At last: time to share some of what I got up to last week.
Saturday's Red House Book Award party was lovely: a gentle afternoon with some of the children in the Grantham Children's Book Group area. I got to meet two other author/illustrators too: Jonathon Emmett and Adam Stower, both Red House winners.
Adam Stower and Jeanne Willis won this year, with the very silly Bottoms Up! featuring the line: 'Do calves put on bras to hide their bazoomers?' We illustrators get to draw some daft stuff!
We three talked a bit about our work and answered children's questions. My most surreal question of the week actually came from a child at Ladygrove Primary on Friday: 'What's your favourite number?'. I think said '382'.
Then the children were divided between us and we each did a workshop. I practised my Bears on the Stairs routine: it takes a little while to really 'warm up' a book and I think I'm about there now.
Adam I had a bit of a wait at the station for our trains home and we spent a lovely half hour or so in the cafe, looking through each other's sketchbooks (his is BRILLIANT - often quite eerie and always beautiful).
On Sunday morning I was up early for a train to Cheltenham Spa for my Cheltenham Festival event to promote Bears on the Stairs:
It was a bit of a whistle-stop, but I still enjoyed myself enormously. I was relieved that it was really well attended (I think we crammed about 80 children in!).
After I'd read the story and we'd romped through my chant poem, I did lots of drawing on the flip chart for them and made them laugh by performing my nose-blowing elephant impression (yes, still got the cold, even now).
I took a wadge of my bookmarks to hand out and Andersen Press had made some really cute little Bears on the Stairs badges to give to all the children too.
When I had finished my signing session, I just had time to rush round the corner to be introduced to the legendary Tony Ross, famous for the Little Princess and Horrid Henry books of course, amongst hundreds of others.
We chatted for a while and swapped anecdotes about doing events, then I got to watch him strut his stuff. He told a fairytale while illustrating it in felt pen as he went along, using an overhead projector - fascinating to watch. I missed the end though, as I had to sneak out when I got a coughing fit (this rotten cold!!).
Then I had to start the long trek home to Sheffield. I'd like to show you the sketches I did, but realised this morning that I had given the sketchbook to the printer to scan my Town Hall drawing for those limited edition prints - Duh!