This is a picture book for people who like bears and litigation.bears1

bears2One day I bought a Supreme Court pen and pencil and used them to draw a souvenir bear which was on display.

I then bought a bear and drew some putti around the view from the public seats of Robert Howe QC.

bears-3Some people are a bit snooty about the fact that the Supreme Court stocks bears, along with Christmas tree baubles, baseball hats, bone china mugs and other goods. As a tax-payer I’m happy if they can make a few bob and, more importantly, good-quality souvenirs help to spread information and goodwill.

I occasionally draw real life scenes from the public seats, with the Court’s permission, but I did most of the bear drawings at the kitchen table – a home from home for the bears, because the table had been made by Luke Hughes’s company, which was involved in the design and layout of the refurbished court.

bears-4This project didn’t make the front burner for a while. One of the many delays was caused by doing a complete set of rough drawings for a children’s book written by someone else about the snail in the bottle case. She is seeking a publisher. Lawyers will guess rightly that this is the Stevenson tartan.

The final unpredictable interruption was a new magazine, Rowan Pelling’s The Amorist, for which I wrote and illustrated a couple of articles.

bears-5The horror of self-publishing at least meant that I had control, even if I agonised over the choices. What size should the book be? Too late, I now know the answer: whatever fits into the pillar box near your home, so you don’t have to go to the post office.

The choice of typeface was easy: Perpetua, as used by Faber in its poetry books. The bears’ utterance on the back cover is in Gill Sans – they don’t see the world in terms of serifs.

I left the front cover until last. I sat on the wall of a shrubbery on Parliament Square to sketch the building.

Then I took approximate layouts and the finished drawings to Dick Makin Imaging for imaging and book design. bears-6

It was printed, very quickly and without drama, by Biddles. 
Originally posted here.
The Supreme Court: a guide for bears is available to visitors in the Supreme Court gift shop and from Wildy & Sons at £6.95, and from at £8.79 inc. UK p&p (overseas postage by arrangement).  
Paperback, 32pp, 8” x 10”, illustrated in colour, ISBN 978-1-9997146-2-8    
“Isobel Williams’s drawings capture the essence of these inquisitive and endearing characters – and her words help bring to life some of the things they get up to when the Justices and staff aren’t looking.” – Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court“Clever, funny, informative.” – Ann McAllister, Judge