Thursday, 27 May 2010
While the sketches for "Katie in Scotland" are pondered over by Orchard Books, I had a meeting today with... well, that would be giving too much away. All I can say is that if plans come to fruition then the end of Katie's 21st Anniversary year should be quite spectacular. I wish I could say more, but that would jinx things. I should have some news in about three weeks time - keep checking the blog!
Orchard Books have meanwhile produced a lovely advert for the Katie books, part of which is posted here, announcing the new title which is published in August. And enties to the Loch Ness competition are coming in thick and fast and are of a very high standard I'm told. I've not seen them but I'm getting very excited.... Only five weeks left to go, so get your children to sharpen their pencils and get cracking!
Monday, 24 May 2010
Outside the studio, the Lilacs are just past their very finest and are beginning to fade. The garden is filled with birdsong and abundant foliage, although the late frost pinched the Wisteria and scorched the leaves of the Japanese Maple. But this has been a glorious and relaxing weekend. The roughs for Katie In Scotland are now with Orchard books and so I have a few days of peace before cracking on with that book.
It was too hot to dig the garden so I just relaxed and even found time to paint a picture. I was going to use oils but being so hot and bothered found some emulsion paint first and started dabbling. I chose the lilacs as my wife has a particular fondness for them (partly because of Stephen Duffy's The Lilac Time - her favourite band). I used an old canvas which had a not very nice painting on it but a beautiful frame, bought from a charity shop. So the picture was instantly framed. It's not very good, but it's a nice way to remember a really lovely family weekend filled with Scout camps, pool parties and home-made cake, all finished off with a hot air balloon above the garden, rubbing shoulders with the moon.
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Last weekend I visited the South Bucks Children's Book Group (part of the National Federation) in High Wycombe. It was a super day, perfectly organised and run by lovely enthusiastic people. These enthusiasts make a huge difference to the fortunes of children, by celebrating books, literacy and image. And also to the fortunes of authors and illustrators, who they so splendidly champion.
In High Wycombe we ran two workshops for first younger then older children. Both were well attended (which is always a sign of a well-run book-group!) and I met so many interesting families.
Some children insisted I keep their pictures, which was very sweet. I'm posting one here which I love. I retold the story of St George and the Dragon, and here's what one child painted as a result. There's a rather large pool of blood, a fabulous fiery dragon, a striking castle and of course St George himself. Stirring stuff.
St George seemed particularly appropriate as the organiser's husband, Kevin, is a medieval armourer (Plessis Armories) and as we talked I was reminded of why I (and he) do such crazy jobs: we both do what we love! It's good to be reminded of that sometimes.
Monday, 3 May 2010
After a week away I have returned from Loch Ness and Edinburgh, where I was able to see for myself the exhibition "Katie's Picture Show" at the National Gallery of Scotland, run workshops, give storytellings, and then later go off travelling to research "Katie in Scotland", my next book.
You can read about it all on my "Katie" site, just click HERE.
Meanwhile, here are some photographs of a brooding Loch Ness, some stones I gathered from the shores (which I imagine to have been rubbed smooth against Nessie's scales), Edinburgh Castle and Ben Nevis distillery (with snow still on the distant peaks).
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