Drawing a Tickle, by Juliet Archer



Mr Tickle, the first of the Mr Men, was 40 this week!

He was ‘born’ when six-year-old Adam Hargreaves asked his father, Roger, what a tickle looked like. And Roger drew one, just like that. The rest – lots of Mr Men books, and almost as many Little Miss ones – is history.

I read what seemed like every single one to my nieces and nephews, who loved the simple, brightly coloured drawings and could relate to each human characteristic personified. And it was the same with my own children.

As writers, we often have to rise to the challenge of ‘drawing a tickle’, using only words. Images can convey so much more, and instantly. In my latest Jane Austen modernisation, Persuade Me, I wanted to describe Lou Musgrove’s fall from the Cobb. It had to be a sketch rather than a detailed picture, to illustrate the suddenness and impact on the character who was nearest, Rick Wentworth. So every word had to earn its place, several times over.

What’s been your biggest ‘drawing’ challenge to date?