Updated: Oct 10, 2022
l have been working on an exciting project fo the last few months, and this project was to revamp my pot-luck chocolates, which are random chocolates of the bars variety, in milk, dark and maybe white chocolate if there are any left, which used to contain a sticky label with a number you had to add up to 101 to get a free pot-luck. The system didn't work very smoothly, and customers got confused when they opened the sachet to find a number. Fair enough, it isn't quite clear, is it, and it takes a more established company to be able to pull such a scheme off. It also takes a lot of advertising and a business sense, both things l tend to dismiss in favour of what takes my fancy. So, l thought of changing it, because l loved the idea of collecting cards and something fun, our world can be way too serious at times. l loved collecting cards as a child, and was a great fan of some of the Panini stickers image books and anything which included a collection of drawings or images, and decided to do something similar, by doing wagtail drawings, as a hommage to Panini. It took me months to decide, and a customer who loved the pot-lucks suggested l included in the next series a letter which could be found on the website, to find out the chocolate flavour of the pot-luck. This was added to this chocolate project. The idea started small, and it started with the cover of the cards. l wanted to draw 15 images and make them look like a playing card at the back, and one could collect and exchange those little drawings if they had a double with their friends.
When l started drawing the images, totally stage-frightened and not believing l would have any ideas at all, the ideas came! as all 15 were drawn, l then thought it wasn't quite enough: customers would get doubles very quickly, so l doubled the project and made it 30 cards so it would be more exciting. l then remembered l was to add a winning Golden Tony Voucher so that became card number 31. Barry who helps me lots with the business, suggested an idea which was too good to leave out, involving the Buckingham palace guards, but this had to be the last card so my artwork could be sent to the printers! It became Number 32...! All cards are numbered for ease of collecting. The whole image collection contain the wagtail(s) as the main character, as it is our favourite mascotte. (we have other secret mascottes, including the aliens who of course are sponsoring this chocolate company) (we like to make ourselves sound interesting) The 32 cards include certain scenes like:
- Wagtail at the vendanges, (the grape gathering season in France which was celebrated like the harvest)
- Wagtail and its young, (this one is made-up, l don't know if the aunties help feed the young birds if they aren't busy with their own young) - Wagtail in Paris, - Wagtail and the Queen of England;
- Wagtail, the guard and Prince Charles (nobody will know it is him) or rather, King Charles; - Wagtail at Croft Farm, (of course!) - Wagtail and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love (wagtails are the messengers, or "gifts" of Aphrodite according to mythology) - Wagtail meets Toby the dog, - Wagtail and the turkeys, (Alphonso is a particularly lazy tukey like his brother Alfredo)
- Wagtail in private jet, (reference to 2030) - Wagtail and Henri IV (the famous French king who wanted everyone to have enough to eat) - Wagtail in town (in Hereford Old Market...), -Wagtail "En vadrouille" (this one will only be recognisable by those with a French movie culture from the 70's/80's as it involves the actor Louis de Funes as the "gendarme"and a 2CV being driven by a mad nun) - Wagtail in Cornwall meeting a crab and the seagulls - Wagtail in Ireland, Scotland, Wales... Mexico... Peru...France...(the France drawing is the house l grew up in) - Wagtail and archangel Michael, wagtail and the Pharaoh... etc. And of course, Wagtail teachings where she is a drum teacher to Tony the drummer, who is present twice, in the winning card as well as the Teachings card.
Tony is very lucky, as well as being in 2 cards playing drums, he is also on the cover of the cards, alongside the Pharaoh, King Henri IV, and Archangel Michael. The pharaoh doesn't look particularly inviting. Nor does Tony, but then, he never did, preferring mountain biking to coming to be a proper drummer. l have had so much fun with those drawings, and it has been 3 weeks solid drawing them and preparing them for the printers (and getting mistakes done which is also part of it all). They were going to be in black and white like my Christmas Apostles drawing but l started adding a tiny bit of colour, couldn't resist adding more, of course and they ended up fully coloured in the end! l am very happy to present you with them. When packing the chocolates, say a batch of fruit and nuts in dark chocolate, one of each drawing will be picked, and packaged with that batch, which means each batch of chocolate flavour has every 32 drawings, and the images are hidden by a piece of card so you cannot see what you have got till you open the chocolate, nor can l see what you get either! The chocolate is the same high quality chocolate from the shop from the Dominican republic with the same ingredients as the bars. There are 8/10 different flavours so far, but l will rotate them so the letters aren't the same when a batch is finished. Some flavours are only available in dark or white chocolate. Available in the shop in a minute!