A few weeks ago a friend of mine went to visit the Just Imagine Story Centre in Chelmsford, Essex. It is a fantastic bookshop which runs lots of author and illustrator events, craft workshops and even story-themed parties for children! My friend sent me a photo of the Alphabet Wall where my letter G stands proudly with letters painted by lots of amazing illustrators. I have written about my G before (with the little troll popping up) but I thought you might like to see some of the other letters too. Perhaps you can recognise the painting styles of some of your favourite illustrators?
It may be a bit hard for you to see the detail in this picture. I can see that the letter X is painted by Anthony Browne (it’s Willy in a funny pose). The letter S is done by Sue Eves and you can read more about her letter on her blog here. The letter Z is by Axel Scheffler (who illustrates many of Julia Donaldson’s stories).
My friend took another photo to let me see my G more clearly, so here is a closer look at just a few of the letters:
I have discovered that the owl flying through the letter O is the work of Emily Gravett. Can you guess some of the others? The letter F seems to be covered in bats, and the H has a cat playing guitar and a knife and fork chasing a sausage! I love the pirate P with its moonlit galleon and scull-and-crossbones flag. Do you know who those artists might be? I think there is a guide to all the artists at the Just Imagine Story Centre, so I really must get there some day and see for myself!
Letters of the alphabet have long been a source of artistic inspiration. In medieval times, about 700 years ago, monks would spend hours carefully writing out books (there were no printers back then!) Some of them were very talented because they produced beautiful illustrations like the ones you can see here:
In Victorian times, about 150 years ago, children’s ABC books were full of detailed drawings. (You can tell they are Victorian children by the way they are dressed). Not only were these books meant to teach children about the alphabet, but they also had strong messages about how children should behave. Here is an example (I chose the letter L because my name is Lynne). It describes Lads and Lasses who Learn their Letters and Lessons! (I think the Lazy ones and Laughing ones probably got in trouble…)
I have written before about the beautiful letters drawn by Jakub Konvica. His pencil drawings are so realistic you almost expect the little bird perched on a branch to move! This letter A is part of a whole alphabet Jakub has drawn. You can see more of his letters here. His letters spell out a whole poem about the month of May.
If you would like to illustrate your own letter, I have found a website called Colouring Printables where you can choose any letter you like and print it out. You could print all the letters of your name, then fill them with drawings or magazine clippings of things you like. When they’re all finished you can cut the letters out and put them on your bedroom door, or on the fridge.
Time to get creative!