I caught most of Nick Sharratt’s post-breakfast drawing session this morning. It was seahorses and jellyfish and catfish and dogfish. He – and his red and white shirtsleeves – made it look really easy to draw.
It is the kind of thing you get online with the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year. And yes, it’s online, so not ‘real’, but you only have to crawl out of bed and make it as far as the computer…
Then I backtracked to a watch-again event from Saturday morning, Gruffalos, Conjurors and Teeny Weeny Genies, with Julia Donaldson, Nick Sharratt, and Axel Scheffler.
For her 22nd bookfest Julia sat at home and read from her books, which included a reading in the garden, assisted by her physically distanced grandchildren.
Nick, wearing a fetching lilac-starred shirt this time, read one of his own books, before teaching the audience to draw a book like that themselves. I think I could do that! A carrot shape here, and a butterbean shape there. It’s not hard. And then he put on his conjuror’s hat.
Over to Axel Scheffler, Julia’s mostest illustrator, in his sunny garden, with what looked suspiciously like bird poo on the table he was using. He showed us how he drew Zog and the Flying Doctors, who right now have to wear PPE. We got to see the doctors both with and without their protective clothing. Zog, being a dragon, apparently is not believed to need protection, even against a virus.
And to finish off, Julia got out her Gruffalo, which she has acted at countless events for over twenty years. This time her sweet-singing husband Malcolm was roped in to act all the parts except the mouse which was played by Julia. They were in the woods. Well, you would be with a Gruffalo, wouldn’t you?
It was actually quite fun. This is the advantage with online filmed events; because in Charlotte Square you can’t suddenly go out into any woods, nor can Malcolm switch so seamlessly between being a fox or an owl or a snake. That mouse really saw him off.
So yes, this was quite entertaining, even for old witches. (But the four minute wait at the beginning, primarily seeing the names of the – very important – sponsors, was possibly on the long side for your typical three-year-old?)