We actually opened my exhibition to the public a couple of weeks ago, but because I had to shoot off for the Urban Sketchers symposium, we shunted the official opening celebrations on slightly.
We had a great turn-out. We began at 2pm with 50 people, but they kept arriving thick and fast throughout the first hour.
I started with some signing (sorry about the 'posed' photo, but once people were gathered round, there was nothing to see but backs). As well as my books for sale, we also had some special badges, bookmarks and postcards the gallery had printed specially:
We gathered people at one end of the gallery for me to do a storytelling and some drawing at the flipchart (I haven't got any photos to show you unfortunately, as we never got around to getting parental permission). These pencil sketches are, as usual, the ones I did on the journey there and back:
I was going to read Bears on the Stairs, given it's my newest book, but there weren't any copies of that in the shop, so I read Stinky! instead, which is always good fun, as I can put on lots of silly voices (I do a very good Mrs Warthog), and I get all the to be the flies - lots of buzzing!
While the children did some drawing, I chatted to the grown-ups and signed more books. Then I did more flipchart drawings for individual children to take home.
The official end time of 4pm came and went. So many people wanted to stop and chat and of course every child left in the gallery wanted a drawing. We only waved goodbye to the final ones when the gallery closed up for the day at 5pm: a pretty good sign I think.
I was especially pleased that the older children, the 8 - 12 year olds, were the most engrossed and loved the worksheets I'd created. The activity bench was chock-a-block all afternoon. This is a pic of the bench before it was enveloped in children:
My final train sketch of the day was of this guy, sitting opposite me on the second leg of the journey, travelling back across the Pennines (I liked his spiky beard and trendy glasses):
When I'd finished, he asked to see the drawing and it turned out, by amazing coincidence, that he too was a Sheffield-based illustrator! We spent the last 10 minutes of the journey having a great chat and swapping website addresses. This is his site.
Should you be interested in hosting an interactive exhibition of my illustrations, the show is available to hire at very reasonable rates and I am very happy to offer workshops, storytellings or talks to support the show. Contact Marie Knudson, Curator of Tameside Gallery.