Sunday, 23 October 2016

Loughborough Ladybird and its book illustrators

So, this week has been hectic, in fact, more than a bit hectic! Early in the week I managed to finish an essay for my local history qualification. I have to admit it was hard work - and that's only the first of 6!! Oh dear!  

On Wednesday evening I went along to a talk by Andy Everitt-Stewart on his life as an illustrator of children's books, including Ladybirds. He explained how he got into illustration, that he'd worked on designs or book illustrations, greetings cards, t-shirts and more! He explained the process of creating an illustration for a book, of the style guides that are used, and the approval process that sometimes has to be gone through!! It was obvious from his talk that he was passionate about his work, although he did admit that he gets bored easily, but that's ok because it means he can be very versatile. One of the things he rather likes doing at the moment is paper engineering, so making pop-up books and the like. He brought quite a lot of samples along, and some of his framed original artwork, as well as some of his engineered paper, so we were very lucky!


On Friday I popped into the Charnwood Museum to see the new Harry Potter exhibition that's on. Wow! Jim Kay has created some wonderful interpretations of J.K. Rowling's characters! Like Andy, Jim is keen to encourage youngsters: " ... keep scribbling!, he says. " ... ideas ... are important; the technique will come with practice." He also says: "Sometimes it's the mistakes that make us interesting and different." Some of the best advice Jim got came from a university lecturer who said: "keep trying things outside [your] comfort zone" and he has!! Like Andy, he also admits to getting bored easily: "I also get bored really quickly, so I like to try different things."    

There is much more to the exhibition than I can possibly describe here, but hopefully those few quotes will have whetted your appetite and you find time to visit the exhibition sometime: just remember it closes on 8th January 2017.

When I'd finished in the museum I popped across to the public library where those wonderful Local Studies Volunteers had staged a Ladybird books exhibition, showcasing the work of the illustrators. Earlier in the week I had visited Nuneaton. It happened to be market day and it was lovely to see all the little stalls selling a huge variety of goods. Funnily enough, some of the conversations I heard were so similar to the ones I hear in Loughborough market about dwindling trade and increasing rent. So as well as visiting the market, I also had a good look around the museum, which houses a display room dedicated to George Eliot the novelist. They also have a space for temporary exhibitions, so imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the work of David Kearney: beautiful little landscapes - and a couple of book covers, including some for Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries and those for the Three Billy Goats Gruff, Ladybird edition!

Anyway, back to our own Ladybird exhibition! As I said, this exhibition focuses on the illustrators of the books, and to accompany the books on display, there are bibliographies, being a catalogue not only of the books each of the artists illustrated, but also a list of all the other books they illustrated, that the local studies folk could identify. This really is a lovely exhibition which is well worth a visit, but hurry, as it's only on until 29th November!

So, that's been my week! Next week I'm expecting a slightly less frenetic week!

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2016). Loughborough Ladybird and its book illustrators. [Online] Available from: 
[Accessed 23 October 2016]

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