Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Don't let the kids have all the fun...

I stumbled across a sketch book of mine from when I was 10 years old at the weekend which lead me to muse, and not for the first time, on the fact that I still basically fill my days with exactly the same activities as I did then.

At a recent 'look at me I'm an illustrator' school visit my very favourite question at the end of the day came from a 5 year old boy who looked slightly perplexed and concerned for me and asked, 'Isn't it strange that you're an adult but still, you know, doing what we do?'. Harsh, but fair. I am, indeed, still doing what children do. Doodling pictures of dancing hamsters and making up stories about monkeys should probably not be a paying profession for a fully fledged adult, and yet this is, essentially, what I do. It is strange.

It's also one of the reasons I feel so fantastically fortunate! We all loved being creative as children, be it drawing, making stuff, writing poetry, dancing, singing - and it didn't matter that it was, for the most part, embarrassingly bad. And yet then we grow up and are filled with self-doubt and an in-built sense of what we should be doing now that we're adults. I've lost count of the times (if truth be told, I never really was counting as that would be weird, but..) people have said to me, 'Oh I used to love drawing' - well you know what, you probably still do, so what made you stop then!?

We do all have a child-like gooey soft centre even if it is encapsulated in a crispy adulty outer layer. Well set that goo free! - go and draw a giraffe and upload it here,
or have fun on this marvelous site where you can 'virtual finger paint'

or go and make a rag rug here(and send it to me because I've never got around to doing this):

or buy this book from Quentin Blake and learn how to draw again,

or go here and mix some incredibly funky beats,

or just go and play in the sand pit (although please learn from my 2 year old son's mistake yesterday and don't eat a jam sandwich and immediately play with the sand as the effect is similar to that of being tarred and feathered).

In the words of good old Pablo (Picasso, in case you are aware of any others): "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."


  1. Hey
    Just stumbled across your blog, you are so talented , amazing work :) xx

  2. just went on your website and couldnt believe it but i used to volunteer and help at the school your daughter is at,when i was in 6th form. what a small world :) she is gorgeous btw.
    Your books are so lovely, i love your illustrations :) you are going to go far :)


  3. Great blog. Love the clip of Eric Carle. I often use the Picasso quote with children who are 'reluctant' to put pen to paper.

  4. Hey there Tasha - many thanks for your unnecessarily kind words - you've made me blush and everyfink. And a small world indeed! If you went to Sudbury Upper you might also know my husband who is a history teacher there?!
    And thank you too Jfidz - still loving your blog, especially those character boxes - genius. Right, I'm off to put my portfolio together for a meeting with a publisher tomorrow morning, nothing like leaving things until the last minute... xx

  5. hey :) .. thinking about it i do know mr elliott lol .. he never taught me though . xx