If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Flat Earth News by Nick Davies to learn how modern journalism works. Certainly not the fault of journalists, whose masters push them into practising 'churnalism' - multiple news stories in a short space of time - leaving little time to check facts and the internet as the dubious source for stories. I was reminded of it recently watching an interview about the Levenson Enquiry, which resulted in this cartoon.
The third and final day started busy and didn't let up until the show closed. I'd brought three A4 sketch pads, new pens and a huge pile of colouring sheets, but they didn't even make it until 3pm. I had to send out a plea for more paper to the exceptionally busy table operating with so many children coming and going.
I've since worked out that over the three days I drew over 250 on-the-spot animal cartoons requested by children, from obvious farm animals to dolphins, sharks, a multitude of giraffes and other African savannah animals, a velociraptor, several T rexs, a dragon and a duck-billed platypus. There were plenty more.
Managed to sell a healthy amount of my children's books too, which was really pleasing, if rather manic at times.
The Longdown Activity Farm marquee came within a cat's whisker of winning the President's Cup for best marquee in the show (they'd already come second in the trade marquee catagory on the first day) and we had continuous praise and positive comments from the families coming in and taking part.
I've really enjoyed being part of the Longdown marquee and the show as a whole. Longdown have already asked me back for next year, so might see you there.
Phew, what a scorcher, and what a day.
In the last two days I've drawn over 150 animal cartoons for children visiting the Longdown Activity Farm tent and the children have also coloured 200 of my pre-drawn Longdown animals. By 4 o'clock today I was out of colouring sheets, out of paper, and my Sharpies had pretty much dried up.
The day began hot and busy, with plenty of people making their way through the marquee. Lots and lots of positive comments about what we were doing, which was really heartening, and then late morning saw the arrival of the New Forest Show President, Mr Alan Titchmarsh. He was inspecting the tent as we're in the running for the President's Cup which is awarded to the marquee he sees as best in show. Having already been second in the trade show event yesterday you can't help but feel hopeful. I was drawing a pony for a child at the time, so all I could manage was a quick hello before plunging back down on to the paper, but he stayed and watched for a while (hey, no pressure).
Then this afternoon we were visited by the Queen and Prince Philip. I was on standby as I was told there was a good chance Prince Philip would come over and watch what I was doing while the Queen met Farmer Brian, but in the end the crowd was so dense there was no way he could have got through. Still, it was great for the farm as it recognised the hard work Brian and his team put into the event.
Final day tomorrow. Weather forecast is good (scorchio) so here's to another superb day.
A week ago I'd pretty much convinced myself that the New Forest Show would be cancelled due to the continuous deluge that was seeing outdoor events across the country topple like bankers' reputations. But then we had a slight nudge of the jetstream, the sun came out, and suddenly everything's alright with the world. The show could still have been in serious trouble just from the sodden ground, with it being churned up before the first visitor arrived, but all credit to the organisers who've done a magnificent job in keeping it all pristine.
I'm spending the three days of the show in the Longdown Activity Farm marquee where, like last year, I'm drawing animal-based cartoons. The layout is much better this year, with the animal handling moved to the centre of the tent - and a busy focal point it is too - giving us all more room around the edges. We've two noisy turkeys that make a fair bit of noise, but this is nothing compared to the chest-rattling braying of Samuel the donkey whose half-hourly alarm stops the nearby show-goers in their tracks.
It was a really busy day yesterday, with plenty of people coming in to the marquee out of the blazing sun. I'd taken four A4 sketch pads with me and by the end of the day had used up one and half of them, and my Sharpie pen was struggling. Also had lots of interest in my New Forest Friends books and the new On The Banks Of Hatchet Pond, certainly made easier this year with the slightly expanded space I've got.
Highlight of the day was the unexpected news that we'd come second with the best marquee at the show. All the hard work done by Brian and the Longdown team, mind you.
Just getting ready to leave for the another day of doodlin' and, of course, the Royal visit...
I've been creating various characters for Allergy Kids for some time now, and the latest creation involves this fellow on the left.
Allergy Kids have a number of allergy and medical alert wristbands available covering all sorts of scenarios - studies have concluded that around 40% of children have some sort of allergic diagnosis. The purpose of the wristband is to make it obvious and clear to anyone that comes into contact with that child what their condition is - especially effective if the allergy or medical condition is preventing that child from communicating it.
You can find out much more about Allergy Kids, see the different cartoon characters I've created, and view the various products they have available, at www.allergykids.co.uk.
I spent this morning at Hardley School, a secondary school near Southampton, talking to pupils in Year 7 about cartooning and children's book illustration.
The session was part of the Wessex Schools Literary Festival where authors and illustrators go into schools and share their work with the students. In my case it was with twenty-or-so talented artists in the library, and the enthusiasm and talent was apparent from the start.
We used the first part of the session getting the children confident in their drawing by teaching them how to cartoon with some simple rules and observations, including how a cartoon differs from other types of illustration and looking at different styles of cartooning, and then putting what they'd learnt into practice with some character design. All the children achieved some great results, absorbing what I'd said and incorporating it into their work. The really successful ones were the ones that didn't do the obvious, with a green troll creature, a worm-like beast with a head that reminded me of Les Dawson, and a superb evil scientist called Dr Chaos particularly standing out.
The second part of the session involved children's book illustration which I demonstrated by using my own books as examples, explaining how the pictures grow out from the story and what they must depict in order to be successful and engaging. I then made up a few lines of verse and invited the children to interpret it however they wished whilst bearing in mind what we'd just shared. The page designs they created were brilliant to watch as they appeared, with the students taking the idea in all sorts of different directions. My personal favourite is pictured and was the only not to take the last line "onto her head" to mean the head of another character.
Really enjoyed the whole morning and would have happily done it all again, so now really looking forward to next Monday where I'll be at another school taking part in the Literary Festival at Applemore College.
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