The Igniting Writing creative writing club for 11 to 18 year olds at Wokingham Library invited me to add one of my artworks to their Flickr gallery to inspire young people to write creative pieces. This year they are teaming up with the (virtual) Wokingham Children’s Book Festival, which features talks from authors and illustrators, to run a creative writing competition sparked by the gallery of artworks. The young writers will choose three images made by different illustrators and create a story that draws on all three. They can even add their own illustrations, which would be fantastic to see.

Illustrations inspire a world of imagination.

I decided to contribute an image based on a pen and ink image I drew last year for the Inktober challenge (it’s on my Instagram feed if you want to see it). Inktober is a 31 day drawing challenge that features words as suggested drawing prompts (inspiration goes both ways!). I drew this dark creature for the prompt word ‘Legend’ because I was inspired by the tales of black dogs in local tales and histories but also in classic stories such as The Hound of the Baskervilles. October is also a good time of year to make spooky artwork and stories to tell around a fire.

My wild creature is standing on top of the Druid’s Writing Desk, one of my favourite of the spectacular rock formations at Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire. There is an amazing atmosphere on the surrounding moors and among the huge stones. I’ve never been there at night (not sure I would dare) but I wanted to imagine what it might look like just before dawn breaks. I decided to colour the ink drawing digitally on my tablet to bring out the rich colours of the dark landscape. I have been teaching myself how to use apps like Procreate so this was a fantastic opportunity to make a new piece and share it with everyone, especially the Igniting Writing group.

I have been inspired by artworks in my own writing and I have also used artworks to inspire others to write, from very young pupils to adults. While I was colouring this piece, I thought about what interesting questions my black dog illustration could suggest. Here are a few ideas:

  • What happened just before the creature climbed up onto the rock?
  • Why is it there and what is it looking for, if anything?
  • Is the creature all alone or part of a pack?
  • Is the creature a hero or a villain?
  • Is it a dog, a wolf or something else…?

Good luck to all the young creators participating in the Igniting Writing competition! I hope October inspires you to draw, paint, write and tell your own stories. Stay well, everyone!