Padmacandra, an Order Member living in West Norfolk and associated with the Cambridge Buddhist Centre in the UK, has her first children’s picture book out as illustrator with Scallywag Press this month (March 2021).
The book, The Tale of the Whale, which tells of an adventure between a child and a whale, has a strong environmental message about plastic pollution, and is suitable for 3 to 8 year olds (read 8 years plus!)
Padmacandra was asked if she would illustrate the book after the publisher at Scallywag Press viewed her portfolio during her graduation from an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art.
Padmacandra writes: “From an early age I loved to write stories and poems, and to draw. No doubt influenced by my childhood reading, I believed in other worlds, in the possibility of doors appearing in walls with the right repetition of words or actions, of falling into another reality from the mundane.
As I grew up and entered the adult world, this thread went underground, except that in the margins of every sensible written page, little drawings would appear or lines of poetry. Through my practice as a Buddhist, I began to realise that such quiet voices might be trying to communicate something about my unique contribution to the world. I began writing and publishing poetry, and, rather late in life, embarked on an MA in children’s book illustration at the Cambridge School of Art, graduating in 2019.
My aspiration is to introduce children to the power of imagination – the possibility of wider and wilder worlds, beyond those we think we know. If through my art and/or writing I can also communicate values of kindness and wisdom, I will be very happy.”
Padmacandra also enjoys collaborating with others in Triratna around the arts and imagination, and loves being part of the Wolf at the Door Team, which runs creative writing workshops and retreats inspired by Buddhist principles and practice. She is also working on her second, self-authored book with Scallywag.