Debut post for the Big Little Tales kidlit blog-group

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I’ve just been asked to join a blogging group of other children’s illustrators! This is my debut post and it will appear on the Big Little Tales website at http://biglittletale.tumblr.com/


I’d like to begin my inaugural Big Little Tales post by lowering future expectation from the get-go and kick off with a joke. Don’t hate me …

Q: What did one farmer say to the other farmer at the vegetable contest?
A: Well that’s a turnip for the books!

Badumtishh! What a turn up though. I was genuinely surprised to be asked to join this blog group (er, after this opening, you might well be too). I’m so chuffed to be writing this today. My co-bloggers comprise a wealth of experience and talent, energy and persistence, skill and imagination. Inspiring company to keep.

So I’m Patrick, originally from the seashores of Norfolk but have now lived most of my life in south London. I’ve been living in Guangzhou, China, for the last year with my PhD candidate wife Mukta and at the time of writing we’re packing up our chopsticks ready to head home. I am looking forward to coming back of course – friends and family have been missed but we’ll definitely enjoy planning our return to south-east Asia. I’ve loved it here for so many reasons and I’ll share more from this fascinating region in future posts.

My children’s illustration career is actually still pretty young, barely a year or two, and I like many others find myself on the freelancer see-saw: dwindling savings on one end but hope and determination on the other, and sitting in the middle, looking all the world like everything’s stable and going to plan, are two book projects. One’s out now, called Warriors of Honour (Oxford University Press) and looks largely like this:

Vikingy! Huzzah!

… and the second is a graphic novella, part of a larger compilation due out in September. I love comics, always have and always will, so I actually thought I’d be in comfortable territory – so wrong! Doing comic-book pages was a brilliant and immense challenge. I’ll share more on it once published and no longer in the supersecret squad, but it looks largely like this:

Sad. Sniff.

So then. The first job of a Big Little Tales newbie is to draw a framed portrait of yourself as a kid. Here’s my kid-selfie …

It’s a lovely idea to draw yourself as a child and, regardless of how well you think you can draw (everybody can draw – the creative workshops I’ve been doing this last year have proven that) I heartily recommend doing it for stirring up all sorts of memories, emotions and stories to draw from.

Like the t-shirt there … I loved and wore that t-shirt until it fell to tatters like paper. Patch is my family nickname and the six million dollar man was my main guy when I was 6. The circular frame is a wooden mirror frame in the house I was born in and that house gave me a childhood I’ll always cherish.

I hope it’s not braggy to say that I reckon I was given an idyllic setting to grow from zero – 8 years old in. My older brother and sister might even agree. Our row of council houses was in a quiet loke surrounded by three different woods, a wild flower meadow and a wheat field – all scenes for play and story-making. Like, one set of woods was completely benign, while another was dangerous because of ghosts, witches and a weird bloke that lived in a hut, and a third was annoyingly off limits thanks to Dracula and the werewolves … that last one was just me I’m pretty sure. Sandy beaches were just an expedition away for us and all of the loke kids and I never took it for granted. I knew it was the most special place, dead centre beneath the dome of the sky.

So I had a chance to reminisce on all of that (and a hundred other associated memories that I won’t bore you with) and so that’s why the little boy up there is all smiles, why it’s all play and sunshine in that mirror. And a mirror it really is – I’m still smiling about the same things and now I’m additionally glad-as-anything to have the opportunity to draw and write here.


Discover Big Little Tales at http://biglittletale.tumblr.com/

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