Tablets and cardboard boxes: illustrations for the CMF Yearbook
At the end of last year I was asked to create some illustrations for the Children’s Media Foundation’s Yearbook. The CMF was set up to promote and protect the quality, variety, and range of media of all types for children. “Packed with articles on the creation, distribution, regulation and study of kids’ content on all platforms, the Yearbook is a snapshot of the issues, news and trends of the last twelve months – and a look at the year ahead. It’s the must-have manual of the kids’ media scene.”
I started sketching a few ideas: pictures of children watching TV, playing computer games and using tablets. Then a cardboard box started to creep into my drawings… My own children loved playing with cardboard boxes. My youngest in particular became a cardboard box hoarder – as well as a bubble wrap enthusiast. Boxes were transformed into vehicles, playdens, robots, doll’s houses and even a cash machine which dispenses Monopoly money.
Lots has been written about children and screen time. So what do children need: high-tech tablets or cardboard boxes? Certainly, I believe that children should be given the opportunity to be bored every now and then, and that the simplest of things can make the best toys. However, I also believe that good television programmes and apps don’t just educate or entertain, but also fuel our children’s imagination and find a place into their everyday play- occasionally with the help of some cardboard boxes.