Children’s author Louise Elisabeth Robertson has been nominated as a Perth Pioneer in recognition of her contribution to the artistic, cultural and educational reputation of Perth. As a part of her own work, Louise has also provided opportunities for talented young people to use her projects as a platform to establish themselves in the creative industries.
Louise is the author of several children’s books including ‘Woofy Woo Woo: The Artist Dog’, which is featured in the National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal Academy of Arts and in the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. In her spare time Louise has been a passionate ambassador for Perth’s UK City of Culture bid, penning several unique and interesting illustrations which she has shared with her sizable social media following.
Originally from Northamptonshire, Louise has become a well-travelled and global citizen, living and working in England, the United States, Indonesia and Scotland in her husband’s home city of Perth.
As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, she always had a deep passion for teaching, sharing knowledge and fostering new skills in young people. With separate degrees in art and teaching, Louise spent nine years teaching art and design before becoming a head teacher. She has also spent time working on the Board of Sekolah Bisa, a school for street children in Jakarta. The school was created by students, for students and her involvement with both Sekolah Bisa and the British School Jakarta meant that Louise was able to contribute to the organization and the hosting of the United Nations Peace Awards for Schools in Jakarta.
Authoring her first children’s’ book in 1993, Louise waited until 2016 to turn back into writing books in a more devoted way. Her focus has been penning traditional children’s stories which use more complex language in order to expand the vocabulary of young people.
“With my books I feel that the language I use is challenging for some children because I get a bit fed up with ‘lah lay lah lay lah’ stories, so some of my stories are not quick bedtime stories. It’s about putting good vocabulary in context, so that it becomes more natural to a child… you know Cinderella is a story that’s long, it’s not a quick one… the Gruffalo is not quick.”
Louise has been inspired to write her stories by the people in her life and occasionally dreams-up ideas using her imagination. Wherever her ideas happen to come from, and wherever she is at the time, Louise has made a conscious effort to provide a platform for students who would like experience in a real-world project.
“I had written a second book and I was looking for somebody to lay out the pages, but I’d also had a third book in a separate series, and I had written it, and I wanted someone to illustrate that… so I was walking back through town and it was late at night and there was somebody in my shadow and I said ‘can you walk by the side of me please, I’m a bit uncomfortable with you right by me’, and it was this little girl, and we started to walk through and she was at the college, this is when I was living in America, and I said ‘oh you’re at the college’, she said ‘yeah’, I said ‘what are you studying?’, she said ‘graphic design and illustration’. Literally, the book that was released yesterday, it was her first project.”
Now that she has decided to make Perth her permanent home, Louise has expressed an interest in teaming up with students at Perth College on her future projects.
“It’s hard to get into some of these fields if you’ve not had the work, and if you can’t get the work you can’t get the experience, so doing something that’s real helps.”
Since hearing the news that Perth is bidding to become the next UK City of Culture in 2021, Louise has channelled a lot of energy into her efforts in promoting Perth as a national centre for culture.
“Wherever I’ve been I try to leave a footprint… so I’ve got a Facebook about the Slow Loris, which is endangered in Indonesia and I’ve got a book coming out about the Slow Loris, so that will be my memory from there… it’s like with this Perth bid, I’ve been very excited about it, I’m driving people mad about the whole thing”.
Louise has created Perth 2021 colouring pages which feature on her website (www.talesilove.com) alongside characters from her books. She also uses YouTube and her website to release free content and interactive materials to get people engaged with her work.
“With colouring, with the relaxation, the therapy… you don’t have to be a great artist, it gives you something that’s safe… it can be a three year old who’s just scribbling over a page to somebody that’s 90 whose a bit wobbly with their hands, its accesses everybody.”
In her efforts in engaging with Perth’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, Louise has taken a keen interest in the ancient Pictish heritage. As a result, Louise has created Pictish language t-shirts, which are available on her website, which are designed to spark conversation about the area’s rich past.
Louise will publish two further books in 2017 and has recently released her existing collection as e-books. Woofy Woo Woo: The Artist Dog and her other books can be purchased globally on Amazon and GoogleStore, and in WHSmith, Waterstones, Barnes and Nobel in both the shops and online in the UK. Her books can also be viewed at the National Galleries of Scotland.
Learn more about Louise Robertson and her work at www.talesilove.com