Wednesday 23 October 2013

Author/Ilustrator Events by Abie Longstaff

I don't often get to meet up with my illustrator, Lauren Beard. She lives in Manchester, I live in London; and the process of making a book together is often more separated than people imagine.

But I love seeing her when I can. We have the same sense of humour (so important when working together) and we both love the fairy tale world of Kittie Lacey that we've created.

So, when we were asked to do some events together at Seven Stories in Newcastle, we jumped at the chance.

We've never done an event as a twosome for The Fairytale Hairdresser before so we really wanted to get it right and plan something that would include both text and illustration.

We decided to travel up to Newcastle together so I picked up Lauren in Sheffield at a ridiculously early hour and we had a great time in the car plotting and planning the events as well as talking through the next Fairytale Hairdresser books.

 The story-telling space at Seven Stories is truly wonderful! It's up in the attic and there are books hanging from the ceiling as well as an enormous wooden chair to sit in. I loved reading the stories and seeing how much the children liked the books.

Lauren and I wanted to mix up the story and illustration and to pull out themes from the book to illustrate and discuss with the children. One of the themes we chose was emotion. In The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty, the seven fairies are at first upset, then worried, then cross then happy. We asked the children to make the faces to reflect each feeling and Lauren drew the emotions in cartoon style.

We did some crazy hairstyles

and at the end I showed my writing books and Lauren showed her wonderful sketchbooks, and together we told the children how we make a Fairytale Hairdresser story.

It was so good to do an event with someone else. Occasionally events can feel a bit lonely and it was fantastic to have Lauren there! I also think it added so much for the children to meet both creators of the book and learn about both sides of the process.

I think they had a good time - afterwards there was certainly a long signing queue...


Moira Butterfield said...

It sounds great to pair up. I find events so stressful and such hard work that I've been avoiding them for ages. With someone to help take the strain, I think I'd find them much more enjoyable. Looks like next year I'm going to have to take the plunge and do some again, so perhaps I'll try to involve a partner.

Pippa Goodhart said...

That sounds a wonderful event, Abie, and Seven Stories is a magical place for books, children, authors and illustrators. I had my first taste of doing a double act there this summer, doing an event with Nick Sharratt. I was very unsure about how it would work, but it DID! And, like you, part of the joy for us was the journey there, during which we plotted a new book.

Jane Clarke said...

Looks and sounds like lots of fun, Abie.

jon said...

Sounds like fun ;-) I enjoy drawing in front of groups of children. they are a very receptive audience and they will always let you now what they think.

Paeony Lewis said...

How wonderful - writers so seldom meet the illustrators, though I assume it's different when you have an established series. But where are your elaborate hairstyles? You both have such gorgeous long hair ;-)

Playing by the book said...

Ah, sounds great! My youngest would have been in heaven at this session!

Linda Strachan said...

Sounds like a great event, Abie and Seven Stories is a wonderful place.
I have often done joint events with Sally J.Collins the illustrator of the Hamish McHaggis books, it is a lot of fun and it also makes for a slightly easier time when there are two of you there.