I took part, with artist Lesley Redmond, in the very successful and well attended Wokingham Arts Trail held in September - my fourth time! Once again there was art, paintings, books, children's activities, cakes, cordial and bunting - luckily for us there was sunshine too this year as we have a studio/garden venue here at home! We had around 175 visitors and there was a festival feeling to the weekend. Very hard work, but it was worth it and lots of sales as well.
I also helped organise the leaflet, designed by Sam Knight, and designed/drew the promotional postcard above.
Here are some photos of the weekend and the leaflet design.
I've spent much of this month on a new challenge - a family portrait commission in the style of my book illustrations. For more info on this project, sketches etc, take a look at the Other Projects section in My Work.
This was a fun project! I was asked by Hillside Community Allotment Association who wanted to set up a new community allotment in the grounds of my local school Hillside Primary to create images to try to promote public interest in the project and attract volunteers. They needed a logo for the group and images/visual identity to use for publicity and asked me to think of some ideas.
Immediately the medium of collage came to mind as it is appealing and has a hand crafted look. Also stencilled lettering or hand-painted lettering, like you see on fruit and vegetable crates. I hadn't really explored collage before. My favourite medium is paint, but I combined painting and cutting by hand painting textures on to sheets of paper, which I then cut into shapes, adding painted details here and there and combined these with found collage materials, such as netting, bark, skeleton leaves, food wrappers/packaging, origami paper etc.
Having produced a logo and one or two allotment related images, I went further. At this stage there was no completed allotment - simply a plot of land, a shed, a greenhouse made from lemonade bottles and one or two cleared beds. And a very attractive grassed, arena-shaped mound in the centre. What was needed was a visualization of how it could look. So I created an A2 sized collage from imagination. It took about a month to do and I got more and more used to cutting tiny pieces. I didn't want it to be too two-dimensional or too realistic in approach so used painted cameos of figures and wildlife.
I was asked to design a set of wedding invitations for a Christmas wedding taking place this December. The theme/design we chose was gingerbread cookies - to reflect the romantic feel of a snowy, Christmas wedding. So I painted both circular and oblong gingerbread cookies, piped with white icing that depicted the church, the country barn for the reception - and Christmas trees, snow and celebration. It was quite a challenge to paint the icing - the gingerbread itself was a bit easier! Photos of the completed packages tied with silver ribbon and gingerbread star stickers to follow. Meanwhile - here are the 6 painted designs.
Last year I was approached by super independent book shop, Chapter One Books in Reading, to come up with a design for a permanent, children's reading corner based on the characters/designs from my picture books. We were all inspired by the fantastic book benches in London hand-painted by various well known illustrators and thought we might do something similar. Funding was required and so Chapter One Books made a bid to the James Patterson Trust for which I made a sketch of two benches and a small table entitled the 'Book Garden'. The name was based on nurturing, and growing a love of, reading. We were thrilled shortly afterwards to hear that we had been successful. In September I started to paint the furniture and also a sign, made locally, in wood. This took quite a while as I wanted them to be really special! Finally, the Book Garden opened at Chapter One Books in November to great acclaim. It is now in constant use and extremely popular with younger visitors to the shop and their parents.