Natalie and Alphonse at Greenwich Book Festival

Photo by Andrew Porter PhotographyOn May 27th I caught the boat to Greenwich Book Festival where I read ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! to the excellent people pictured (and excellent others) and then let them loose on the googly eyes and double-sided tape, leading to Most Excellent Fantastic monster finger puppets. There was much innovation in the areas of spots and extending grab-hands. Thanks to Andrew Porter Photography for the brilliant photos, to Greenwich Book Festival and everyone who came.
Photo by Andrew Porter PhotographyPhoto by Andrew Porter PhotographyPhoto by Andrew Porter PhotographyPhoto by Andrew Porter PhotographyPhoto by Andrew Porter PhotographyAll photos © Andrew Porter 2017

ALPHONSE at WayWord festival

I’ve just come back from having the MOST FUN being Festival Illustrator at Chester’s WayWord children’s festival for the second year in a row. This was my first chance to read ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! with children (even though it’s not published until 5th March), and to try some monster-themed drawing and making.

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

At one event we read ALPHONSE and The Girl with the Parrot on her Head and played drawing games together, just as Natalie and Alphonse draw together in the book.

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

I also ran a monster finger puppet workshop.

©
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Puppets
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

And another (with a lot of help from Nicola and Helen of Chester Performs) on stencilling onto canvas bags. It would have been hard to do screen printing (which is how I usually make my illustrations) in this workshop, unless everyone had printed the same image, but the freezer paper stencils were quite magic, and the resulting bags were so cool!

nvnb
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Ice creamCat by MeganAlphonse with trunk

I spent the rest of my time drawing the festival – which was embarrassing as I’m heinously out of practice with observational drawing, but good for me. Here’s one of my drawings – visit WayWord for more (and next year, maybe visit the actual WayWord as it is ALL THE FUN).

Resident Illustrator with a parrot on her head

I spent most of last week in Chester Town Hall, as resident Illustrator at WayWord festival – an eight-day-long parade of half-term excellentness, organised by the lovely people at Chester Performs. My favourite thing was the cardboard den workshop (inspired by The Girl with the Parrot on her Head):

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Mark Carline took lots of other brilliant photos too. This one’s mine and not so good but I did particularly like the robot-rabbit den:
Robot-rabbit
I also did a reading and talked about how I came to make picturebooks:

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

And there were two more workshops in which we made animals to go on our heads. The animals were AMAZING. Here’s The Boy with the Jaguar on his Head and The Girls with the Tasmanian Devil and the Pink-faced Polar Bear on their Heads:
Boy with the jaguar on his head Tas

On my final day at the festival Kate Pankhurst and I made two completely new books in a picturebook jam. One of them started like this (me then Kate):
Jam pig 1
Jam pig 2
As resident Illustrator I also got to loiter around drawing all the other goings on – from an amazing range of author events to giant chess and never-ending free crafts. Some of my festival drawings are on the WayWord site but here’s the queue for Shlomo, followed by Alex Wiltshire talking about minecraft:
Queue

Alex WiltshireI felt very lucky to be there and very well looked-after – Chester Performs put on a grand show (and are incredibly good at collecting cardboard).