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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Endangered animals: The Black Footed Ferret

character, children's books, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max

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The black-footed ferret was Once thought to be globally extinct, but it is making a comeback. It is found in North America and for the last thirty years, people have worked hard to give black-footed ferrets a second chance for survival.
There are now nearly 1,000 animals across North America and of course there is much work to be done to make sure they not only survive, but thrive.

Good luck to the bandits of the prairies!


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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

Pop Up Festival of Stories in Essex, UK

illustration

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 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

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