Completely by accident, at the New Forest Show, Rachel sat down at a colouring table in the Longdown Farm tent next to the author and illustrator Simon Chadwick. He was chatting to the kids who were colouring and his books were near him, but it wasn't obviously a book signing.
I was looking at the books and eventually decided to buy " Pony Pests" for Rachel; that's when Simon asked if I'd like it autographed.
Not one to turn down a good offer I of course accepted and we now have a signed copy of the fabulous New Forest Friends Book. Simon went on to draw a pony for Rachel and chat to us about his life as an illustrator.
Simon wrote his first book of the 'New Forest Friends' series whilst studying for his A-levels. It was spotted and published by the New Forest District Council and went through two print runs. Since then he's written two more books which he publishes himself for sale purely in the New Forest.
He told us that the way to get into illustration as a career is to draw, draw and draw some more. He told us to never give up but to keep drawing and perfecting your individual style.
After talking to Simon I cheekily asked him if he would draw one of his illustrations for this blog. Look what can happen when you ask.
So now I'm wondering what I can do with this fabulous illustration. I could use it as a prize for a competition on the blog, or donate it as a raffle prize for one of the charities I volunteer for, or auction it for the new Berkshire Babyloss Support Group I'm launching in October. Choices, choices; if you have an opinion or idea then please throw it into the mix.