This Bear, That Bear, Who Bear? You Bear! Behind the Book with Sian Wheatcroft!
Sian Wheatcroft originally studied as a fine artist at Sheffield Hallam University. She soon found that she was interested in all sorts of practical crafts, and says she naturally fell into illustration.
With a great love of picture books, and as Sian says “an over-flowing collection at home”, it certainly does seem that picture books and Sian are a perfect match — and we are very glad about that!
As a special Half Term treat, Sian will be joining us at The Bright Emporium on Friday 17th February for a storytime and crafting session dedicated to her new picture book, This Bear, That Bear, published by Templar.
Here, Sian gives us an insight into making picture books… LM
I love your use of alliteration in This Bear, That Bear – what made you decide to write in this way? (I can see this being a picture book that children will want read to them over and over!)
The rhyme just seemed to pop out of my head like that and just worked. When I sit down and write, rhyme tends to just come naturally to me and I liked how simple it was. I wrote it a long time ago when I used to make traditional teddy bears and soft toys. This story was a way to bring them to life and ended up pushing me towards writing and illustration.
What is your creative/illustrative process?
I have many creative interests which keep me inspired. When I’m feeling a bit stuck I’ll do some cross stitch or start an abstract painting to get my creative juices flowing. When it comes to actually getting work done though, I like to have a deadline and try to be very organised. I LOVE my Ipad pro and am slowly moving towards using that more than my photoshop and Wacom tablet set up. I tend to mix digital and traditional mediums, whether it’s drawing in pencil and scanning into colour or drawing directly on the ipad and using scanned in papers and textures to create a digital collage of sorts. I’d love to be an illustrator that purely paints or prints for example but I find using digital helps me experiment without fear and pushes my work further.
Who or what inspired you to become an author/illustrator?
Having children of my own was definitely a big part of it, although I have always loved books, particularly picture books, as I see them purely as beautiful objects first and foremost. Once I began down the path of buying picture books ‘for my kids’ I started looking at the individual illustrators who created the works. Viviane Schwarz was a big influence and I remember scrolling through her blog all the time as it was packed full of behind the scenes snippets of a picture books makers world.
The latest picture book by Viviane Schwarz, published by Walker.
Did you have a favourite picture book when you were small?
I remember Peace at Last, by Jill Murphy very well but other than that I loved Roald Dahl, especially George’s Marvellous Medicine.
George with some medicine for Granny in Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine,
illustrated by Quentin Blake and published by Puffin.
Jill Murphy’s Peace At Last, published by Macmillan.
What is next on the horizon for you – what can we look forward to?!
Little bear from This Bear, That Bear will hopefully be going on another adventure and I have many more stories planned.
With huge thanks to Sian!
And if you’d like to meet Sian for some crafting and storytelling, you can find out more info and book your tickets HERE!