Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Orlando: A Seaside Holiday

I was asked by Norman Geras of normblog to write about a book that means a lot to me for his Writer's choice series. I chose 'Orlando: A Seaside Holiday' by Kathleen Hale. You can read the piece here: http://bit.ly/dJBkEC and I will be posting it on my own blog later with some of Kathleen Hale's beautiful illustrations. Norman is husband to Adele Geras whose book 'A Thousand Yards of Sea', I Illustrated many years ago. You can see some of my pictures here: http://joannatroughton.blogspot.com/2010/05/thousand-yards-of-sea.html

Thursday, 11 November 2010

THE DEVOTED FRIEND. A picture for Winter

This is an illustration for 'The Devoted Friend' one of Oscar Wilde's Fairy Stories. I painted this picture for JACKANORY many years ago and the programme was shown on  BBC TV just before Christmas. The story was read by Alec McCowen and directed by Gordon House. I had to work on A2 size board for JACKANORY so that the camera could move around the picture, picking out the details of the story. For this reason I have scanned this illustration in two halves as I don't possess an A2 scanner. This particular caption was long and thin as it was to used for a panning shot.  I don't think there is still a record of this particular JACKANORY as the BBC wiped many programmes after transmission, and it was before the days of video recorders. But I still have most of the captions from this and other JACKANORYs  I worked on. The artists involved had to be present at Lime Grove Studios on the day of the recording in case there were any alterations to the artwork needed, and  I remember how thrilling this was for a young artist like myself.

Monday, 1 November 2010

HOW RABBIT STOLE THE FIRE. A picture for Autumn.

"Who will steal the fire?" asked the animals, when the leaves began to fall and the cold winds blew.

Monday, 18 October 2010


For the last three months I have been working on the illustrations for an interactive app for children called GHOSTS. The app has been written and designed by John Cunliffe who is best known as the creator of 'Postman Pat' and 'Rosie and Jim'. This was a very exciting project as it was the first app I have worked on, and I hope now to do many more. I have always thought of my picture books as short films - I draw my first ideas in the form of storyboards - so the idea of an interactive app wasn't alien to me. I am also interested in sequential images, and have made many of my picture books into slide shows. John provided me with a detailed storyboard and the firm who developed the app, the Ashley Bolser Agency, gave me a list of the artwork they needed. Backgrounds had to be drawn separately from the ghost characters, as did the interactive object 'hotspots'. The GHOSTS app is now finished and is waiting approval from Apple before it can be downloaded from iTunes. As a countdown to Halloween I shall be posting a ghost a day until the 31st October. This the first one!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cornish Sketchbook

When I was a teenager, thanks to the generosity of my mother's best friends, Jill and Ken, I spent all my summers in Gwithian, near St Ives, Cornwall. This slide show consists of the drawings and paintings I did at the age of 19 to 20, when I was still an art student at Hornsey College of Art. They are landscapes, drawings of family and friends staying at the small cottage, and design ideas for later projects. I think the colours and shapes of the Cornish landscape put their stamp on my work from that time.

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Chinese New Year

This is a slide show of one of my picture books, The Chinese New Year. The book is published by Cambridge University Press.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Barnfield School

A few years ago I was a part time teaching assistant at a primary school in Burnt Oak, London http://www.barnfieldschool.co.uk/ I was appointed as an EAL classroom assistant to support children who were new to English. I hope I was especially useful as I could draw, so could explain a lesson through pictures before English language skills were acquired. Most of the children learned English very quickly indeed, despite the fact that they were often traumatised refugees living in a very different country and culture to their own. Barnfield School is a very good school and the staff were quick to make use my skills. It would be interesting to know whether other schools have ever employed illustrators before. 

Since starting my blog this year I have uploaded some of my work on to Teacher Tube which teachers can access and download onto their interactive whiteboards. I have had over 4000 hits so far and will upload more and more content as time goes by. Click on my Teachertube channel to see my work already there:

Here are some of the many drawings I did while at Barnfield. The children I supported ranged from Reception to Year six.

The Jabberwocky

The Highwayman

Urban myths

Revolting Rhymes

Little Red Riding Hood

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Days To Remember

Days To Remember was written by Geoffrey Trease.
This book is an anthology of historical anniversaries. There are different stories for each month, starting with Julius Caesar in 55 B.C and ranging through history until D Day in 1944. It was a very interesting book to illustrate as  it covered so many different historical periods.
Here are some of my illustrations.

A Merry Christmas in Wales

London's Burning

The Frost Fair

Carey's Ride

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Wulf Trilogy

The Sea Stranger, The Fire Brother and The Earth Father were written by Kevin Crossley- Holland. http://www.kevincrossley-holland.com/  The trilogy describes the life of a Saxon boy, Wulf, and how he is converted to Christianity around 653AD when the monk Cedd comes to East Anglia and builds St Peter's Chapel in Bradwell-on-Sea. When I did the illustrations for these three books I didn't know East Anglia, but later when I married, my husband and I bought a derelict farmhouse in Suffolk which we restored, so I came to know and love that part of England very well. 

In the last book, The Earth Father, Wulf journeys to Northumbria to visit Cedd who is dying of the plague. The following illustrations show the change of landscape from the flat Essex coast to the stony moors of the North.


Monday, 17 May 2010

The Wizard Punchkin

This is a slide show that my husband Brian Melling onehandonepage.blogspot.com made of one of my picture books, The Wizard Punchkin. The story of the giant or wizard who hides his soul outside his body, is found in fairy stories all over the world. I based my illustrations on the beautiful Indian miniatures I saw in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Pilgrim's Progress retold

These two slide shows are my illustrations for Quest and Conquest retold by James Reeves. This book is a retelling for children of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. The first set of slides are my pencil roughs, the second my finished illustrations. I based my pictures on the woodcuts in The Kelmscott Chaucer by William Morris

Monday, 3 May 2010

A Thousand Yards of Sea

A Thousand Yards of Sea was written by Adele Geras. This was one of her first books.  She went on to write over ninety more for children and young adults. Check out her web site: http://adelegeras.com/index.html  I set the illustrations of the story Tom Taffet the fisherman and the mermaid, near St Ives, Cornwall, where I spent all my childhood holidays. 

Friday, 23 April 2010

Slide show of how my picture book ideas develop

This slide show shows the different stages a picture book goes through, starting with the rough sketches, then the dummy book and pencil layouts, and finally the finished artwork. My books featured are: Who Will Be the Sun, The Wizard Punchkin, How Rabbit Stole the Fire, The Tiger Child and What Made Tiddalik Laugh.

Out of The World and Back Again

Out of the World and Back Again by Robert Nye is a collection of traditional stories about characters who visit other worlds and then return. These are some of my illustrations for this book.

True Thomas

Urashima Taro

Rip Van Winkle

Friday, 16 April 2010

Slide show of The Story of Rama and Sita

This is a slide show of The Story of Rama and Sita. The story comes from the Hindu epic 'The Ramayana.' I based the illustrations on shadow puppets and was also inspired by the silhouette animations of Lotte Reiniger.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Animal Shapes

These illustrations are from a series of board books I designed called Animal Shapes. There were four books: Noises, Moving, Colours and Numbers. They were aimed at pre-school children, and were published by Blackie.