Thursday 15 December 2011

Christmas Doggie In The Snow

Hiya Chaps,

I've just posted a picture on the LittleBitBunny Blog here -
of a little doggie playing in the snow in a Santa hat.
But I thought it might be nice to augment this a bit by posting a couple of my working sketches :)
I did one dog character sketch, which I refined, before changing direction to the character I stuck with, which was then refined a little bit for the final doggie design.
But do have a quick ook at the LittleBitBunny Blog, there's some good stuff on it :)

Friday 28 October 2011

It's easy to write picture books.

Thoughtful blog post here, chaps.
I've read a few things about writing picture books, and some articles talk about how lots of people want to write a picture book, thinking it will be easy, and the articles say it's harder than writing a novel, because every word counts, and requires thought, and economy and skill to get the ideas across.
And I've also read articles that say that of course it's easier than writing a novel, because it's much shorter and you can rattle one off in a day or two.

Well, it's been trundling about in the back of my mind, and I've ended up thinking about it a bit, and I can kind of agree with both points of view, they both have elements of truth.
But I think the problem is that they're making slightly different points.

And I've thought of an analogy.

Is it easier to run 100m or 10,000m?
Well, one takes less than thirty seconds, and one takes quite a while.
Now most people can run 100m, whereas only people of a certain fitness can actually run 10,000m, so you could argue that one is easier than the other.

But... it's just as hard to win a gold medal in either.
Which I think is sort of the point, really.
Just because something's short, doesn't make it easy to do well.

Though it is maybe easier for more people to give it a quick go.

And having written this (for me) fairly serious post, here are a couple of sneak peek sketches from a book I've been working on :)
They're all bits of illustrations and backgrounds, so as to not give much away, but they are hopefully interesting too :)

Thursday 6 October 2011

Little Bit Bunny - Badger

Well, it's a new month, and a new theme on the Little Bit Bunny Blog, and I've just put up this months post, and it's got a bit of colour this time.

You can find it here - LittleBitBunny
And yep, does look like this is where I'm headed.
I've still very much got a fringe, though, but the sides of it now have to cover more ground than they used to :)
But here's the initial sketch I did when I first got the idea.
As you can see, it didn't really change much from here, just redrew it, and had the idea of it being a sort of diagram in a guide.
I think this guy looks like an English Teacher.
Maybe he'll turn up in something else.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

2012 UKLA Book Awards Longlist

The Longlist for the 2012 UKLA Book Awards was announced a day or two ago. Some top names in there, and a bunch of really good illustrators too.
Like Emily Gravett, Oliver Jeffers, Viviane Schwartz, Catherine Rayner, Chris Haughton are a bunch who I really rate.
I shall have to check out any of the others I'm not so familiar with.

Here's a link. -

Good luck chaps

Tuesday 27 September 2011

A Little Bit Bunny

I have been asked to contribute to the A Little Bit Bunny Blog, here -
Which is fabulous, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The blog is run by an impressive bunch of chaps - Damon O'Keefe, Eric Barclay, Chris Kennett, Matt Dawson, Kev Levell, froggie, Mr Toodle, Matt Soffe, and is themed to a different animal each month.
There's been some really good stuff posted, so I'm really chuffed to be invited to contribute.

I've been a bit slow off the mark, so am only just posting my first entry for October now.
But you can find it here, and it's for the theme of Dragons.

Do pop over and have a look.

Monday 26 September 2011

Cozy Bears

I haven't posted in a while, I've been busy, which is good I suppose.
Dealing with Bears, a bulbous blue monster, kids, and a wolf.

But I shall post some bits of these, so you can have a bit of a look.
So, here we are, some cozy bears from a book I am working on.
These are initial sketches, and have changed through the development.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

A Bunch of Bears

Here we are. Here are the bears of which I was speaking in my last post.

I've been doing some greeting card ideas featuring smiling and snuggly bears, and I'm also working on an idea for a book, which is basically all about bears doing things.
So, consequently, I'm doing lots of sketches of bears.
I don't think I've drawn anything else for the past week, actually.
But that's ok. I like drawing bears, and I feel I'm really getting to know them.
Some of these are a bit rougher than others.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Jungle Shorts

Hi again chaps.

Following on from the last few posts, here's another bit of work done recently.
This is the sketch stage of the cover for a book about a boy who's Mum buys him embarrassing Jungle patterned shorts to play football in. (I only put the pattern in with the colour though)

It was quite a nice tight brief for what was they wanted included image-wise, which I often quite like. Sometimes if it's left a bit open I get options paralysis, but if some constraints are put on, I can get something out nice and quick.
So it was a nice job to do.

In other news, I've decided to do some ideas for some greeting type cards.
At the moment I'm planning on these being based around bears
(Lot of bears in my work at the mo, and more coming up, so I'll be getting a lot of practise.)
But I'll put up some of the bear sketches soon.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Baby Milk Bear

Hiya chaps,

On a bit of a roll with the posts here.
This is another bit of work I've done fairly recently.
It's a cuddly bear for the label on some baby mik.
The agency already had the pack designed, and a rough of the bear, and my task was to draw a nice cuddly bear, that had the head and paws etc in the same place as their rough, but that looked natural, and not like a hunchback. Cos it's head was over to one side, in order for it to fit in next to the logo.
So I thought of it as a bear reaching up to be picked up, and in that pose the head and everything was in the right place, but he looked nice and natural, and his face and paws weren't obscured by and of the design elements.
But it was a fun quick job to do, and quite a nice interesting problem to solve.

Tuesday 24 May 2011


Hi Chaps,

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven't blogged too often in the last month or so.
BUT, now I have something to show of what I've been doing.

I'll spread it over a couple of posts I think.

But, this is from a book I've been working on.
The artwork is delivered, which is v satisfying, and I'm just waiting to see what tweaks they may want.
But here are some sketches from it.
Two versions of a character sketch for the main character. She is naughty and cheeky but likeable.
The doctor.
And Cecily (The main character, gasp, telling secrets here) and her family racing along in the car.
I'll maybe post the final versions of these sketches so you can see them in colour & stuff.
But, more soon :)

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Doggie Doodle Friday

Hello Chaps,

Sorry it's been a while since posting, I've been working on a couple of books, so will put some sketches of their workings up soon, so you can see some of what I've been up to.

In the meanwhile-time-being I've got a sketch of a doggie up on the Doggie Doodle Friday page.
This is a page run by the Book Sniffer Blog, which is a fab blog about children's books.

Here is the Doggie Doodle Friday page -
Mine doggie is the one second in, third row, and I am honoured to have it featured among all the other great doggie's there, by, among others, Lauren Tobias and Alex T Smith, whose blogs are here - and here - in case you've not already seen them.

And the Book Sniffer Blog is here -

Friday 8 April 2011

London Book Fair

Well, it's the London Book Fair, next week, so I'm going along.
I've got some work printed, and postcards made, and I'm polishing my boots, and picking out a shirt.
I may wear my 'Kaftan Shirt' as it's called. (Not quite as groovy as it sounds, it's just not got a colllar, but it's nice.)
But anyway, I don't know if anyone else is going along, but it'd be great to bump into people.
Maybe at the Illustrator Networking thing on Monday, or at the Lauren Child and Anthony Browne conversation, or the Booktrust talk, or just round and about :)

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Booktrust Best New Illustrators Award

Quick post here about the Booktrust Best New Illustrators Award which was announced last night.
Winners are here:
There's some good stuff there.
Illustrators whose work I've come across already are -
Claudia Boldt, who I met v briefly at LBF last year,
Chris Haughton, who does great stuff, lovely colours.
Viviane Schwartz, whose cat books are fab.
And Sara Ogilvie, and Kevin Waldron and Levi Pinfold.

But I must say I do think they are very well chosen cos I do rate all of them very highly, there's some really inspiring, marvellous work there.
Well done all :)

Friday 4 March 2011

Hamble, Felix, Elsie, Ernie

Well, I was sketching out characters, and these two popped up.

Hamble and Felix Hamshanks.
Hamble dines exclusively on strips of salted beef and lemon juice, her husband Felix, subsists on whisky and dried prunes.
And here they are.
I think if I need a couple of baddies, these two might be it.
They make a dastardly living stealing pet rabbits, making them into slippers, and selling them to rich clients.
The dastardly cads.


Would it be ok to feature them in an illustration aimed at early readers, to go in my portfolio, or are they a bit too creepy, OR, would it be a good thing to vary my portfolio with them even if they are a bit creepy?
Do you think they would they be suitable for children's books as they are, or should I make them a bit more charicatured and fun?
Any thoughts would be welcomed :)

Below are two slightly more friendly looking old characters, this is Elsie Hotterpoppercot, and Ernie Bramble.
Elsie makes the scones, Ernie makes the jam.

Monday 28 February 2011

Red House Children's Book Award

Here we are, quick post, the shortlist for the Red House Children's Book Award has come out.
There's some good stuff in the picture book section, including a couple of illustrators who I really like, Alison Edgson, and Charles Fuge.
Good luck chaps :)

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Melvyn Quentinship The Lion

I've been sketching lions. Well, it's probably just one lion, really, but I've been moved to give him a fine head of hair.
As I was drawing his face, and was about to move onto his mane, images of Melvyn Bragg and Quentin Crisp came to me.
So I decided to make him finely and luxuriously coiffed, but was undecided as to whether to give him a big quiff, or a bisonesque centre parting, so I did one of each.

Do let me know which hairstyle you like best, if you have a preference.

I'll try and build him up into a full character, rather than just a head.
I think he will be christened Melvyn Quentinship, in honour of his hair inspirations
And he shall wear a cravat.

Monday 24 January 2011

Basic Shapes

Hi again chaps.
I wanted to post a couple sketches I did recently of some people I saw in the street.
I noticed both of them because of their silhouettes, I think, because of the simple shapes they break down into.
I haven't done much charicaturing or exaggerating, they pretty much looked like this.
I just thought it was interesting how the little girl is a triangle on a box, with two straight lines underneath, and the lady is basically a triangle and two blocks with a little circle on top.
Breaking down into simple shapes and silhouettes in animation is a fairly major part of creating a character, and similarly is in illustration, and I thought it was interesting how these two people stood out in real life for me because of these characteristics.
Anyway, back to the colouring in.

Thursday 20 January 2011


Hiya chaps,

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year, I've been away from blogging for a while now, so I hope to make up for that a bit.

I have a couple of actual commission type things on the go at the moment, so here are some sketches of dogs that aren't anything to do with them.
I will however, post some work stuff sketches in a bit, when they've all moved on to the next stage :)

These are two dogs called Elliot and Spiner that have developed in my sketch book over the last few weeks. I really enjoy drawing Elliot.
Elliot is the bigger one with big ears, and Spiner is the one with the pointy nose.
It's very satisfying doing the base of his nose just in front of his eyes for some reason.
I imagine Elliot being a bit slow and dusty, and like an old general, and Spiner is very energetic, never stands still.