FOCAL Logo. Friends of Castleford Library.

Castleford Childrens Library Mural

Prior to the opening of the new Castleford Forum in 2013, which contains the towns' library, FOCAL undertook a series of ways to raise funds. We wanted to donate some sort of art work to adorn the plane walls of the new children's library in the new building.

We decided a mural would work well. We consulted with library manager Andy Wright and he recommended we visit the Wakefield library at Wakefield One, a new public building that houses the city museum and library.

On our visit we were impressed with the large art mural that was printed onto a very high quality wallpaper then pasted onto the wall. It was produced by local school children and artist and children's book illustrator Lynne Chapman. It was just the thing we wanted in our library.

We and the library commissioned Lynne Chapman to design and produce a mural for Castleford. Below taken from her blogs describe the methods she used to produce the mural. It looks fantastic if you have chance pop in and check it out.

Taken from Lynne's blog in January 2015

How to begin?!

Well, I started by taking photos of the various walls in the space then, with a bit of jiggery-pokery in Photoshop, montaged them together to create a single flattened-out view.

So far so good.

I then asked the caretaker at the library to take his tape measure and note down every dimension. This was more complex than you might think, as I needed to know the exact size of obvious things like windows and bookshelves, but also the exact positions of objects like the alarm on the wall, the depth and width of the wall pillars, the height of the book-bag rail, the desk...

To organise that information into something that made sense, and thereby minimise the number of mistakes I was likely to make, I plotted all this information on top of the photo in Photoshop.

Then the even more fun job: I had to create a scale drawing of the space to act as a template: the shape to design the illustration into.

This is where it gets complicated, because the space is obviously VERY big. Eventually, I will create the high-res, digital artwork at 25%, but that's still going to mean working with massive files and, to stop the computer taking it's ball home, I will chop it up into 6 sections. Designing something in 6 bits is near impossible, so I am doing the designing at 10th size, so I only have to work in 3 sections.

The next step is a bit more fun - a couple of illustration workshops with Y4 classes from local schools, to generate the children's drawings which I am going to build the design around. The workshops are tomorrow and the theme is: tigers loose in the library!

Taken from Lynne's blog in July 2015

Well, it's been a bit of a long time coming, what with the original delays to installation but I am finally able to show you how the children's 'Tigers in the Jungle Library' mural looks in s I'm so pleased with how bright and funky it looks. It was such a dark and dismal room before: more like a cell than anything, so we certainly have transformed the space. The team at Wakefield Libraries arranged an official opening day, where all the children from the two local schools who had worked on the project were invited back to see their drawings writ large. The two local schools who had worked on the project were invited back to see their drawings writ large.

They were all very excited. Lots of pointing and shouting 'Look, look, that's mine!' to friends. It was a bit of a Where's Wally experience, as they jostled around the space, trying to find their particular tiger, snake or screaming librarian, but I think everyone found their pieces in the end.

After the speeches from the Head of Libraries and the Friends of Castleford Library, who helped with the funding, I posed with the children for lots of photos for the press. Then we had the rest of the day for drawing.

I ran a workshop with each of the class groups in turn. When we had worked together originally, there was so much to do and so little time, there was not much opportunity for me to do more than gentle guidance, so this time I was able to spend a bit longer, showing them in detail how to use emotion and body-language in their drawings, to bring their characters alive (although, I think you'll agree, they did a pretty good job without my help!). Everyone worked really hard, produced loads more illustrations and seemed very proud of the characters we piled up at the end of the sessions, for them to take back to school.

Didn't the children do well? There are some very funny little details and nice jokes that they added, for instance, the flamingo above is holding a book called 'How to Get More Pink'.

I added my little trademark signature to the bottom, just like I did with the first mural in Wakefield Library.

The team at Wakefield Libraries arranged an official opening day, where all the children from the two local schools who had worked on the project were invited back to see their drawings writ large.

They were all very excited. Lots of pointing and shouting 'Look, look, that's mine!' to friends. It was a bit of a Where's Wally experience, as they jostled around the space, trying to find their particular tiger, snake or screaming librarian, but I think everyone found their pieces in the end.

After the speeches from the Head of Libraries and the Friends of Castleford Library, who helped with the funding, I posed with the children for lots of photos for the press. Then we had the rest of the day for drawing.

I ran a workshop with each of the class groups in turn. When we had worked together originally, there was so much to do and so little time, there was not much opportunity for me to do more than gentle guidance, so this time I was able to spend a bit longer, showing them in detail how to use emotion and body-language in their drawings, to bring their characters alive (although, I think you'll agree, they did a pretty good job without my help!).

Everyone worked really hard, produced loads more illustrations and seemed very proud of the characters we piled up at the end of the sessions, for them to take back to school.

I ran around in the lunch hour getting these snaps. It was a very hard space to photograph, so I apologise for the dodgy quality of some of the pics, but I hope they give you a flavour of how it looks. Didn't the children do well? There are some very funny little details and nice jokes that they added, for instance, the flamingo above is holding a book called 'How to Get More Pink'.