who make Ramsey Ram Jam a wonderful event for us all to be a part of. Below are some of the stunning results from witch class:
For me and studio pal Nicola Killen much of this summer has been spent preparing for Art Club and figuring out the exercises we wanted the children to do. This meant a lot of playing with materials and mark-making, I felt like I’d gone back to my student days where experimentation was the norm. It was great! Here are some of the results of using tissue and coloured pencil for collage week and monoprint for printing week.
On Tuesday Nicola Killen and I held our fourth and final Art Club and the theme this time was doll’s house rooms from shoe boxes. We had a wonderful array of bits and bobs for the children get creative with and at the end of the session we put all their rooms together to make a mansion of a doll’s house! Huge thanks to all those who helped us gather the supplies for this session – both Nicola’s and my parents, Perry and Ian as well as Jones the Bootmakers for supplying all the boxes. Special thanks go to my Dad who lovingly sawed up and sanded all the blocks of wood that were used to make the tiny furniture. We would also like to thank the wonderful Anne, Pippa, David and Richard from Cambridgeshire libraries for making Art Club happen!
For me and fellow children’s book illustrator Nicola Killen, this month is all about Art Club. We are collaborating with Rock Road Library to hold a series of art workshops for children and yesterday was one of my favourites – collage day! The children worked with multi-coloured, glittery and hand-painted papers to create some beautiful and imaginative images. Inspiration came from toys, flowers and other random objects as well as an imaginary book cover for the final piece. Many thanks go to the wonderful Anne Worthington who has been a great help to us with Art Club. Have a look below to see some of the children’s fantastic collages!
Last Saturday I helped out at the St Ives Bookjam which is a fantastic children’s event held every year to celebrate the love of books and reading. Together with an awful lot of small but enthusiastic artists I helped terrifically talented illustrator Pam Smy in her mission to create two huge murals. The Bookjam was attended by many wonderful illustrators and authors and I was especially delighted to meet Ruth Symes for the first time ever – Ruth is the author of the Bella Donna books which are illustrated by yours truly! Below are the Bella Donna covers as well as some highlights from the murals which featured pirates, aliens, mermaids, a recycling war and many more fantastical goings on…
This weekend it was my turn to take part in 52 Stories which is a fantastic project thought up by Cherry Hinton’s Spinney Primary School together with the surrounding libraries. The idea is that each and every Saturday for a whole year a different reader comes into libraries and reads stories to children. The readers can be anyone with a love of books and this Saturday it was my turn. I had great fun reading Ready, Steady, Ghost! by Elizabeth Baguley and Ping! by Chae Strathie and showing the children my original illustrations for the books. Afterwards the children did some drawing and created a character who was naughty, stripy and had red hair and wings – you can see a few of their brilliant drawings below. It was a lovely morning and I’d like to thank all those from Cherry Hinton Library and Spinney Primary who organised everything and made me feel so welcome!