Grandpa Sepia's Rainbow is a story that I wrote quite a while ago, but I revisited it and re-did some illustrations to take it to show at Bologna Book Fair. It's a story that I would really love to have published and a story I would like to tell.
There's a lot of interest currently in the benefits of interactions between the very young and the elderly and Grandpa Sepia is all about this subject. I'm not sure that there are many books touching on this yet. The story also looks at familial love, sadness, loneliness, the circle of life, loss of a loved one and ends with joy and happiness after lots of child-centred chaos in the middle of the book. Colour plays a large part in this story too as it changes from sepia to colour. Currently looking for a publisher with interest in this subject.
Following my visit to Bologna in April, I have been doing more of these modern painted illustrations in my Painting Sketchbook. I tend to paint in this sketchbook between projects for fun. First I paint a base coat of white onto the brown Kraft paper pages, to make the colours glow. Then I just paint whatever I feel like painting. These illustrations turned out to be the favourites when I showed my portfolio at Bologna which surprised me. So I thought I'd do more and submit them to a few publishers/agencies. It was fun to do them in any case and I plan to do more.
After all the busyness and activity in Bologna, it was lovely to go on holiday to Northumberland. We stayed at a beautiful little cottage called Artist's Cottage in Craster. There was the most lovely scenery in both directions walking along the coast and we were lucky with the weather. I took along my mini watercolour set and book. Amongst my paintings were a tiny teacup and saucer from the cottage and a beach scene with tall Evening Primroses. A lovely, relaxing break!
My first visit to the fantastic Bologna Book Fair and my first visit to the ancient city of Bologna - home of the first university.
I visited the fair for two whole days - adding my cards and posters the ever increasing Illustrator's Wall! What a phenomenon it is! I added more over the two days.
I visited quite a few publishers, some with appointment times, others totally cold calling. I also queued for two open portfolio sessions. It was incredibly tiring, but worth it I think to gain interest in my work in general and some new book proposals - especially as an unagented author/illustrator.
I also thoroughly enjoyed some very social evenings with other illustrator folk, ending with a whole day at the end in beautiful Bologna.
I'm feeling really excited as it is only 5 days until I travel to Bologna in Northern Italy for Bologna Book Fair 2017. It will be my first visit and it is a celebratory 50th year for the fair. I've always wanted to go. Of course Bologna is a beautiful city with good weather at this time of year and amazing sights, scenery, restaurants and cafes. However I plan to spend two days at the fair and chat to lots of folk and perhaps make some opportunities to show some of my work. So this week has been about preparing a selection of stories and illustrations to take with me. It's been quite a challenge to be selective about the best pieces of work for a small, light portfolio. I've also had a postcard made up with my current favourite character - a performing cat called Tip-Top. Here he is eating his favourite meal of sausages, mash and peas in the Tip-Top tent. I'm also developing a dog character to make up a sort of dynamic duo. So on with the preparation and decisions.
I finally finished putting my Etsy store online. There are 14 products including gift wrap, cards, prints and other bits and pieces. So take a look if you like all things kittens, rabbits, bees, daisies and much more - there's a direct link on my Contacts page! Do take a look.
In October 2016, the Kings Point building in Reading was demolished. In the late sixties this was an award winning architectural design that I greatly admired. In recent years, it became derelict and was only noted for the street art 'face' painted on the windows. I always called it the 'Face Building' from that time onwards and was rather fond of it. I was sad that it came down for many reasons and I decided to make an image or two for posterity. I first did a sketch/collage - then a much larger image using basic marker pens. Finally I added sienna acrylic paint for the buildings/street furniture that remain standing.
I have had quite a lot of interest from various parties including Reading Museum. I plan also to depict the old Civic Offices and the Metal Box building. Both were demolished in 2016 too. I think it's interesting to try to portray these 'ghost' buildings as part of the changing skyline of Reading.
I have started to put together an Etsy online store to sell my giftwrap designs, hand painted cards, hand painted collectibles and prints, all related to my book illustrations. It's taking a while to get everything photographed and packaged and set up. I'm naming it after the pussy willow/kitty catkins image from my book 'Bunny Bunny Catkin' so the shop will be called Kitten Tree. Some product samples below. More news soon!