Friday, 29 December 2017

Something To Say

I recently took part in the #OnceThereWasABook exhibition and print auction curated by Badego, where I was invited alongside other Brummie illustrators to create a one-off print inspired by our favourite children's book. Aware the story I had in mind wouldn't be known by everyone; not even close, it nevertheless felt like a good chance to try something a little different as well, whilst hopefully raising some P for a good cause.

I remembered reading The Phantom Tollbooth at primary school, a book packed with puns, idioms and wordplay amidst an adventure through learning. Within its pages The Doldrums become a real place to travel through, princesses called Rhyme and Reason keep the kingdom of Wisdom in check, and Milo’s sidekick Tock is a literal ‘watchdog’ who hates nothing more than people wasting time. It speaks on the importance of knowledge, and of being awake to the possibilities in the world around us. Even at a young age this really resonated with me, and continues to warm my heart and align with my values to this day.

Complete with illustrations by American cartoonist Jules Feiffer, his bring the weird and wonderful characters to life like a child-friendly Fear & Loathing, however the marketplace scene I’ve chosen to depict always looked a little different in my head. When Milo and Tok bite into those letters later in the scene like we would fruit ‘He gave Milo an I, which was icy and refreshing, and Tock a crisp, crunchy C.’ I imagined the splindly letters in the original illustration morph into a much more blocky text, and how the stall is presented in my version has seemingly been inspired by the packaged hanging displays of handbags and the like at Birmingham Indoor Market.

The bidding is now closed and my piece has a new loving home, and I'm happy to report that over the course of the auction Badego received 305 bids from 72 people across the collection of works, raising £981.50 for Acorns Children's Hospice. Hats off to them for their hard work, and to my fellow illustrators out here doing bits.

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