Unless you’ve really not been paying attention to the news, the World Cup kicks off this month. For football fans everywhere, this four-yearly event is the pinnacle of the soccer calendar, although this time, the choice of Qatar as the host nation is controversial.
Don’t worry, this blog isn’t about the World Cup, but it is slightly about football. Or, more accurately, the joys of getting outside at this time of year and kicking a ball around, stomping through the leaves, taking afternoon strolls before the sun goes down, enjoying frosty mornings in the park… yes, it’s autumn!
Now, you’ll know that at Happydesigner we love colour, and you’ll also know that orange is one of our superstar illustrator Sarah-Leigh’s favourite hues.
So, autumn really is up there as one of our top FOUR favourite seasons. Here’s why we love autumn:
1. It’s inspirational
We are always looking at the world around us, and how the seasons and colours change, to draw inspiration for our children’s book illustrations.
We don’t only illustrate others’ books, but Sarah-Leigh is an author in her own right, and her soon-to-be-published book, Sally Sapling, is all about the long life of a tree. And, of course, her inspiration for that and so many of her drawings comes from nature.
2. The clocks go back
Not everyone likes this because it means it gets darker sooner, but goodness, there is still so much to see and hear even when it’s dark.
Stand outside on a clear night, and the constellations are truly awe-inspiring. We’re not experienced stargazers, but we do know how to spot the Great Bear and Little Bear (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), and we love just looking at the patterns stars create. If we’re lucky, we’ll hear the owls hooting at the same time.
Unlike the summer night sky, you don’t have to wait until really late in the evening. You can pop out at 6pm for a spot of stargazing, then go back in and have a cuppa. If you’re interested, Forestry England has a great beginners’ guide to stargazing you can download here.
3. Bonfire night!
We love bonfire night. The smell of bonfire smoke, the noise, the whistles and bangs, and the colours of those fireworks are a-ma-zing! But, of course, not everyone likes them, and most pets hate them. We always make sure Erik, the studio cat, is safely tucked up indoors.
We could just ‘leaf’ it there, but let’s elaborate. Leaves in autumn are like no other time. They are golden, orange, burnt amber, red, rusty, and yellow. The sheer range and complexity of autumn leaves, as they turn colour for winter, is breathtaking. Once they have fallen, the carpet of leaves, conkers, acorns and hazelnuts on the ground is just begging to be scuffed through with a pair of walking boots.
5. The weather
We may have lost you here, but bear with us. OK, we know the weather can be rotten in autumn, just as it can at any other time of year. But when the weather is good, it’s really good! There is nothing like a bright autumn day for going outside, taking a travel mug of steaming tea or coffee, a dog if you have one, and going for a walk. You’ll see the leaves (see point 4), you’ll smell that fresh air, the blue sky looks almost shimmering, and there’s dew on the grass.
6. Snuggly clothes
Who doesn’t like that time of year when you go to the drawer and take out your favourite chunky knit jersey? Summer clothes are great, and we love shorts and flip-flops, but autumn clothes with toasty, oversized, baggy jumpers are really special. The baggier, older and more colourful, the better.
If there is one thing that autumn offers above all other seasons, it’s time.
If you think about it, winter is dominated by Christmas and then the after-effects of Christmas, and possibly that January feeling when the festivities are out of the way, and it’s all a bit dark and gloomy. Spring is wonderful, but everything is gearing up outside and if you’re a gardener, you’ll be planting, pruning, sowing, digging, weeding… the list goes on.
Summer is great, but it’s busy. You’re packing, flying, driving, going on days out, and spending time away from home. It can get frenetic.
But as for autumn? Autumn offers a little bit of respite and time to think and reflect. Gardening is just at the maintenance level, Christmas shopping can wait, and the holidays are over. Now you can have a breather and spend time doing what you like doing, whether that’s walking, stargazing, or just sitting and chilling.
Having said all that, we’re pretty busy here at Happydesigner, as you’ll know from our last blog about our collaboration projects. But we still have time for a cuppa, so if you have a children’s book illustration project you’d like to discuss, give us a call, and we’ll put the kettle on.
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)