It Jes' Happen: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw
Author: Don Tate
For Upper KS1/lower KS2
Price 8.99 paperback
Book(s) at 8.99 paperback
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It Jes' Happen: When Bill Traylor Started to  Draw Tate's telling of the extraordinary story of outsider artist Bill Traylor will appeal to all budding artists and is a welcome introduction to his art. Born and raised in slavery in 1854 in Alabama, Bill became a sharecropper after the Civil War and married. Tate tells of the hard work of farming and also repeats the refrain 'Bill saved up memories deep inside himself' at the end of each page. It was only at the age of 81, when his children had grown up and his wife had died that, overcome with loneliness he walked to the city of Montgomery to look for work. He soon became homeless but also started to draw, using the stub of a pencil and old pieces of cardboard or whatever he could find. Images of people, 'a big red dog', donkeys, plows, ' wide eyed owls', 'fighting cats', birds, all the observations and memories of both rural and urban life he had stored up came pouring out. Passersby stopped to look including a young artist who gave Bill paints and put on an exhibition. Christie's glorious art work which covers every page draws strongly on Traylor's style and uses the 'deep blues, bright reds, sunny yellows and earth brown' Traylor favoured, helping to evoke both his art and life.