I’m working on a little book written by my chum Gordon Thorburn, ( Men and Sheds ) who apart from writing about sheds and bomber pilots from the Second World War ( Books about all sorts ), has written a little tome about…well, I’ll leave exactly what it’s about until I have it all ready.
I’m doing the drawings for it and hope to publish it on-line in the New Year, or perhaps will be able to make a start before Christmas, as you’ll have plenty of time to read, learn, and digest. We’ll see.
It will be on this site every week, on the same day, until it’s demise. I found it entertaining and witty. I suppose it is aimed at children so it did suit me very well.
Here’s a rough of one of the drawings for it, followed by the next version, some of you illustrator people out there might be interested in the technicalities: there are none. It’s drawn straight onto layout paper with a Pentel sign pen, then drawn again, then drawn again for the final, then mounted onto board with Studio Gum ( today’s equivalent of Cow Gum ) and some pastel half tone and shadow might be added and perhaps a bit of whiting out of some areas with Dr PH. Martin’s Bleed Proof White ( I kid you not! ). If it needs any more surgery after that then I use a scalpel to cut out or amend, cutting through the top layer of layout paper. Then the final is scanned and if necessary some final tweaks are made, digitally.
This is drawing one, followed by drawing two, final will follow when the book is published here.
I’m not one for going to Museums that much but this one seemed like a good idea. I’ve always liked the work of Charles Dickens and grew up on his storytelling, sometimes for my own pleasure or more often as set text for us to read at school.
I like the sort of places where the star of the show might have just left to get a bottle of milk. Dickens would of course have had servants to do this, but whatever. The Dickens Museum ( Take a look here ) is a house where he lived for only two years or so and when really starting out on his career. Read all about it in the link, but take my word for it it really is worth a visit and if you do, then get the headphones, which guide you through the rooms. Plus they have an extra bit of drama that can be read to you, to put you in the picture of the time, all really well done. What’s more they let you take photos, some of the more stuffy museums won’t let you, but they do here as long as you don’t use flash. As a bonus the staff are friendly and the little coffee shop serves great coffee and snacks. Could not fault it.
This is a lock of Charles Dicken’s hair, photographed at the Museum by me!
There’s loads more to see like the desk where he wrote David Copperfield. “More? You want more?
Here’s a photo I took of his signature, with all that underlining he seems like a positive type of bloke, or is he drawing a whirlwind under his name?
I walked back to the East End of London after my trip, where I was staying, so had the bonus of imagining what it all must have been like in those Dickensian days.
I used to read bedtime stories to my kids and if I got bored by the books would start to embellish the tales.This is an idea done some time ago, and probably when I was in ‘sales’.
One of my theories about children’s books is that the ones you really like ( the adults that is, not the kids, they can listen to almost anything ) are the ones where you are not tempted to embellish. Some of my own favourites were Janet and Allen Ahlberg’s books, and I loved ‘In the Night Kitchen ‘ by Maurice Sendak, I would not change a word of them. But Postman Pat was always ‘fair game’ to me. As I recall he ended up in one of my ’embellishments’ serving time in a maximum security prison after doing a bit of unofficial post office work on behalf of some disreputable chums who had a fondness for baseball bats and wore stockings on the wrong parts of their anatomy.