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Shirley Hughes - Just Wonderful!!

Dear Planksters,

This week I’m excited to be sharing a most wonderful read that I had about the one and only Shirley Hughes!! Oh my!! What an AMAZING illustrator/author!!

Her book, ‘A Life Drawing – Recollections of an Illustrator’

is beautifully written and laid out. She comes across as being very down to earth and with a great sense of humour.

It’s fascinating to read about her early career and the place that the children’s department within publishing had back in the day… Shirley Hughes recalls on page 138;

“In the 1960’s there was a big explosion of full colour picture books…. Hitherto the children’s editor had tended to inhabit a small cubbyhole or attic office in some obscure part of the building. She (it usually was a she) usually operated on a very small budget and practically no publicity, so was generally at a disadvantage to those employed in the ‘Grown Up’ area of the business.”

Thank goodness times have changed!!

Shirley’s talent to depict everyday scenes and inject them with warmth is a joy to behold. I’m in love with the double spreads in this book!

Just the detail and her ability to capture the feel of the scene from both the busy and loud to the quiet and unhurried are remarkable and somehow, I always feel welcome in her pictures.

The other thing I love about Shirley’s art is that it is so very inclusive and shows wonderful diversity in such a natural way and I love the realism too – these kids

– a mixture between the wrapped, the wary and the utterly bored! Very true to life!!!

I also watched the BBC’s documentary ‘What Do Artist’s Do All Day’ from 2016 featuring Shirley Hughes which was highly enjoyable. (It was available on the BBC iPlayer but can also be found on YouTube.)

Planksters, if you love Shirley Hughes or illustration in general, this book is a gem! It’s now a highly prized resident of my bookshelf and I will be dipping into it for years to come! Let me know if you’ve read it and if so, your thoughts!

With a look of intensity that is meant to convey warmth,

Thalamus Plank

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