I was amazed, and very happy, to hear that I DO NOT LIKE BOOKS ANYMORE! is shortlisted for the Association of Illustrators’ World Illustration Awards. Just being included in the exhibition at Somerset House is a bit too exciting.
It’s especially exciting as the book isn’t even out yet: Walker will publish I DO NOT LIKE BOOKS ANYMORE! on May 3rd and there’ll be a book launch at Gosh! on the 10th. This is Natalie and Alphonse’s second adventure, following ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! and I’ve just finished the artwork for their third escapade – so I’ve got to know these monsters very well.
I DO NOT LIKE BOOKS ANYMORE! is about what happens when Natalie struggles with learning to read – and how she and Alphonse find their own solution (involving an ambitious elephant and a caterpillar driving a truck). I’ll be sharing more about the book, especially on Instagram, in the run-up to publication.
Last autumn the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) invited me to make some pictures for the Chen Bochui Illustration exhibition. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Once I was a child’ and being short of time I decided to interpret this very simply. I did some doodling about my own childhood and the thing that kept coming up was RABBITS: toy rabbits, real rabbits, rabbits in books, drawing rabbits,being a rabbit, eating rabbit food… I really did like rabbits.
This screenprint shows the best of my several rabbit costumes, which was a turquoise towelling hoodie with foam ears sewn on by my mum. It felt quite strange and self-indulgent to make a character so directly based on myself.
I also made a print about playing rabbit football with my brother (no actual rabbits harmed – or involved – in the playing of this game) and the two were shown during the fair in November alongside work by over fifty illustrators from 13 countries – so it was lovely to hear my pictures had been given second prize!
All the pictures are now part of the collection of the Baoshan International Folk Art Museum: their website shows all the winning artwork and some information on the exhibition.
This week the Biennial of Illustrations (BIB) opens in Bratislava. Amazingly, IBBY UK and ICPBS (International Centre for the Picture Book in Society) have chosen to include The Girl with the Parrot on her Head in the UK submission.
Each country puts forward up to 15 illustrators and work from all the nominated books will be exhibited from 9th September to October 29th at the Slovak National Museum. Some people will win golden apples and other prizes, but those sound extremely bad for your teeth – probably best just to be in the exhibition?
ICPBS and IBBY have also organised two exhibitions at BIB which aim to raise awareness of the experiences of child migrants. The Migrations exhibition is made up of over 300 postcards featuring images of birds and messages from illustrators from all over the world (including mine, below).
If, like me, you can’t make it to Bratislava you can explore the postcards and messages in this interactive map (mine’s pinned to Birmingham so I think it must be done by postmark). The exhibition is expected to tour after BIB. Worcester University Illustration tutors have also created (larger) new work on the theme of Migrations.
Some exciting things have happened to my first book in recent weeks: there’s going to be a Danish edition, Pigen med papegøjen på hovedet, published by Jensen & Dalgaard in February 2016; I also heard that The Girl with the Parrot on her Head is a finalist in the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Contest (which means the illustrations will be in an exhibition at Shanghai Children’s Bookfair this week) AND some lovely librarian has nominated it for, of all things, the Kate Greenaway Medal!
The UK paperback will be out in January, and Candlewick will publish the US hardback in April.