This week I’ve been scurrying back and forth delivering Asterix books, medicine and cuddles to my boy with earache. (Note: this is my Imaginary House. My real house is very, very messy).
I painted in the evenings and while my one year old had her daytime naps, and her naps never seemed long enough for the work that I wanted to do. I worked on a coffee table and had to clear it all up whenever I stopped.
Most of the books that I worked on after that were painted at a table in my bedroom…until I’d painted enough illustrations to afford a studio in my garden.
Recently I’ve been sorting out my studio, and looking through the artwork that’s been piling up. I realise that I need to make some space for my new work (both physically and mentally)…I don’t really need to hang on to all these paintings.
And I still love the fact that I can spread this many paintings out in one room without having to put them on a bed or worrying that someone will stand/crawl/draw/scribble on them!
Just before Easter I went to the Bologna Childrens’ Book Fair in Italy for the first time. I had heard it was huge but was still agog when I saw quite how huge it was….a vast bustling mass of publishers’ stands which didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason (until I found a map – the bus had dropped us off at a side door so I’d missed the official entrance with information about where things were).
Luckily one of the first stands that I stumbled across was Child’s Play, who I’d illustrated two books for a few years ago, and they pointed me in the direction of the main entrance.
When I got there I found the Illustrators’ wall, where illustrators can pin up postcards and business cards, and I put my own poster up. I’d heard that you needed to get there early if you wanted a good spot, and by 10.30am the only spaces left were near to the floor, which I didn’t really mind.
It all got a lot more crowded later – this was the first of the four days. What I hadn’t realised was that there were actually several Illustrators’ walls, not just one. It was interesting to see the variety in style between the posters.
I saw some really lovely work on the publishers’ stands, especially the Italian ones. Every time I go to Italy I marvel at books illustrated by artists like Anna Laura Cantone – so lively and colourful.
Lots of the publishers were showing mock ups of books that hadn’t been completed yet. My friend Rebecca Ashdown has done beautiful illustrations for this book, The Glump and The Peeble, written by Wendy Medour, to be published by Frances Lincoln….AND she hand-stitched this Peeble for good measure!
The exhibition of illustrators’ work was fantastic. I loved the work by this British illustrator, Maisie Shearing, who I’ve since heard won the International Award for Illustration for her project Susan’s School Days.