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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...

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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.

Friday, 22 April 2016


My new picture book Dog on Wheels, to be published by TroikaBooks in September 2016, has a landscape of pavements – rather dull I thought, until I discovered the effect of dropping rock salt crystals into very wet watercolour washes. At first there appears to be nothing happening. However, if you leave the wash to dry naturally and then leave the salt to do its work over many hours, the big salt crystals dissolve into much smaller crystals, picking up pigment and giving a sparkly, grainy, stippled effect – just right for pavements.
  It wasn’t without its problems, though. I now had a strongly textured background which was causing a messy outline when I came to paint the foreground objects. So to avoid this and keep a clean edge, I masked all outlines before the salt wash.
I also discovered it was difficult to apply further washes over the texture without lifting it, so I put the pigment on very dry and then it would adhere and colour the crystal stipple.
    The more I worked on this book, the more I discovered about pavements. Walking slowly and looking down at them as if from a dog’s or a very small child’s viewpoint, I suddenly started to see all the amazing drain cover patterns; circles, triangles and rectangles with elaborate geometric  designs.

And as well as all these patterns there was all the information in the form of lines, arrows, signs and even shadows. Suddenly pavements were not dull at all!

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