Local history made fun!
I've had a jolly good idea to produce a book about the cows that used to wander the streets of East London and the borders of Essex/Epping Forest a few years back. It's a mixture of paintings, line drawings, photos and witty text.
Many locals fondly remember the herds of cows that grazed the common land around Epping Forest during the summertime. However, if they strayed off the pastureland and into suburbia they would get up to all sorts of mischief, mainly eating all the roses in people's front gardens. Their indiscriminate appetites, refusal to move, and bullish behaviour would cause no end of consternation for homeowners and shopkeepers, frustration for motorists, wonderment and fun for children, and something to bark at for dogs. Based on people's anecdotes gleaned from a Facebook request, I have created over 20 narrative paintings of some of the more typical incidents, along with some hilarious text, line drawings and photos recalling people's experiences with these mooing monsters.
Here's a mock-up of a portion of text and accompanying line drawing. It will look MUCH better when professionally printed, but I need your help to do it!
The paintings are bold, funny, colourful and quite charming, and have been likened to the works of Beryl Cook (though I can assure you any similarities are quite unintended!) Their appeal is wide ranging; they're a bit of unashamed nostalgia for anyone over 30, and children love them too (as two year 9 groups proved when I took my herd along to their school for a pow-wow about the cows).
The book is written mainly for adults but older children will enjoy it too. And for the younger ones there is a small amount of easy to read text underneath the paintings that could perhaps be read with the parents.
My fine art prints of the paintings have already sold extremely well, as people identify with particular incidents that they recall. Now it is time to join words with pictures!
Common or Garden Cows is being printed by Matador Publishing, who have been ranked as the UK's best self-publishing service provider by The Independent Publishing Magazine at the end of 2018, knocking Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing off the top spot. So I'm confident my book will be a thing of great beauty!
Funds raised will go towards the production of the book, with anything left over I have an idea to produce a colouring book of my images aimed at children (oh go on, adults can do them as well).