Word on the Street

african, design, illustration, North London

WATTAGWAAN

Whatagwaan?

This phrase is essential of you are travelling to or living in a West Indian neighbourhood .(that’s ‘neighorhood’ to all the Americans in the house). It means, ‘What’s going on?’ in the Marvin Gaye sense.

It has a few versions, namely Wa’ Gwaan, ‘Wa’pn’, and can be used in many situations. like the one illustrated below;

At the African Carribean market when buying your weekly supply of yams,

Shopkeep: Wha’ gwaan. You wan a yam?

You: Na, me no wan a wole yam.

Shopkeep: Ar-right

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Chicken!

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, idea, London, North London, publishing, Zimbabwe

chicken-magazine-2013-cvr

It’s been an incredible few months.I’ve been slowly and steadily heading back to doing books full-time and it hasn’t been easy at all.

The plan was to return to the days when there were only  books and book ideas on my work list. I have a couple of titles to try as ebooks and started planning for the Bologna Book Fair 2014.

But the idea of becoming a book publisher and a micro sized book publisher at that, worried me. That hasn’t gone away. It may be my vocation, but it’s still business, right? All that lies before me is an incredible schedule of trying to get the titles noticed, paying for a print run and then worrying about when (if) it will make the invested money back. It ooh several more weeks looking at numbers trying to find another way to minimise the risk. With th sol school publishing knowledge I have, it feels like  the path gets narrower the further down it one travels. And its great like that; you might brush against a revolutionary new idea and succeed. But you might also brush against something disastrous.

The past few years I have started to value community. These are the people that we can all count on, in however small way. Your neighbourhood, your family, your friends around the world are all incredibly important. I struggled to tell these stories in book form for children. Its better when they are experienced in a different way, somehow. I’ve also been designing and editing newspapers and magazines so have been aware of the many ways to tell a story.

All this preamble is a fitting introduction to the subject of this post. I think I’ve cracked it; the other way to tell stories and still get everything I want!

A tabloid sized newspaper for primary school people. Have a look at the preview.

It won’t be available everywhere. It starts in my neighbourhood early next year. It’s a quarterly. It involves its audience and their grown ups. It brings children’s content to the fore, not just children’s books and I think it’s the closes thing to a physical blog that have ever worked on. If it works, then it will grow and spread. Time will tell.

K

Summer Events

african, baby, Events, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, London, North London, pre school books, Profile, publishing

A3 opb Carnegie_Page_1

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.

 

K

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.

A3 opb Carnegie-dig

Pop Up Festival of Stories

Activities & Play, idea, illustration, kids, London, North London

The festival should be a lot of fun. If you’re in London with a spare few hours, come along and join in!

 

Ring a ring o’ roses sketch

design, illustration, North London, pre school books

Complete with spelling mistakes, here is the solution for the Ring a ring o’ roses rhyme. I decided at the beginning of the project to show everything, or as close to everything as possible. Painting will start on Thursday. It would be great to get this one right because I know from seeing them that children love to sing this rhyme and play the game.

More Nursery Rhyme sketches

african, character, children's books, design, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, London, North London, publishing

This was the first sketch for this rhyme. I don’t think there was a second.

 

 

Kiswahili sayings, no. 2

illustration, North London

Little by little fills the measure.