In our recent members’ survey we asked what you would like as discussion topics for our Friday meetings. Many of you asked for fewer already published authors to come and talk about their work; instead, you wanted more about the process of writing, editing, agents, publishers and other elements associated with producing finished work. Having your completed work in your hands creates a very warm feeling – as the authors who saw their work in print in a bound book many for the first time in the Writing on Glass project can attest!

So we invited two speakers to our May meeting, both of whom offered something different. Helena Vaughan is an artist and illustrator with two published children’s books, and Penny Haynes an artist and cartoonist who has illustrated her own work, and the work of others. Both are members of Carshalton Artists and heavily involved in CAOS.

Each described and showed examples of their very different work. It was fascinating to hear how they developed their character illustrations – and, as somebody who finds staying in the lines of a colouring book challenging, it was amazing to hear how they could dash off their characters in all sorts of poses, from any angle. They also showed examples of their finished work, much of it with a local Carshalton setting.

We then went into a panel discussion around the subjects of illustrating books and the importance of cover and spine illustration in making a book appealing to the potential reader. This generated a great deal of interest from the writers attending.

The meeting was also a good opportunity to explore possible cooperation between Sutton Writers and Carshalton Artists. Initiatives and collaborations have since started with individual members, and both organisations have shown an interest in finding areas where we might work together.

The feedback from the members who attended was very positive, even drawing one comment it was the best monthly meeting ever!

Carshalton Artists Open Studios (CAOS) takes place on 22-23 and 29-30 June 2019. There are more than 50 artists participating this year across 20+ locations. For more information see the CAOS website at


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