BLOG TOUR: Jane Hissey

Good morning everyone!

How are you all? I hope you’re all doing well… today comes another special guest post from an author… with a twist! How early is TOO early to think about Christmas? The dreaded C word… apparently NOT June! Jane Hissey is here today to talk to us about her brand new book ‘Little Bear and the Silver Star’ – a brand new Christmas-y book that will be PERFECT for the festive season!

“It’s Christmas time and Old Bear and the other toys are busy decorating the tree. When Little Bear goes to the attic in search of a star for the top of the Christmas tree, he soon finds himself on a magical festive adventure.”

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Drawing Christmas in June!

As soon as I had decided to write and illustrate a Christmas book I realised what a task I had set myself. In order to make my book as exciting, fun and as Christmassy as possible, I had included Christmas trees, sparkly decorations, a torch-lit attic scene and a snowy, flying, rooftop rescue.

My first job, in June last year, was to bring the Christmas decorations down from the attic and to make all the toys Christmas hats.

Then I brought our little potted Christmas tree in from the garden. It was mid-summer’s day!

I work in coloured pencils to do my illustrations. I set up the toys, or objects I am going to draw, in front of me and spend a while getting the lighting right. I then draw first in pencil and then coloured pencils. It takes me many, many hours to do each illustration but there’s no rush – my still-life groups are pinned in position and the toys don’t mind sitting still for days or weeks on end!

Snow is a little more difficult; I had to order a bag of fake snow for the snow scenes in Little Bear and the Silver Star! We built a section of roof with a gutter and I tipped the ‘snow’ into the gutter and stuck some on the roof tiles with spray glue. Little Bear looked pretty chilly when I half buried him in the snowy gutter to pose for my illustration, and I soon found a way of capturing the texture of snow.

I am not sure what my pretend ‘snowflakes’ were made of but they soon quietly spread themselves around the house. When I took Little Bear out for school visits he left little snowy footprints wherever he went and often popped out of my bag wearing his little Christmas hat in the middle of summer.

It takes me most of a year to illustrate one of my picture books and visitors got used to it being all-year-round-Christmas in the Hissey household. While others were talking about how to keep cool in the summer sun, I was talking about how to make my Christmas baubles look shinier and asking if anyone had any paper chains! Any young children visiting my studio during last summer would have been confused by the presence of so many Christmas things.

Almost every winter we get snowed in at our house, for a few days at least; days when we can go sledging down our sloping garden and follow deer and rabbit footprints through the woods. Last winter, however, we didn’t have a single flake of snow all winter, so there was no opportunity to bring any real snow in from the garden to draw. So thank goodness for my bag of all-year-round snow!

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Well if that’s not got you in the Christmas mood, then why not pop on some festive tunes? (I’m certainly not against it!)

Check out the rest of the blog tour – it promises to be full of fun!

S x

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