Friday, 17 December 2010

The Leicestershire Children's Book Prize

There's some good stuff in the Leicestershire Children's Book Prize.
And, you can vote for them too, last day is today though (oops) sorry about posting this so late

Both Dirty Bertie and The Dunderheads has illustrations by David Roberts, who is very good indeed. So well done him for getting on here twice. Top stuff.
Ghost Goblins is illustrated by David Melling who is also very good indeed.
And The Story of Matthew Buzzington is illustrated by Ross Collins, whose stuff I really really like.

So those are my pick of the pops


Here we are, here's a rough sketch from what I've been working on recently.
A naughty girl, who is nevertheless likeable.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Website Update

Right, I've finally managed to update my website with some new work.
There's a bunch of stuff you might like to have a look at.
Here's a link to it

There are two pictures of Gorgonzola the Witch (Black & White, bottom half of front page) featuring Huddleston, ironing, and her friend Alison. So you can see how the sketches from the previous posts match up to the finished illustrations.
(Actually, my final drawings are often a refined version of a sketch, if I'm more or less happy with it, as I tend to just knock the opacity down and draw over it in photoshop, kind of like a lightbox - bit of info on my technique there - so you might spot a few similarities)

There's a picture from my book idea The Shirt Machine (also Black & White)

And the colour stuff features Elephants and Tigers, and a couple of Bears.
Here are some sketches working out little elephant - Small, and the big, old elephants, and the Tiger.
So you can do the same as with Gorgonzola, and spot the bits where I used them.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Gorgonzola Again

A bit more info on Gorgonzola the Witch.
I'm going to get a couple of pictures of her up on my website soon, hopefully start of next week.
But before that, here's a sketch of her faithful pet dragon Huddleston.
He was tamed via the power of peanut butter sandwiches.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Gogonzola The Witch

Sorry there hasn't been much drawing up here of late - I've been working hard.
But here we are, I've got something new to show.

I've been thinking about witches (a little bit late maybe, but still) and here is a character I thought up.
She is a witch called Gongonzola.
She's a bit disorganised, so tends to be in a bit of a rush, and so she's gone out with her bunny slippers still on.
And she didn't have time to put her skull patterned skirt on, so is going about with her bloomers showing.
And the cold weather has made her hair a bit frizzy.
Her witch best friend is more sensible and reliable, and is called Alison.
Here's a character sketch of her, and some rough idea sketches, to sort of show a bit of development of the picture.

I will be putting a couple of pictures of her up on my website soon, which will also feature her friend Alison, and a Dragon, a cat, a frog and ironing,

A website update with a nice few pictures is on the way, actually, so will post more about that when it happens, too :)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Carnegie and Greenaway


The long lists for the Carnegie and Greenaway award nominations came out last week.
You can see them here and here.

I just thought I'd do a post about it, cos there are a few people I know a bit vaguely through blog land and stuff, and there are a few books there that I'd heard of previously, so I just thought I'd do a quick chat pointing out a few highlights and points of note.
Purely from a very personal perspective of course, but then maybe that angle might be interesting.


Poly Bernatene has two books listed. He's an amazing illustrator, and his book When Night Didn't Come has some great stuff in it. Well worth a look.

Quentin Blake. I do like a bit of Quentin Blake, though he's probably pretty much the only illustrator most people have heard of, and is maybe a bit 'obvious' if you see what I mean. But I'm glad he's still doing stuff that's top quality, which is encouraging, really.

Emma Chichester Clark - a nice new version of Alice In Wonderland. Interesting stuff.

Ross Collins. Another fave of mine. I find his work really satisfying somehow, I'm glad he's on the list.

Emma Dodd does great simple illustrations. Her style is pretty different from mine but I do find it very inspiring

Emily Golden - I chatted to Emily at the London Book Fair, and I believe I'm right in saying that this is her first book, which is v cool. Well done indeed :)

Emily Gravett - I really like Emily's stuff. Apple Pear Orange Bear is stunning, and Mouse's Fears is brill, so I'm glad she's in.

Petr Horacek is a great illustrator too. Really nice textural simple stuff. I've got What Is Black And White, which is great.

Inkpen and Ingpen. It always amuses me how Mick Inkpen is an illustrator and is called Ink pen. Like a cobbler being called Dave Boot or something.
And I like the way they both have fairly obscure names, but that are so similar, and they do the same job, but differently.
But saying that, it's not just childish amusement at people's names, both are top rate, and I do really like their stuff too.

Oliver Jeffers rules. I try and read his books in the hope they will rub off and influence me.

Sarah McIntyre has a blog which I follow. She does comics as well, so is a bit of a link to the world of comics. Which is nice.

David Melling - another top illustrator.

Kristin Oftedal went to Kingston University, I saw her work in the final show and really liked it, and have seen her work popping up in a few places since. So it's nice she's got something nominated. I believe this may be her first book too.

Catherine Rayner's work is brill too. Two books in too. Top stuff.

Joel Stewart does pictures with fab loose line work. I really liked Dexter Bexley. Nice lot of detail in this.

So there you go. A few random thoughts on the award lists.
Hope there might be something there that you hadn't noticed, or that you might find interesting :)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

15 artists in 15 minutes

This is a game, and the rules are to list fifteen Artists who've influenced you and will ALWAYS STICK WITH YOU. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes, don't take too long to think about it.
I got this from Cassia Thomas, and I thought I'd give it a go.
She's doing it on Facebook too, though, but seeing as I don't have a Facebook account, I thought I'd just do it on my blog instead.
So if you do it too, put a link to it in the comments below :)

But anyway, my fifteen, (with optional subject categories as well) are -
1 - Steve Ditko
2 - Bill Sienkiewicz
3 - Alan Davis
4 - Dudley D Watkins
5 - Jamie Hewlett
6 - Arthur Rackham
7 - Mervyn Peake
8 - E H Shepherd
9 - Edmund Dulac
10 - Edward Ardizzone
11 - Barbara Firth
12 - Ross Collins
13 - Oliver Jeffers
14 - Quentin Blake
15 - Chris Riddell
The picture is Oor Wullie by Dudley D Watkins, who did the Broons, and Lord Snooty as well.
My Grandma and Grandad used to have Oor Wullie and The Broons annuals from the Dudley D Watkins era, so he's probably the earliest influence on my list.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I'm really used to drawing straight on my pc, with my tablet and pen, it's how I do most of my work nowadays.
So much so, that last night, when I was sketching in my pad, if I made a mistake I kept on wanting to press Ctrl Z instead of using my annoying smudgy rubber.
And my left hand actually kept twitching, it's such an automatic thing for me.
Maybe this is a sign I should invest in an iPad type thing for my sketching. Though from what I can make out, they aren't pressure sensitive yet, so you can't get variation of line, so I don't think it would do the job for me sketching-wise.
Maybe on the third or fourth generation I'll find they'll do the job.

Anyway, here is one of the sketches I did.
I've called it, "Supermarket", "Toyshop"

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Here's a princess, in a rather traditional fairy story style.
Maybe I could make her a bit more post modern, and do another picture of her with big Tank Girl boots, and have her riding a Harley Davidson (or Hog, as I believe they are referred to)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

PLR Petition

This was brought to my attention by Cassia Thomas, and I think it is a rather worthwhile petition.
Cassia puts it very nicely, so I will quote from her post if I may :)

PLR (public lending rights) allows an author/illustrator a small earning from each lending of their work from a public library (6p per lend). The government want to drastically cut this funding.

There are but a few JKRowling's, Stephanie Meyer's, and Quentin Blakes. Many of us, if not most of us struggle to make ends meet and every penny makes a difference. Please, please show your support of PLR funding by signing this petition.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Well, after a week away, and a rebuild of my pc, which basically took up just over two weeks in total, I'm ready to post a follow up to my last post about Miss Sampson, the new teacher.
(and yes I did lose stuff in my pc rebuild, annoyingly. Somehow, however methodical I try and be, I always forget something. And all the driver installs for the hardware stuff is always awkward, and I end up spending a morning trying to install the print drivers or something.)

Here is the full finished picture, with swooning little lad, and jealous classmate.
Also, I've posted my original pencil sketches of the lad and the little girl, so you can see how they developed.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

New Teacher

Here's a character from a couple of illustrations I'm working on.
She's a new teacher, and she's called Miss Sampson.

The first image has the first thumbnail sketch that I did to capture the idea, and the rough version working out the pose.
And the second image is the refined version of her.
I saw a woman walking down the street who was like this, v. skinny, round head and short bob, So I had a good clear mental image to draw from, which I find always helps.
The clearer the mental image, the easier it is to get it down on paper without spoiling it.
And the character came to me trousers, hairdo and head first

Monday, 19 July 2010

More fine trousers

Quick sketch of a chap playing a trumpet.
I started with his trousers.
For some reason , when I draw a character, I seem to start with their legs/trousers.
It's not what I would have thought would be the normal foundation for creating a character, but they do often come to me trousers first.
Then if I get the neck and nose right, I feel I'm on the way.
Then I think of a hairdo.

But I do tend to leave arms till last.
Sometimes I only stick arms on when I sketch them doing things.

Maybe it's a bit like Alec Guinness only feeling he can properly do a character when he's got the right shoes.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


I've been working on the design of a mailer type thing, and it's taken me ages, it's ridiculous.

I sort of did a sketchy first version, which wasn't quite right, so I re did it a bit, still all sketchy, and still wasn't happy, so I tinkered with bits, and faffed around, and faffed a bit more, and re-sketched some of it and felt dis-heartened.

Then I started again and re-sketched it all loosely, and re-jigged it and faffed and tinkered a bit more, but still wasn't happy with it, but wasn't sure why.

Then, I decided to work into it a bit more, to decide what each of the bits in it was going to be like.
And once I'd drawn it all properly, not sketchily, I realised there was too much in it, it was all a bit busy, and I also realised I didn't have a proper sort of concept or idea behind it, really.
So, I had a cup of tea, and thought about it a bit and suddenly had an idea for a concept and composition.
So now it's all drawn and I'm going to do the colouring.
But this initial bit has basically taken about a week, and I feel a bit like I was wasting time faffing around.
Maybe if I'd drawn it all properly earlier, I might've realised what was wrong with it earlier, which is a bit frustrating.
But I'm trying to persuade myself that the faffing was all an essential part of the creative process.
so, now I'm trying to do the colour nice and quick to make up for it, but I find colour really hard.
Best bet is to just launch in and whack it about a bit, I reckon.
No good being timid in this sort of situation.

I think I'll quickly and loosely put a bit of colour on, get it all covered, and then I'll have a cup of tea as a reward.

But anyway, here are some a sketches of a doggie that's going to be on it.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Dad's Army In The Cafe

There were two members of the Home Guard on the table next to us in the cafe yesterday.
Helmets, camouflage, boots, everything.
One with a Sten Gun, one with a Tommy Gun.
One having a Calypso, one having a Coke.

Yes, it was Historical Re-enactment time again. And this was at a different stately home.
There's some great stuff going on.

One of the other guys doing it was wearing these absolutely huge dungaree things.
I did a sketch of him, cos I thought he cut an interesting figure.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Kate Greenaway Medal

The Kate Greenaway Medal has just been announced. -
The winners are The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, and Harry and Hopper, by Freya Blackwood.

The Graveyard Book is illustrated by Chris Riddell, who is one of my favourite illustrators, so that's good stuff.
And Freya Blackwood's illustrations for harry & Hopper are brilliant too.
Lovely and lively and sketchy and some great perspective.

I know and like pretty much all the other finalist illustrators as well.
There were Oliver Jeffers, who I find really inspiring, Satishi Kitamura, who is really great, Dave McKean, who I know best from his comic stuff, David Roberts, and Grahame Baker-Smith, who I heard about at the LBF.

So it was a really tip of the top, tip top, cream of the crop list.

Three Musketeers in the Loo

I found three musketeers in the loo yesterday.
Not something you see every day, but not too weird under the circumstances, as there was a 17th Century re-enactment going on at a Stately Home type place we went to.
But it was odd having the musketeers in hats, spurs, swords and frills taking turns with the hand dryer.
You had to sort of step over their swords to get past.

Here are sketches of a couple of them.

Later on, a man with little bails of firewood told us how to catch a duck.
That's a family day out right there.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Here we go.
Here are some sketches of Giraffes.
I haven't done many giraffes in the past, and it seems that they can very easily turn into goats or donkeys.
Though when you stick the neck on that generally helps.

Website Update Alert

Just put some new illustrations up on my website.
There's a fair bunch, five new colour ones, and five new black and white ones. (I've made the new ones the first five in each section)

There's some Pirate stuff, Robot Dog, A boy and his dog Oakley, Lady Spamtwitch and her man servant Hugo, and some Cuddly bears.

Here's a link through a Gentleman Pirate

Have a look, I hope you like them :)

Monday, 21 June 2010


I'm now on Twitter, watch out everyone!
There's a link over on the right, so have a look and follow if you fancy :)

Friday, 18 June 2010


I haven't posted in a bit, I don't seem to have had much to put up, for some reason.
But here is a quick sketch of a young chap running.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

New Profile Image

I've updated my profile image, there it is to the right.
The previous version was an old bit of work that I just used so I could get my blog set up quick.

But now I've finally got round to doing a special version of it especially for my blog, more in keeping with my work nowadays.

So, there you go :)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Character Sketches

Here are some sketches of a chap.
I'm sort of trying ideas out for a someone who's a bit bad tempered.
I think, though, that he should be more of a boy rather than full grown.
So I will try that next :)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Bunny and Elephant

Here are sketches of a bunny (not a rabbit), and an elephant.
I'm doing some clouds that look like things, and these are sketches for that, which is why they're a bit floaty.

Friday, 7 May 2010


Not posted for a bit, but here's one.
A drawing of a tree that I'm using as part of an illustration I'm working on at the mo.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Robot Dog Spread

Here's a two page spread for my story idea, 'Robot Dog'.
Sometimes he's nice, and sometimes he's naughty.
This is him being naughty.
This is a B&W rough layout.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Now With Colour!!

New and improved Blog entry with colour.
These are sketches of Robot Dog, who I've been trying to work out a character for.
He's friendly and a bit mischievous.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Book Fair

Well, I just spent two days wandering round and round the children's bit of the London Book Fair. My first time there.

It was rather quiet, due to the lack of planes, and I'm not sure if that was good or bad.
Some Editor/Art Director type people weren't there, but on the other hand, you were actually able to speak to the ones that were there, which apparently isn't so easy normally.

I went to the networking event, which I had expected to be a bit more organised, or there to be an introduction or something.
But the tables and wine appeared, and then after about ten minutes of standing about everyone sort of shuffled in and sidled up to people, and formed little windy queues.

But all in all I reckon it was good. I spoke to a few publisher type people, saw a few new things that were inspiring, and also bumped into two people from blog land - Cassia, and Emma.
I had steeled myself for constantly grinding up courage to speak to strangers, so it was lovely to meet some friendly faces.

I must say I don't generally like doing networking stuff, but the encouraging feedback I've been getting on this blog, did give me more confidence to approach people than I would normally have, so thank you everyone for all your lovely comments :)

And here are a couple of sketches of people I did on the way.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


I thought recently that most of my drawing of kids tend to be of an indeterminate age around sort of 5 or 6.
So I thought I'd do some babies/toddlers.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

More Kids

Here are two more, and with the hands drawn in, too :)


Here we are, I've started doing some sketches of kids.
Just a bunch of characters doing various stuff.
This is the first one, a bit of a shy girl.

I'll post more as I do them

Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I have received an award! Huzzah!
The very kind Justin Segal bestowed the Zombie Chicken award upon me.
(See Justin's great blog here)
Thanks very much Justin :)

In honour of it, here is a sketch of a chicken I did a while back.
He's not a zombie, but is supposed to be snooty, self-important, and a bit hubristic.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Something Different

Here's a sketch of a plant.
This is in actual real life pencil, rather computer drawing.
I thought the twisty creeper bits looked cool, so I drew it.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Patiently Explaining

Here's a sketch of a Mum patiently explaining something to a girl.
I think she's just about to break a bit of bad news.
I haven't done the hands yet, I always seem to leave them till last, but I wanted to get it put up.
Maybe I'll do a post of just sketches of hands.

Monday, 22 March 2010

More heads

I'm really trying to work on my heads at the moment,
as you can probably see.

I'll try and post some drawings with bodies as well soon :)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Another Head

Here's another study of a head intended for Picture Book work

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Grumpy Cats

To follow on from the sweet cats in the last post, here are some more grumpy cats.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Cats, cats, cats

These are more on the cute and sweet side compared to the big cat I did in an earlier post.
I'm doing a whole bunch of them.