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PAM ROYDS 1924 - 2016

Pam Royds on Grasmere , 1971 with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce. I was just twenty two when I fir...

About Me

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United Kingdom
My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.

Thursday, 24 February 2011


This week I went with typographic designer, Lisa Kirkham and her two children Hannah and Jan, to Lavenham Press to watch the start of the print of The Little White Sprite. Here's a clip of pages from my book rattling through the great Heidelberg machine at 15,000 sheets an hour: Heidelberg press printing Little White Sprite

It seemed amazing that all those watercolours I'd mixed together on my palette when I did the illustrations - yellow ocres, raw umbers, rose madders, red iron oxides, cobalt violets, veridians and more, were reproduced from these four simple colour plates, black, cyan, magenta and yellow.

In minutes there was a great pile of Little White Sprite sheets all printed on one side, waiting to dry before being printed on the other side.

Then we saw the the folding machine, the gluing machine, the cover laminating machine,

and the wonderful stiching machine. It could have been a factory owned by Willy Wonker.

Afterwards we went to the Swan Inn for drinks and snacks before returning home with the same number of children we'd started out with.
Pictures thanks to Jan.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Every picture book writer knows the difficulties that arise when an editor asks for textual changes - just the removal of a few words or a sentence or two added. Suddenly all those carefully balanced words, dovetailed in with images start to teeter and fall, leaving a jumble on the page. It can take a long time to build them back into a new shape.
     Because the picture book text is so minimal, even the smallest of changes, like these made to spread 10 of The Little White Sprite, can create a knock-on effect.

I decided to move 'up', from it's dominant position at the end of the first line and replaced it with 'high' ('up' had held that position in the previous spread and it was now the turn of 'high'). It was only when I removed 'hollow' because it's meaning was not precise enough - you can't climb a ' hollow' - and replaced it with 'So we climbed up inside the Warty tree' that I found 'up' had nudged its way back onto the page again. Although it was one 'up' too many I couldn't get rid of it. Reluctantly I allowed it to stay.

Small words can be bothersome. Read about 'but' at http://www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 5 February 2011


There's a stream near the River Rother where snowdrops grow wild in great white drifts on the banks.
For years I've gone there to see them. They come at a time of year when I can find a bit of stillness after the turmoil of Christmas. I associate them with bare, empty months when I can work again and a stillness that's becoming harder and harder to capture in our age of  manic social networking.
There's a poem about them on: http://www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com/