Saturday, 22 April 2017

I have long been a fan of Helen Hancock's deliciously vibrant painterly illustrations so when Ella Arrived in all her suave and sophisticated beauty I was, as you can imagine Agog.

"Ella Fitzgerald sang the blues and she sang them good. Ella and her fellas were on the way up! It seemed like nothing could stop her, until the biggest club in town refused to let her play… and all because of her colour. But when all hope seemed lost, little did Ella imagine that a Hollywood star would step in to help.
The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born – and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity."

Instantly transported back to a golden age of glamour and smooth ear melting Jazz I was drawn in to what I had assumed was a straight forward biographical story, this was more so much more. At times It's an at times desperate tale of a struggling Ella yet to reach the dizzying success she was destined to reach. Denied access to perform at numerous clubs and bars due to her ethnicity things were't looking hopeful for Ella and her band. 

Enter Marilyn Monroe perhaps the most iconic movie star of all time who as a friend and fan steps in to support Ella and in times of segregation and struggle and together helped bring Ella's music to the masses elevating her to her rightful position as The First Lady of Song. Winning many many awards along the way and treasuring the friendship that never wavered Ella and Marilyn proved you can achieve anything with good fiends there to support you. 

Ella Queen of Jazz published by Francis Lincoln takes centre stage in book shops across the country next week (Or now if you are reading this next week, there's a buy-it link on the right if you would like to grab a copy!) 


We were incredibly privileged to be able to welcome Helen and her stunning sketch books to the London branch of Book Sniffer Towers yesterday so here for your delectation and delight are a few tantalising photos from the time we spent ruffling through original artwork, sketches and pallet sheets from Ella Queen of Jazz...

Helen creates all her artwork in single pieces painted using rich gauche paints, these are then scanned or photographed, as you can see Helens passion and talent pours out on to the page in bucket loads and this is clear to see when you turn the pages of this lavish picture book.   

Follow Helen on Twitter @helenhancocks 
You can also visit her website and shop here 


You can watch our interview with Helen here... Ignore my double chin and focus of Helens gorgeous little face and all the cakes! 

Cakes Cakes Cakes Cakes.... 

And there's more... 
Helen recently spent 3 months in America where she sampled over 100 different cakes! she is now fastidiously illustrating each one! 

You'll find out which is her favourite in the Vlog... In celebration of Helen's passion for patisserie we treated ourselves to a huge plate of cupcakes and vanilla filled doughnuts... You're welcome. 

AS ALWAYS a HUGE Thank you to my side kick and partner in crime Mr Steven Lenton... Who happens to have a new website!