Tuesday, 29 November 2016

On stage with Serge Bloch, pens and all at the South Ken Kids Festival 2016

The lovely Stella Bataille of Club Petit Pierrot who introduced us, just send me this short clip of our Drawing Duo together in the cinema at the French Institute, London.
...in a restaurant as it turned out.  The audience then suggested the menu - mouse, and dog to eat!

 Ott's turn with his brush - meeting Serge Bloch's famous Sam Sam and his Sam Nounours

Here's the only (inadequate)  glimpse  I have of a stunningly original stage enactment of Serge's  The Big Adventure of a Little Line. Serge draws as a young actor mimed to music and in front of the backgrounds of his book.

Later I joined Axel Scheffler, Sophie HennDavid LitchfieldDorothée de MonfreidMarianne Dubuc and other amazing South Ken Kids Festival guests impro drawing on stage to jazz trumpet. Can you see one of our joint drawings I found on Twitter?

Friday, 14 October 2016

Kidcandoodle - kids can indeed and did at Bank Street Books

Just home from a Tiz and Ott tour in the US,  some inspiring publisher visits in New York and San Francisco -  and some time out with my partner out West too.   I had a bit of time to sketch too- here's a view Brooklyn, looking at downtown Manhatten...

Before I left London, the delectably doodly site kidscandoodle asked me to debut a new 'Drawn' interview. Here's a sneak peek of just one answer.  See the rest here!

then off with Tiz and Ott and my first ever US event -  in Manhatten at the venerable children's book store, Bank Street Books

Tiz  scooting off from Brooklyn - Ott still hanging around

Tiz and Ott make their marks on the door of Bank Street Book Store!
Never worked with so many pre-schoolers as at Bank Street.  We all went dot dot dot with Tiz and Ott!

A carpetful of crayons.  "Ott could paint a cloud with his eyes closed"

After my own booksigning - what a delight to catch up with the hugely talented author-illustrator Tim Miller in the crowd - and have him sign his books for me!

When I last saw him in the illustrator gathering at the 2014  SCBWI New York conference, he was 'aspiring'.  But I knew when I saw his work he had what it takes and now he has no less than 4 books in the bag - first of which are his great illustrations to the comical Snappsy the Alligator who did not ask to be in this book  (written by Julie Falatzo).    I treasure this book! Exciting too to get an advance copy of Tim's debut book as both author and illustrator - Moo Moo in a Tutu out in early 2017 and glimpse another beautiful book to be published by the innovative Brooklyn press Enchanted Lion.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

My colour mixing and painting family workshop in Bethlem Museum of the Mind

I can recommend taking some time out to mix and create your own colours.

That is part of what we did at my recent workshop at the wonderful Bethlem Museum of the Mind  (an ArtFund Museum of the Year finalist)  And we all had a wonderfully focused, creative time.
I started by serving over 20 plates like below, to adults and children of all ages from 5 to over 70...
one palette of blue, yellow, magenta red and white poster paint
Armed with this substitute palette, a couple of brushes (one doing the job of a spatula and one for painting) and a long strip of paper to paint on,  the first aim was to mix as many colours - as possible out of the 3 primaries - including black or near black.  

Here are 4 vertical strips each by a different workshopper.  They are almost like colour signatures. Everyone comes up with their own  amazingly distinctive colour range (and brush marks) from the three primaries.
4 vertical strips of colour made with 3 primaries.
Adding some white extended the range of beautiful chromatic greys.
One adult told me how soothing they found it.  And in the concentrated atmosphere, as ever the children worked faster.  Adults were still creating colours while a 4 and 7 year old had already started creating characters.
We then looked again for inspiration at a wordless picture book by an unknown artist, following a child's imaginary journey.  Part of the Bethlem Museum of the Mind's collection, it is currently on show with some other amazing works in their current Youtopia exhibition.

The adults caught up with the kids, and created their own amazing characters...
exploring strange scenes...

and  familiar worlds,  here work by a 7 year old left and his dad (right) 

 All in all, what a perfect workshop for Ott, from my book Tiz and Ott's Big Draw!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Katsumi Komagata at Foyles and ELCAF in London - and his transformative, transforming books

Lots to catch up with but first, a significant moment yesterday evening at Foyles - Katsumi Komagata's first talk ever in England and this coming weekend his first workshop open to all at the ELCAF festival.  Big thanks to their European funded initiative that he has been able to make it to London at last!
Coincidentally earlier this year I had written about my own discovery of Komagata in the UK's Association of Illustrators Varoom Magazine.  You can read my article  'Unfolding Stories' here (I love their layout!) : 

It was wonderful to see Komagata talk about the series of books he created from observing  and dialoguing with his daughter from 3 months till around 12 years of age  (she has now just married at 27!) Here he shows one  workshop piece that came out of an exchange in one of his many workshops:

I felt like it was also a part of my own personal history catching up with itself.  When I lived in France I would  take friends and Parsons students to see the Trois Ourses book collection.  We'd explore and play with their valise of books containing  Komagata's Little Eye series, and other innovative book makers from Bruno Munari onwards. 

Komagata referred to how it was a librarian from France (Elizabeth Lortic who co-founded Les Trois Ourses) who spotted his Little Eye books in MoMA New York and invited him first to France.  From there he has been published and done workshops in many other countries (except the UK!).  His work has had an undoubted influence on the French children's publishing industry in particular.

If you are interested in  a lateral view of picture books and artist's work for children, I recommend a making an appointment to visit Les Trois Ourses in Paris.
And if you can't make the ELCAF festival this weekend, I learnt from John L. Walters of eye magazine last night that you can find Komagata also in the Bookart Bookshop in London too! 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

What we did at the Tate

Just a quick taster of what we did at Tate Britain last Saturday.  Amazing artists from 3 to 10 years old and from all over the world made a special Tiz and Ott Gallery.  I love watching kids draw - and envy their directness - never befuddled with second thoughts!
Thanks to Ella Finch for this video of us all in action.  And some pics to follow.

Here's me in my mother, Julia Marzo's dress dating from the Seventies.  
My 21 year old daughter suggested I could
wear it at the Tate.  It was also my mother's birthday.  She would have been 92  - thank you mum!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Tate Britain - and World Book Day events

If you are in London on Saturday March 26th, come and draw in Tate Britain!  We'll be making a little Tiz and Ott gallery, from 3pm in the Octogon room beyond the main shop.   
I'll be showing some quick tips though I know some children will need no guidance to get drawing!  Adults can join in too - in fact anyone from ages 3 to 103.  More details here.

Like many UK based author-illustrators I have been busy with school visits during 'World Book Day' - weeks of World Book Day in fact.

I love working with children and it so inspiring to see what Tiz and Ott's Big Draw has inspired. Some snaps from some of my recent visits.
Ms Maynard gave her Reception Class at Lubbins Park Primary (for the Pop-Up Project in Canvey Island)
 free reign for inspiration - using the material of their choice. So good to see painting as well as drawing!
At the top she linked  the pages Tiz & Ott's Big Draw to different aspects of work by the 4-5 year olds. 
 Tiz in tip top form - what a happy mix of patterns and textures!
"This is Ott - he is handsome!"
some great mark making...
and happy houses!

Tiz and Ott's train is great for drawing expressions focusing on eye direction, as well as for mark making and a class group activity.
Here's me with pencils and more to the ready talking to a bunch of book characters at Kew College...

...they had done some very  beautiful marks with  paints and crayons...

The Kew College display of work by 4- 6 year olds was full of brilliant  curly whirleys - splodges, wave and - oh and on display an old book of mine, Mini Racer!

Tiz was on a roll at our SCBWI illustrator showcase party
at the lively N.London bookshop, Pickled Pepper Books

We made mini books at National Library Day at Minet Library in S.London -- and here's an amazing story by 6 year old Emily about a fox and a duckling.

Emily started off with a bunch of great characters ready to go into stories