Kiosk at the Park is not only a meeting place for the local human community, it's a bit of a wildlife hangout too! It would be impossible to work in the park and not be aware of the local animal visitors, not only our friendly canine regulars, but lots of interesting birds - including a very friendly robin, lots of magpies and blackbirds - some squirrels, the odd cat - and a smallish hedgehog. Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures, with their long snuffling noses and spikes; the way they waddle about but can put on a sudden sprint if they see something interesting or threatening. We started to think about this animal community, and thought how nice it would be to imagine what they get up to when the human park people are sound asleep. So we've written about Russell
(well, clearly the hedgehog of Russell park would need to be called Russell! Perhaps the park was named after him, in fact?) and some of his friends. And now we'd like you to get involved. What do you think Russell might look like? Is he a naughty hedgehog or is he well-behaved? What does he do at night when no one else is about? Tennis? Does he hang out in the playground? And what's his favourite Kiosk treat?
Local illustrator and soft toy maker Katy Dynes (Kitty Dinners) is going to help us out and will be running a 'design a Russell Hedgehog' workshop at the Kiosk on Wednesday 28th August at 10am-12.30pm . Come down and join in with some designing, collage making and illustrating! Tell us what you think Russell looks like, what he eats and where he likes to play. The final/winning design will become the Kiosk mascot and will be made into a real soft toy by Katy! There'll be more information on this event later in the week - we've got LOADS of hedgehog-related fun planned including a treasure hunt, face painting, cake decorating, and hopefully some VERY special guests! In the meantime, we asked Katy about her illustrating career and influences.
How did you get into illustrating? Was it something you always wanted to do?
K: A little by accident! I've always loved books and drawing and thought I'd hopefully, do 'something in art' when I left School. When I was 19, I went off to do an Art Foundation Course
at Bedford College and loved every minute of it- experimenting with a variety of different disciplines. I finally settled on 'Photography' but really, in my heart of hearts, wanting to learn animation. I had a FAB photography tutor, who said he would build me a lightbox, in the photography studio, if I was prepared to teach myself animation, but also learn photography. I bought myself a stop frame camera, a projector and some plasticine and I was off! I loved it so much, I managed to secure a place at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design
to study 2D Animation.
However........... when I graduated, I realised sadly, it wasn't the 'moving image' that was my passion- it was the 'setting the scene/designing the characters and telling the story' that I really loved......so I swiftly sidestepped....... and a career in freelance illustration was born!
Which children's illustrators did you admire when you were growing up? Do you have a favourite now?
K: My wonderful Gran had a fantastic selection of children's books for me to read when I was growing up and I loved anything with bright colourful illustrations, but always something drawn with a 'twist' or a 'hidden element'. I had a huge and wild imagination, so I was (and still am!) a great believer in make believe, fairies and magic. Richard Scarry was a favourite Illustrator, as was Arthur Rackham
, Cicely M Barker, Ernest Shepherd and Beatrix Potter.
Now, I have many favourites: Arthur Rackham is joined by Dave McKean, Oliver Jeffers
, Lauren Child
, Lizbeth Zwerger and Jane Simmons.
What are your favourite animals to draw? Do you find any particularly tricky?
K: I love drawing any animals- I find it fascinating to try and work out the best way to capture their personalities and incorporate that in my illustrations. Elephants, dogs, cats and horses are favourites.
However, ask me to illustrate a dolphin...........I might just manage to draw a 'nose' popping out of the water!!! I find them soooooooo difficult!!!
So save the date: Wednesday 28th August is HEDGEHOG DAY! Come down to the Kiosk to meet Katy, help design a Russell mascot for us and get involved in lots of hedgehog-themed fun! We'll leave you with some inspiring work by Katy - just to get you thinking about how you might illustrate a certain young hedgehog...