Printed & Published by Moorleys Ltd, UK, July 2021
During the first wave of the UK Lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, I simply began sketching Bonnie because I missed her.
Bonnie is part Springer, part Cocker Spaniel, and belongs to some relatives who live in the West Midlands. I would often receive joyous photos of Bonnie, running and playing through the fields with her favourite ball - obviously completely oblivious to the rising anxiety and panic that the human beings were feeling.
Very quickly a short story emerged and my mind was filled with happy, nature inspired images featuring Bonnie.
With each children's picture book I want to continue to push myself and learn how to become a better storyteller, both visually and through the text.
Having just completed 2 children's books full of human characters, I felt that it was time for a change, and faced the daunting task of drawing moving dogs from different perspectives.
I also knew that I wanted to improve on locations and backgrounds, to give my stories a firm setting. To do this, I used the most convenient locations; my local parks and fields.
I live in a large ex-mining town which is classed as a deprived area, but like most of these towns, there are the poor areas right next to the affluent areas. I feel lucky to live on a nice street with good neighbours, but as a working class artist with no connections to the publishing world, I definitely feel like I have to work harder than ever to be "seen".
However, I am proud of where I live and it makes me so happy to include visual clues to indicate this. I love the whole process from start to finish of writing, illustrating and designing children's books. I strive to reflect the world that I live in and the world that I know. I hope that they become little time capsules for people to look back on in the future.
The simple device of the ball transforming into various animals gave me so many images to explore. I knew I wanted to tell the story from Bonnie's point of view. So much of her personality is childlike and playful (like most dogs) so there is a natural affinity with a young child's imagination.
There seems to be a running theme in my books to do with magic and the ambiguity of whether or not it's their imagination. Ultimately I wanted to tell a story about living each day as if it's your last, living in the present moment and finding joy wherever you can. Bonnie seemed the perfect embodiment of this.