Had a lot of fun illustrating these two poems in the past week for School Magazine
. Both are quite clever in different ways. 'The Quarrel' by Eleanor Farjeon
is a poem about two stubborn brothers who have a really good argument over something that is long forgotten. The line that stood out for me was, 'the afternoon turned black' and I used this as the central idea for the illustration.
The other poem was very different. So many nonsensical elements which is generally the case in a Spike Milligan
poem. I'm a huge fan of his brand of wackiness so illustrating 'On The Ning Nang Nong' was a nice challenge for me. I did my best to be as equally silly but it's a tough act to follow. Spike's just too damn crazy. At the very least I captured some of the poem's pervading madness. Hopefully.
Both illustrations were done primarily with collage. It's such a fantastically diverse medium. Over the years I have amassed a large collection of painted tissue papers, pattered art papers, interesting washes, old books, postcards & ads that I can use. It's a lot of fun working out what should go where.
Anyhoo, better get back to it I guess. Stay well peoples.
I once wrote a post on the poem “On the Ning Nang Nong” by Spike Milligan. That poem has never left my mind and since then I have happily acquired more wonderful poetry by Spike Milligan in the form of a ‘collected’ called A Children’s Treasury of Milligan. Ever his whimsical self, Milligan purports that the collection is a result of a search for six of his childrens’ titles that were supposedly found in various locations like a haddock-stretching factory and a dead whale in Newfoundland among other outlandish places. But seriously folks, this collection does indeed draw from Milligan’s previous works for children that include such classics as Unspun Socks from a Chicken’s Laundry and Silly Verse for Kids.
Milligan is particularly good with animals. Indeed, one of his six books is titled A Book of Milliganimals. This section is not just confined to word-play on the theme of animals but also has some great illustrations done by Milligan himself. There is, for example, the rouge-colored “Strawberry Moose” and the “Three-legged Hippo” which is a rendering of the animal with three legs, of course, from different perspectives, one of which includes a “rare back view.” And of course, there is lots of silly verse such as:
Tiger, Tiger Burning etc
Tigers travel stealthily
Using, first, legs one and three.
They alternate with two and four;
And, after that, there are no more.
As well as Milligan’s verse, the collection contains two stories — “The Bald Twit Lion” and “Sir Nobonk and the terrible, awful, dreadful, naughty, nasty Dragon” which make good counterpoint to the poetry. With all this wonderful material, this book can easily entertain parent and child for many a bedtime read, as my daughter and I are discovering.
This week’s Poetry Friday host is Becky’s Book Reviews…