AN ARTIST is getting ready for his first appearance at a prestigious children’s book festival.

Fred Blunt, who lives in Okus, is the illustrator of Life Stinks! by Peter Bently, which is the story of a put-upon young apprentice who works for a pompous knight.

Both men have been invited to appear at The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival in October, with Peter reading from the book and Fred showing youngsters how to draw the characters.

Fred, 38, who is married to Clare and has two children, said: “They invited us to come and do a kind of joint presentation and I don’t really know that much about it.

“He’s going to be talking about the scenes and I’m going to be talking about the drawings.

“It makes me feel slightly nervous but I’m trying not to worry too much about it.”

The artist has illustrated many other children’s books, ranging from early reading texts to bedtime picture books for toddlers. He also has plenty of current commissions as well as working on his own children’s book.

He can’t say much about that at the moment, but it’s being published by Penguin and will be the first book for which he’s providing both words and pictures.

The easiest way for people in Swindon to see his work, apart from buying a book for their child, is to visit The Beehive pub, where his caricatures of regulars are displayed on the walls.

Fred has been drawing avidly since childhood.

He said in an Adver interview last year: “When I was at school I was really impressed with the stylings of the original Hanna-Barbera Cartoons like The Flintstones, Top Cat, that sort of thing.

“I didn’t know who drew them but I do now because the internet is a wonderful thing: it was Ed Benedict. He only died a few years ago. He’s still a big influence on me.

“Later, when I started doing GCSE art, I’d go to the library and look at fine art books – Titian, El Greco, Monet.”