My latest picture book, I Like Trains, is Book of the Week at Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Libraries this week! I had a lovely time visiting St John’s Wood Library a couple of years ago and had hoped to go back with I Like Trains, so this is a kind of virtual visit – and the upside is anyone anywhere can join in through Facebook.
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).
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:
I also did a reading and talked about how I came to make picturebooks:
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:
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):
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:
I 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).