Resident Illustrator with a parrot on her head

I spent most of last week in Chester Town Hall, as resident Illustrator at WayWord festival – an eight-day-long parade of half-term excellentness, organised by the lovely people at Chester Performs. My favourite thing was the cardboard den workshop (inspired by The Girl with the Parrot on her Head):

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

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:
Robot-rabbit
I also did a reading and talked about how I came to make picturebooks:

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs
Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

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:
Boy with the jaguar on his head Tas

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):
Jam pig 1
Jam pig 2
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:
Queue

Alex WiltshireI 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).

Watch out for parrots!

Here is a heap of my first book, The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, published by Walker Books on February 5th – which now, finally, actually feels quite soon.

Many exciting things will happen around the launch to help introduce the parrot, and the Isabel under its feet. For starters, I’ll be writing about the process of making the book over on Walker’s Picture Book Party blog. Then during February half term I’ll be working with children in Chester, making animals to go on our heads and incredible cardboard dens, as Resident Illustrator at Wayword festival. I’ll also give a talk and reading, document the festival on the Wayword blog AND do a picturebook jam with Kate Pankhurst! See: MANY THINGS!

Details of further events will follow soon – including something at House of Illustration which I think will be GRAND.