Recently I have been very happily sketching meerkats, for a possible new project!!
Frances rang me up one day to ask, “How do you feel about drawing meerkats?” I answered, “Well, I’d definitely like to give it a go!” Especially as we are members of a small local zoo in East Sussex, that is particularly known for its meerkat family, and a its meerkat viewing dome, where my girls love to pop their heads through, to become part of the meerkat surroundings!
This story came about after a very upsetting meal out that I had one Sunday. To cut a long story short, due to health issues, I have lead a very restricted diet, and sometimes when I go out to socialise where food is involved the situation really gets to me, and then I had an idea . . . . !
I have been developing a story over the last few months, and I now feel that I have got the character looking how I imagined.
This all came about, when an illustration which I painted many years ago, of a very simple grey and black tiger, seem to trigger off quite a bit of positive feedback from my portfolio when Frances showed it at various meetings. They seemed to like the vulnerability of the character and although he seemed sad he still had quite an appeal about him. I had originally painted this character with my usual inky stick technique, (as it sounds a stick dipped in a pot of ink,) and my fingers to print the stripes on, I also produced a giraffe and some other animal friends like this too. Now because of the way I used the black ink, whenever i tried to add colour to the tiger, it never seemed to be as effective, and he seemed to lack the very quality he had in the first place. So for this reason i decided that although he was to remain black and grey, for him to appeal to children in a book, he needed to meet some colourful friends, and for there to be a reason as to why he felt so grey!
I know that Frances, has introduced my Tibbs story at a few meetings, so I am hoping that with time, and with the right development of the artwork, he will become a real printed book character one day!
Heres a few lines from the end of the story . . .
Tibbs still felt grey, but maybe not quite so sad. He stopped and looked up . . . . . . and something very beautiful and very smiley looked back down at him. . . . and then Tibbs saw something, something that made him feel the most cheery, the most bright, the most smiley, the most happy, the most beautiful that he had ever felt before. . . . Jill Latter
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See Jill's work at the Images 34 exhibition – the Best of British Contemporary Illustration 2010