About illustration, pattern and the love of doing arty things

scruffy garden dog

I like scruffy dogs, they are the best kind if you ask me. Here is one that’s been padding around the garden lately, sniffing everything and contemplating life. I think he might be looking for a friend…


Cheshire Cats run amok in Essex Libraries!

Last week I was joined by children in Witham, Basildon and Maldon libraries where we made scores of Cheshire Cats. Being naturally solitary creatures, Cheshire Cats have rarely, if ever been seen in these kinds of numbers before, making this half-term a record-breaking Wonderland phenomenon! Last week’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” workshops in Essex Libraries were supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and I’d like to say a huge thank you too to all the wonderful librarians and volunteers who assisted with the collage cat creation. There is still one workshop to go so if your children come along to Saffron Walden Library on the 14th November they can make their very own Cheshire Cat to add to the score!






DTRH Saffron Walden

arts council logo

down the rabbit hole in Essex Libraries!

For me next week will bring three out of four eagerly awaited library workshops. I am venturing across the border from Cambridgeshire to Essex to make Cheshire Cats with the children of Witham, Basildon and Maldon!

Essex Libraries are being supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England to hold a number of workshops around the county celebrating 150 years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I am extremely lucky to be one of the artists chosen to give workshops on the theme “Down the Rabbit Hole” – my muse will be a disappearing collaged Cheshire Cat!

It would make an illustrator happy if and your children would like to come and make Cheshire Cats with me next week at Witham, Basildon or Maldon, or on the 14th November at Saffron Walden! All the dates and contact numbers are below – I look forward to seeing you there.


arts council logo

witches at Ramsey Ram Jam

Witches were abroad at Ramsey Ram Jam this Saturday! By and large they were about 50cm high, made of paper, card and various sparkly things and looked a bit like Bella Donna

The children who took part in my workshops made some truly magical work and I think they were extra inspired by the previous day’s visit from Ruth Symes who is the fantastic author responsible for penning the Bella Donna series.

Ramsey Ram Jam is a super event with all sorts of workshops and talks from authors and illustrators who this year as well as myself included: Matt Brown, Nicola Killen, Lizzie Finlay, Steve Antony and Helen Moss. Thanks to all the children and parents who came along and the library staff and volunteers who make Ramsey Ram Jam a wonderful event for us all to be a part of. Below are some of the stunning results from witch class:









I noticed these little guys on my bookshelf so I took a surreptitious snap. I think they were just having a chat, or perhaps a book group?

a month of monsters

It’s October and that means it’s almost Halloween and THAT means I’m allowed to draw monsters as much I like – brilliant! Here’s the first one.

mushroom season

It’s cold in the air and damp on the ground and in the forests and the fields the mushrooms are beginning to appear. I’m looking forward to finding my first chanterelles and penny buns, but meantime I thought I’d celebrate the season of the mushroom with a few fungus-inspired patterns – these ones are anything but edible…





Maisie travels the world

I’m delighted to find myself in possession of some of the co-edition copies of the first three Maisie Hitchins stories. It seems that intrepid Maisie has now travelled to France, Poland, Indonesia and America! I love to see the differences between the books, the Amercian edition for example uses a little scroll for the series title “The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins” and underneath its dust jacket the book is a perfect reproduction of the notebook that Maisie carries everywhere with her – what a lovely detail. Thanks so much to Emily at Stripes Publishing for rounding these up for me!

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence in American and Indonesian editions.
The Case of the Stolen Sixpence in American and Indonesian editions.
The Case of the Phantom Cat in American and French editions.
The Case of the Phantom Cat in American and French editions.
The Case of the Vanishing Emerald in Polish and French editions.
The Case of the Vanishing Emerald in Polish and Indonesian editions.
American hardback copy of The Case of the Phantom Cat
American hardback copy of The Case of the Phantom Cat
Phantom Cat interior - American edition
Phantom Cat interior – American edition
Maisie book stack
Maisie book stack

back to school

For me and studio pal Nicola Killen much of this summer has been spent preparing for Art Club and figuring out the exercises we wanted the children to do. This meant a lot of playing with materials and mark-making, I felt like I’d gone back to my student days where experimentation was the norm. It was great! Here are some of the results of using tissue and coloured pencil for collage week and monoprint for printing week.




Art Club – 3D

On Tuesday Nicola Killen and I held our fourth and final Art Club and the theme this time was doll’s house rooms from shoe boxes. We had a wonderful array of bits and bobs for the children get creative with and at the end of the session we put all their rooms together to make a mansion of a doll’s house! Huge thanks to all those who helped us gather the supplies for this session – both Nicola’s and my parents, Perry and Ian as well as Jones the Bootmakers for supplying all the boxes. Special thanks go to my Dad who lovingly sawed up and sanded all the blocks of wood that were used to make the tiny furniture. We would also like to thank the wonderful Anne, Pippa, David and Richard from Cambridgeshire libraries for making Art Club happen!













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