children's workshops · craft

Art Club – collage

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!

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children's books · children's workshops

52 Stories

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!

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This is a drawing I did after the session was finished, the idea was to leave something behind for the library to put up on the wall - it was rather fun collecting characters from different books and putting them together in one drawing, though I'm not sure if they'd really get on very well together...
This is a drawing I did after the session was finished, the idea was to leave something behind for the library to put up on the wall – it was rather fun collecting characters from different books and putting them together in one drawing, though I’m not sure if they’d really get on very well together…
children's workshops · craft

A storm of Dragons!

Over the past week I have been helping children from Cherry Hinton, Chatteris, Bar Hill and Cambridge to make colourful, crazily collaged, crafty dragons. We had a lot of fun at the library workshops, there were wings, claws and teeth and flames everywhere and the children created a spectacular array of fire-breathers! I’d like to say a very big thank you to Cambridgeshire libraries and to the lovely librarians who helped me with my dragon workshops. Another big thank you goes out to all the children who left their dragons behind so that the libraries could make Mythical Maze displays with them! Here is my dragon together with some of its new friends…

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...a storm of dragons...
…a storm of dragons…
Librarians having fun!
Librarians having fun!
exhibitions · illustration

Grubbies scarves at Open Studios

22 Derby Road is a hive of activity at the moment as myself and my studiomates Nicola, Ian and Neil prepare to open our studio to the world this weekend. Pictures are being framed ready to go up on the walls and books are still arriving – it’s all everso exciting and we are really hoping people will come along and have a look! We will be open from 11am – 6pm the 19th & 20th, and the 26th & 27th July, our address is: 22 Derby Road, Cambridge, CB1 7BU.

My brand new Grubbies scarves have just arrived and look gorgeous! Have a sneak peek below at the new scarves and head on over to Grubbies website to take advantage of the last couple of days of their summer sale.

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children's workshops · craft

Pop-up Dragons!

Today is the day of the Histon and Impington Feast Book Jam and I will be joining forces with Nicola Killen to run a pop-up dragon-making children’s workshop! After independently doing workshops involving pop-ups and collaged dragons we decided to join forces and create a super-workshop that does the lot! If you would like to join in then come and find us at Histon Junior school later today. We will be running three sessions over the course of the afternoon, starting at 12.15pm, 1.45pm and 3pm. Here is my first attempt at a pop-up dragon…

Marion's first pop-up dragon

children's workshops

Owls and Pussycats at Cambridge Central Library

A few weeks ago I held two children’s workshops based around the tale of the Owl and the Pussycat. The first was in Cambridge Central Library and the second at Linton Library. They were both great sessions and the children came up with an amazing array of lovely pussy-cats, elegant fowls and beautiful pea green boats.  I don’t think anyone went for a runcible spoon but never mind. Here are the pictures from the Cambridge workshop – Linton photos will follow very soon!

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children's workshops

Waterlees Words Festival!

On Saturday I went to Orchards school in Wisbech to join in with the Waterlees Words Festival. It was a fantastic day for children with lots of book-related activities including mine which was all about creating an animal alphabet. The children came up with suggestions of animals for me to draw, which I did – after a fashion… When we had filled a new page with a particular letter it was the children’s turn to help colour them in to create our alphabet display. Over the course of the day we made it all the way through to O so we did pretty well! I hope the children of Orchards will take up the gauntlet and finish the alphabet – I’m afraid they get left with the tricky letters such as X, Y and Z but I sure they are up to the challenge!

The one day festival was a great success and a very fun day out. It was wonderful for me to meet pop-up artist Robert Crowther (I still have a very beloved copy of his Animal A-Z from my childhood – obviously it made a big impact…) and to see again storyteller Andy Hawkins and children’s book illustrator Steve Smallman. Special thanks too to Richard, Sue and Nicola! Here are some highlights from Saturday’s drawing:

Highlights!
Highlights!

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children's workshops

Mattishall Primary visit

These pictures were taken after a visit I made to Mattishall Primary school earlier this year. I wanted to put them up because I thought the children did such brilliant and individual work on the day and it’s even more special to see all their characters put together to make a great big display.

Here’s another one together with some additions of my own:

And one more…

Aren’t they great? What a creative bunch.

This was the visit that inspired Raimon my studio demon into being, here he is with his little umbrella:

children's books · illustration

It’s always difficult going first…

…and I’m not quite sure where to start, perhaps in the middle of everything.

This month is an exciting one for me because not only has the paperback edition of Ready, Steady, Ghost! finally hit the shops but Vile Visitors is going to be coming out on the 27th too!

Ready, Steady, Ghost! is written by Elizabeth Baguley and is about a small ghost called Bertie who nervously goes on his first haunting. Bertie has in fact been haunting bookshops in hardback for a year now so its lovely to see him make his return in paperback.

Vile Visitors is the second Diana Wynne Jones book I have illustrated, the first being Earwig and the Witch. I love Diana’s stories and Vile Visitors is no exception. It was such fun to illustrate especially since it has a couple of real rotters in it! That combined with some slightly out of control magic and an awful lot of feisty furniture made it a bit of a dream job really…