Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Don't panic! Letchworth Garden City isn't under assault (well, there's all the town centre redevelopments...but that's another story). I'm referring to the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation's summer festival, this year celebrating the 65th anniversary of VE day. The Letchworth Art Centre have decided to produce a book of wartime memories by local residents old and new, who lived through the war.
The book is to be illustrated by local schoolchildren and so I have spent the last week or so visiting various schools to work with Year 6 children. Each school has been assigned a selection of memories and the classes have been using old-fashioned dip-pens and ink to continue the vintage theme.
It's been a struggle for some. "What! no rubbers? No rulers?" they've cried. But in the end they've all had a stab at it and a few results are posted here. Aren't they fabulous? The themes range from evacuees to bombings to Dame Vera Lynn. The way the children have interpreted the stories and this, combined with their vulnerability with the tools and yet the naive strength of their purpose, has created something dazzlingly good. The book will be a knockout. We are hoping to have the world's biggest signing session when the book comes out as there will be anything up to around 200 illustrators! My only heartache is that there will not be room for EVERY illustration in the book, although I intend to squeeze in as many as possible. This is a great project, cross-curricular, cross- generational, a community project, a chance to learn new skills (with the ink pens), and especally an opportunity to be published and thus appreciate what a book can be. Lucky children... and lucky me.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
A rare viewing of Nessie occured today...as I sketched out an early version of the famous beastie in preparation for the new Katie book Katie In Scotland. There is a particular reason for Nessie to be seen early on: a major competition is about to be announced, inviting children to create a portrait of Nessie. This picture will be used in the advertising. The winning entry WILL BE PUBLISHED IN THE BOOK and exhibited at the SCOTTISH NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY in Edinburgh, when it reopens in 2011 - an amazing and unique opportunity for a child to get their work in print! Full details will follow shortly - so keep looking!
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