Teamwork is everything in my business of creating picture books. The author/illustrator team, the author/editor team, the illustrator/art director team, all of the above, plus the marketing team, bookstores, librarians, teachers, parents, grandparents–ALL of us are on the same team–to get good books into the hands of children.
So imagine my pleasure when I was asked by Robert Howe, Tunbridge Fair’s postermeister, to join his team and design the official poster for 2018. The theme is Celebrating Working Teams.
Of course the word Team can mean something different at the fair, but I still took it as a good omen.
The 1st time I went to the Tunbridge World’s Fair was with my parents, back in the early 1970s. We camped at a friend’s farm in nearby Chelsea and drove over to the fair, always held the 1st weekend after Labor Day. In those days there were still girlie shows at this and other Vermont Country fairs.
The Tunbridge World’s Fair was, and still is, a genuine agricultural experience, set in a lovely, narrow river valley.
There are horses, cattle and sheep, pigs, chickens, goats and rabbits proudly on display. There is a midway with rides and game booths, and all the greasy, sweet fair food you could want.
Nowadays, I go to draw the animals and the people.
So it was no surprise that the poster I chose to design featured both.
I was lucky to be given excellent reference photos by two fair photographers: Nancy Cassidy and Mark Dixon. Drawing from elements of these and my own research material, I created a rough sketch.
Once I had a B&W linoleum print, I painted it with gouache, layered a little painted carousel onto the girl’s tee, and added text in Photoshop.
I began by trying to match this old-timey font, found in the background of a photo, as my poster display type, but it didn’t enhance the finished artwork so I switched to Linolschrift for the finish.
The last adjustment was to eliminate the “gap tooth” on the little girl. The consensus was that it made her look a little too young.
I’m pleased with the finished product. I hope 2018 fair goers are too!