For the most part, the work I do is quite solitary. I settle in the studio and work away quietly (or not so quietly...when no one shares your office space with you Disney sing-a-longs are totally allowed). However, I have recently been pulled out of my isolation to take part in some exciting events. The best part? I am still allowed to call this 'work'...
1: The Book Launch
Never Bite a Tiger on the Nose was launched last week as part of the Bookbug Pirate pack. The lovely Early Years team at Scottish Book Trust held a launch event and exhibition in Methil, Fife. It was here that the book was written as a collaboration by Lynne Rickards and a group of parents. The project was set up by HomeStart Levenmouth and grew into a wonderful creative writing project, the result of which is this book that I feel truly honoured to have illustrated.
A bookbug session was held at the event and judging by the noise seemed to prove pretty popular with the children in attendance. Lynne read the story aloud and we then signed copies for everyone. This was strange to start with (you mean I'm allowed to write my name and draw a picture on your new book...??) but I quickly got used to it. I have decided I like signing books. And doodling in books.
And I like book launches in general because there are also snacks.
2: The Nursery Visit
The next day I paid a visit to North Berwick Nursery to draw some pictures and read the Tiger book. I was welcomed by a bigger crowd than I had expected (roughly 70 wee ones aged 2-4, two of whom are my nephews Lachie and Struan). They were a very well behaved and creative bunch so I had an easy time of it. Actually, I had a great time! (I'm not bragging but even though it was my first day I was totally asked to play on the monkey bars AND invited into the den to hang out). I have a lot of respect for the teachers, they are incredible ladies who keep everything under control while also making it sooooo much fun.
I brought colouring in sheets and we drew our favourite foods...
...my plan was then to draw the food items and animals from the book. However, I quickly learned that these kids had some really cool ideas and actually it was much more of a priority for everyone that I draw a big pirate ship. And that this pirate ship had a resident cat, spider, Spiderman, and octopus. I think we all agreed it was the right decision.
3: The Art Competition
Recently I was asked to come along to The National Gallery of Scotland to judge an art competition. Having spent years entering my own artwork into various competitions (starting with Blue Peter at the age of 7 - no, I didn't win but yes I have a badge) I found myself on the other side of the table and I felt uneasy at being given this responsibility. This was swiftly eclipsed by thorough delight at the work I saw. The age category was Primary 1-3 and submissions had come from all over Scotland, displaying incredible creativity and imagination. So my delight was squashed a little by the difficult task of actually deciding on a winner. There are some very talented young artists in this country and I can't wait to see what they are capable of.
4: The Feedback Workshop
Aaaand finally with the help of staff at the Portrait Gallery I presented some work from a new project to the public in order to gain some feedback. I am working with the galleries on a colouring and drawing book, and at this stage we felt we should put a bit of the work out there and see what people thought.
I spent Saturday afternoon at the Portrait Gallery, armed with pens and samples from the book and found that people were very keen to get involved.
The response was overwhelmingly positive and I am even more excited about the book than I was before the event (which is saying something, I have been dreaming about making this book for a long time).
The past two weeks have been fantastic, I've met some brilliant people and learned a lot (mainly that I really like working creatively with people of all ages...and signing books). But now it is back to the studio for me, which is fine, I have missed the quiet drawing time and I have work to do!
Plus I haven't sung along to The Little Mermaid in almost a month.