Welcome to my new blog; where you'll be able to follow my journey being part of The Lightbox Gallery's, new children's book retrospective, Escape To Wonderland. 7 Aug-2 Jan '11. Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions. Prints of my work will be made available. And you can also book me for workshops and talks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

George and Ghostly Halloween!

Here are some pics of my George and Ghost events from a couple of weeks back. Was a fantastic day.

Many thanks to my lovely friends, Matt and Lisa, and also to the fab-tastic Sarah from The Lightbox, Irene at CassiPR (no connection!) and as always, Emma O'D!
But thanks most of all to all the children that came. Everyone looked truly spooktacular!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Order George and Ghost NOW!

Apparently reports are in that the first copy of 'George and Ghost' has landed. My lovely friend, Nick, got his in the post this morning. Very exciting indeed.

I love the idea that my little twosome might be ending up on people's front door mats all over the country... I think George especially is quite a shy character, so if he appears on yours, do be nice!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A hard day's training

Those of you who are regular readers of my non-lightbox blog will know that several times a year, I get my sketchbook out on a train and attempt to be Lynne Chapman. So, far, no success!

Lynne's RIDICULOUSLY good at being a proper, grown-up artist. She doesn't only carry a sketch book at all times, but she actually uses it- to great effect. This is something I should do far more often. I tend to only remember sketch pads for train journeys, but there's something very unique about train journeys that inspires me, and I usually end up storyboarding new book ideas and doodling odd characters rather than actually sketching.

Anyway, I went by train to a very exciting meeting with Sarah and Marilyn from The Lightbox, to discuss the possibility of doing another project with them. This would be HUGELY thrilling. I would get to work long term with Woking schools on an area I love- children's books! I would get to show kids how books were made, show them how work came together in real time, and help them to create work too. What could be better?! However, it was quite nerve-wracking attempting to pitch something like this as I've never done anything like it, and I really want it to work out. I have plenty of ideas about what I'd like to do if I get the opportunity; loads of lovely workshops and competitions etc. for a start! However forming this mush of a plan into a coherant enough state to tell other people about was tricky. Therefore, after the meeting my brain was quite drained of potential half-stories and characters. On the train, on the way back, I decided to take outside influence for once.

So, here's the chap who was sat opposite me in the carriage. He was the most terrible fidget. I think it was because he was trying to read a hardback, and it looked horribly heavy. He kept swapping the book from one hand to another. I was tempted to ask the person next to him to hold it for him! Bad, bad, model!

I shall let you know how I get on with things at The Lightbox, and in the mean time; go book your place on my George and Ghost events, and pre-order the book! Yay!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

George and Ghost Spooky Halloween Book Launch at The Lightbox

Yay, it's that time already! Time to send a new book out into the world. And I'd like YOU to come and celebrate with me.

The launch party will take place 30th October, just in time for many exciting ghostly goings-on. Workshops will take place at 1pm and 3pm. Details and booking to be found here

Both events are FREE and will include;

- gruesome games - Ghost-busting fun for all the family.

- dreadful drawing - Come create ghouls with me.

- 'George and Ghost' book-telling and signing

And more!


Remember, the last events booked up early so book your tickets now!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ready, steady, Go... Go.... I said, GO!

I've been merrily bumbling about with this new book. Despite the fact I'm writing it, and theoretically have control of the thing, I seem to be having more problems being decisive than with the others. Perhaps it's BECAUSE I'm writing it, I'm having the difficulties.

It's been a very 'stoppy-starty' project, which hasn't helped focus my thoughts- I started working with my Pooshnoozle character whilst on my MA, but a veritable plethora of obstacles have meant it's only been recently that I've started working on it again seriously.

On one hand, I know the book will be a far more well-rounded project now than it would have been had I gone straight into working on it from my course. I think I understand picture books better now, and I think the story is more solid. On the other hand, I've built up my expectations of it and freaked myself out a little. I thought working with an outside author was stressful- you're always worried as to whether you're living up to their expectations. However I forgot what a terrible meanie I can be to work for! I beat myself up daily!

I don't expect the pieces here will look anything like the finished book- at least I hope not, since they're sort of all over the place... They're more an initial train of thought, really; A starting point. You can see the main thing I'm trying to solve is background versus foreground.

My natural instinct is to always create a mega detailed piece of work. With Ollie and Pooshnoozle, it's very important though that the characters aren't competed with too much. The story is very character-centric, and the emotional interaction between the two is the priority. BUT, I do want bits of intense detail... afterall, that's what I love drawing. Balancing the two issues perfectly is going to take some more work, I think.

Regardless of how successful (or unsuccessful) these pieces are, how much I mentally slap myself upside the head, and how far I've got to go, I'm loving every minute of these types of problem. It's quite rarely that I can allow myself the time to properly work through something, and I'm really, really up for this! Afterall, this is the most exciting stage of a project. It is pretty terrifying, but the possibilities as to what this book could be are completely open to me; even more so than with 'Lively Elizabeth', and 'George and Ghost' because it is completely mine... Cripes!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Books Week.

It's Banned Books Week; a week in aid of highlighting the ubiquitous and ignorant censorship of books.

These are books that contain; sex, drugs, weaponry, homosexuality, genitalia Etc.- even in an educational context. But the banned list also includes; Sausages, sandwiches, hedgehogs, double-decker buses (American children won't know what they are, so better not include them rather than arouse curiosity) nipples (even on a gorilla- see Lynne Chapman's blog) and facial expressions (it's prefered a picture book gives out unrealistic or mixed-messages than shows anyone angry, sad or scared), anything occult (Bye, bye, Harry!) danger (pots on stoves, children anywhere near stoves... in fact, we know it's a kitchen and the book's about cooking, but perhaps we could leave the stove out altogether...?!)

Some of you may have read about this in UK press. Articles such as this BBC report are well-meaning but completely misinformed when they say 'There is a battle being fought in America over books.' I see you all reading that and looking slightly smug. If I didn't know better, I would be too.

Here, Anne Rooney's brilliant article highlights how this oversea's battle affects UK authors/illustrators and every single UK child. We may not think we're censoring our children's reading over here, but by Golly we are. And the decision to censor has been made long before teachers or parents have even caught a whiff of the books.

As well as slowly maiming our authors and illustrators imagination, I believe this level of taboo limits a child's opportunities to imagine and question. As Albert Einstein said,

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

He also said,

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

So, take a look here for Banned Book event idea's. You'll never know all the ways that the picture books on UK shelves have been altered/neutered (!) in order to be released, but to show your solidarity, simply have a read of some of the banned fiction texts. You can find a few of them here. 'James and the Giant Peach,' anyone?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Play the Game with Me- 15 Artists in 15 Minutes

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. 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. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what artists my friends choose..."

‎1. Egon Schiele
2. Stasys Eidrigevicius
3. Eric Fortune
4. Heath Robinson
5. Peter Cross...
6. Rackham
7. Tenniel
8. Ronald Searle
9. Chris Riddell
10. kathe kollwitz
11. Maurice Sendak
12. Egon Schiele (again!) The man was a genius.
13. Dave McKean

Ooh, surprisingly, getting really stuck now...

14. Brian Froud
15. Wayne Anderson

The picture I've used is a piece by William Heath Robinson. An exhibition of his work will run concurrently alongside Escape To Wonderland at The Lightbox, from December. His work was obviously made for print, however I've seen it in the flesh before, and it really is an experience not to be missed. There's a subtlety to his work that comes to life and starts to walk off the page. I can't wait.

Besides Heath Robinson, there are 5 other artists from my list exhibited at Escape To Wonderland. I'll let you find out which ones they are- I'm hoping The Lightbox might work it's way through my other 9 artists over time!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Private View Piccies!

Trying not to let on I've had half a bottle of wine.

The beautiful Lady Emma of Hachette.

The scrumptious John Huddy on the left, and the thoroughly delectable Alexis Deacon on the right. Quite like the way this pic kind of mirrors the ones taken with the kids from the launch!

The less said, the better!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Private View

It's 5.33 in the morning. And no, I have not 'just got in!' I'm a very good girl and was back at a decent hour, but I just can't sleep. I find there's quite a lot of adrenaline involved in book events, strange as it may seem. I was so wired last night even an hour spent watching the hugely scintillating Mr Katie Price on telly (not quite sure what had done to inflict that awfulness upon myself) could see me through a good night's sleep.

The evening started off early and yet slightly awry. I had done that marvellous thing where you realise there's a possibility that despite all your careful planning you're actually going to be late... so you panic and run in circles, Benny Hill stylee... which in turn ENSURES you're late. I located my keys, found my boots, forgot I'd found my keys and spent a pleasant 15 mins hunting for any sign of them in the laundry basket. I hope the acrid whiff of socks did not cling to all my conversations all night. I shall never know for sure.

Whilst in the murky depths of the basket, I frantically picked past the mahussive spider that's taken up residence in there. I am slightly unclear as to why my boyfriend and I go through this merry dance each time we do the washing. We both know the spider's in there, and yet neither of us can quite see fit to give him his marching orders. He's getting so huge I sort of feel I could send him out to get a job soon. Perhaps we'll keep him until his first paycheck comes in.

Anyway, I eventually I made it out the door to meet my little miracle-worker; Hachette's, Emma Swabey. Weirdly, Emma and I were sporting matching cricks in our necks. Conversation was conducted at strange angles all evening, heads-cocked like Jurassic Park raptors. I'm sure it made for an odd photo to say the least. We staggered to the nearest pub for a quick drink before the event.... for medicinal purposes only, mind.

It was lovely to catch up and hear a little of what's been going on at Hodder HQ of late. We planned the bookshop we've decided to start up. Our business plan so far consists of a Fisher Price cash register and getting a shop cat and dog to man the store on weekends. I'm thinking our idea might be just slightly on the fictional side... and I don't mean book-wise.

Finally we headed over to The Lightbox (late for that as well, having gotten gassing and lost track of time- idiots that we are). It was great to be back there but poor Emma had spent a few hours the previous day there too so I think she was a little weary.

We introduced ourselves to Alexis Deacon, author/illustrator of Beegu amongst other books, and that was exciting enough to perk both of us up. He seems very much like his work; quiet, witty, and strong-minded. And we also chatted to the marvellous John Huddy, of The Illustration Cupboard; responsible for providing much of the artwork on display. I'm full of respect for what they both do for the industry. Both darned fine chaps too, to be sure. Alexis got a little silly with some of the book props (well you would, wouldn't you?), so John and I read him a bedtime story to calm him down. (pics to follow!) It was, by this time, getting on.

We didn't have much chance to catch up with The Lightbox folk as time seemed to shrink away but it was good to see them all the same. Apparently the exhibition's been doing really well and attracting lots of visitors. Hooray!

In November the exhibition will be getting a festive face-lift too for Christmas. Special Yuletide illustrations will be added into the mix and there'll be a feast of events to match- keep an eye on the website, as some of the newly arranged events won't be in the programme. And in December they'll be running a Heath Robinson exhibition alongside it too. Even more reason for you to to visit and even re-visit, Boys and Girls.

And guess what? There were so many people about that I STILL haven't seen the whole show!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Audio Interviews and the P.V.

I got a very exciting and welcomed envelope in the post last week; an invite to the Escape to Wonderland Private View. I can't wait!

A Private View is really a sort of celebration of an exhibition for all the people involved in putting it together. A couple of cheeky glasses of wine are enjoyed and there's a collective mopping of brow's and enormous sigh of relief at having pulled off the feat.

One of the things that was so nice about being part of this show was seeing it come together. I've never been part of something like this before so the whole operation was interesting to me. From the low tech Ikea missions to the ultra-fancy crane used to adjust lighting (still quite gutted I didn't get a go on that!) Also, realising how many people are involved in the careful orchestration of these events; quietly beavering away towards looming deadlines without the vaguest hint of persnickety-ness. Perhaps this is what I was most shocked about. All these people working ridiculous hours together, often having to occupy the same small part of the gallery at one time. I thought there'd be more chaos and death threats! There's more drama in my own studio on a day-to-day basis... and I work ON MY OWN!

So I'm certainly looking forward to meeting everyone again. I'm hoping to hear 'behind-the-scenes' tales from the START of the process. I pretty much came in right at the end, so I want to hear how it all came about in the first place.

I'm sad I didn't get photos of The Lightbox in its various stages of dress, but I'm pretty sure there are some in existance. I shall endeavour to get ahold of copies to post.

As well as Lightbox staff, all the other illustrators will also be invited. This is tremendously exciting. I have no idea who will be able to attend, as the illustrators involved are spread right the way across the country. However it would be amazing to meet one or two.

That said, it's a bit daunting. I have been lucky enough to meet Shirley Hughes a couple of times... and neither time have I uttered anything even vaguely comprehensible. I think I may have spluttered at her, like Daffy Duck.

I shall let you know how I get on.

Here is my audio interview for the The Lightbox.

And here is a brilliant interview that Marilyn, the director of The Lightbox did for the radio. How excellent to find a station so interested. The interviewer seems pretty excited by the show too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Radio Ga Ga

So, this morning was quite interesting. I got to do my first ever interview, on BBC Radio Surrey... wearing my PJ's! Because that's the beauty of radio!

It was brilliant to further promote the Lightbox show, and children's book illustration in general; since that was one of the topics of the show. I'm not even totally sure what they asked me, but I was talking about the exhibition and my favourite illustrator. Hugely exciting. And I didn't choke on my tea or anything! The 'listen again' link wasn't working this morning, but I'll post it as soon as it's up and running.

Anyway, it got me wondering what other topics of conversation had taken place whilst the interviewee was wearing their favourite jammies. Had major interrorgations or news bulletins been broadcast whilst the entire BBC studio sat about with hot waterbottles and fluffy, rabbit slippers?! But even further. I was in my living room, on the phone, wearing pink owls. However, Marilyn, from the Lightbox was also being interviewed. She could have been wearing HER PJ's too. AND the interviewer could have been wearing HIS PJ's! And yet, we all donned our best posh voice's, hoping all other parties did not know our guilty secret! Listening to The Archers will never be the same again!

Here are some more piccies from the launch. If anyone else has pictures from the show, please do give me a yell. I'd love to see them, and perhaps even pop them on the site. There may even be some sort of illustrationy goodies in it for you. Thanks very much.

Monday, August 9, 2010

We have lift off!

My dear, dear Lightbox blog. You have been neglected due to me working at the ACTUAL Lightbox. I shall appologise profusely, pull you up an armchair, pour you a cup of tea and bring you up to date pronto.

Well, as you well know, the 7th was the grand opening to 'Escape to Wonderland'. Of course, me being me, come the 7th, I was still plucking and tucking at my installation gone 10am (the doors opened at 10.30).

The weary curator’s moan of, 'Oh no, not more stuff!' as I’d arrived through the door was slightly disconcerting, but as time ticked on, I wasn’t quite so worried; mainly due to fact that he, Michael, and the lovely Lynne (of the non-Chapman variety) were also still frantically bashing away. It appeared they were punishing a new and misbehaving, self-build, Ikea table. It turned out that two of The Lightbox's finest, Sarah and Anthony, had popped out for a last minute sprint to buy the furniture the morning before and returned 11 HOURS later! After epic traffic chaos, and with jet-lag, DVT, and all the usual things you end up with from Ikea (an intolerance to meatballs, for example) they’d staggered in with tables in tow. Whatever it took, the tables WERE going to the ball!

Whilst the boyf also gallantly took up the cause, brandishing an alan key in earnest, I hurriedly planned and drew up a picture for a sort of pictorial visitors' book for the show... which, was to be photographed (along with myself) at 11am sharp by the press.... I *think* I produced something semi-presentable in the short time, and boyfriend now believes I should be able to finish a picture book per day 'or I'm obviously not really trying!'

By then, the place was populated by humans of all shapes and sizes. Kids were whizzing about like balls in a pinball machine. Adults were doing that 'I'm not really running in a gallery' speed walk after them- None of them quite managing to look ‘the austere grown-up’ when they too had spotted favorite characters from their own childhoods! And The Lightbox, being a fantastically airy building (and therefore pretty echo-ey), was sounding busy too. Something that oddly, was quite brilliant for calming the nerves. Perhaps because it was obvious everyone was having a great time.

One last important thing needed to be sorted out before the first workshop at 1pm. Sarah and my miracle-worker, Emma O'D from Hodder, dashed about with me sticking up pictures of Lively Elizabeth characters for the children's treasure hunt. On our way, I got a quick squizz at the gallery as well.

In one room, I noted a coin operated life-size dog (I've made a mental note to go back and investigate that chap, for sure!) down a corridor, I saw a really interesting twisted-up sculpture (looking a little like someone's soul, I thought- and also to be examined in future), but of course what jumped out most at me was the work in the illustration exhibition. I still hadn't had a chance to look around the show properly, and much of the work hadn’t been up when I'd dashed off the night before. Some time over night, Chris Riddell, Maurice Sendak, and Wayne Anderson’s work had crept in. ‘Wow!’ Was all I could think, as we whizzed by some Oliver Jeffers’.

The press photographer arrived, and much gurning from me ensued. 3 amazing kids were hoiked out of the exhibition to pose as well, and they proceeded to look admirably interested, whilst the photographer snapped away and I pretended to be drawing for them. It was lovely to meet them. We also got to catch up later for my workshop and it was lovely to see some familiar grinning faces in the crowd.

Of course, due to the angle of the book in the photo’s, the picture I'd so fretted over that morning, isn't likely to feature, so I needn’t have rushed after all!

Next, we moved out into the gallery, to take photos with my work. My marvelous friend, Rachel, had helped put together my installation piece the day before. We'd spent the day getting it exactly right so that; I now got to sit on my chair, at my drawing board, next to my slippers and mug of tea... surrounded by members of the public, the Lightbox's PR crew, my Hodder people, another photographer, and... wasn't that my Mum back there...? I was at the point of yelling, 'this is not my room. THESE are not my toys!' Labyrinth-style, when Lively Elizabeth author, Mara Bergman, turned up. Having her about to bounce off of (and I've spoken before about what a relaxing influence she is) made the situation more normal somehow and whilst being snapped, we took the opportunity to have a quick chat about what was going to happen in the workshops…

...which both turned out to be fully-booked! The workshops were the bit I'd been losing sleep over, throughout the month. What if no one came? What if too many came? What if the activities I planned didn’t work? Because I'd organized the events myself, I was very conscious if it all went wrong, it'd be my fault. And Mara had come all this way. And this was to be the first time I was going to draw in public too! And, and and…!!!

I think people think, if you can draw, you can ALWAYS draw. What they don't know is there are days you can't draw to save your life. Your mind might be willing, but your hand's coordination has just packed up and gone on holiday. Normally, you ride it out, and hope things turn out better the day after. But, what if today was one of those days?!

As it turned out, both workshops went more smoothly than I could have hoped for. Mara read the story of Lively Elizabeth, and the kids loved joining in with her, yelling 'BOO!' and saying, 'SORRY!' We played a game of 'Elizabeth says' to get everyone moving, I drew for the kids (and no one laughed) and all the activity sheets Hodder had provided were excellent for allowing the kids to discover illustration a bit more for themselves. The children’s drawing activities also gave me time to talk to the kids individually. This was the best bit of the day for me. There was quite an age-range in the groups, and I loved seeing how differently they were handling stuff. From the tiny tots, that just got on with it and happily babbled at you, wandering seamlessly between topics, to the older kids that asked for advice on how to draw eyes or that seemed wracked with self-consciousness. I was quite choked up to see how much effort they'd all put into their drawings, and the results were stunning! I’m gutted I didn’t get more pictures of the event.

After sending them off after the workshops to do the aforementioned treasure hunt, I was surprised that even after an hour's search, kids were STILL up for looking for that one lost character! Eventually, having to be bribed with answers and marshmallows and peeled away from the place by tired parents.

I think, hearing news of how books aren't being read anymore, and how kids would rather be off doing other things, and locked up alone in my studio as I usually am, I'd almost begun to believe the reports. I knew what a momentous exhibition this would be to people like me; art students, illustrators, writers too. I knew it'd be an excellent teaching aid for local schools as well... But I didn’t think it would affect the general public, of all ages, on such a level as it did. My insides leapt to see, firsthand, the utter joy that it brought to everyone. The adults were engaged. But more importantly, the kids were too. I'm certain not one of them missed their T.V.'s that afternoon.

During a time when I think I've also been guilty of cynicism towards my own industry, I'm thankful to have been reminded of its' power to capture imagination. And I’m grateful to the strong imaginations and enthusiasm of the entire Lightbox team that make it possible to celebrate illustration on this scale. Not to mention for allowing me to be part of it.

We finished the day off; a collective and exhausted puddle on the comfy sofa's of The Lightbox's cafe. It'd been momentous- I'd worn a blimmin' dress, for goodness sake's! But the night was just getting going for The Lightbox, who were holding an enormous thank you party for all their amazing volunteer's. Worn out, we drained our glasses, said our goodbye's and left them to it, toddling off into the night.

…And I STILL haven't managed to see the exhibition yet!!!

Photo's supplied by Cassi. Please check out her fantastic account of the show here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Illustration tip to myself No. 1. Draw what you like, or what inspires you.

It sounds obvious, but it's sometimes easy to forget. It is good to conquer things you find difficult to draw. But I usually find there is a way of doing this more organically than forcing yourself to sit there and torture yourself over it. For example, I'm not that strong at drawing buildings, however, I'm pretty sure I'd make a darned good stab at rising to the challenge if I were given a sketchbook and a beautiful, empty, ornate theatre! As a professional illustrator, I can't always draw what I want. However, there are always ways of bringing in elements of what I love into my work. And oftentimes I find what I'm most pleased with in the end, was the thing I was most worried about drawing in the first place.

My favourite things to draw are:

- monsters- both scary and friendly. 'Nuff said.

- trees of all kinds. I love the crazily quiet and still kind, that you expect to find faerie rings at the bottom of. I love the gnarled kind, you can see lots of different mangled faces in. But I also like the fat, portly look of toupouri and the swishy little new trees just as much. There's something about trees that makes me want to commit each to memory; the fact that there are so many different characters, perhaps. And a good tree can tell such a large chunk of story; about how a character is feeling and suchlike.

- Odd machines. This is a new one for me. I've always loved clockwork and steam engines etc. The way they work is fascinating. It sounds strange, but I think I was made aware of this by a book called 'The Tasks of Tantalon' which I had as a child. It was a puzzle book and there was a spread in which you had to work out which way to pull a lever to save the prince. You had to follow the workings of all these different cogs to figure it out. I thought it was so clever. Perhaps though, because of the complexity of that spread, I've been hugely scared of drawing machinery. I've always wanted my drawn machines to work! It wasn't until recently, finding Heath Robinson, I realised some of the joy of drawn machinery was that perhaps it didn't! (See image above, for my depiction of a machine that hasn't got a hope of lift-off!)
- Children. I'm always drawn to the human form. It's part of what got me drawing in the first place. There's a purity and expressiveness in a childs' movement that's particularly appealing in story-telling, regardless of the fact that most narrative illustration centres around them anyway. Kids tend to show you exactly how they feel in their facial expression and posture. Adults learn to hide everything, and teenagers purposefully adopt poses to contradict their emotions. Their honesty makes children very good storytelling tools. I mostly like to team one child up with another non-human character, so that they have a sounding board to really emphasise each others emotions.

- Lighting. Lighting is another one of those things that can play its' own character in a piece, and that's why I love it. If you draw nothing else on a sheet of paper, but a character standing still, we'll still know how that person's feeling by how you light it. Theatre and film are two of my greatest influences, and these are two mediums that use lighting to it's best.

So, find what you love and draw, draw, draw away. Passion will bring the best out of your artistic ability, and give you the confidence later on to handle subjects, you're not so sure of.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Audio-h no!

Oh dear. My day's preparation has been slightly nerve-wracking. I'm finding out there's a lot more to this whole exhibition lark than just bunging up some pictures. Give me a pencil, and if I don't have a darned good stab at creating something, I will at least feel safe. Today was completely pencil-less and I was totally out of my element.

I did an audio interview for the Lightbox archives.... and blethered like a rabid monkey. The interviewer was the lovely, Rib Davis, who did a very good job at putting me at my ease. Even at my best, though, I feel I can never quite say what I mean. Fortunately, I'm pretty sure he's as good an editor as he is an interviewer. With extensive audio nips and tucks, he has assured me, he'll have me sounding like a fully competant member of society in no time at all.

We talked about; my first illustration memories, how I go about interpreting texts, what I'm up to next, and what I want from myself as an author of stories.

His last question to me was, was there anything else I wished I'd been asked? Of course, I couldn't for the life of me, think of anything at the time (besides perhaps, would you like a strong cup of tea and a chocolate eclair???) but I've been thinking about it ever since.

I think I wish I'd been asked what knowledge or advice I would have told myself when I was just coming out of college. And it made me think about writing a list of top tips for the 'me' of two and a bit years ago. I thought I might put them up on here.

*You can come and snigger at my audio efforts at one of the two listening posts in the show.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Booked and booked

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness! It's just two weeks until the exhibition launches! I've seen some photo's of the installations coming together, and I think it could very well be MAGIC!

I shan't tell you the lay out of the main thing, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone that makes it down- although I'll definitely post pictures once the show's open. I can tell you that it'll be a chronological journey through the ages of children's book illustration. There's something very special about the idea that whatever age you are, you'll be able to see images from your own childhood.

The exhibition will of course also cover present day, and I'm very excited to see all of my hero's work in the flesh. I'm particularly interested in seeing Anthony Browne's work- I'm a sucker for detail! And from yester-year, I feel I may be drooling openly at a glimpse of Tenniel's work.

For my part, I'll be setting up a separate installation based on 'The Day in the Life of an Illustrator'. I'll be re-creating an area of my studio, so people can see what equiptment I use, and a little bit of the process behind my books. I'll have work exhibited, and an audio interview. Please don't laugh at my squeaky voice! I haven't recorded it yet, but I'm sure I'll sound like an infant mouse doing a bad Michael Jackson impression.

Today I went and got my work printed up, and took a trip into The Lightbox to leave it to be framed. I was asked to choose 3 pieces of work to display. The only thing I don't like about this sort of thing is the decision-making- I'm terrible at making decisions. I can't even choose what cereal to have for breakfast... It's very easy to select work if it's not your own, but it's harder to see things objectively when it's your own. It's good to pick work that's varied, but that complements eachother. Unfortunately, I often find the pieces I can look at without cringing are the similar ones! Also, more and more, I do my work in pieces, which I stitch together in the computer afterward, so finding recent original work that's complete enough is pretty difficult. It's done now though, and I'll put it out of my mind. I'm beginning to feel it's all coming together, and the reality that this is really going to happen has finally hit.
My only slightly 'eeeeeek-ish' worry now, is what to do for the workshops. I'm thinking of doing a character one... and possibly an interpretation of text one, but I'm really not sure. I've never done this sort of thing before, so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Lightbox News

I shall be running 2 storytellings with workshops on the 7th.
At: 1 - 1.45pm and 3 - 3.45pm
Both will be FREE, although booking is required.
There'll be a special book on display, for anyone and everyone who wishes to have a go at illustrating. I shall be putting my pencil to good use, by starting the book off with one of my own drawings, and then the book shall be handed over to YOU to show us your very best in artistic flair! You can come and see me put together my efforts during the morning of the 7th.
I'll also be putting together a couple of lectures for later in the year. These will be for teenagers+. I'll let you know as soon as dates are announced.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Welcome All!

This is my first blog post to this lovely, brand spanking new, blog- can you smell the new paint? And the eagerness of the all those new, freshly-formed letters? Ahh, exciting times, people!

As you may have read, this blog will be about my Escape To Wonderland; that is, my small part in what is set to be an AMAZING children's book exhibition, dreamt up by the fantastic people at The Lightbox, Woking.

Anyway, this is going to be my way of keeping all the blog posts related to this exciting topic all in one place. You can also visit my main blog here, for all the regular news and gossip.