Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Do you doodle?

Drawing for children

I've always doodled, drawn, sketched and generally put pen to paper. I love sweeping a pencil across the paper, not so keen on rubbing out lines that have gone where they shouldn't have, but turning those gentle sweeps into something recognisable has always been a passion of mine.

I think it all started when I choose my very first book from a library; The Hobbit. The book was an early edition complete with letterpress illustrations in the chapters and glossy colour image pages spotted throughout the book. Beautiful images that provided a background to an exciting story. I had a similar love for my Mother's copy of Black Beauty, which had the same format of letterpress printed illustrations within the text and separate glossy colour pages with full page illustrations sparsely scattered throughout the story. 

Both books were a real treasure for me to have, even if just for a short while. I remember each of them clearly, even though it has been 30 years since I read The Hobbit and my little sister now has that copy of Black Beauty so I see that very rarely as well.

The magic of a beautifully illustrated story is something we don't see much of today, which is a shame as it is something that could be treasured for many generations. Anna and I are talking about putting some of our stories down onto paper and writing a children's book, so I've been sketching some characters that could help bring the story to life.

Freddy the Bunny
Of course I started with a rabbit, [see earlier blogs for how we're a bit barmy about bunnies here at u-ni-k]. I actually drew this image to the right while doodling with DangerBaby in her high chair (where we sometimes do 'art' of the 'pen that could mark the sofa' kind). I'm thinking of calling him Freddy and I think he looks like a curious hungry rabbit. 

I've also started on a young foal, who I'm calling Dancer. I think she looks like a determined independent little thing, born to run as fast as the wind. She is based upon a foal I saw born on a racing stud farm, so I've tried to keep her thoroughbred looks as much as possible.

With these characters starting to come to life in my head, I think that our story will be an outdoor tale. Perhaps there maybe a woodland fairy or two to add to the mix?

Now I'm no Colin Petty, who drew the lovely woodland fairy Victoria Plum, nor am I a professional artist but I'm hoping my illustrations will help young readers to learn to love books. Just as the illustrations in The Hobbit and Black Beauty helped me.

Victoria Plum and Friend

Victoria Plum illustrations are available to purchase on our website. Each of them have been professionally mounted and come with a letter of authenticity from Colin himself.

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