The Girl with the Parrot on her Head is published in paperback today!
In other newts, today I’m also taking the last bits of artwork for my third book, Hilda and the Runaway Baby, to Walker Books. Weyll, actually the endpapers will be the last bit and I haven’t finished them, but I can scan those myself.
I am a bit late delivering Hilda: I hadn’t really realised before I started making the screenprints how challenging this book would be. I’d already printed illustrations for half of the original version (made during my MA) but ended up re-doing everything, partly because we changed the format from portrait to landscape. There were one or two vignettes I could have kept but they were the easiest prints in the book (and besides, horrors – the wheels of the pram were unfeasibly small!).
What made it tricksy was the seven landscapes, all at different times of day and night, and the three village scenes, two of which had to be made at a tiny scale because of the size of my silkscreens. I am now much better at getting two eyes, a mouth and a nose onto a face the size of a lentil – but is this a transferable skill? If you need any bespoke personified lentils please do let me know. Here’s is a detail showing lentils printed yesterday (and Hilda, who I’m going to miss).
Hilda and the Runaway Baby will be published in 2017.
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.
Yesterday I put up an exhibition at Pickled Pepper, Crouch End’s specialist children’s bookshop. I framed eleven of the screenprints I made for my first picturebook, The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, and they’ll stay on display all summer, until August 31st. It’s great to have a chance to show the artwork, especially in Pickled Pepper’s lovely event space.
The first week of the exhibition coincides with the Crouch End Festival (5th-14th June) so there are lots of other things to see and do if you visit then, including a Girl with the Parrot on her Head reading and craft workshop on Saturday 13th June.
The pictures are hand-made screenprints, and prints from the same editions (so almost the same as the framed/published prints) will be for sale. If you’d like to read more about the illustrations, I wrote a guest blog for Walker about making the book.
An update: now there’s a Girl with the Parrot on her Head window too!
The Girl with the Parrot on her Head has been out in the world for two days now, stomping about, sneaking into bookshops. Already Julia Eccleshare has written about the book at LoveReading4Kids where it’s also debut of the month! EXCITING TIMES. I’ve written about the process of making The Girl with the Parrot on her Head over on Walker’s blog Picture Book Party (where you can also find out how to make a parrot, or SOMETHING ELSE, to live on your head).
Two days before publication we had an amazing launch party at Daunt Books in Hampstead (thanks to Trudi Esburger for the better photos). If I’d put as much thought into the speaking part as the snackfoods I might have said something sensible. We had bears, hula hoops, not-actually-broken-umbrellas and truly incredible wolf biscuits by my cake-genius friend Emily of Love & Cake.
We also had a lot of lovely people and a counter covered in books. In a weird reversal of my expectations, we ran out of books and had wine left over. It was totally predictable, however, that the wolves all vanished in no time at all.
Here are my entirely brilliant Editor and Designer from Walker Books:
Me drawing in books (when does it stop feeling like defacing school property?):
And illustrators! Some of the many excellent friends, family and book-people who made it so grand:
Very many enormous thanks to everyone who helped and all who came along!
Follow Emily of the wolf biscuits or on Instagram.
Read about the making of The Girl with the Parrot on her Head at Picture Book Party.