Be a voter!

african, design, From the sketchbooks, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, Zimbabwe

I was asked to illustrate a poster designed by Chaz Maviyane-Davies to get people to vote. The first time we worked together on a similar message was back in Zimbabwe when I was knee-high to grasshopper! I made an illustration for a magazine called Moto (meaning ‘Fire’ in Shona) which published a lot of sociopolitical stuff.

So I did the cover, thought nothing about it, and off it went to print. A couple of awards later and I knew a couple, of things; firstly, I was quite good at interpreting ideas, and secondly, I didn’t want to be down for doing heavy sociopolitical work alone. I wasn’t even 20 years old!

Anyway, that’s when I first had the bright idea to travel and seek my fame and fortune, but that is another story…

Fast forward to 2018 and the real need for people to take their social and political responsibilities seriously. This is how it took shape, from rough (very rough) sketches to finished art:

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And here’s the finished piece. Wherever you are , #be a voter!

1Stand_Up

 

 

Getting into the world of insects

Activities & Play, character, Events, From the sketchbooks, idea, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, London, pre school books

© KenWilson-Max 2013

© KenWilson-Max 2013

Okay. Coming from an African country, I have seen some crazy (and dangerous) insects in my time.  Whether I’m right or wrong about the bugs I like or dislike, most people have a thing, a phobia, if you like, about some creepy crawly. For some it spiders, for others its anything that has wings and buzzes. Children are fascinated by them, though and that’s what this upcoming project is all about. Wtih your help (hopefully) I am, I mean, WE are going to create a complete entomology of made up insects.  The finished ones should look like the above.

Cool, yes!

I have a dozen or so in my sketchbooks waiting to be finished, appreciate any other suggestions or even sketches. There might even be some prizes in it, you never know.

This should be fun…

K

Summer Events. One Down…

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, From the sketchbooks, idea, publishing

dt-CARNEGIE-big-ad

 

The Carnegie Greenaway award winners were announced on the same morning I was doing a workshop in front of around 100 children, where they showed what their picks were for the Winner. This took place at Platform in North London which is quite near where I live. The event was well organised by Islington Library Services.
A full list of winners, including this year’s can be seen here.  The Greenaway winner can be seen here, along with a list of previous winners. Teams of children stepped up and made presentations about their favourite books in what was a very enjoyable morning. Before we started, Sylvia Cohen warmed the children up with a few exercises to sharpen the mind and build confidence. She’s good at that.

I had to comment on each team’s work, and then run a workshop on creativity.  During the workshop we discussed where ideas come from and how to hold onto and then make something of them before setting them free. I read an unfinished text for a book idea as an example (the Bear above is part of that).

At the end we handed out One page books on the creativity workshop which the children could take away. That part of the event was made possible by the sponsoring of the print run, something I hadn’t considered doing until recently. It worked fantastically well; the children went away with something they could use later, the sponsors, Singer Financial Trust and Spot On Print were able to play their parts in giving schools a little more than usual and of course for us, it marks the beginning of a collaboration that will bring literature and drama in new and enjoyable ways. 

I am working on a digital version of the one page book which can be downloaded from this site

I’m still waiting for some images of the event that I can post.

 

K

 

 

 

Creatures from African Mythology: Tokoloshe

african, design, From the sketchbooks, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing

tokoloshe

The mythical Southern African creature, the Tokoloshe is a dwarf-like, mischievous and evil spirit can make itself invisible by swallowing a pebble. Tokoloshes are called upon to cause trouble for others. Its power extends from scaring children to causing illness and even death to its target. Only the N’anga (witch doctor) has the power to banish the Tokoloshe. Another way to keep the Tokoloshe away at night is to put a brick beneath each leg of one’s bed. Some people believe the Tokoloshe is a poltergeist, or gremlin, created by N’angas who have been offended. The Tokoloshe is characterised by its hairy body, its gremlin-like appearance and gouged out eyes. But, the Tokoloshe has been known to take on many forms. According to legend, the Tokoloshe gets its power from a hot poker, which thrusted into its crown during creation.

K

Creatures from African Mythology: Jengu

african, design, From the sketchbooks, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing

jengu

The Jengu, from Cameroon, differs in appearance from person to person, but it is said to be a beautiful, mermaid-like figures with long, hair and gap-toothed smiles. A Jengu (plural Miengu) is a water spirit in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon. They live in rivers and the sea and bring good fortune to worshipers. They are also healers and intermediaries between people and the spirits. A Jengu cult has long enjoyed popularity in Cameroon. For the inland Bakweri, Jengu worship is a rite of passage for eight to ten-year old girls. During this time, the girl must wear a dress made of fern fronds and follow a series of taboos. After this period, she is a full member of the cult. There are many mermaid creatures in mythology across the African continent.