Monday, 6 November 2017

Scissor Happy! by Jane Clarke

Yesterday, I went into a charity shop and discovered a pile of old magazines. Yay!

They’re now on my coffee table and I can feel excitement bubbling up when I look at them.  I can’t wait to find a nice quiet moment (hopefully lots of nice quiet moments) to get my hands on them properly.  National Geographics, especially old ones, make me feel the same sense of discovery - as do Ranger Rick’s. 

So what’s in store for these old mags? Well, I’ll read them, of course, and I might scribble the odd word or two down in an ideas book, but that’s only the start of it. Look away now if you’re of a nervous disposition. Most of these magazines are going to get dismembered.

Pictures are very useful as triggers for children's creative writing when I visit schools, and they have often inspired me, too.

I put large clippings in a file, smaller cut-outs tend to get stuck in note books where I begin to collect ideas around them. Some may inspire almost immediately inspire stories or poems, but more often they stay there, sometimes for years, composting.
Ideas composting

Although I especially love wildlife magazines,  I’ll use any sort of magazine (including the free ones that drop through my letterbox) to cut out words and mess around with them, and sometimes I’ll discover a poem or be surprised by an interesting idea that might make a picture book story.

There’s something about having a physical magazine in my hand that I can cut up and mess about with that I find very inspiring. I'm sure I can't be the only one. Are you scissor happy, too?

This month, Jane’s over the moon to have signed a contract with Nosy Crow for a third and fourth neon picture book to be illustrated by the wonderfully talented Britta Teckentrup. The first, Neon Leon, is already in print, the second, Firefly Home will be published next year.

The science magazines will be very useful for Al's Awesome Science, a new series she's writing for Five Quills, illustrated by James Brown.


Chitra Soundar said...

I have these files and old cuttings - but I never get around to organising them. Maybe I should start now. :)

Moira Butterfield said...

Fabulous, Jane! Do you have a room where you store your found treasures or are your 'refound' poems dotted around your house?

Jane Clarke said...

Hi Moira! I'm lucky enough to have a big work room so I can keep stuff in boxes and files. The 'refound' (live that description) poems get written down if I like them - but mostly, I make a note of any idea that they inspire, then recycle the words.

Jane Clarke said...

I think part of the joy is that this stuff inspires random ideas, Chitra, so I'd keep it all jumbled up if I were you! :-)

Garry Parsons said...

I have to hold my hand up to storing snippets from magazines too. I have two shelves of 15 files each, all bulging. Some of the scraps were collected way back in my student days. I still add to them now just less frequently than I used to. Every now and then I will remember an image and go in search of it. How they influence my illustrations I can't say but I know I need them!
Happy cutting Jane.

Jane Clarke said...

Cheers, Garry, enjoy rummaging through your collection!

Lynne Garner said...

I just love making 'rip it' poems from magazines and often get the kids in schools that I teach in to join me. We often produce some really fun stuff.

Paeony Lewis said...

As a child I adored cutting up magazines. You've made me realise I need to start again, Jane, even if the image of you with snippity scissors is a little scary!!