Saturday, 23 October 2010

Exhibition time!!

Yipee!! My Exhibition is on now!!!!!! Come and see me and fellow illustrator Cee Biscoe at Gallery 47 in Sudbury - we'll be there all week 10am-4pm until next Tuesday. The first two days have gone swimmingly with lots of browsers, lots of purchases and lots of delightful younglings drawing pictures of their own, and being read to by our good selves so come and join the party.

All of the following ORIGINAL book illustrations are on sale:


Friday, 8 October 2010

Tree dwelling, pre-exhibition anxiety and the Schofield saga.

I've visited 2 schools and 1 nursery this week reading my books, showing some paintings and doing some drawings for some younglings and it's all been rather fabulous and has left me with a smug warm glow. Highlights include a 5 year old boy's answer to the question 'does anyone know what an Author is?' 'Is it someone who lives in a tree?' and when asking the kids for their favourite animals for me to draw being met with the rather bewildering suggestions of 'Oryx', 'Mammoth' and 'Sonic'.

Otherwise I've been all about my upcoming exhibition and good crikey it's a lot of work - I still need to frame 26 paintings, sort out and mount some prints, arrange painting insurance, price everything up, send out invites and psych myself up for the possibility that noone will actually attend. And ...aghhhh it's in less than 2 weeks!
A-hem, should be fun though so PLEASE come along!
And then there's the new book I've been writing called 'Jungle Mumble' - check out the cover here:

And all the while I should be working on Zoo Girl, a sleeping beauty book, plus a set of monkey books... problem is how to prioritise when everything's a priority? My natural inclination is to crawl into a bloggy hole and do nothing except panic a little bit but I fear that may not help.

Oh and my book Just Because is up for the People's Book Prize so please, pretty please, with bells and knobs on, go and vote for the little fella here.

Still no news on the whole Philip Schofield This Morning thang by the way - I think he's snubbing me. Come on Phil, sort it out, what's past is past, lets all move on.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Foxes, child-geniuses and tough words.

Ok so I've had an article printed in The Independent this week and I might be going on This Morning soon because of it (much to the jealousy of many of my peers who have all made it obscenely apparent that they fancy the 'silver fox' that is Philip Schofield), and my books have had various lovely reviews here, here and here;

but you know what? The most exciting response to my book has been the following review which was sent to me from an 11 year old girl called Megan who has a disabled brother, and quite frankly, it's excellent;

‘Just Because’
A Short Review by Megan

Hi, my name is Megan. I have a brother called Joe who is a bit like Clemmie, the little girl in the book, as he can’t speak and can’t walk very much. I love the part that says some sisters can be mean. They scream and shout pull your hair because that’s what my brother does to me. Sometimes he bites me because he can’t talk and he gets frustrated. Like Clemmie, my brother has been to the moon is a space ship made out of an old cardboard box. I especially liked the part about Simon the pet bug because my brother likes looking at bugs and touching them, err! My favourite parts of the book are the beautiful illustrations of Clemmie and her brother, and the adventures they go on.

I think the book is really magical and is essential for any big sisters with a brother like mine or a sister like Clemmie. This book will definitely be added to the collection of books I read to my brother before he goes to sleep at night.

I think the book is brilliant ‘just because…’.

See, I told you.

Oh and in worky news I've been working on Zoo Girl which is about a girl who gets abandoned in a zoo and then adopted - and although the book is only 14 words long it's the hardest text I've ever worked on, dang it.

That's it for now. See you soon. Take care now.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Aliens, fishmongering and swine wisdom

I'm back! And the Greenbelt workshoppy thang went swimmingly with over 50 people there and in 2 hours we created a fabulous picture book called 'A Small Alien at Greenbelt' - here's a few spreads from the book and pics of me in standard festival-issue wellies:

And in other news - here's the thing, all this getting out there amongst the people and promoting my own goods is all fabtaculous and all that but people are so damned nice and, as it happens, I really don't know how to cope with compliments. I wish I did - I wish I were the kind of woman who takes a compliment graciously in her stride with a charming self-deprecating yet knowing smile and nod of the head, perhaps even a gentle touch of the complimentor's arm and a heartfelt 'thank you'. No, instead I get terribly self conscious, shuffley of feet and avoidy of all eye contact and in a desperate attempt not to reveal any inadvertent arrogance I tend to shake my head wildly and insist that the complimentor is utterly and ridiculously wrong to the point of insanity and whilst it's meant as a playful tap on the arm it usually comes across as if I am then striking them in punishment for their lack of artistic judgment and sheer imbecility. If they started the meeting thinking I was worthy of a compliment they certainly leave thinking otherwise. I'll work on it. Next time I'll just say, 'yes I am rather brilliant aren't I?' And offer them my hand to kiss.

And this is all only because my chosen career is a public one - one which begs to be seen - and therefore acknowledged - if other people could be more publicly seen in their nursing/teaching/cleaning/policing/admining/construction workering/fishmongering roles they too would face uncomfortable compliments more often.

And now for my quote of the week (ok so this is new but i thought i'd just sneak it past you)which comes from one of my husband's many doppelgangers Daddy Pig when Peppa asks what he does for a living:
"I take big numbers and transmute them to calculate their load-bearing tangents"

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Cake, dolphins and festivals...

Well I'm off on my holidays on Tuesday but there's just time to tell you that Yowseroony - what a great launch! Waterstones was full of lovely people on Thursday and I signed about 85 books - and there was cake - yay!

Here's some photographic evidence of the occasion:

And then the following day I was giving it the full Alan Partridge and was the 'on the sofa' guest on BBC Radio Suffolk with the lovely Lesley Dolphin (and was very pleased to find it was an actual, rather than metaphorical sofa) - if you feel that way inclined you can find and listen to it here.

So now I'm off to plan a 2 hour workshop I'm running at The Greenbelt Festival next week and have, as yet, put worryingly little thought into - should be fun!!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

To infinity (actually, Bury St Edmunds)... and beyond!

Is anyone hungry? Because it's launch time! (Can you see what I've done there?) I've never launched anything in my life but tomorrow morning I shall be setting afloat my new book Just Because (which I may have mentioned before) in Waterstones in Bury St Edmunds. Truth is I've never even attended a launch before but if my knowledge of such things serves me correctly, and I believe it does, it shall involve the Queen smashing a bottle of plonk against my head followed by NASA blasting me into orbit. Should be fun.

In other news I've just finished the sequel to Just Because called Sometimes which should be on sale next year - here's a sneak-preview of some of the artwork:

And after my Just Because you-tubey wittering antics my publisher for Cub's First Winter asked for something similar so here it is (perhaps more of a blithering than a wittering this time though):

And I've just finished the text for a new book called 'Oli and the Last Dinosaur' - here's the cover
- not sure if I should have painted it rather than using this style though - what do you think?

And finally I've been interviewed by the lovely BookBag people - check it out here if you so wish, and Lovereading4kids have very kindly featured me as their Illustrator of the Month - Gawd bless 'em!

So that's it for now - I'll let you know how the launch went after I return to Earth.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Gathering round the old wireless...

Just Because was reviewed on ruddy radio 2 this morning!! Yowser!

Was an absolutely bizarre experience sitting at home in my pyjamas, slightly hungover, and hearing Aled -'We're-Walking-in-the-Air'-Jones talking about me on the wireless with Kate Saunders. Anyhoo, have slapped a few pics of the illustrations over it and whacked it on youtube for y'all to enjoy.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Fat thumbs and plums

Crikey O'Reilly - Just Because is only having a ruddy book launch - yay!

So if you find yourself in the lovely Bury St Edmunds area on Thursday 19th August twiddling your bored fat thumbs and staring into space - come and join the party!

11am at Waterstones in the Arc shopping centre where it'll be child-centric with a book reading, showing off some of the original artwork and hopefully some live illustrations of the Clemmie and Toby characters, followed by a drinks reception at Benson Blakes Bar (kids more than welcome here too!) from 12.

Free drinks, live illustration, a personal appearance from Clemmie and Toby, me making a plum of myself in public, what's not to like?

See you there then.

Ok, bye bye now.


Monday, 19 July 2010

Why? Just because, alright?

It's all the rage now, so it would seem, for authors to record a video of themselves talking about their new release. So here I am.

Ok so I sound and look like a pillock but hey, there was no getting around that and Lion Publishing asked me to record the following (so blame them):

(oh, and it will feature on in a few days)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Angry Sprouts

Yowser, it's been hot of late and as a result little Toby's moods are a-swinging more than ever with a bewildering array of passionately excited yelps, concerned 'o-oh's, distraught cries, adamant 'no! s', hysterical giggles and frantic 'Mummy, mummy, mummy...'s all occurring each and every minute. It's exhausting.
Clemsie on the other hand is as chilled and serene as ever, although you have to feel for her little chubby legs in those plaster casts - the little hero. I have at least adorned them with flowers so they don't look quite so depressing any more.

And speaking of things not seeming quite so depressing any more - I always had our road down as a rather sad and lifeless little place full of drab people with sensible jobs or at least sensibly filling out their benefit forms but no! I was fabulously excited to see a 'Suffolk Open Studios' sign proudly placed in a neighbours window, decided to visit and it turns out that astounding artist Mike Wiggins lives just a couple of doors down with his arty wife. Check him out here.

And in other news, if I may pull down the old hunting horn and blow my own trumpet for a mo, it would seem that the launch of Just Because next month (helped by my lovely PR lady at Lion) has already generated a little press interest. Ok, so it's hardly the cover of Vogue or Time Magazine but hey. Have a look here.

And me and Cee continue to plan our exhibition in October - if you know any super-duper cheap framers please let us know.

And finally I was lucky enough to be invited to a local primary school to help them design a program cover for their East Feast and was, as always, blown away by the natural unhindered creativity of younglings. And I think the cover is a thing of beauty (I can't remember which kid decided to write 'angry sprouts' on their artwork but they are clearly a genius in the making).

So that's it, bye for now (which reminds me that we're very proud this week that Toby, a bloke of few words, has finally started saying 'bye' which is great except for the fact that his 'b's come out as 'd's making it more of a sinister parting threat than a cheery farewell.)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Poo-poo, Ample Behinds and Rambling Halfwits

Well, things are all pretty good up here on Elliott mountain. Summer is on it's way, little Clemmie's hips have been safely cajoled back into their sockets with the help of a few knife-wielding surgeons and an assorted collection of nuts and bolts, my brother has fearlessly beaten off his dengue fever, Toby's vocabulary may still be tiny but in the last week whenever my husband farts he has started to say 'poo-poo'- whilst pointing squarely at my husband's face.The boy's a genius.

Oh and I can now officially call myself a published author. Yes indeedy my first book 'Cub's First Winter' is officially released into the world this week. And it even had it's first little review (more of a 'comment' really) today from Julia Eccleshare - children's editor of the Guardian, no less - check it out here.

In other worky news the following points may be of interest to someone out there so here you go:

Exhibition - Me and fellow local illustrator Celia Bisoe have decided to hold an exhibition entitled 'Show and Tell' this October 22nd-27th at Gallery 47 in Sudbury. We'll be selling a collection of our published book illustrations and the aim is to make it very child-friendly including book readings, free colouring sheets, comfy reading corner with our books and what-not. Come along! We'll be terribly lonely if you don't.

Stock - I've started selling stock illustrations on a few sites to make a few quid between book jobs and have managed to make over $100 in my first month which is great - and the beautiful thing is even if I now sit back on my ample behind and do nothing those images will still make me money for evermore. Marvellous!

PR stuff - Practical Parenting Magazine are doing a 'feature' on me in their August issue (on sale in July) which involved a scary phone interview this week during which all my vocabulary, personality, clarity of thought and charm left the room and were replaced by a banal, rambling half-wit. Luckily the woman then let me answer a lot of questions by email though so I think all is not entirely lost. I hope.

Other exciting, although totally unconfirmed stuff, is that Cub's First Winter just might be read out on the Bookaboo TV show, and I'm hopefully doing a workshoppy thing at Greenbelt Arts Festival this year - which is marvelous if for no other reason than we go every year anyway and this will mean a free ticket - yay! We'll have to wait and see on these though...

Oh, and if you're looking for some funky unique childrens-wear meander along to my new shop.

And in the mean-time I'm just coming to the end of the artwork for The Tale of Fragoline - here's a sneak preview.

Phew! Yowser. That's it for now then. Don't be a stranger. Come back soon. And all that.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Random thoughtlets squeezed from my mind grapes.....

I know, I know, first I tantalize you with a deliciously irreverent introduction, then follow that up with a handful of sublimely hilarious yet profoundly moving and frighteningly insightful follow up bloggings leaving you all panting for more and then nothing. Zip. Nada. The worldwide cries of 'what gives?' and ''sup?' are almost deafening. Well, the thing is - you know what it's like when you just have one of 'those' weeks when your brother gets dengue fever, you learn that a surgeon wants to play around with your daughter's hip bones and you still have to host 2 parties, write a book, paint a bedroom and write a biography of yourself as a superhero? I mean, we've all been there.

And so here it is. Hold on to your flappy parts because this is going to be quite something.
This week I have been mostly:

working on: Roughs for Fragoline and a cover for a new book of mine 'Sluggerpillar which has as yet no soft publishey home.

spending time with: my family - (my husband is one of those teacher-types who gets an absurd amount of holiday each year) including a splendiferous trip to our nations capital including a walk down the Embankment witnessing a whole array of out-of-work drama students painting themselves grey and posing as unconvincing statues who occasionally move scaring the bejeesus out of passers by. Well done. Priceless.

worrying about: my daughter Clemmie's hip surgery due tomorrow. We've known about its imminence for 18 months but nothing quite says 'panic' like a week's notice for major surgery. And my brother (who lives in Paraguay)'s dengue fever.

watching: Here Comes the Fire Engine - Toby's new favourite. Stirring stuff I think you'll agree.

asked for:
ID when purchasing cutlery in Waitrose. I'm 30.

writing: an 'amusing' (don't you just love that little - 'oh and make it amusing' at the end of a brief - like it's the easiest thing in the world to pull off) biography of myself for my agent's new literary wing of it's website, plus an article for Families First Magazine and an interview for Inspire Magazine about Clemmie and my book Just Because.

considering: uploading some vector artwork to - my brother makes about $600 a month on there! 'twould be a nice regular income top-up.

celebrating: Toby's 2nd birthday.

baking: a Peppa Pig birthday cake (check out the 'what the hell do you call this Mum? expression on Toby's face.)

eating: birthday cake, belgium chocolate and shortbread. I think that covers all the major food groups.

So there you go. Busy times. Happy days. I'll return again when the little Clemster has recovered a little. xx

And for those intrigued by my route here, here you go:
Name: Rebecca Elliott aka ‘The Doodler’
Occupation: Children’s author and illustrator
Identity: secret
Place of Birth: Was not born so much as assembled in a shed in Suffolk.
Group affiliation: Active member of The Elliotts, which also includes Clementine (aka ‘Ithnay the Enchanter’), Toby (aka ‘Toby-Wan Kenobi’) and Matthew (aka ‘The Duke’).
Base of Operations: Currently Sudbury, formerly a sentient starship created by the Celestials.
History: Other than the fact that she was constructed over three decades ago by cosmic imps from radioactive moon dust, discarded artistic materials, twigs and a sack of potatoes almost nothing is known about the life of The Doodler before she started battling her arch nemesis Mediocrity a couple of years ago. The dispute was eventually settled out of court when the Dark Elf Milo had The Doodler and Mediocrity face each other in a fair fight in the land of Bloomsbury, a fight which The Doodler ultimately won. She now spends her earth hours protecting human younglings against the evil forces of The Patronising Giants of Alliteration and The Sinister Creatures of Anthropomorphia.
Strength level: The exact extent of The Doodler’s strength is unknown, but it may be in the Class 100 range.
Weapons: The Doodler’s principle weapon is the enchanted paintbrush Mjoldork, ,one of the most formidable weapons known to man or God which was bestowed upon her by the Great Goddess Whsmith.
Known powers: A superhuman sense of well-being.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Don't let the kids have all the fun...

I stumbled across a sketch book of mine from when I was 10 years old at the weekend which lead me to muse, and not for the first time, on the fact that I still basically fill my days with exactly the same activities as I did then.

At a recent 'look at me I'm an illustrator' school visit my very favourite question at the end of the day came from a 5 year old boy who looked slightly perplexed and concerned for me and asked, 'Isn't it strange that you're an adult but still, you know, doing what we do?'. Harsh, but fair. I am, indeed, still doing what children do. Doodling pictures of dancing hamsters and making up stories about monkeys should probably not be a paying profession for a fully fledged adult, and yet this is, essentially, what I do. It is strange.

It's also one of the reasons I feel so fantastically fortunate! We all loved being creative as children, be it drawing, making stuff, writing poetry, dancing, singing - and it didn't matter that it was, for the most part, embarrassingly bad. And yet then we grow up and are filled with self-doubt and an in-built sense of what we should be doing now that we're adults. I've lost count of the times (if truth be told, I never really was counting as that would be weird, but..) people have said to me, 'Oh I used to love drawing' - well you know what, you probably still do, so what made you stop then!?

We do all have a child-like gooey soft centre even if it is encapsulated in a crispy adulty outer layer. Well set that goo free! - go and draw a giraffe and upload it here,
or have fun on this marvelous site where you can 'virtual finger paint'

or go and make a rag rug here(and send it to me because I've never got around to doing this):

or buy this book from Quentin Blake and learn how to draw again,

or go here and mix some incredibly funky beats,

or just go and play in the sand pit (although please learn from my 2 year old son's mistake yesterday and don't eat a jam sandwich and immediately play with the sand as the effect is similar to that of being tarred and feathered).

In the words of good old Pablo (Picasso, in case you are aware of any others): "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."