Tomorrow (28 August, 2019) will see celebrated author/illustrator Adam Stower visit Eastbourne library for a drawing workshop with local children. Ahead of his impending arrival, Your East Sussex got chatting to the man behind this year’s out-of-this-world Summer Reading Challenge illustrations and found out what inspired his love of books.
Photo by Paul Winter
What made you want to become an author/illustrator? Do you prefer one aspect over the other?
My mum is a librarian so I grew up in a house jam-packed with fantastic books. As far back as I can remember I have loved drawing. I’m a huge fan of visual storytelling in any form, particularly picture books. A well-crafted picture book is a thing of beauty. I wanted to try making my own, so after a few years of working as an illustrator, it seemed natural to turn my hand to telling my own stories. I think I prefer illustrating over writing, largely because I have been doing it for longer, but balancing illustrations and words to tell a story is hugely rewarding.
Where’s your favourite spot to draw/write?
I share a studio with another illustrator, and I like working there best. Everything is at hand and my walls are lined with shelves groaning with books. Perfect. It’s close to the North Laine in Brighton so it’s handy for popping out for coffee and some quick sketching of passers-by for a little inspiration. I love people-watching. I write in my studio too, but often a change of scene helps if I am struggling with a particular chapter. I go for a walk or a swim, or I go and sit in the park to loosen up my thoughts. It works… most of the time.
How did you get involved in the Summer Reading Challenge?
I was approached by the Reading Agency and asked if I was keen and available. I was delighted to be asked. It was an honour to be involved in such a wonderful project. I love character design too. It is a favourite part of my job, so designing the Rocket family and the Aliens was great fun! (I think Eris is my favourite).
Why do you think it’s such a good event for children to get involved with?
Libraries are such wonderful places for all sorts of reasons, and instilling in children a habit of visiting and enjoying all that libraries have to offer can only be a good thing. The Summer Reading Challenge (SRC) encourages regular visits to the library and will hopefully kick-start a love of libraries in those children who have yet to discover them. The structure of the SRC will help and encourage children to continue reading for pleasure over the long summer holidays while they are away from school. Reading is a pleasure and an activity to be enjoyed all year round, not just during school term time.
Are you looking forward to the event in Eastbourne? What’s your favourite thing about doing events like this?
Yes, I look forward to creating crazy creatures with the kids. I hope to let loose their amazing imaginations. I genuinely love seeing kid’s drawings. I find it hugely inspiring to see what and how they draw. I look forward to seeing what the kids of Eastbourne come up with!
Why do you think reading is so important for children?
Reading for pleasure is hugely important for children. Books have so much to offer the reader. They are windows into other worlds, other lives, whether fictional or factual. Reading is an enjoyable and truly enriching experience.
Finally, do you have a favourite place in East Sussex? Where is it and why do you love it?
There are many, but if I have to choose – Ditchling, because my wife and I had our wedding reception in the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, so the village is full of happy memories for me.
Want to find out more about Adam Stower? Why not check out his Twitter account or follow him on Instagram?
Adam will be visiting Eastbourne Library on 28 August, 2019. The event is fully booked, but you can find out what other events are happening in libraries here.
There’s still time to sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge! It ends on 14 September 2019 so don’t delay – get online and get reading!