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I’m much later with this post than I’d expected, but here is a report of the Ink & Drink event at Manchester Art Gallery last Thursday.

ManchesterInk&Drink1-1000ManchesterInk&Drink3-1000The turn-out was very good once again. I hadn’t managed to find out what the estimate was this time, though as Manchester Art Gallery is far larger than William Morris and the space allocated for the event more expansive, it is probably safe to assume that the numbers far exceeded those of the latter. And after all, there were two of us illustrators presenting. I’m pretty certain they all came to see Helen Ward (and quite rightly, too).

ManchesterInk&Drink8-1000ManchesterInk&Drink4-1000The activities themselves had a little more variety this time. Aside from colouring in their copies of Pictura, visitors were also encouraged to draw. Produce from the gallery’s very own rooftop garden provided still-life set-ups. That same produce went into the ‘harvest feast’ which was on offer to help sustain the visitors during their work. I didn’t manage to eat anything myself (which I deeply regret), but I did get to sample a delicious cup of ginger beer.


Helen Ward speaking to one of the visitors.


Helen courageously drawing the beetroot.

Prior to the evening event, both Helen and I gave a talk in the afternoon to a group of around fifty BTEC students from Manchester College currently focusing on narrative illustration. I managed to give myself a stomachache from sheer nerves, but judging from the students who stayed behind to look at our sketches and remained for the evening event, I think we might have managed to engage the interest of at least a few. One student even drew her own version of one of the faeries from my Pictura, which was just wonderful to see.




I think my evening was made.

The tutors too were enthusiastic and very supportive, which I was very touched by. One of the highlights for me when they spoke to me later in the evening was their kind commendation of the ‘breadth of knowledge’ which seemed to inform my work. They spoke too of the cultural variety it seemed to present, and remarked on the integration of eastern and western styles. When asked whether I traveled much, I replied that I regrettably don’t as much as I would wish.


From left, Nghiem Ta and Emma O’Donovan from Templar Publishing, me, and Helen Ward in the lecture theatre. Picture taken by visitor, Carolina Feng.

Another successful event, then. I did enjoy myself very much in spite of the nerves. The change of scene and the experience shift which these events have provided have been very welcome for me. I also very happily made friends with Helen Ward, of whom I have long been a huge fan.

Next stop, Newcastle…