I have been a bit quiet on the posting front for a while but I’m back now with a detail from a book I’m working on at the moment. It’s still early days so I won’t say very much other than… it’s about cats! Who would have thought? Here is a little sneak-peak of my lovely green 70s kitchen!
Yes, exactly! This is a gorgeous little book bursting at the seams with cats of all shapes and sizes and I am very proud to say I illustrated it! Be More Cat reveals to the reader deep catish wisdom and benefits from the closely observed eccentricities of its author Alison Davies’ various feline muses. Alison has an expanding family of cats, two of which, Honey and Minnie were a great inspiration in creating this book – you can read more about this amazing pair on Alison’s blog. Be More Cat is published by Quadrille Publishing and is out in shops now – if you would like a little more cat love in your life then look it up!
This week I received a parcel full of beautiful hardback and paperback copies of the next book in the Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro. All three previous books in the series are science-based but with a liberal scattering of magical critters and Caterflies and Ice is no exception. Caterflies are extremely cute individuals; furry and green with a passion for catnip, but they have a big problem and so do their catnip plants – too much snow! I loved illustrating this story not only because it was such fun drawing all the little beasties but also because I love drawing snow scenes and this book is entirely set in snow! Happy me… Caterflies are unleashed in America on the 21st November and in the UK on the 7th December – hurrah!
I was sifting through paintings the other day to take to The Curiosity Gallery in St Ives who stock my artwork, and I uncovered this little pattern tile. Since it had not seen the light of day since I made it some time last year, I thought it was high time I finished it! So one short burst of activity later I had added some black ink to what was originally just a watercolour image, scanned it and tried out repeating the tile. I was highly delighted to discover that it works quite well as a pattern! I love trying to figure out pattern tiles by hand, it’s such fun and gives you a great sense of achievement when you find it all fits together nicely. Here is my (still a bit rough around the edges) finished pattern.
Last year I had a funny dream about a cat who was a superhero and when I woke up I just had to draw it. I came across this piece when looking through some portfolio work and remembered that I had actually finished it and coloured it in photoshop. I wanted it to look atmospheric and a bit old fashioned hence the very limited coloured palette. Anyhow, its never since seen the light of day so I thought I’d post it here. Below are some snaps of work in progress and above the finished image.
It’s Inktober again! I haven’t done a great deal of drawing lately as I have had a bit of a disruptive time moving house, so the start of October and the Inktober initiative comes at just the right time to galvanise me and get me inking again. Here is the drawing I did for day one, the prompt was “swift” so I took it literally and drew a swift… They are my favourite birds though so I think it’s allowed!
I had a lovely surprise in the post – my new book from Oxford University Press! Earlier this year I illustrated a book for OUP’s Story Sparks series called Tomorrow Never Comes. It is an excellent little story by Joanna Nadin about a girl called Mabel who is deeply bored. Although she has lots of ideas for fun things to do, her family is always fobbing her off with the line maybe tomorrow. Mabel is really quite patient, but she can’t wait forever… so she decides to take matters into her own hands with somewhat chaotic results!
I realised a couple of days ago that Gifted? had opened their new competition with the brief “tropical” and I thought it would be fun to enter. Then I realised I was a little behind the times, in fact the deadline was the end of the very same day… I decided to fish out my watercolour set and get going despite the tight deadline – after all there is a certain freedom to feeling like you have so little time to do something that if it doesn’t work, well, so what? Anyway, I managed to paint these two little watercolour pictures and submit them before the end of the day, which made me happy and also made me realise that sometimes it’s actually quite nice not to overthink things!
Saturday saw the 6th annual St Ives Book Jam and I was there doing collage and drawing for the 6th time! It was another very splendid day which was as well attended by authors, illustrators and book-loving children as it always is. I helped create a huge mural curated by wonderful illustrator and author Pam Smy based on the theme of Heroes and Villains. In the afternoon I worked with the lovely and talented author-illustrators Trudi Esberger and Carolina Rabei to help children create villains, superhero masks and superhero emblems. I took charge of the villains of course; check out cat burglar Claws Malone, the dreadful Salamander of Doom and last but not least the infamous bank robber Bad Giraffe…
Ever since colouring books became a thing I have wanted to have a go at doing my own colouring-in drawing and last year I got the chance! I was commissioned by Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium to create a Wonderland inspired drawing of one of their cats to feature in their colouring book alongside the work of other cat-loving artists. The feline who was to become my muse was the beautiful Victor and here he is hanging out on a giant toadstool and watching bubbles go by. You can buy the book Cats in Wonderland here if you are a colouring fan and an ailurophile! ps I only just learnt what that word means too… thanks for that one Emily!