It’s almost a year since I met Joyce Dunbar. We were tutors together on a course for writers and illustrators of picture books at The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre at Lumb Bank.
The whole course was incredibly inspiring for everybody involved.
But just for me being able to work and spend some time with such a nice person and talented writer as Joyce is, was a real treat.This photo of Joyce and me brings nice memories. It was taken by the brilliant Claire McNamee. Claire’s beautiful photographs were hanging all over The Ted Hughes centre.
Claire was the fastest working photographer I’d ever met. She arrived with her old beautiful film camera. We had a chat and she took a couple of pictures with her Leica. A couple days later she showed us the results. Every picture was a masterpiece!
At Arvon we worked hard, but we also had so many laughs. I was very excited when later in the year I heard from my publisher. They were telling me, that Joyce had written a picture book for me!
The book is going to be called “Grumpy Duck”. It would be my very first picture book published in England which is written by somebody else other than me. I usually illustrate my own picture books, but illustrating a book for Joyce is a real honour for me.
Although I wanted to start illustrating the book straightaway, I had to wait and first finish a couple of things which were on my desk for too long.
So finally here are the first sketches of the duck. It’s an Indian Runner Duck….kind of.The duck in the book has good reason to be grumpy. Her pond has dried out. A dried pond would make anybody miserable.Here are the first colour sketches of the Grumpy Duck.
This Duck was so colourful, that it was hard to see her.
I tried to paint her white again. It was better.
And here is the first finished illustration of the Grumpy Duck.
In the book is going to be lots of animals. Some of them grumpy, but all of them happy in the end.There is also going to be a cloud. A big, BIG cloud.