Picasso spent most of his later life trying to draw like a child. I didn’t have the faintest idea what he meant, until I was commisioned to enhance children’s drawings for a book called My Children’s Act, a massively difficult project and a huge achievement by Emma Attwell, who is herself the mother of two adopted children, both with different health challenges. Emma managed to simplify very complicated legislation to a level that children can understand, and produced a 48 page book which is appealing to any child.
Many of the abuses in South Africa happen because the perpetrators count on the children’s ignorance of their rights and I believe this book addresses that problem. It was a privilege to work on it, and it certainly opened my eyes to the beauty in children’s drawings. There were drawings (for a subsequent poster) that I would have been keen to blow up to door size and hang on my wall. The lines are pure and beautiful and impossible to imitate.
So I now know what Picasso was talking about. Some of the pages had to be illustrated by me, trying my best to cajole my inner child into action. But her efforts were ruined by my artistic training, which crept in constantly… even when I attempted one picture with my left hand. It took half a day, so I gave up on that, and went back to my right hand for the other pics, resigning myself to a reasonable facsimile of childlike simplicity.
The book is available from Child Welfare Cape Town – contact them on 021 6383127. View the book and the efforts of the young artists by clicking on the image.
This book is about a family fishing trip. I like it because it features black South Africans as ordinary, urban, successful people, instead of focusing on tribal culture (rich and interesting as that is), political issues, blah blah blah… well to be honest, I did insert an issue in that I made the heroine of the story a child living with albinism.
It’s generally known that people living with albinism suffer intense discrimination at the hands of less pigmentally-challenged members of their communities in South Africa, and I thought it would be an effective way of getting people’s eyes used to the fact that they are part of our society. So let’s include them.
View Mandevu Means Catfish by clicking on the picture.
More info on people living with albinism in South Africa appears below, and one can only despair at the ignorance still displayed in some of the comments:
Honey Baby is a story written by the eccentric Helen Brain, a witty author who always provides an entertaining twist to her tales.
This is the story of two naughty brats who break away from a field excursion organised by their school, and end up locked in a store room.
This was the most enjoyable book I’ve ever illustrated. I’m not sure it was an accolade when the commissioning editor was pointed to me as the best illustrator for such a …. oops nearly spoiled the surprise… but anyway, am happy to have had the chance to draw these little brats. We all had a good time.
Go take a look – by clicking on the Honey Baby image to view. I think it’ll make you smile. More than once, even.