Friday, 31 July 2015

Confessions of an X- Doodler

Since the new Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has been appointed, there has been lots of talk about drawing and doodling. This makes sense as Chris Riddell is not only a gifted wordsmith creating beautiful characters like Ottoline and Goth Girl, but he is also a talented illustrator (to see more details about both his writing and illustration press here to read our Space on the Bookshelf celebration of his work).

Chris Riddell has shared with us all his 5 point plan for his turn as Laureate and used his speech to urge people to ‘Draw something every day’, and to spend time as a family drawing and doodling. Many people have taken his advice and made a conscious effort to doodle every day, like Lou Minns family who challenged themselves to doodle every day for a month, to read about their endeavours press here. It was whist following Lou’s family’s progress that I had an epiphany; I realised that I no longer doodle.

Now this may not seem much to most people BUT let me explain. All my life I’ve been a constant Doodler, no paper was safe, or napkin, or well anything. If there was a pen, pencil, crayon, chalk, lipstick and a scrap of paper (or skin) then it ended up full of intricate drawings and doodles. It caused quite a few fights when I was first married, as if any post was left out, I would not only decorate the envelope but the letter to, even if it was an important document!

My doodling was a gift, I studied Art and Related Arts at university, and many of my strongest works were as a result of doodles. I initially came to writing through the ambition to illustrate, and way back in 2008 I had an meeting with illustration agency Plumb Pudding; their advice – my doodling was far superior to my finished works, and to continue to doodle and work on my finished work (and to stay in touch, ophs!)

So whilst reading all the enthusiastic posts people have been posting about discovering doodling I was amazed to realise that I can’t recall the last time I doodled. This got me thinking what has changed? 

I can’t really put my foot on what it is that has changed or at what point I stopped doodling, and the realisation that I no longer doodle actually makes me rather sad. It is true that the last few years have been hectic; one re-location, three subsequent moves, new EVERYTHING, I’ve had competition successes in writing, scored an agent, blogged, got puppies, and well then all the every day-to-day stuff. Maybe the lack of doodling is a result of the amount of LIFE that has happened?

I do still draw from time to time with my kids, as does my husband. Plus I can take some reassurance that both small people doodle all the time and are gifted artists. However, this is my pledge to myself; I shall doodle, and I shall endeavour to doodle daily.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Happy 80th Birthday Penguin - plus Penguin Classic Goodybag Giveaway!

This summer sees the 80th anniversary since the first publications of the first ever Penguin paperbacks. The now iconic covers are replicated in many forms, such as adorning mugs, deckchairs postcard and posters. Penguin expanded out launching the Puffin imprint publishing children’s book in 1941 with it first book being a Worzel Gummidge. Furthermore 1967 saw the launch of the Puffin Post club which ran (on and off) for over 42 years and of which both me my sister and my daughter were all avid members.

To celebrate the anniversary Penguin Classics have published eighty miniature classics from many of the great authors they have published over the years, all wrapped up in a monotone iconic penguin classic cover.  All eighty titles are retailing at just 80pence each!

I’m thrilled to see that one of my all-time favourite Grimm’s Fairy Tale’s The Robber Bridegroom Is one of the titles along with another great, Hans Christian Andersen’s , The Tinder Box. Both fantastic dark tales, (although not perhaps suitable for young or sensitive readers.)
To celebrate Penguins mammoth anniversary, and  because I adore these tales so much I want as many people as possible to read them, I'm doing my first ever giveaway.  Tweet and follow me @spoyton #Penquin80 and tell me your favourite penguin classic for a chance to win both books and goody bag containing some lovely surprises and treats!

Penguin has seen a vibrant first eighty years, and we hope the next eighty will be even more exciting.

Happy Birthday Penguin!