Pop Up Festival of Stories in Essex, UK

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More pics from the festival.

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I’ll Tell You About My Dad

design, Events, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, Zimbabwe

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When I was told that my father was not well, and furthermore, what was ailing him was the dreaded cancer, I didn’t know how to react. I don’t believe anyone really knows.

He’d had some back trouble, common for older people, and the x-ray brought some unexpected spots of clarity to his doctor.

By the time he had his follow up appointment I was getting on a plane.

By the time I landed, he knew that there was nothing that could be done.

Each day thereafter became a treasured event. Every word, every touch was amplified and committed to memory.

I left for London ten days later. Our good bye was simple and heartfelt. I believe we said all we could say to each other. He was weak but I felt like I hadn’t been held so tightly since I was a boy.

He did his best to keep us positive in his last days, often joking and doing something silly. His sense of humour was his greatest and final gift.

Three weeks after he found out he was ill, he passed away. His funeral was truly uplifting, both African and European at the same time, just like him.

I wait for the time when sadness comes, but for now I want to celebrate his life and achievements.

Why do I post this here? Because no matter how old we are, we are all children of someone else.  How many times do we long for our mother’s cooking? Or the company of our parents when things are tough?

And then how many more times do we slip back onto our routines and forget these people who care for us the most?

I appreciated my dad from the day I landed in the UK, 26 years ago. I loved him for being himself and for passing on his strength, personality and humour to his children. We will miss him, but every time we laugh, we’ll remember him. He will be with us.

Ken Wilson-Max Snr, 1938-2014

‘Judge me by my successes’ 

 

Pop Up Festival Weekend

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, illustration

It was great to be entertaining children this weekend. Exhausting (felt that afterwards) but really, really enjoyable. Our next event is in July in London. It promises to be bigger and better, but it will have a hard time toping this one! We had Sarwat Chadda and Zena Edwards, Julia Golding, Ed Vere with a Jazz band, Sylvia Cohen, Manja Stojic, Chris Mould and his Emporium, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Storyteller Rich Sylvester, Kayo Chingonyi and Usifu Jalloh. In short there was something for all age groups. Plus we had fantastic sets built by the Royal opera hOuse and its amazing team of local volunteers.

For more information, visit http://www.pop-up.org.uk

Pop Up 2014 in Essex

Activities & Play, african, Events

May 3 is the second Pop Up Festival. This time it’s in Purfleet, Essex. Here’s a layout of the venue, and the schedule for the day. The exciting line up includes Jane Ray, Sarwat Chadda, Julia Golding, Kayo Chingonyi, Sita Bamchari, Ed Vere, Chris Mould, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Rich Mayhew and yours truly.

This will be fun!

 

Site Map Purfleet w. Meeting Point

 

Festival Schedule for Visitors-1

World Book Day

design, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing

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World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators and reading. It is designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books marked in over 100 countries.

On  the 6th of March, children of all ages come together to appreciate books and reading.

The main aim of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading. But the two are no Longer as connected as the once used to be: electronic books, games and apps now form a growing part a child’s reading life. At the same time the number of titles published each year is almost unsustainable as it is staggering. 292,037 new titles and editions in the USA, 149,800 new titles in the UK for a start.

We’ve been led to believe that paper from managed forests is environmentally friendly and responsible.  Looking after the environment is slowly persuading businesses (like publishing) to rethink  their priorities, but, seriously, with the years it takes to grow a forest one has to wander if the act of chopping trees to make books has contributed to the current changes in our climate…

Perhaps we need to be thinking in terms of promoting reading more than books? I’m definitely in the keep books camp, but it would be great to see smaller numbers and higher quality. After all, the books we have are the ones we love.

http://www.worldbookday.com
http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/learning/world-book-day

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

 

 

Chicken is on its way

african, design, idea, illustration

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What a short month it has been!  It’s been a few weeks of behind the scenes work: So I have a newspaper to publish, what about getting people to see it,  whose going to pay for the thing, how any people do we need to keep it alive? Note all who are thinking of producing something for an audience. The idea is the easiest part!

This month we set up:
Payment systems for the coming chicken website
Finalised paper stock and tabloid size
Narrowed down the printer to a choice of two
Held a meeting with someone who will hopefully be the print and production manager
Set up a schedule of social media activity to promote chicken!
Networked like crazy after learning to tell the story of chicken in less than two minutes
Spoke with the first of the sponsors, who asked for more information, so…
Prepared further information for potential sponsors to make it easier of them to decide to do it
Prepared the first draft of the next issue

I think that’s about it… So far. We want this to work and for as long as possible. Back to the creative stuff for a few weeks. I’m thinking f a fresh way to describe the readers and users of the publication:

Toddlers = eggs
Children = chicken
Grown ups = hens and roosters

K