Because of my exhibition visits and my research into Heath Robinson I decided fairly early on that I wanted the Bandomobile to "work". I started paying attention for the first time in my life, to the mechanics of engines, and became engrossed by the clever simplicity of a piston. Three thousand redrawings later, I'm over it!
Here are a few of the stages of development of the Bandomobile:
The final image shows some sort of suspension added. I did this because I looked at it upside down one day and thought I'd already added it - and then wished I had done! All these images show the Tingalairy Man changing too, as the original man was a little too Victorian gothic, and wasn't trying to tap into "Willy Wonka"! Now he's leaning more towards "Cockney Chimney Sweep, but that's at least that's friendly.
I've included a couple of pages of his development below.
The Museum of Mechanical Music
As part of my research, before I even started the residency scheme I decided I need to make some research trips. So on a hot day last summer I set off to Northleach with my parents in tow, to visit Keith Harding's Museum of Mechanical music. Although they only had one outdoor organ, I was happily inspired by the beautiful engineering and design of all the instruments (and I have to admit that I find the sound of those instruments a little bit magical).
To visit the website for the museum, follow the link below:
The Roland Emett Exhibition at Birmingham Art Gallery
This exhibition is still influencing me as I periodically tweak and redraw the Bandomobile, long after I designed the "absolute final and no more" version. This time, I met up with my sister and her three boys, but made the wise decision to go early and have an hour by myself first! Again, the music set the tone. The tinkly, mechanical notes are repeated on a loop which sent me into a trance shortly after walking in! It was this exhibition really that started me off in the conception of the Bandomobile.
For a small sample, see the video below!
Having written the book myself, I'd already done some research before illustrating it, and I'd developed a few ideas of how I wanted it to look. I knew the era it needed to be set in, and the place, so my mum has very kindly poured through shoe boxes full of my nana's old photos, while I have researched styles and architecture, and crazy instruments and my favourite artists (although that last one is more therapy than research!).
So here is a fairly eclectic selection of some of my research.
Various photos of my nana in her old neighbourhood.
I never thought I'd be researching dustbin lids as a form of instrument!
Finally, I had to set up my research in a way that I could display it whilst visiting the College, but transport it home easily if necessary. I decided to set up a post box too as part of an envelope project which the college is involved in, and invited the students to send me letters to introduce themselves.
For the past few months I've been working on a new and (for me) exciting book project. I've written a story very loosely based on an experience from my nana's childhood about the day the organ grinder (Tingalairy Man in Leeds) came to their street.
At the start of this project I had no backing from a publisher, and no deadline for motivation, which for me is a problem, so I applied for a Creatives in Residence position at Hereford Arts College, and was accepted on the scheme.
The following posts are to document my progress including pros, cons, things I got right and things I got wrong (one of the first things I probably should write about is my lack of blogging until now!).