Were I forced into a boasting corner and asked to list what my child's five most impressive skills were, thumb-printing would be the surprise, and slightly obscure, entry on the list for my little boy. My daughter and I are loopy about the strange and characterful people that form around his thumb prints. Baby Man (the portly fellow wearing a nappy on the right of the above photo) was a particular favourite, but so too was their own grandfather who appeared from the whirls of his thumb complete with moustache:
It's uncanny how similar to my father this thumb-man actually appears to be, but then their grandfather is known for his propensity to infiltrate people's drawing paper. In a blog post in 2007, I wrote about how he had surprised us when he appeared on the front of a carton of Innocent Smoothie. Following that post, the illustrator, Ed Grace, creator of the Innocent image, stumbled upon my blog and denied all knowledge of my father being the inspiration for his design, but I like to think that he snuck in without Ed even being aware of it. My father leads a thrilling double life: one moment he is busily threading paperclips in the City, the next casting his own image onto works of art - the ego of the man!
Anyway, back to thumb printing: my little boy made these bookmarks to give as Christmas gifts in December, but I thought I'd mention them now as they're a perfect activity for anyone also enjoying a half-term break. It's as simple as having a thumb, an ink pad and a black fine-nibbed pen and amusement can be yours for hours on end. We have gathered together quite a library of thumb-printing books, amongst which are this one by Klutz which comes with its own inks and this one by the infamous Ed Emberley. Both are wonderful and many of the above are direct reproductions of the characters found within those books.
I'd love to hear what your own obscure specialist talent is: please consider yourself trapped in a boasting corner and don't be shy. Mine is that I'm highly skilled at folding myself in half - there's a photo of that somewhere on this blog, but I can't actually locate it...which isn't such a bad thing as I think that the thing about a specialist talent is that it mostly delights the talent-holder with their own freaky fabulousness, rather than the onlooker, who may just be left feeling slightly confused or even appalled. But I encourage you to share anyway. While writing this I sent my husband to the boasting corner. Once there, under duress, he conceded that his talent is that he's able to eat six Jaffa cakes in a minute. He said that I must make it clear that each Jaffa should be swallowed completely before beginning to eat the next is permitted, lest you brush the achievement away thinking it easier than it really is.
Ps. Please do let me know if my father turns up in your artwork - we love to keep track of his movements.