It’s taken a while to learn how to build a digital publication, longer than I thought, but it’s finally done. It will be available throughout January on the iBookstore, Amazon and on Issuu.
If you don’t know, Chicken Newspaper is a unique way to bring current affairs into the primary school classroom because it’s written and designed especially for them.
It is available in print and now digital three times a year.
I started the project because there are many stories that are good, but not books. They are more about how life is, or about what is happening elsewhere right now. These are the kind of stories that parents might discuss with children on the way to school, or that children might overhear, or they might be news stories that need further explaining.
We’ve managed to see pit free for schools for the last four years, but the realities of publishing means that is about to change. Still, subscription isn’t expensive (from £7.95 a year, which is roughly $10.00). ITs been an exciting and fulfilling project so far!
I’m not known for painting animals, it has to be said. It took a long time to accept that I could draw and paint animals that look like humans , mainly because I got hung up on the word that describes this process; Anthropomorphism.
Or, perhaps I couldn’t let myself enjoy considering the possibility. The work I do is mainly about people and objects and how they interact. I spent a lot of time doing that. But, as every day is a learning day, last year seemed like the perfect time to start focusing on a new skill – two new skills, actually; creating animal characters and then creating stories where they could be free. Creating them in my own way is like cutting through a thick jungle with a blunt blade and maybe one day things will start to come together.
It’s taken all this time to believe, understand and get excited about this new process. Here are a few from the sketchbooks. All of these characters have made their way in to a book idea with the working title ‘Norton’s Nose Knows’… I’ll leave it at that for now!
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.
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.
I have two important events this summer. One is Pop Up 2013 and the other, running parallel to the announcing of the Carnegie Greenaway 2013 Medal Winner, is happening tomorrow, June 19 at Platform on Hornsey Road in North london. Schools have had the chance to look over the shortlist and will be making their own choices for the winners. They will announce them at the same time as the formal announcements are made.
Preparations for both events are underway and they are connected. I have always done events as part of my ‘job’- I’ve treated them like an add-on and not paid too much attention to their importance. Last year at the Pop up Festival, I did a short (20 minute) event for young children which ended up with me becoming one of this year’s festival creators/curators. I have finally realised how good my events can be, without blowing my trumpet too loudly. How many times to we creators miss out on self publicity because we’re just not thinking of the potential business? I will be writing a post about the business of creating very soon. Anyway, these two events mark a change in attitude for me since I realised that events are a big part of what I do as a creator.
I am working with a drama professional, Sylvia Cohen and we have devised a workshop (hopefully the first of many) on finding ideas that will excite, educate and entertain. The brainstorming and teamwork is energising. So, I guess the third event of the summer is the one where we get to plan and launch this refreshed approach.
Would anyone like to know how to present better? Or to run a workshop? Keep watching the Illustrationist.
ps. Here’s a sample of the workshop content. We’re making an e-book which should be ready in the next two weeks. We’re also printing a One Page Book for kinds to take a way.
According to traditions, the Ninki Nanka lives in the swamps of West Africa. It is said to be extremely large and dangerous. It is said that when children get too confident and feel they can disobey their parents and go into the swamp they will be taken by the Ninki Nanka. The story of Ninki Nanka has spread from tribe to tribe across Africa. There is a song called “Ninki Nanka” on the album Casamance au clair de lune (1984) by the Senegalese music group Touré Kunda. A group of “dragon hunters” from the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) went to Gambia in the summer of 2006 to investigate the Ninki Nanka and take testimony from those who have claimed to have seen the mythical creature. One interviewee who claimed to have had an encounter with a Ninki Nanka said it looked similar to an image of a Chinese dragon. The expedition was known as the “J. T. Downes Memorial Gambia Expedition 2006”