Monday, 19 December 2011

Jingle Jangle...

Hippy, Hoppy, Happy Holidays!

It's been a very busy year for me and I've been so frantic this month I've been rather slack with my blog. You'll be pleased to know that I haven't been sitting in the dark muttering "Bah Humbug!" and burning chesnuts or kicking snowmen. I've actually been beavering away at my latest picture book project. It's a hilarious badger themed caper called THE DISGUSTING SANDWICH and is written by the exceptionally talented Gareth Edwards -you may have seen that I gave a sneaky preview of it earlier in the year.

As I have simply been so blissfully unaware of the outside world for a few months, I completely forgot about sending cards ... so to cheer things up a bit I selected 3 of my favourite images from THE DISGUSTING SANDWICH that relate to Christmas day.  I'll be donating Christmas card and stamp money to the RSPCA and their Badger campaign.

GO Badgers! Go Santa! Merry Christmas one and all.
Oh and remember, one of my books would make a lovely christmas pressie!


CHRISTMAS is all about

*Sharing*

*Eating* (mmm Slugs)


and finally *Sleeping!*


Zzzz


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Julia Donaldson book covers

I'm very lucky to be illustrating some books for none other than Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson. The books will be published by Barrington Stoke next year and will be perfect for dyslexic or reluctant readers. I'm really looking forward to illustrating the interiors soon but in the meantime, here are some covers to get excited about.






Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Hello monsters and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Do you need a guide to learn how to be proper monsters?
Well I know of just the thing.

The Awfully Bad Guide to Monster Housekeeping is being launched at the Ministry of Stories this week!

I've illustrated to FOOD guide and I can safely say it's utterly revolting!

It's been written by school children and a poet Naomi Woddis and I've done some gruesome illustrations- see below.
It will be available to buy online or at Hoxton St Monster supplies.

All profits will go to the Ministry of Stories.

So get your grubby mitts on some copies as they will make a fab halloween pressies.





Sunday, 25 September 2011

School for Bandits Events

I had a fab Saturday in Gloucestershire /Wiltshire with some keen young bandits... err readers! The morning was spent at the wonderful Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Nailsworth- see the great window display pics. The shop looked like a glitter bomb had gone off after the mask and loot sack decorating workshop! Much fun was had by all.






In the afternoon I was in Malmesbury at the town hall, giving a talk and presenting certificates to those clever folk who had completed the library Summer Reading Challenge. Despite my rather poor attempt at drawing Ralph Racoon (Why is sketching on flip-charts so hard!?) I managed to sign lots of books and give out tonnes of chocolate coins. Thanks to librarian Carolyn Kennedy and her helpers for organising such a great event.



Friday, 16 September 2011

Bath Book Blog CHAPTER FIVE on September 16th

This is a post that is also available to view on my website here


If you need to catch up, you can always go back and see what has happened so far:
You’ll find Chapter 1 HEREChapter 2 HEREChapter 3 HERE and Chapter 4 HERE.

CHAPTER FIVE

Poor Scribble was propelled backwards by the vile stink with such force that he fell into a pile of rotten seaweed festering in the corner. Not wishing to annoy Moby Doris any further, he quickly grabbed his (now rather slimy) notebook and drew a diagram which looked a bit like this:
He tore out the page and whilst trying not to get too close, nervously presented it to Doris. “What is this!?” she spat, squinting at what Scribble had drawn. Scribble held his breath.
“NEPTUNE’S BEASTLY BOTTOM! I don’t believe it!” Moby Doris yelled, screwing up Scribble’s diagram and lobbing it at Mr Catch’s head. “The milky-way has a lot to answer for! That blasted sun of ours did the very same thing, fell right out of the sky, the sea turned hotter than a microwaved pasty! It happened ever such a long time ago when I was a young, beautiful mer-girl…” Her face softened as a wistful smile replaced her angry scowl “Oh yes, I was very beautiful you know, all the sailors loved me, many a man would drown trying to woo me…”
“Ah hem” coughed Mr Catch turning prawn-pink once more. Doris fixed Mr Catch with a beady glare that could have wilted a sea cabbage “Don’t you start…” she growled. … Err… Ms Moby… Scribble interjected, writing frantically You said the sun fell out the sky and into the sea, how on earth did they manage to get it out? “THAT is a VERY good question” exclaimed Doris, scratching her barnacles. “Let me dredge my memory, as you can imagine it’s rather watery” She fell silent and in the minutes that followed Scribble could hear an erie creaking sound echoing around the town. It was like a rusty ship’s hulk slowly sinking but he knew it wasn’t a ship at all, it was the moon.
“AH HA! I’ve got it!” Doris leapt out of her chair, her shells, hooks and weights clattering. Throwing off her old blanket, she waddled over to a cupboard and pulled out a small dusty wooden chest. Then Scribble and Mr Catch watched in horror as Doris took out her teeth, reached inside her mouth and after some rooting around… produced a shining silver key.
Doris shoved the chest and key into Scribble’s arms and pushed him and Mr Catch outside.“You’ll find the answer in that chest! Now LEAVE me alone!” she muttered before slamming the door and leaving distinct waft of raw sewage and fish guts in her wake.
——-
Oooh Errr… the next installment will be found HERE on 18 September by Carly Bennett of Writing From the Tub

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Monsters!

I've recently been drawing some funny monsters for a very special monster project organised by the Ministry of Stories. More news to follow on this soon but in the meantime- have a peek at this!




Bath Festival Big Blog Story


Watch out for my contribution next week... here is the press release:


The Bath Festival of Children’s Literature is launching a unique collaborative storytelling event on Thursday 8 September featuring well known authors and bloggers. There are 20 collaborators in the project including authors Marcus Sedgewick, John Boyne and Annabel Pitcher who will be appearing in the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature Festival, 23 September- 2 October. The story will be written in real-time with readers following the trail as it moves from blog to blog, with an addition to the story being posted at each stop.

The story will run from 8 September – 16 October with the first installment being posted on the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature blog http://bathkidslitfest.wordpress.com/ where readers can click through to the next installment. Every other day a new piece of the story will be posted and as it is being written in real-time it has the potential to touch on any genre imaginable.


Big Blog Story Schedule

8 September Bath Festival of Children’s Literature
10 September Robin Etherington
12 September Annabel Pitcher
14 September Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
16 September Hannah Shaw
18 September Writing From the Tub
20 September Lauren Kate
22 September Marcus Sedgewick
24 September Alan Gibbons
26 September John Boyne
28 September Catherine Bruton
30 September Achuka
2 October Samantha Mackintosh
4 October An Awfully Big Blog Adventure
6 October Kate Maryon                                     
8 October Barry Hutchinson
10 October My Favourite Books
12 October Joanna Nadin
14 October LA Weatherly
16 October Bath Festival of Children’s Literature



Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop - NEW kids event, Nailsworth

Why not bring your kids along for a great fun packed SCHOOL for BANDITS morning. There will be all sorts of crafty activities!
For more details contact: The Yellow-Lighted Nailsworth direct on 01453 832555



Monday, 29 August 2011

Zambuko Community Library Project

I recently donated some of my books to a library project in Zimbabwe called the Zambuko Library Project. Friends of mine volunteered out there for a week and took quite a few of my books along! The aim of the project is to provide an educational resource for local villages in a rural area where there are virtually no books in the primary schools. Obviously it would be great if children could have books in their own language and work is being done to transcribe and photocopy books into Shona the local language. For the time being donations of books in English are appreciated. Primary schools in Bristol are linked with the primary schools in Zimbabwe and have also donated money and books to the project.

When my friends returned last week they showed me some really lovely photos of children with my books - these really made my day.








Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Badgers

Have you had your badger fix today? No? Here are some sketches to cheer you up.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The evil duke of Phartasia

I'm in the process of illustrating a very funny book for Walker, it's all about playing musical instruments using farts, yes farts or 'pharts!'. There's a taking parrot, a load of spoilt children and evil duke with a very long moustache (pictured). Of course there is a hero too, his name is Bruno and he becomes an expert at playing a 'Phartlehorn'. All will be revealed soon but in the meantime here's a little illustration to keep you from exploding with suspense! Parp!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Big Chill and Bandit masks


Just back from The Big Chill where I had a very fun event in the rainbow tent(Little Chill area). My School for Bandits game went down a treat and I was mobbed at the end for chocolate coins!

The mask making session was also very successful too and you can see some pics here- glittery raccoons and a boy who did a lovely drawing for me.




Here's a photo of a butterfly installation which was amazing when you walked underneath it.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Official SCHOOL FOR BANDITS publication day UK!


It's finally here! Get out your stripy tales and masks and go to your nearest bookshop and ask very politely for a copy of School for Bandits, the finest raccoon picture book they have. If they don't have it, please insist they get it in stock as soon as possible!

And remember niceness is most definitely allowed, I'd LOVE to hear your comments and feedback and see any drawings from children and adults alike.

If you can't make it out you can always order your copy here (it's only £5.99 Paperback and suitable for ages 4+)

Oh and please remember to rate it online from whatever bookstore you buy from.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I don't believe it Archie!


For those discerning readers who love a classy hardback (yes they are lovely aren't they!)
'I don't believe it Archie' is out tomorrow. Andrew Norriss has written lots of books for children and this is one of his funniest! I've been busy illustrating it and I hope you'll love my characters.

Archie is a normal boy but very strange things keep happening to him EVERY DAY! Who else gets trapped by a live leopard, caught up in a robbery or mistaken as a kidnapped child every time they step out the house? Archie does!

Want to read more? Buy the book today here.

Published by David Fickling Books

Max and Molly's Guide to Trouble - How to be a genius!


The 4th of August is a big day for me as three of my books are being published.

Here is 'Max and Molly's Guide to Trouble - How to be a genius!' It's the second book in the series and is another crazy/ funny Max and Molly tale by Dominic Barker. This one involves a ill-fated bike ride, mending a puncture with Mud and a dog chase! Oh yes, it's action packed and you'll spot my illustrations throughout...



for ages 7+ published by Orchard books. PAPERBACK

Friday, 29 July 2011

The School for Bandits Game!

Well, haven't I been inventive this week!?
I'm preparing to promote School for Bandits at events (only a few days to go until it's published!) and I've come up with an extra fun game to play.

Here is the School for Bandits HELP GET RALPH TO SCHOOL Game, it will be printed on A1 to take to events.
I will read the story then quiz the audience about the book using a special set of questions I've carefully chosen. As the audience gets questions right, I will move a Ralph counter along the board towards school. I will also put chocolate coins
into this very authentic looking loot sack.
When all the questions are answered and Ralph finally gets to school, all the audience will share their chocolate coin winnings from the sack- as well as getting a Ralph Raccoon mask to make! Does this sound like fun? Well if it does, then why not attend one of my many events coming up and you could get to PLAY the game!




Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A pig


He's planning to build a rocket don't you know!

Summer and Autumn events coming up!

Hello wonderful people,

I’d love to meet you at one of the following fun events coming up in the summer and autumn. Why not come and get a signed copy of School For Bandits or one of my many other books?
I may also be doing signings in and around the South West during the school holidays which I’ll announce on here…

Please note this list does not contain school visits, however if you are wishing to book a school visit, I am now fully booked until the end of November.

AUGUST

The Big Chill
Little Chill Children’s Area, Eastnor Castle
Saturday 6th August 2011 at 1pm
Click to find out more

Stroud Children’s Bookshop
Swan Lane, Stroud
Saturday 13th August 11:00- 12:30
This is a SIGNING event- Come and get a lovely signed copy of School For Bandits!

SEPTEMBER

Malmesbury Library
24th September 3pm-5pm
If you are aged between 4-11 you can take part in the Summer Reading Challenge
over the summer holidays. On the 24th of September I will presenting award certificates and medals and doing a talk about my work to parents and children who have participated in the challenge!
The Yellow Lighted bookshop will be selling books.

OCTOBER

Bath Kids Lit Fest
Central Library Bath
Saturday 1st October 2011 at 1pm
Exciting mask making School for Bandits event and story time.

The Children’s Bookshop – Muswell Hill
8th October 2011 11:30- 12:30pm
This is a SIGNING event- Come and get a lovely signed copy of School For Bandits. I’ll be doing some live drawing too so come along to suggest things for me to draw!
http://childrensbookshoplondon.com/

Portsmouth Bookfest
13th October 2011
(This is a schools only event, I look forward to meeting some enthusiastic young readers)
More info for schools

Southend Libraries Children’s Book Festival
19th October 2011
(Schools event only- Interested schools please contact Southend Libraries)

Word Up Festival- SPECIAL School for Bandits kids launch party
Monday 24th October 2011 (Half Term)
This event will be an extra special party event for School for Bandits at St Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, LONDON.
Timings and extra details to follow soon- don’t miss out. This event will be open to the public and ticketed.
Details at www.wordupfestival.co.uk

NOVEMBER

French Institute London – South Ken Kids Festival
17 Queensberry Place, London
Saturday 26th November
A day of events at the French Institute, including a drawing duel with Marc Boutavant.
You can download more info here

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Read all about me

The lovely Zoe Toft of Playing by the book has done a 'Desert Island Discs' style interview with me. You can read all about it here on her wonderful website http://www.playingbythebook.net

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Thursday, 30 June 2011

PPPick-up a... no, not a penguin - A PUFFIN!!

Hi y'all!

Not only has School for Bandits been LAUNCHED in the good old U.S of A now but I have also done a special guide for the Puffin Post on how to draw a puffin!

Have a look here: Click on image to enlarge.





Thursday, 16 June 2011

Ooh! Look at this! You can make a Ralph Raccoon Mask!


With the launch of School for Bandits fast approaching, I've designed a fab Raccoon mask for you to download and make- remember to print the full size version on CARD for best results. Please email me any photos if you make a mask, I'd love to see them.
This will also be available to download from my website.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

How a drawing progresses FINAL IMAGE


And here it is! The Final image. Although, now I have everything on layers in photoshop so I can change anything within reason. I can also add text of the story too.


How a drawing progresses Stage 3


Almost there...


Now using a special bit of photoshop trickery (I basically treat photoshop like a screen printing process) I layer up and select textures and images and start to colour it, I overlay shadows too. It takes me a few days to get it right and I don't stop tweaking colours and textures until I'm completely happy with the way it looks.


How a drawing progresses Stage 2





This is where I have lots of fun creating textures, I also have chosen certain elements of the image which I want to stand out (like the hut and the fox characters in this one) I paint these using water colours.


Friday, 3 June 2011

How a drawing progresses Stage 1 (ish)


In the next few posts I'll be posting various stages of how I build up an image.

So this is stage 1, just the black and white line. Usually the characters would be on separate layers in photoshop so I can move them around. I've made a few mistakes when drawing this, so it's already been through one stage of editing. However, it will need more editing along the way.

This is from a new book idea (see older blog posts for other image ideas from this book)

Next stage paint and textures... I'll be doing those next week so check my blog out again at the end of next week.


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Hay Festival Pics

I was at Hay for the entire bank holiday weekend. It was great to see my sheep everywhere! Not only did I get to see meet some celebrity authors and illustrators but I also got to draw on the windows! Here are a few pics (mainly from the event I did with Sean Taylor) What FUN! - more to follow soon... PS HOW impressed was I with those 'glitter disco sheep' being made by the kids in my first event?- VERY!!