Friday 27 September 2013

ARC September

Welcome to the September meeting of ARC, the Artful Readers Club.

I am still reading my august book that I didn't get finished last month, it's very slow to get into. part of me wants to give up on it, but i am loathe to let it beat me.

So time marched on and I found myself with only a few days left, book not read and artwork not done.

So I went for a rummage in our bookcase, looking for a super thin book. Recently my son sorted out lots of his book, taking most of them to where he lives, getting rid of some, and the rest went into our main bookcase. This included some of his childhood ones that he didn't want to take, but didn't want to get rid of. Most I haven't read, a lot I hadn't heard of, and don't remember buying them for him lol

When it came to the Roald Dahl section I almost didn't look at them, as I had read a lot of Roald Dahl when I was young, and presumed that I would have already read all of them. As I scanned the shelf, I noticed this one...I hadn't read it...given that it has a giraffe in the title, and my love of giraffes, I was quite surprised to learn we had a giraffe book in the house that I hadn't read... So that decided it.

The Giraffe,and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl.

First off, I read this book in 20minutes. now that is what I call a quick read. There are only 79 pages, big type, lots of illustrations.

The book is illustrated by Quentin Blake. he illustrated many of Roald Dahl books. I am wholly undecided as to whether I like his style of illustration, it is very loose...I love that, but in some scenes it appears to be a scribble and that annoys me.

If you would like to see Quentin at work in his studio follow  THIS LINK... (Thanks Carmen)

So back to the book. I was truly shocked to find out this book was published in 1985. if I had been asked, I would have said it was from the 50's. The book has a very outdated feel to it. I could not imagine a child enjoying this book now. Having said that, this book is aimed at a very early age range, for kids that have only just developed fluent reading. I think as a book to share, with an adult reading perhaps this could still be a good book. it is so hard to give a definite impression of the book. part of me thinks I would never buy this for a kid now...on the other hand, it feels like a a good old fashioned kids book, that is easy and happy and safe! Quite unlike more modern books that are aimed at kids.

Did I enjoy the book..hmm, well not really, but then I wasn't expecting to. It took 20minutes, there was no real depth to the was well structured, a beginning, middle and happy ending. I guess you can't really ask for much more. The illustrations, while very loose, do convey a lot of movement and emotion. Thinking about it now, I suppose these very informal pictures are great for kids as they allow your own imagination to fill in the blanks.

So to my page. Now you would think from such a short book, that I would have had trouble finding inspiration for my page. Quite the opposite, I had lots of ideas and decided to simply use them all!!!

I wanted it to have an old fashioned,easy feel to it.

So i started with a stencil of time..

To this I added a wash with Fresco paint, and some clouds to which I added Pearl glaze...

next I added cherry trees, again with Fresco paint..

in the book the giraffe likes to eat the flowers of the tinkle,tinkle tree....I kid you not....So i added pink and purple flowers using coloured grunge paste..

Then I loosely painted in the rooftop of a large house..

and this is the background finished..I love this, it feels like a quaint old English village. I added dots of paint and Treasure Gold to the flowers. 

Now to add some details..

cops n robbers...

an airplane dropping sweeties..

Then I drew the focal images onto smooth card and coloured them with promarkers...

a 'for sail/soled' sign, a bath, a boy, a pelican, some fish, a birdcage(stamped) and a sewing machine(stamped)

and more..

a staircase, a red door, a bag of sweeties, a monkey, a four poster bed, a giraffe

then I needed to have it all joined, so I added in some linked chain around everything..

and the other half..

The way I have laid out my images does not reflect the story at all lol but all the items are mentioned in the book. 

Here is the finished page.. 

Here is where you link up, if you are playing along with ARC, add your link. 


  1. I think it took me longer to read your review and ooh and ahh over your artwork than it took you to read that book this month.

    I am always in awe of how many layers you add to your spreads. The background alone is stunning. And all the parts you added, like the giraffe in the bed, the sewing machine, the monkey with his sweeties, and the way you tied everything together, was so entertaining, even if it didn't strictly follow the storyline. Cute and fun!!

  2. Great background, and I love your focal images... I don't think I've read this one either, but if it only came out in 85 I was already way over the target age range, lol!! Great review.

  3. Your review gave me a chuckle. FABOO art journal spread! I LOVE how you layered your art, which gives it such richness and depth!

  4. You might not have enjoyed the book very much, but it certainly inspired you to create a fantastic page.

  5. Happy memories of reading this with my girls, they were nuts about all things Roald Dahl. Your pages are wonderful, recreating the sense of chaotic fun found in his stories. Brilliant.
    Jen x

  6. Superb pages! Love the inclusion of all the elements by the linking chain. Wonderful background full of interest. You have given Mr. Blake a run for his money!

  7. I don't think I've even heard of this one - like you I thought I had read all the Dahl books. I love how a 20 minute read inspired you to create such a lively piece of art, bursting with details. The chain to link together the disparate parts of the story is a clever idea, I might just steal that one day :)

  8. Like you, I love giraffes...may look this one up. Your art is sensational and really fun!! Love the inspiration.

  9. Nice to read a review of a children's book, and I enjoyed it. Your artwork double-page spread is so jolly, it would be a great illustration for a children's book, and has plenty to stir the imagination, colourful and full of detail and quirky items.
    When I was young in WW2 we were always told that we should never pick up any sweet or sweets we found on the road or pavement because they might have been dropped from enemy airplanes and might be poisoned. No mention, you notice that it would be unhygienic, and for sure we would have picked them up and eaten them because we were always hungry and didn't have sweets anyway! How times change.

  10. Your pages make me want to read the book!! What an assortment. Hadn't heard of ARC before. What a fun idea. Must check it out

  11. I love your background! You did a great job making the images. I used to be a big fan of Roald Dahl.

  12. I'm feeling relief. I finished reading my August book, but my art piece isn't finished. I'm still working on it. Will post that next week.

    I love how even though the book wasn't to your liking, your art is totally amazing. Love the chaos and the colors.

  13. What fabulous fun artwork - I love it!
    I read a lot of Roald Dahl with my son but don't remember this one. Also keep promising ourselves we'll visit the Roald Dahl story in Aylesbury...only 9 miles!
    Thanks for a very honest review.
    Hugs xx

  14. They should let you make the illustrations for the new copy of this book! :-) I ♥ it!