02 November 2014

Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake and my fab day out in London

I have had this ticket on my mantle piece for a few weeks, each day I'd look at it and get a bit more excited. The chance to see two of my heroes in the same room, having a chat, how often does that happen? Then yesterday finally came and I loved every minute.

Quentin and Oliver talked about their inspirations, their work spaces, their styles and showed example of their work as they went. The hour flew by, it was very inspiring, I was so glad  had the chance to be there.

An added bonus - Jon Burgerman was in the entrance to the SouthBank Centre, collaborating with Oliver Jeffers on a mural. I bumped into a couple of people I met at the Summer School which was lovely too.

Other highlights included a trip to the magical wonderland of Atlantis Arts to buy a few supplies, lunch at Ping Pong (I love dim sum SO much!), cocktails at The Whistling Shop, a man playing a tuba that was on fire - as in there were flames coming out the end, not that his playing was hot, and dinner at Jamie's Italian.

02 October 2014

Scribble cat

Meow! More marker fun. I've regressed, drawing in marker reminds me of the packs of felt-tips that I used to get at Christmas when I was a kid - a whole rainbow of options.

01 October 2014

Scribbling with markers

I found an old pencil case full of beautiful pens that I have not used for ages. After going through and culling the ones that had dried up (yes, they'd been forgotten that long), I have been using them to make quick little scribbles - just for fun:

18 September 2014

I'm an illustrator - I make stuff up!

I have had a great time creating this new piece. It was really nice to just freely doodle whatever came to mind or filled the space.

10 September 2014

Awesome inspiration - Childrens Book Illustration evening at Waterstones

Last night I went to an event at Waterstones, Piccadilly where four fantastic illustrators from Walker Books talked about their work and process in a highly entertaining panel show style discussion. They were Laura Carlin, Jon Klassen, Charlotte Voake and Chis Haughton, all of whom look nothing like my super quick sketch of them. Feel free to look them up and then laugh openly at how wrong I got it.

I was a brilliant evening and really topped up my enthusiasm for picture books. They openly talked about their work, the struggles they may have and the time it takes to create a book, it was really good to hear. I must admit, having studied their work during summer school, I got particularly star struck talking to Jon Klassen and Chris Haughton. Still I managed to get some books signed and even got Charlotte Voake to draw a penguin :)

I spoke to Jon about the joys of creating textures to scan and use in Photoshop, and gave him and Chris one of my penguin postcards each. I hoped they liked them. I will admit openly to emitting a small squeal of excitement when I saw this today:

What have I been doing?

This post could also be titled - How on earth is it 10th September already?

Since my last post I have done a lot of doodling, not all of it going anywhere but I've had lots of fun with it and its been a great non-judgemental/just for me exercise.

I've particularly enjoyed drawing happy sea creatures, with the occasional bunny or duck thrown in.


I did some more work on the penguin story, but I'm popping that aside for a little bit so I can come back to it fresh. I just love drawing goggles though.


I have a new idea for a story about a panda, so I'm just starting to do some character development for the star of the show.


 I think I must have a thing for two tone animals beginning with P - first penguins, now this little guy.

16 August 2014

Working on it

I've been busy drawing, inking, colouring, plotting, making lists, updating sites and I'm starting to actually cross more off my to do list than I'm adding - a first I think.

I got some lovely little postcards to go with my dummy book made up my Moo so I can leave them with people and they'll remember the penguin.

And every evening I return to the story and do a little bit more, this is currently my favourite page:

Right onwards...

You can now follow my blog with Bloglovin.

05 August 2014

Summer School

I have had the most inspiring and motivating week! 

Last week I attended the Children’s Picture Book course at Cambridge School of Arts Summer School. It was fantastic to be back in a busy studio, with so many like minded people, all working hard on very different ideas.

The tutors were Pam Smy, Ness Wood, Courtney Dicmas, Marta Altes, Carolina Rabei and Imogen Clare plus a guest appearance from James Mayhew.

We learnt about character development, pacing, the play of words and pictures and looked at many excellent books. Here is just a short list.
  • 'I want my hat back' - Jon Klassen
  • 'Beegu' - Alexis Deacon
  • 'This is not my Hat' - Jon Klassen
  • -The Great Googly Moogly', 'Lemur Dreamer', 'Home Tweet Home', 'Harold Finds a Voice' - Courtney Dicmas
  • 'No!', 'My Grandpa', 'I am an artist' - Marta Altes
  • 'Very Little Red Riding Hood' - Heapy & Heap
  • 'Sad book' - Michael Rosen

    During the week something magical happened. My scribbles became characters, the characters found a story, the story became a story board and some how (within the four and a half days we were working) the story board became a little rough dummy book.

    I loved every minute – even the painful ones when I didn’t think I was going to do it or have a clue where the story was going. I didn’t want it all to end. One of the best bits was seeing what everyone else had created.

    Then on Saturday there was a one day conference: A bit too arty? With exciting talks from Deirdre McDermott - Picture Book Publisher at Walker Books, Ness Wood - Designer, illustrators - Nicola Killen and Marion Lindsay, Helen Mackenzie Smith – Literary Agent, and Andrea MacDonald is Commissioning Editor for Picture Books at Random House. All just to whip up all my excitement even further.

    I think the whole experience has just put concrete round something I always new to be true – I flippin’ love drawing, and I am at me happiest when I’m doing it.

    Lesson learnt – I must do more.

    12 February 2014

    Do something that scares you

    I can't remember where I read this, probably in a motivational book or a blog post about beating procrastination. When you're fed up, stuck in a rut, want things to change - do something that scares you.

    So what's my thing? I have moved around a bit and have ended up living somewhere beautiful but don't know a lot of people here. So I'm organising a social event for other creatives and crafters so I can meet people and maybe get inspired. It's a bit of gamble - what if no one turns up? What if they hate it?

    Scary huh? Well that's why I have to try it. It could be good, it could be great, I won't know unless I try.

    I've listed the event here: creative-social-reading.eventbrite.co.uk

    01 January 2014

    Hello 2014

     Happy New Year everyone. I saw it in sober as still on the super silly painkillers, but that wasn't a bad thing as I woke today with a fresh head and a marginally better back.

    2013 was a good year, my first in my little cottage in the country so I thought I'd reflect on just how nice its been.
     From top left:
    1. Summer field in Tidmarsh where I walk the dog everyday | 2. Mousehole in Cornwall where we had a great holiday | 3. The nature reserve by my house | 4. Misty morning in the hills | 5. Port Isaac, Cornwall, on a glorious hot day | 6. One of the many beautiful skies we had this summer | 7. Brighton day trip | 8. The coolest car I saw all year | 9. Lady Godiva from a weekend back at home to see family and friends

    The other great feature of the year was getting Ted, he is a constant source of amusement.
    From top left:
    1. The day we got him as a 3month old rescue pup | 2. He really tries hard to talk to us | 3. Zombie dog | 4. helping me work at my desk | 5. The cone of shame | 6. Staring at me with laser eyes till I walk him | 7. In disguise | 8. Booze hound | 9. Asleep under my desk while I work
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