Make Your Own Puppet Theatre

I promised a while back to put up a tutorial for making a puppet theatre like the amazing one made for “I Want My Hat Back!” for Little Angel Theatre by Sam Wilde.

Then in July I was commissioned to make it by the lovely Magic Carpet Arts in Exeter 🙂

It’s a very easy make with a little help from a grown up if you’re under the age of eight – and always remember be careful with scissors whatever your age!

Take care and have fun everyone! 🙂

Image-making with stencils

I’ve been experimenting with stencils to create lines and textures in my work recently – the image above is one outcome, and it was all done using torn paper edges and charcoal (see below). I was fascinated during the process how you can create exciting marks and textures with such a simple technique.

The process seems to work really well using a smudgy/flowing medium with bold graphic lines. So here I used charcoal, but pastels, watercolour, gouache would all work well, I think.

Canadian artist Sydney Smith is one of my favourite children’s illustrators, and he uses stencils brilliantly in his work, and it was after seeing the video below that I decided to have a go myself. Here it is:

Stencils are a popular tool in digital drawing and illustration. Drawing a simple shape and filling it with a complex texture is widely used in children’s book illustration – Jon Klassen (another Canadian illustrator) uses this technique to great effect. Here he is talking about his work to a man and a group of (distracted!) children in Melbourne; it gives an insight into his process, and how he got to this point in his career:

I’ve submitted my drawing to Double Elephant Print Workshop’s “Riddle 57” project, based on an Anglo-Saxon riddle from the Exeter Book, a World Heritage Book kept in the amazing library at Exeter Cathedral, and I was lucky enough to have a look through the book when I was studying A Level English – mind blown!!

“Charley says…” BFI kids online

The British Film Institute have put up a collection of films for under-5s online. It’s a real mixed bag! Some of them I remember from childhood – LOTS of public safety films for children, the best ones being the “Charley Says…” series.

I’m not sure many 21st Century Children will really enjoy some of them – black and white is a hard sell to under-5s these days, but the Charley films are funny and informative, with messages that are still relevant to children now. Take a look 🙂

Oh yes, and they are all free to view..

Live Drawing Online Tonight!

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but it is so exciting!! I’m going to be live illustrating today on Instagram 3pm EST – 8pm GMT with the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, NYC!!!

Their children’s books specialist Philipp Goedicke reads classic children’s stories live on Insta every day and invites an illustrator to draw along. If you’re on Instagram take a look, either on my feed @small_world_animations or theirs @communitybookstore.

Tonight is Chapter 20 something from “Tom’s Midnight Garden”

The pictures show what I managed to draw/make in the 30 minutes or so I had. It was a lot of fun, and Philipp was so lovely to chat with! 🙂


Komaneko is an animated cat – who makes animations. Here is the first episode where she tries her hand at making her first-ever stop motion animation. It’s a beautiful and super-cute little film, and there are more available on Youtube

Quentin Blake Free E-Cards

One of QB’s beautiful free e-card designs

There are lots of ways to keep in touch with special people at the moment, but this one from Quentin Blake via the House of Illustration website is one of my favourites.

Choose from a selection of free e-cards to send to loved ones – there are rainbow designs specially created for the coronavirus lockdown, and also birthday, get well cards etc etc, all featuring Quentin Blake’s wonderful, funny drawings.

Follow the link, choose your card, then fill in your greeting and send it off to the person in your life who maybe needs a bit of cheering up at the moment! 🙂

Take care everyone and look after one another ❤

X Claire

This Is Not My Hat – Little Angel Theatre

The second puppet show from super-talented Ian Nicholson and Sam Wilder, this one based on another Jon Klassen picture book “This Is Not My Hat”, and it is wonderful! Take a look, it’s free to view on the Little Angel Theatre youtube channel. Kudos to John Klassen and his publishers Walker Books for giving permission for this puppet adaptation – they must be chuffed with the outcome.

And have a go at making your own simple puppets and theatre like the ones in the show. I’ll put up some ideas for this soon, just in case you’re a bit stuck, but really all you need is a biggish cardboard box for the theatre and some cereal-packet type card for the puppets, have a go! 🙂

Take care and look after one another everyone!

X Claire