1, 2 Drawing at The Bowes Museum
3, 4 "I love to draw old shoes. They are strangely sad, I can't quite work out why. I drew these gorgeous shoes at The Bowes Museum in Teesdale. The last ones are paper shoes that I drew at The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. They are so small & delicate, I love them."
5 Old Shelves from a junk shop painted in turquoise
6 The Penny Lodging House in Berwick
Every Helen Stephens' new book starts with a drawing from life in a sketchbook. "The Big Adventure of the Smalls started with the title. I didn't know what the book would be, but I knew that was the title. Then I went drawing at The Bowes Museum, not thinking it might be useful to the book. The Bowes Museum has a collection of baroque furniture, huge guilt harps, gold musical nymphs... I drew lots of ordinary people in jeans and anoraks, walking past this hugely ornate gold furniture. The drawings made me laugh, and I knew then that I had to do a book about two small ordinary children living in a stately home."
I have just discovered English author and illustrator Helen Stephens' world of wonders. As usual when discovering a new blog and a new world I spent hours browsing through her website trying to figure out who was the spirit behind it. At the end I got a funny feeling of knowing her as in real life and probably even better than after an afternoon tea. And believe me I felt very lucky with this chance meeting on the web. More on her blog Oh I forgot to say.