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There’s more to Ken Wilson-Max’s Lenny Goes to Nursery School (Frances Lincoln, £9.99), with its jolly little hero successfully making it through his first full day away from home. A multi-coloured cast of characters have an equally good time in this picture book, also sturdily produced.

Nicholas Tucker, ‘Children’s summer reading: Treats for the very young’,
The independent on Sunday
 
 

Lenny Goes to Nursery School Book Review – Our Verdict: A nice little book that can help you talk through starting nursery with your little one, including what he will do all day and how he can make friends and have fun. Quite simple and easy for children to understand and good pictures though it’s quite expensive.

Little Darlings Magazine

 

Two Reviews: Lenny Goes to School

character, children's books, design, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, pre school books, publishing, stories

Animals? Me?

character, design, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, pre school books, Zimbabwe

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!

K

 

 

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

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

Self promotion in your own back yard

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, London, pre school books, publishing

It’s a rainy summer Sunday in London. Another one. I am due to perform at a festival called Zim Arts day, in South East London. Last weekend I performed at the Pop Up Festival of Literature, which was a great success.

I had a chance to watch James Mayhew in action, which was really good. I first met him when I worked at Orchard Books back in the 80’s. I worked on some of his books – his rich, saturated Chagall-like colour stood outing a sea of subtlety.

But I digress. At that time, promotion was a choice. It was not expected of writers and illustrators. It was controlled by the publishers and agents, all comfortable in the knowledge that it wasn’t necessary, really. They knew the prices they were selling the books were not likely to change as the had made agreements with book stores to keep them at a certain level. The Net book agreement is a topic for another post.

Jump to this decade and things are very different. Children’s publishing is a shadow of its former self. Authors and illustrators who don’t promote themselves are forgotten. It is part of the job. The biggest challenge is to wrestle your list of fans and followers away from your publishers and into your own control, if you are published. If you are not, the challenge is to build that community for yourself.

The event today is one of those opportunities. I have books published in 10 languages, from Estonian to Korean, around 60 books sunder my belt and my own countrymen don’t know me or any of this. It will be interesting.

K

We like cowboys

african, character, children's books, design, idea, illustration, pre school books, publishing

I always wanted to do a cowboy book. Finally, I’m attempting one! Sketches to follow.

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.