Earlier this year I took my new book, Hilda and the Runaway Baby, to Wayword festival in Chester. It was my third year as Festival Illustrator so I decided to draw everyone as animals for a change. I also ran three workshops. Paper puppets:
Stencilling onto tote bags (unfortunately only the space pigs are shown after the stencil came off, but just look at that narwhal!):
And story-making and drawing games:
Thanks to everyone at Storyhouse for having me AGAIN.
Last Saturday I had an amazing afternoon at House of Illustration, running a family workshop based on ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! After a quick reading, we did some giant collaborative adventure drawing – just like Natalie and Alphonse do in the book. Highlights included Natalie and Alphonse on their five-wheeled motorbike: Squirrel and treehouse worlds joined by ladders, and a majestic giant bee featuring cup-holder, chips-holder, sound system, umbrella and MANY SHOES. Next it was time for monster puppets: here are just a few of one family’s horde.
We started with corrugated paper finger puppets, with all manner of multiple heads, horns, tongues, wings and other appendages.
There was even one with eyes on accordion stalks. It’s interesting running events at House of Illustration because the great facilities and unusually long workshops mean you can plan more extended, open-ended activities, so I’d prepared various kinds of puppets to experiment with. There were accordion-beasts inspired by Chinese dragon stick-puppets, of which this was definitely the longest. And this one has a wonderful expression. There were also puppets with moving wings, mouths, arms or eyebrows made using split pins, but I seem to have no pictures of those. At least I can show you this brilliant new thing: a box-mouth monster with a monster baby inside, operated by hidden lolly stick!Some people even got around to building theatres – I bet some ace plays were staged once they got them home…
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.
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.
I also ran a monster finger puppet workshop.
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!
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).
House of Illustration have just published a guest blogpost I wrote for them about a workshop I ran there in May, based on The Girl with the Parrot on her Head. AND, I’ve been invited back to run another family workshop on 5th August with Becky Palmer, this time linked to their summer exhibition of Ladybird books, Ladybird by Design. We’ll be asking: what if ladybirds had Ladybird books of their own? What would they be about? Heraldry? Leaves? Aphids? Microcomputers? How small would they be? Book online now and come and help us find out.
Yesterday at House of Illustration, in a workshop I’d been scheming about for months, a group of children created a whole new system based on Isabel’s cardboard boxes in The Girl with the Parrot on her Head. I’ll post more about this workshop but just wanted to share the giant mural right away, as it made me so happy to see the system so brilliantly reinvented (to enlarge, click on the image above and click again when it reappears).