I got to know Harriette, Ted and the other members of the Singalong Band after Ted’s partner bought a painting of mine at the Battersea Art Fair. Ted rang me and asked if I would design an image for their CD cover, and subsequently I also created the cat logo for them.
I first met them at the Union Chapel in Islington. They were performing and over a thousand people turned up. They had used quite a bit of my artwork without asking, which made me laugh. I thought it was great to hear lovely music that both children and parents enjoyed.
They approached me last Christmas to ask if I was interested in creating a children’s book with their lyrics and my images. I thought the best way to join the songs together visually was to create some additional characters. The cat was already there, and Harriette had used the image of herself in a white dress and umbrella, so I invented a monkey to join the cat, so that the cat could have a partner in crime as it where.
I designed the book with an image in my mind of a child in the back seat of a car on a long journey. The book is aimed at children between three and six, but the band have been quite insistent that the song lyrics would also accompany the illustrations so that older readers could follow along.
I liked the idea of creating lots of different scenario’s that could be shared. I put various things in the illustrations that amused me, including a granny who goes on a cruise, a same sex couple, someone covered in tattoo’s, a woman flying a plane and people from all over the world. In the illustration for the song City Bells, I put in images from the train journey up from Sussex, via Blackfriars to the Tate. I teach a couple of days a week in a prison and put in one of the officers from a specialist wing of the prison.
Three of the band – Harriette, Ted and Ali – came down to Sussex on several occasions to look at progress. They crowd funded the whole project, which gave us carte blanche to do exactly what we wanted to do. The funding campaign started the day Brexit happened, and I worried that we would never reach our target. Toby Jones came on board which was an endorsement. It was completely addictive watching the campaign, and the target was reached and then surpassed – I think we got around 300 backers in the end. The book looks great now, and you can buy it on their website.