hackney pirates

This photo shows how being a children’s book illustrator is just like being a rock star. See, here I am about to stage dive into a group of 5-year-olds.

I had a full day of pirating today in Hoxton, as part of the Pop-Up Festival I blogged about earlier (hopefully we’ll have a big comics festival for kids in central London on either 31 June or 1 July. But it’s more than a one-weekend summer festival, Director Dylan Calder and his team are doing story-related events all over London before then, here’s the Booklinks website. And you can follow what’s happening under the #Booklinks hashtag on Twitter.

Today we drew some cool pirates! All the kids had the Design-Your-Own-Pirate activity sheets (downloadable here), but they’re going to work on them later; while I was there, we just made mad drawings together. This one’s from Millfields Primary School:

And rather excitingly, my event was back-to-back with another by illustrator Guy Parker-Rees! You may have seen the book he did with Giles Andreae, Giraffes Can’t Dance, and here’s his website. I first met Guy in Brighton, at the talk I gave for the Brighton Illustrators Group, and it was great to see him again! I managed to catch the last ten minutes of his event, and he stayed for all of mine. And as you can see, this giraffe CAN dance.

That giraffe’s a cheeky little guy. What, there’s no giraffe! Yes, there is, he’s BEHIND YOU!

The kids had written down loads of questions to ask and we had a right ol’ storming session.

Some more Millfield pirates!

Earlier in the day, I went to St Monica’s RC Primary School, right in Hoxton Square. And they’d had a big party in the staff room, so there was LOTS OF CAKE.

I love this St Monica pirate, it has a sort of Francis Bacon look to it.

Some more excellent pirates from St Monica’s…

Thanks so much to Dylan and his Pop-Up Festival team, Rachel Harvey at at St Monica’s and Debi Moncur at Millfields, along with their schools for arranging and hosting my visits! I hope the kids (and maybe the teachers, too) went away to create some amazing pirate stories.

Then I went back into the staff room, a cupcake did a stage dive onto me, and it was all over.

(Photo pinched from the Things You Wouldn’t Know If We Didn’t Blog Intermittently website, flagged by Philip Reeve)

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