Blackwell’s Festival of Illustration 2012 – Pens at the Ready!

Timetable of Events:

11:30-12:30 Emma Chichester Clark ‘Meet Lulu and Friends’
Meet Lulu and her friends in Wagtail. Join us for a fun-filled session full of interactive storytelling, live drawing and a chance to colour in your own Wagtail character!

12:30 – 1:30 Book Character Making

1:30 – 2:30 Clara Vulliamy ‘Martha Bunny Ear making workshop
Clara will be introducing Martha and the bunny brothers in their brand new adventure ‘I Heart School’. Listen to how Martha goes to school for the first time in a lively storytime session and make your own Martha bunny ears to take home with you


2:30-3:30 We Love Books – Group Drawing Session

3:30 – 4:30 Louise Yates ‘Dog Loves Drawing’
Dog loves drawing – and so can you! Louise will be reading her wonderful stories, ‘Dog Loves Drawing’ and ‘Dog Loves Books’ Afterwards have fun taking part in a drawing games session that is fun for all!

4:30 – 5:00 Frog-tastic Fun

***PLUS Animation Station will be in the children’s department from 11:00 – 1:00 – don’t miss out on the opportunity to have your drawings turned into moving art!***

All sessions are FREE so pop in to see one or hang out with us for the whole day. We can’t wait to see you there 🙂


Hannah is an ace Children’s marketeer and bookseller. She is rather excited about some events coming up:

Children’s events rock! I can honestly say that statement with confidence that to me they are the most creative and exciting events we hold here in the bookshop. I’ve been very lucky over the last year and a half to work on many children’s events we hold throughout the year from our popular Alice’s Day celebration to celebrating Chinese New Year in style. It’s a joy to see families visiting the shop for one of our family days, with parents helping young ones stick together paper dragons, colour in Christmas cards whilst controlling the use of glitter or sitting listening to an author read their story all lost in the words being read to them. It’s one of the times where you can tell that holding that event really has made a difference to the children coming by showing them reading and books are not boring objects but the keyhole to a world of exciting adventures. The best thing about working on Children’s events is how creative you can be in preparing and running them, from spending hours baking cakes for children to decorate (I learnt fast that my baking skills were disastrous after attempting to make bear shaped cookies and them turning out like burnt goo) to spending a week continuously folding paper to make paper lanterns to lighten up the department, the planning for events can be as crazy as you make them.

Currently our next big event planned in our calendar is the Blackwell’s Festival of Illustration on Saturday 19th May. Last year we launched the festival, deciding we wanted to have a day to invite customers to celebrate with us the love for children’s book illustrations with an array of talented illustrator authors coming down to join the fun. The line-up last year included the legends David McKee and Tony Ross who had children giggling away whilst they created a world of unusual characters using the children’s ideas for different parts of the bodies or what the animal was doing in the picture such a creature with long arms, a chicken head and kangaroo legs. Each child got to walk away with their very own one off drawing which was absolutely wonderful. The ever so lovely Chris Wormell turned up with the world’s biggest paper and encouraged everyone to draw their own fish in the ocean, it was great seeing so many children happily drawing away and I still have the mural which I hope to put on show in the lead up to this years festival so keep a look out if you’re popping in to the shop over then next few weeks. Then the children’s department turned into a cave of roaring bears after Katie Cleminson did a bear mask making workshop and read from her book Otto the Book Bear (highly recommended to anyone who’s looking for a gift for a little ‘un I’d give it a 10/10) . To finish off the festival local gem Mini Grey joined David McKee for an adult workshop which was sold out for attendance and more. I’ve never seen an event go by so quick as everyone there had so many questions they wanted to ask, David and Mini just were unable to get through them all.

Tony Ross

So with this all in mind I cannot wait for this years festival on the 19th May as I know it’s going to be as spectacular as last year and more. We are lucky to have three lovely talented ladies coming to visit our children’s department, Emma Chichester Clark, Clara Vulliamy and Louise Yates who will each hold a one hour event during the day along with us booksellers stepping away from the books and testing out our drawing skills hosting two events plus The Animation Station will be joining us to host a drawing session. I was lucky to see Clara and Emma host an event at the Oxford Literary Festival in March, they were both great with their stories being interactive and afterwards the children got to make little rabbits from felt, I must admit I was a little jealous as I wanted to join in and make my own! They honestly had the children mesmerized and I’m excited to see what’s on show in the bookshop for each of their events at the festival. Whereas Louise Yates has been actively involved with the festival from the start and her book Dog Loves Drawing just incorporates everything wonderful there is about drawing, the whole reason and meaning we hold our festival. I wonder if I can persuade her to make her next book ‘Dog Loves Blackwell’s’, who wouldn’t want to read that, right?! In the run up to the festival we will be announcing more details of what’s going to be happening over the day and it would be wonderful if all you were able to come and join us.

Wheter your child is going to be the next Quentin Blake or just loves doodling in circles everyone is welcome; the events run from 10.30am – 5pm in the Children’s Department on Saturday 19th May. Do tell all your friends and family, the more the merrier and I promise no cooking from me on this occasion. Every event on the day is absolutely free on a drop-in basis so feel free to make a detour before lunch or plan to spend the whole day with these amazingly talented artists and illustrators. We’d love to see you there!

Throughout the Spring and Summer we have a host of other Children’s events coming – for all ages and interests. Keep an eye out for them on this blog, the Blackwell’s website or follow our Children’s Department on Twitter


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