Foyles Grand Opening Festival

It was just like sitting at home, drawing and minding my own business. The only difference was that I was in front of a giant window, a busy road, smart phone photographers, window tapping children and double-decker buses.

Steve Antony steve

Oh, and I only had one hour (and a bit) to draw something London-inspired and related to my picture book, 'The Queen's Hat', that somehow included Foyles (the store in which I was drawing).

And another thing - Malorie Blackman officially opened the children's book department of Foyles's brand-spanking new flagship London store, while I sketched.

So, what did I choose to draw? A 'The Queen's Hat' A-Z of London!

The night before I had a nightmare that my mind would go blank on the day, so I made sure that I was prepared by doing a practice run on the floor of the train that morning. The trickier letters were Y, J and I. V was tricky too, but I saved a photograph of the V&A on my phone just in case I forgot what it looked like.

When I arrived at Foyles I went up to a room on the 6th floor. Here's a pic of me nervously waiting. Note The Union Jack tee. I thought it would be good to dress appropriately.

steve antony steve

The 'waiting room' had crisps, drinks, food... and Malorie Blackman and Michael Rosen! There, I met with Lucy, from my publisher, and her husband, along with Becky, Gavin and Tom, from Foyles. We talked for a bit and got things ready. Then I went back downstairs to do some drawing in the window.

Lots of people stopped and watched.

Lots of people stopped and watched.

Me sharpening up.

Me sharpening up.

Adjusting my easel.

Adjusting my easel.

Drawing 'B'.

Drawing 'B'.

Me drawing 'K' for Kew Gardens.

Me drawing 'K' for Kew Gardens.

Working on 'T' to 'W'.

Working on 'T' to 'W'.



Here they all are.

Here they all are.

The time whizzed by!! It was so fun doing that.

Once finished, I went to a nearby coffee shop with Jo, from Foyles, Lucy and Lucy's husband (I'm terrible at remembering names) and had a Glazed and Confused doughnut, which somehow seemed weirdly appropriate because my next book with Hodder, Please Mr Panda, features doughnuts. Apologies for not remembering the name of this homely, yet quirky, little nook (like I said: names, terrible).

We then went back to Foyles, I signed a stack of books and headed off to ELCAF - the annual comics and arts festival that's never to be missed!

I got a bit lost on the way, but managed to sneak in at 6:30PM. Unfortunately, my phone was dead at this point in the day, so I've no photos of ELCAF. There, I met my good friends, Brolly Lolly, a very talented bunch of fellow MA graduates. They had a table and lots of stunning art on it. I also saw some people I hadn't seen for ages, like Alexis Deacon, Stephen Chan and Emma Carlisle. I also met Viviane Schwarz for the first time, which was great. I bought lots of things. I had to, because I had a £50 note in my wallet (which, by the way, is highly unusual) that my dad had given me as a birthday gift a short while ago.

Somewhere between dumping my things under Brolly Lolly's table and shopping, I lost my A2 pad filled with my A-Z train journey sketches. So someone somewhere has them. Oh well. But because of this unfortunate fact, I don't have any close-up sketches of my A-Z to show you. Instead, here is a list. You'll have to use your imagination to visualise the artwork. (The actual drawings done in the window are safely stashed away in Foyles.)

A - Art Galleries

B - Big Ben

C - Cab

D - Double-decker

E - Eye

F - Foyles

G - Guard

H - Harrods

I - 'I Heart London' tee

J - Jam (traffic)

K - Kew Gardens

L - London Underground

M - Made in Chelsea

N - Number 10

O - Olympics (The Queen parachuting)

P - Phone box

Q - Queen

R - Rain

S - Shard

T - Tower Bridge

U - Union Jack umbrella

V - V&A

W - Wimbledon

X - X-mas shopping

Y - Yum (fish & chips)

Z - Zoo

Right, now I'm off to read these books (below).

If you want to read a WAY BETTER blog about ELCAF, which has lots of photos, check out Sarah McIntyre's blog HERE!

I'd like to say a special thanks to all at Foyles for having me, Lucy for taking photos of me, and Elena, for the pencil sharpener.

One last thing - go to Foyles! Their new flagship store is beyond words, and their Grand Opening Festival is still happening (until July 5th)! There are more details on that HERE.