News...So Much News!

So it's only been.....four months since my last post!! This year has been the busiest on record and I've been involved in all sorts of different things alongside my commissioned picture books from painting sculptures and animating trailers to designing book festival postcards and prints for charity. It's all been happening and I'm looking forward to a break away in France later this Summer.

KNIGHTS TRAIL

The year started off with this chap (not me the other guy) :

I was fortunate enough to have my design selected for this years Lincoln Knights Trail to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln and the sealing of the Charter of the Forest. There are many Wild In Art trails that are put on around the country and this was the second time that one of these events has been hosted in my hometown of Lincoln so I was very proud to be involved. It was great to do some physical artwork away from the studio and the screen (he was stored in my garage) and while it was a challenge in areas it was a lot of fun to do and I'm very pleased with the outcome. Here's the sculpture in place at Lincoln College who were the sponsors :

I'll be putting together a separate area on this website for everything Knights Trail related, from the initial design to work in progress shots, so I'll keep this brief for now.

I also designed some prints, an animated trailer and a billboard to go alongside this sculpture. The prints are being sold here in Lincoln at the Visitor Information Centre as well as my Etsy shop (which will go live again very soon) The trailer can be viewed here on my website or over on my Vimeo Channel :

'Welcome to Knight Time'

I'll post up images of the billboard when it's up on the building but it was the biggest piece of artwork I've had to do so far measuring 4m x 3m.

If you are in the area be sure to check out the Knights Trail as there are some fantastic designs on show and plenty of good pubs along the way.

JAKE BAKES A MONSTER CAKE

As well as painting this sculpture I also had my commissioned picture book work to do which included Jake Bakes a Monster Cake, my next book publishing with Macmillan in September. It's written by the fabulous Lucy Rowland (Pirate Pete and his Smelly Feet) and features Jake who wants to cook up a storm in the kitchen and bake his best friend Sam a cake. His friends, however, have other ideas! It was a lot of fun to do and the paperback version comes with stinky stickers, similar to Pirate Pete (these smell worse though!)

This will be available later this year in all good bookshops and online from the 7th September.

SPIDER!

Then it was onto Spider! written by the fabulous Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey, Abigails Party, The Singing Detective) and publishing with Hodder Childrens. The story follows Rafael and his pet cat on a journey discovering about the common house spider and why they really aren't that scary. I've always been a fan of spiders and I think they get some bad press sometimes so it was great to work on a book that details how amazing these eight-legged mini-beasts really are. The book includes lots of facts and figures about spiders along the way so it makes for a fun educational book as well.

It was great to work on this title with the Hodder team so looking forward to many more. This book will be out in all good bookshops and online in October.

AOI WORLD ILLUSTRATION AWARDS

This took me by surprise I have to say as I've always held this award in high regard, so to be shortlisted out of the thousands of images sent in was a proud moment in my career as an Illustrator. The World Illustration Awards is judged by industry professionals and it always showcases an array of different work so to be included amongst the incredible talent that was shortlisted was fantastic. You can read a blog that my agency wrote about it here.

I entered my piece 'We Will Remember' which was a personal image I came up with last year to commemorate the 100 years since the Battle of the Somme and Armistice Day :

I'm looking to take this image further as I feel there's more to say so watch this space!

COTTAGES DE GARRIGUES

I'd been asked to design a logo by two of our friends who are setting up their Gîte business in the South-West of France. Cottages de Garrigues is a fantastic 17th century farmhouse in the Dordogne offering three gîtes for rent with acres of woods and countryside surrounding it. They wanted a simple pen & ink/pencil sketch look to the design, so after looking at many different photos of their building I put something together :

 

NEWARK BOOK FESTIVAL

More recently I was asked to design an image to be used on a limited edition postcard to be given away during the Newark Book Festival in July. The brief was fairly open but it had to include elements of Newark (the castle, marketplace etc) and a character that can be used each year to coincide with the relevant theme. This year it's 'Adventures and Heroes' so I decided to go down the Sherlock Holmes (Mouse Detective) route with my design. I initially did two designs but felt the first one wasn't answering the brief well enough so started on the second which works much better :

I'll also be doing a 'Pirate Pete' event with my author Lucy Rowland so if you're in the area you can purchase tickets here Newark Book Festival. Come along for some Piratey fun (clothes pegs recommended!)

 

I've now pretty much caught up with everything that's been happening these past few months. Currently working on my next picture book which is with Amazon, Mrs Claus Takes the Reins. Santa Claus is sick and can't deliver the presents, so there's only one thing for it :

Mrs Claus steps in!! :)

 

Updates Coming Soon!

So apologies for the lack of updates in this news section recently. I've been so busy and I've been doing all sorts from picture books to painting sculptures to animating picture book trailers. I'll provide more information very soon but in the meantime, here's a spider for a thing I'm currently working on! :)

Updates coming very soon!

3000 Chairs

In May Illustrators, authors and children responded to a publication of Nicola Davies's poem The Day The War Came which drew attention to the 3000 unaccompanied Syrian children that the UK government decided not to give a safe place to stay. Nicola called on everyone who was outraged by this to paint, draw or sketch an empty chair and then share it on Twitter.

Here was my contribution :

You can read more about this campaign and see the other chairs that were sent in here

Illustrator Interview

It's been a very busy year already full of moose, pirates and dinosaurs. I've got some very exciting news to share with everyone but I can't quite yet plus there's the upcoming 'Too many Moose' trailer that will be EXCLUSIVELY revealed during publication week (5th July)

 

In the meantime I was kindly interviewed by Gabriela Gonzalez, an illustrator living and working and Belgium and who is the Regional Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, Belgium.

The link to my interview is here so I hope it offers some good advice to all those looking to dive into illustration :)

New Studio, New Year!

Happy New Year!

2016 is off and running and January has already flown by. I'm also very late getting round to updating everything on here so apologies for that. However it's been a very busy start to the new year!

So what's been going on since my last news update way back forever ago in August last year. The Bright Group Christmas party was fun as always being held at the new Bright Emporium which is a fantastic new gallery space that also hosts book readings and other events. Now in my thirteenth year represented by Bright this new premises will open up a whole new dimension to the agency and I'm very proud to be a part of it.

Martha from 'Too Many Moose' on the Bright Emporium window

Martha from 'Too Many Moose' on the Bright Emporium window

Over the Christmas and New Year period I also moved out of my old studio and into my new one at home. There were many factors that contributed to moving out after being there for seven years but sometimes you need a fresh look and a change. After all….…change is good! It's certainly worked out very well for me as I'm really happy with how the new studio has come together, even turning my hand to carpet fitting in the process. But the end result has produced a very creative, inspiring space to work in. I've filled it with all my books and prints that I've acquired over the years, it's also energised me into picking up my paints and pencils again. Sadly I downed these tools for far too many years and decided to sit in front of a tablet. Digital artwork is fantastic and the majority of my work is produced using lots of different custom-made brushes and textures in Photoshop, however it's been great to pick up a brush again and 'retrain' myself using traditional media. Currently working up some pieces in the style below as they've been well received so I'm very pleased with how it's going!

The new studio

The new studio

Hare in Snow

Hare in Snow

Time for a nap

Time for a nap

Winter trees

Winter trees

Inky whale

Inky whale

Work-wise I don't think I've been busier. Around some of the smaller projects I've got on I'm currently writing and drawing up the concepts for the next two 'Brian the Smelly Bear' books with Hinkler in Australia, one involves a love interest for old Brian and the other…..well you'll have to find out but things get a little bit crazy for him let's just say that. Also my work with Macmillan is moving forward at a rate of knots. Revised roughs are being drawn up and the cover has just been approved for 'Pirate Pete and his Smelly Feet' so it can go into the Rights Guide. Sneak peek coming soon!

As well as all this I was asked by Cygnet Ink to come up with an image of our fantastic cathedral here in the city of Lincoln. It's currently for sale in the cathedral shop and will be online here very soon! 

I chose to do the iconic West Front which is the main entrance of this incredible building. I wanted to keep to a very simple design and a limited colour palette while giving it a contemporary feel. 

The West Front

The West Front

So all in all it's a busy time in the new studio. Bologna Children's Book Fair is just around the corner which I'll be visiting again this year, we've managed to get a fantastic place in the middle of the city with a roof terrace so drinks round ours. Looking forward to catching up with friends and publishers out there and generally having a few days away from the studio. I'll be sorting my personal shop on here out at some point as well where you'll be able to buy limited edition prints.

In the meantime, watch this space for more news! :)

 

What's Been Happening?

So two months have passed since my last update (sorry!) but I have been very busy with various things and time has flown by! So what's been going on since May?

 

It's been moose, moose, moose for a while and we're now at the artwork stage for Mail Order Moose which is great news. It's been a lot of fun to do and it's really coming together. The cover artwork has been approved and we're just tinkering with the type so it stands out on the shelf and it'll be good to go. There's been a few versions of the front cover and I'll post up some cover developments for this very soon. 

Everyone loves colouring in moose! :)

Everyone loves colouring in moose! :)

It's also been a very busy time for parties and book do's. Had a great time catching up with friends at Benji Davies's Grandad's Island book launch and overdosed on watermelon and chewy teeth! :)

Then there was a golden invitation onto a pirate ship for the fab launch of Fred Blunt's Captain Falsebeard. With an inflatable parrot in one hand and some grog in the other, much fun was had that could only be described as 'ARRRRRRRR!!'  Particular mention to my agency Bright Group International for organising such a great shindig and here is Fred himself with some of my fellow landlubbers! :)

I've just signed a very exciting two book deal with a fantastic publisher and I'll be posting this very smelly news soon.

To round everything off I went to the very impressive RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) building on Great Portland street for the Macmillan Summer party. Saw some familiar faces and met some new ones, all in all a lovely evening, many thanks to Macmillan and my editor Laura Roberts for the invite.

So onwards into the rest of the Summer. Coming up I've got Yasmeen's  book launch for I'm a Girl, meetings, the annual Bright Summer Picnic (always a laugh) and then onto France for a well earned break (plus a bit of work on the side plus sun….and wine……….and cheese!)

Oh…..and more moose! :)




5000 Superfans!

I've just hit 5000 likes over on my Facebook fan page and just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to you all for the continued support and fantastic comments. Really appreciate it and glad you're enjoying what I post up! :)



Bright Literary

My agency Bright Group International have just finished putting the final touches to a fantastic new literary site. Here's a snapshot of the 'Rising Stars' page which I'm very proud to be a part of alongside some great people and superb scribblers!

I am currently working on my first author/illustrated book using a shiny new style so keep your eyes open for updates! :)