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."

Friday, 19 March 2010

It's all kicking off.

News Flash! Two more books of mine have just been accepted for publication by the lovely Lion Hudson (who are already publishing 'Just Because') - 'Zoo Girl' and a sequel to Just Because 'Sometimes'. So exciting!

'Sometimes' is just a script so far and, as with Just Because, concentrates on my very own younglings Clementine and Toby but this time the pair are having fun in hospital during one of Clemmie's stays.

'Zoo Girl' is a one-word-per-page book about a lonely little girl who gets left behind in a zoo and befriends the other inhabitants there. It's in a whole new artistic style for me, using pen and ink drawings combined with photoshop trickery.

I've used a similar style in 'The Tale of Fragoline' which was written by a friend of mine and has also just been accepted by the publisher Chicken House.

Yip-skip-er-roony! The waiting is over - it's all go go go....

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Nobby the Peckish Earwig?

You can't have any kind of interest in children's picture books and not appreciate the genius of Eric Carle . You also can't help but think that if his 'Hungry Caterpillar' book had actually been called 'A Week with Willy Worm' as was originally intended, it wouldn't have been quite the hit it turned out to be. I also can't help but watch this clip and want to give him a big hug - such a sweet old dude.

Monday, 15 March 2010


Whilst the business of writing and illustrating children's picture books is, quite obviously and undoubtedly a wonderful one, there is also a handful of mildly steep downsides, one of which is the, wait for it... waiting.
Specifically I currently find myself waiting for the release of my three new picture books,

waiting for decisions from various publishers on whether they want to publish various offerings of mine, waiting for various clients to pay my agent, waiting for my agent to pay me, waiting for an interview with the Third Way to come out, waiting for art direction on one project from a publisher and waiting on a contract from another.

And then there's the other more constant waiting ...waiting for my son to take his nap so that I can work, waiting for new art materials to arrive, waiting to be nominated for an award, any award, waiting to be asked to sign something, anything, waiting for a royalty cheque, any amount will do, waiting for the summer to begin so that I can use my garden studio again without the need for scarf and gloves and, of course, eternally, waiting for inspiration.

I don't really mind the current pause though. Usually things are insanely manic.

I think it's in the pauses between things happening that we can finally get around to doing that something else we've been meaning to for some time, hence I cleaned out 'the' kitchen drawer the other day (and found no less than 34 unidentified keys), hence I've just finally listed some stuff on eBay and hence this blog.

So here's to delays, interludes and intermissions, may I not have to wait too long for another one.

In the words of Mr Ferris Bueller, 'Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.'

Sunday, 14 March 2010

What the blog's going on here then?

Testing, testing. 1..2..3...

So, blogging, erm, yea - so hopefully this will be the place where I can post updates on book releases, media stuff to do with my work, and random children's illustrationey/authorey musings.

Or I might just use it to waffle about squirrels, anvils and cheese. Only time will tell.