I must admit that when my agent told me that Orion Books had a text about a 9 year old giant, which they wanted me to illustrate, I was somewhat daunted. The idea of drawing a giant, did not appeal to me at all – big ugly lumpy – all the worst stereotypes popped into my head.
Could I do it? Did I want to do it?
Then Jon, our wonderful editor said; “well she’s a child, draw a child, but make her as big as a tree!” Suddenly it all made sense and when I read Joe’s brilliant stories, I knew that I was going to love translating Boobela from words to pictures.
I’m not one to keep doing the same things over and over again. I like change. It’s stimulating. I wanted to make the style that I was then working in expand to fit our heroine!
As well as illustrating, I design fabrics and frequently find myself surrounded by extraordinarily beautiful vintage fabrics, some of them over one hundred years old! How wonderful, I thought, to include some of these in my pictures.
Do you know in which stories Sam used these?
What did Sam use to make this picture? And in which story was it used?
Poor Boobela – endlessly out growing her clothes – obviously had to be creative when dressing herself.
Wearing huge sashes to hide the gap made by wearing an outgrown T-shirt.
Inventing sandals that she tied onto her feet when her shoes got too small.
And her hair! Obviously, like Boobela, it grows very fast, so she hacks off chunks at the front, so that she can see and ties up the rest with lengths of fabric, obviously left lying about by her Mum , when she was not away plant hunting, but instead at home making new clothes for Boobela.
All the clothes I made for Boobela, by colour copying fabrics and then gluing them down onto my drawings, inspired me to take things further. My colour copier wasn’t too happy about me emptying the contents of my compost heap onto its pristine glass screen, but frankly it just had to get used to it.
I also use photographs when I think that they will work better than drawings.I think that it makes my pictures more interesting and exciting. I am now working on the third Boobela book and with another three in the pipe line, Joe and I are going to be very busy! Every new text provides a new challenge. A fire spitting volcano and woods full of ghosts to name but two — it’s always exciting and I love doing it.
Why don’t you try doing some pictures using a mixture of drawing painting
and collage? Have fun!