I recently discovered that La Compagnie El Triciclo, based in Montpelier, have created a theatre production based on Peut-on mettre un loup dans un carton? (the French edition of The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, published by Albin Michel). Juliette Mouchonnat directs and acts in the show, which features tabletop puppets, shadow puppets, pop-ups and original music. I think it looks magic. I especially love the wolves at the end of this trailer:
It’s incredible to see someone else take my story and make something new from it, and something so creative and exciting. I don’t know if everyone who makes books sometimes imagines them being transformed into films, plays or tv but I do: strangely, I always thought that in my wildest dreams puppet theatre would be the best medium for The Girl with the Parrot on her Head.
I only wish I could go and see it! Or that it could come here… If you happen to be near Montpelier, there should be more performances from April 2018.
Many thanks to Cie. El Triciclo for permission to repost their pictures and trailer. Peut-on mettre un loup dans un carton? is available from Albin Michel.
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).