This year was my first entry in the CYA Conference competition in the Aspiring category. Previously I was in the Hatchling category.
There were two options, either to illustrate up to three artworks for a given portion of picture book text or to illustrate up to three artworks for a given portion of middle grade text.
I chose the latter, and here is the given text:
© Tina Marie Clark – Squire Chambers
(Chapter Book: 543 Words extract. Aimed at 6 – 9 years.)
‘Holy barn-hay!’ Owen exclaimed. ‘Look at the size of the floater in that!’ He stared into the porcelain chamber pot.
A huge turd stared back up at him.
The wooden peg on his nose was the only thing saving him from the offending smell that filled the air. This was the worst part of being a squire, emptying the knight’s chamber pots when they were in residence at Highglen Castle, and not just using the bushes like when going to tournaments or to war.
It was a disgusting job. But as Sir Quentin had told him, someone had to do it, and as he was the youngest squire of all the knights still in attendance in the castle, it was his duty. Remove the debris, toss that out, then empty each pot carefully into the jugs that the fullers would collect.
Sir Quentin has made him visit the fullers and see how they used the stale urine to remove the fat and dirt from the woollen fabric they made.
‘At least I’m not a fuller’s apprentice,’ he said, thinking of the way they spent all day stamping with their bare feet on the cloth soaking in the urine.
He shuddered and shook his head. ‘Think happy, Owen!’
For a moment his mind drifted to the huge house on the estate that belonged to his father. When on misty mornings like this one, the chamber maid would be the one to remove the pots, not him. He would have already rushed out to the sheep sheds to watch the sheering.
But Sir Quentin had come to his home, and chosen him, the thinnest, scrawniest bow legged boy to be his squire. To follow in his father’s footsteps and one day be a knight, and fight for his King.
Slowly balancing the pot on his arm, he pushed the heavy door open.
At the exact moment it swung open and something solid hit him full on, taking his breath away.
The pot went flying through the air.
‘No!’ Owen cried as he saw it somersault over.
It landed with a sickening thunk sound.
On top of Sir Quentin’s head.
The pot fitted Sir Quentin perfectly like a porcelain helmet!
He watched as in slow-motion, the urine and poop slide down Sir Quentin’s face, and drip on to his clean arming coat that he had laid out neatly for Sir Quentin just an hour ago.
‘Run!’ shouted his brain.
But his legs would not work, they solidified and lime mortared themselves to the stone floor beneath.
‘Sir Quentin, I’m sorry, you opened the door and I opened the door and...’ Owen said waiting for the outrage that he was certain would follow.
Sir Quentin cleared his throat. ‘It’s a simple job, Owen, you take the pot each day and you empty the solids out, and put the liquid in the jugs. You ensure it doesn’t land on anyone. S-i-m-p-l-e.
‘Yes, Sir Quentin.’
‘Make sure it doesn’t happen again. Remember, part of the code of chivalry as a knight is also “Humility”, and believe me I’m showing you lots of that right now. Bring clean undergarments to my room and some warm water to wash.’
‘Yes, Sir Quentin.’
‘Now boy! Before my patience wears off.’
For the first illustration I chose the part where Owen is looking down into the smelly contents of the chamber pot.
For the second illustration I chose the part where Owen is remembering life back on the family estate.
For the third illustration I chose the part where both Quentin and Owen have just worked out where the contents of the chamber pot landed.
For colour I used coloured pencils because I enjoy using them for this kind of illustration because it gives me greater certainty of the final colour on the page than mixing the watercolours. That certainty is useful in getting colour consistency in a series of illustrations containing the same character.
I was very pleased to receive a Highly Commended for my entry.
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