Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Orson Wells in Oldham Library

I may not look much like Orson Wells (watch it...), but I certainly sounded like him today!

What do you think, by the way, of my latest demand: that all venues alter their decor in line with my outfit? If Jalo can do it...

I was concerned that my voice might die again (see Croaking to a Halt), and it did struggle rather during some of the songs (Stinky warthog's got a fly upon his nose...), but I made it through fine in the end.

It was a lovely day actually, in both senses of the word. The children's library was upstairs, with a massive picture window to my right, and a gorgeous view out to where the sun lit up the hills all day long. But I had a lovely day with the kids from 3 local schools too, and with the Oldham library staff.

We had some good questions as well. I do get a bit bored, like most authors I suspect, with the 'what's your favourite book' question, so it was great to be asked about how I got started in picture books, and whether I thought Damian had considered other animals for An Itch to Scratch, before settling on the gorilla (Damian..?).

As always, the kids were really enthusiastic, and it was great that the various teachers bought quite a few books to take back to school, to build on the session.

Things was pretty prolific (try saying that after a few gins) on the train sketching front too. I started with the one below, at 7.30am (pause for shudder), sitting in the waiting room on Sheffield station, eating a banana for breakfast, in between drawing:

Then I drew these two women on the Manchester train. I think perhaps the one at the front noticed, as she kept fiddling with her hair and hiding her face. Did I feel guilty and stop? Course not (aren't I horrible?). She was much prettier than this, but that's what happens if you fidget!

I attempted one in the taxi on the way to Oldham as well - a bit different for me. It was very bumpy though. I showed it to the driver when we arrived, who seemed a little non-plussed!

I must say though, if you live that side of Manchester, you really should get yourself over to Oldham Library. It's a fabulous place, really excitingly designed, with oodles of comfy, light space, tons of books (that may seem obvious, but you can't take it for granted these days), an art gallery, a gift shop and tourist office, a Life Long Learning section, even a little garden out the front! I wished I'd had more chance to explore. Next time maybe.


Alex said...

You are so, so clever to draw these faces. I love looking at them every time you post new ones. I wish you lived further south then you could come and chat to the children in the school where I teach and then I'd have you home for tea and you could show me how to draw a face that looks like a face!!
Really admire your illustrations, sketchings and work with children.
Thanks for sharing

Damian Harvey said...

It's awful when your voice goes isn't it. I often have problems when doing a session after a couple of few weeks of not doing any - the first one after the summer holidays is usually the worst.

Just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS for A Lark in the Ark which has been shortlisted for the Red House Children's Book Award 2009. It gets my vote...

Damian Harvey said...

Did I consider other animals for an Itch To Scratch before deciding upon a Gorilla?

That's a good question... I didn't really think of using other animals because I wanted something that was a bit more human, and other than using humans I thought gorillas would be best. I'm glad I did too as I love the expressions on gorillas face and the funny things he gets up too.

I schools I somtimes talk about the book and then get children to write a story about a little boy with an itch. It's amazing how different the storyline becomes when you do that.

Coreopsis said...

Cool sketches! Very impressive to be able to get someone facing you. I take it you were peeking between the backs of seats rather than sitting four feet in front of them. I probably wouldn't have had the guts. I get lots of views more like your bumpy cab ride view.

Sounds like a wonderful day. Those kids are all so lucky.

cathyjune said...

I just have to say, you and the decor look fantastic! :o)

Lynne Chapman said...

Why, thank you kindly!