In an attempt to summarise (and in some kind of chronological order):
"Chaz, the Friendly Crocodile" by Miller Caldwell and illustrated by me, back in 2011, was picked up by wonderful publishers - Austin Macauley in London- and has 'hit' the educational market in a big way. The Education Department in Dumfries and Galloway have ordered copies for all their primary School children, which is Amazing!
Let's hope "Lawrence the Lion seeks work"- Miller's next children's story, will be as successfully received! So thrilled and delighted, as this lovely book has already been translated into Dutch........
Am already working on Miller's next book.......(under wraps at the moment)
Talking of books, 2014 sees the release of two other new books: the first written and illustrated by me! Originally meant for my Mum as a lovely Birthday gift, (all beautifully hard backed and bound)- some of her friends saw it and ordered a copy. As word spread, I was lucky enough to find a wonderful publisher and printer, and after a BRILLIANT book signing in Happy Days Toy Shop in Olney in May, sold all of my allocation. Looking forward to another book signing in Waterstones Bedford in September. Here's a sneaky peek below:
And second, the very beautiful (and very different for me) illustrated 'Tiger Thoughts and Wild Words' written by local author, Paul Gardner. Paul wanted to write about which came first 'thoughts or words'......and how we all struggle sometimes to put our thoughts into words and our words into thoughts; whatever age we are. It's a gorgeous book- as I was desperate to illustrate the artwork on dictionary paper, so....... mindful of the dictionary having to be out of copyright- I eventually found an 1892 version on it's very last legs, which was perfect!
After Paul's and my fantastic book signing on 21st June at Waterstones Bedford, I'm delighted to say that all books are now available to buy on Amazon and from Waterstones.
After completing the illustrations for Paul's book- I really wanted to continue the dictionary theme......so decided to incorporate my own personal work onto dictionary pages: these have ranged from all sorts of birds and animals and have been exhibited at Bromham Mill, a local exhibition, the River Festival, No.13 Restaurant and will also be 'starring' in the September Art Trail, with the Artists Network Bedfordshire: www.artsnetbeds.org.uk Please see the website for more details!
Continuing with exciting news: 2014 has been the year of School workshops! It has been terrific, brilliant, rewarding and truly inspirational working with some wonderful children and Staff. After another successful 'block' of After School workshops at Newnham Middle School in the Spring Term; the Summer Term has seen me work with the Council on a project called 'Reach for the Stars' focussing on the self esteem and aspirations of some of the young people in 5 of Bedfordshire's Schools. The project incorporated a theatre company and a lady who teaches dance, to explore some of the ideas based within the 'Reach For the Stars' text (story by Serge Bloch).
I decided to hold a Schools exhibition at the Council's Borough Hall, which provides the ideal backdrop to showcase the children's work. After the hugely successful private view on Thursday, 17th July, with the exhibition opened by the Mayor, the exhibition is now open to the public until 14th August, from 1-4pm Monday- Friday.
Excitingly, this has lead to more workshops and School work in the Autumn Term!
And finally, after a lovely selection of my handmade cards being commissioned and bought by Beckworth Emporium and a classroom prop commissioned by fabulous author, Steve Cole.......I am part of a small team of 'book geeks' called Booktastic (we organise free workshops once a month for Key Stage 1&2 children to inspire children to read, draw and get generally excited about books!)......who organised Bedford's First Children's Book Festival on 5th July! With support from the Council, the Higgins, Waterstones Bedford, the authors, workshoppers and the wonderful people of Bedford, the Book Festival was a HUGE success........so much so, plans are already in place, for next years!
Phew......quite a year so far!!