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Reviews Say Readers Say Colour-Ins Paint a Chick Six Little Chicks



Six Little Chicks Early Sketch

Six Little Chicks really began with me playing around with the word Peck ; I liked how the repetitive action of pecking could be relayed through the repeat of the word. (You can see this written for the first time in my ideas sheet above). Children like repetition and ‘Peck, Peck, Peck’ produces a great percussive sound. Then I realised there were other nice-sounding words such as kick, hop, flap and scratch which could work with this triple-repeat set up. The word peck made me think of chickens and I realised that all the other actions I had come up with can also be done by hens and chicks; this is how the characters and the setting of a hen house came about.

A story needs a threat and when you’re writing about chickens there is none bigger than a fox. So Six Little Chicks is my version of the chicken and fox story set-up.



Fox SketchLike all my books this started with very simple line sketches. Sometimes the initial sketch just catches the impression you want to achieve in the final picture and this is what happened with my fox thumbnail drawing. As you can see, I made a change to the angle of viewing, in the final painting we look down on the fox from above. This allowed me to play with the perspective lines of the wooden slats enough to get more of the fox’s distinctive wide face in. FoxWithout this it wouldn’t have read as a fox and as this is the first time you see the character – it had to be instantly recognisable.

In this book I used gouache paints which allow me to mix rich colours and lovely textures. A technique I used a lot for the hen house was to paint a dark background colour and then dapple lighter colours over it to give a grainy, woody texture. This is the sort of thing you can do with gouache; if it doesn’t work you can paint over it and start again because the paint is opaque.