Monday, 24 September 2012

Characters, characters

A decade, several books, many illustrations and many more characters ago, I was commissioned to illustrate a little hippo for a story by Margaret Wild. He upped and left my studio and is still going strong in a book, plodding around his corner of the Savannah.   

In illustrating my most recent English book, Mini Racer, I came up with twenty characters in twelve odd little vehicles, each making their odd little way to the end of the race.

This year there are just two characters that won't leave me alone.  I've written several stories about them - more to come.  
High-energy Tiz and low-energy Ott  draw, paint, dance, build...
They play apart and sometimes together.   And they're getting more confident with a bit more color in them now.  
When will they up and leave the studio?  
Erm, perhaps before they go, they'll bake me a cake for my birthday?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Mini Racer on track: near the Museum of Childhood & down the road from the Olympics

The sun shone on my first ever children's workshop in London - in the Gallery Cafe Garden, near the Museum of Childhood yesterday.

As ever, the kids proved to be great readers of pictures.  They spotted all the red and green flags - and plenty of other details I had almost forgotten myself, as I read Kristy Dempsey's words.  
As time was short, I'd prepared a quick activity - a choice of vehicles I  printed onto card, for them to colour, fold in two, & stand upright on the track.

One boy and one girl chose Motodog.
At least five girls wanted DottyDog and family.  

One chose the speedy Carrot Car.

And the smallest person there, chose the smallest
racer ...

We made a track with left and right turns
with this tape.
Mini Racer go go go!  

We cheered the Mini Racers on, one day before David Weir won the Paralympics marathon gold medal down the road.

Today I whizzed down the Strand on my bike to catch the tail end of the closing Olympic parade, dodging the crowds through central London.
The bus with the Olympic medalists was WAY too far ahead.
Oh well.  Doesn't matter where you are on the track.  
There's always something to appreciate...

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Children's Book Garden Party, Gallery Café St Margeret's House, near the V&A Museum of Childhood

Are you in London and do you have kids?
Why not take them to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green next Saturday September 8th?
Then after 1pm, just cross Old Ford Road, a few steps north, for the first Children's Book Garden Party at the Gallery Cafe, St Margaret's House!

A bunch of us authors and illustrators from CWISL will be running some fun workshops and storytelling until 5pm for free - while you eat cake!

Nicholas Allan will be performing his magic  with the Queen's Knickers.
Margaret Bateson-Hill will get your child making a duck hat.
You can meet Karin Littlewood and her Eskimo Immi,  Judy Allen and her Catnapping Cat.
And I'll be making little cars with kids from my star-review illustrations to Mini Racer  (read Juno magazine's review here) to race on our very own track.

If you're children are budding writers they can get some feedback and story-doctoring from older-fiction author Sam Osman. (Buy a signed copy of her book Quicksilver before it goes global as a film! ).

Also don't miss award-winning author, Sarah Mussi new book Angel Dust is hot off the press with brilliant new publisher, Hot Key.  (Sarah's top writing tips appeared in the Guardian recently).

If you're not in London, and don't have kids, well, you maybe can still spread the invitation around - thanks!