Drawing buzz

©Trudi Esberger©Trudi Esberger

Ahead of a drawing workshop for children at Wanstead Library this month, local resident and book illustrator Trudi Esberger offers an insight into her work, and explains how it all started with bees.

Enrolling on a masters in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art allowed me to explore my creative preoccupations and, in particular, cemented my love of drawing on location. Drawing on location is a great way of recording a place and its idiosyncrasies. I have a great love of collecting and use drawing as a way of building up a library of things I can use at any time, as well as a way of remembering. The most seemingly insignificant thing can provide inspiration; ideas which can be built on and formulated into a story or illustration at a later stage.

My first published picture book, The Boy Who Lost His Bumble, was conceived at the very end of my masters. At the time, I was lodging in a house with a beautiful Victorian garden bursting with flowers and bees. I spent many evenings sat in the garden drawing but at some point during the summer it started to rain. It rained for what seemed like weeks and it didn't want to stop! The bees went away, and that formed the starting point of the story.

As I worked on The Boy Who Lost His Bumble, portraying the idea of loss in a very subtle way to young readers became increasingly important. Picture books can be appreciated on a purely visual, entertaining level; however, they are also capable of dealing with complex issues and can help children understand difficult concepts. We've all lost our bumble at some point.

More recently, I have joined Brolly Lolly, a collective of children's book illustrators. Our work has been described as imaginative, sensitive, humorous and 'slightly off the wall'. We work in a range of media pursuing a variety of deeply personal interests, but have a common goal in making illustration that is brilliantly evocative.

Our first joint publication, Lolly, is an interactive magazine aimed at children aged three and up, and showcases artwork by individual members of the Brolly Lolly collective. Each issue is based on a central theme and invites creative participation from children (and their adults). Lolly not only gives us, as illustrators for children, a chance to collaborate with each other, but also the opportunity to engage with our core audience of children in a more direct and playful way.

Inspired by the wild beasts featured in the first issue of Lolly, I'll be leading a fun, animal-themed workshop of crafts and drawing at Wanstead Library this month.

Trudi's craft workshop for four- to 10-year-olds will take place at Wanstead Library on 19 August from 2pm to 3pm (free). For more information, call 020 8708 7400. Follow Trudi on Twitter @trudiesberger


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