In the last exhibition, I showed off Bristol from the Britain Boys series once again, along with two ‘new’ (not really new by now) characters named Watford and Rainham. By that point, I’d very nearly finished up with Britain Boys, with a brand-new production coming well on its way for the new year of 2009. But that didn’t mean I would stop creating new Britain Boys characters just yet.

So I drew these three – Sheffield, Liverpool and Blackpool. For some reason I had imagined Sheffield as being dressed up like a clown, or at least some sort of party entertainer, so I drew him with a pointy conical hat like those worn by clowns (or school dunces, but without the big D). I added a white bobble on the tip, so it looks more like a Santa Claus hat. I coloured in the polka dots on Sheffield’s outfit in rainbow colours so he can look pretty for the kids he entertains.

As you can probably deduce by now, Sheffield is a party entertainer. Now the reason for making him like that has come back to me: as a little girl, I went to see a live kids’ show in Sheffield (I was around 6 or 7 at the time). This childhood memory may have stuck itself in the back of my mind for many years and made me associate that with Sheffield. So when I came around to creating a character for Sheffield in Britain Boys, that memory was re-awoken, and I chose the party entertainer job for him to match that memory. Even looking at him today, I still get that memory back (as if the emotions from Inside Out play it on the projector in my mind each time).

Liverpool is a girl who is a little bit on the jokey side too. It might be to do with the Scouser sense of humour (a Scouser is a person from Liverpool, for those who don’t live in Blighty or have never heard of the term before). Her littler brother Blackpool (see what I did there?) also loves to make a laugh, although he’s more into playing with things rather than playing with words as his bigger sister does. I partly derived Blackpool’s love of fun from his status as a seaside city known for entertainment by the ocean (the Blackpool Tower being the most famous example, and it’s sometimes even called the British Las Vegas because of its bright lights and fun atmosphere). The other half simply came from being the brother of a witty girl – the funny gene seems to run in their family.

After these three, I created a few final characters for the Britain Boys series – two of them meeting a rather sad ending, which seemed appropriate as the new year was fast approaching by this point, and some new characters were about to break some new ground…