Doodles in the dark
This is the first blog I’ve written. It feels right that it’s here on the Treehouse website…. home to lots of firsts and new experiences.
Although new, it’s far from scary. Whenever I work on anything to do with Treehouse, I always get the same feeling of utter fulfilment, whether it’s when I’m sketching, designing, tweaking or creating something new, but especially when I’m together with Sara & Mel… my fellow Genies… showing somebody new what we have created and the positive, fantastic response we get, every time, without exception. That sense, knowing all the effort is worth it, that we’ve created something that matters and can help families and feeling empowered to sit alongside such strong, focused and dynamic, driven women. It’s my personal “mindfulness” moment in my otherwise full, slightly manic, happy and loving world.
Bringing these characters to life has been such a joy. It’s what I do… create visuals from ideas and words on a page. With my background designing books for DK Publishers and now being Head of Creative Design for Everyman cinema… I’m lucky enough to work on such amazing, creative projects and to be able to create a world where our Genies Gang hang out with the family who live at Number 9… I couldn’t have dreamt where it would lead when Sara first came up with this bright idea over a decade ago…
I remember clearly that I always knew how I wanted each character to look. Working on my original sketches… starting with Joe, a few of his friends, his family and of course the quirky treehouse where the gang could go and have adventures just like any other kid. Sara’s beautiful rhyming verses allowed me to easily visualise each character and develop them fully. I’d sketch ideas on the go and I treasure these first, early visuals of our Treehouse characters who are now so familiar to me and slowly being recognised by so many others. I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with some really talented illustrators, Jim & Anton and to see it all now complete, so vibrant and alive is so rewarding, especially seeing the reaction of others who seem to love what we’ve created too.
I’ve always been a night owl and the twilight hours are when I’m usually found on my computer working on characters, layouts and designing away very happily in my Treehouse world. As it happens… that’s when Mel & Sara can also be found awake and we can often have our most productive sessions during these wee small hours… that’s sort of what happens when you get three busy, working, devoted mums working together on a passion project… you just fit it in in between all the other bits going on. It works for us… and my husband is nearly used to me, after all these years, going to sleep way too late after one of my moonlight sessions…
It’s been such a positive force seeing first hand how our Treehouse app helped Jess, now our Young Ambassador, to talk, back then, about her newly diagnosed condition and for her to subsequently use her amazing artistic talents to create two new characters for us. Inspiring. I look forward to developing more characters together with Jess, and also with Sara’s boys and my lovely crew. You never have to look far to find difference… it’s not rare… it was just rare to find them represented in stories… not any more….
Seeing our two Treehouse books out there in the world is quite something. Connecting with people we’ve never met in countries we’ve never been to. Seeing a little girl in the US who downloaded our Genies Membership Form and Certificate and complete it to be part of the Genies Gang and feel like she belongs… well… that’s why we do it.. we’re all in this together…
Lovely to read your words on this Karen. I have also seen this grow with love and excitement and hope it grows still further and helps more children and their families who need this.