Just lately I have been writing new stories and polishing up old ones which is something I love to do every once in a while. I often find that I’ll have an idea for the beginning of a story which gets scribbled down somewhere and forgotten about. Later I come back to it and have new thoughts which lead it in different directions. After much of this back and forth it might one day get finished! Other times stories arrive all at once and fully formed and you wonder where they came from. Here is a new image from an old idea which I have recently been tinkering with – the monster is a friendly one even though it is large and does have quite sharp teeth. Biscuits and hot chocolate anyone?
Wishypoofs and Hiccups is book 9 in the series Zoey and Sassafras written by Asia Citro. The first of these books came out in 2017 which feels simultaneously like quite a long time and only five minutes ago! The books are such fun and I love illustrating them. Asia has a way of coming up with the most brilliant magical creatures for me to draw. This story is all about a “wishypoof” which is a creature who was originally based on a floating seedhead, one of those ones with long floaty arms. She is one of my favourites.
Recently I held an raffle to raise money for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and the prize was the original front cover I made for this book. Here it is above, soon to be in the hands of its new owner 🙂
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!
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 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!
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…
I’ve been working on new colour images for my portfolio over the last few days but so far it is looking suspiciously like a black and white portfolio that I’ve coloured in… hey ho! Here is one of the things I’ve been working on; this is Gnat, a brave little fellow flying all alone into the deep dark forest.
I’ve been focussing on creating new black and white work recently but when these guys came along I realised they needed a little colour. They are bookworms discussing the merits of “Maisie Hitchins -The Case of the Stolen Sixpence” and the Victorian era in general when lots of people (and worms) really enjoyed wearing top hats. This picture is put together using drawing and collage and features a Marion wallpaper design in the background.
Here are some inky drawings featuring creatures that don’t have an awful lot more in common than the number of feet they possess and the fact that I like drawing them! Above is a wingless dragon and below a couple of horses and…well I’m not altogether certain what the one at the bottom is. I made these with my favourite exhausted 1 cm wedge brush and black acrylic ink. I think these creatures are trying to get me to write them a story…
I’m working away on a new and exciting series of chapter books at the moment and here is the first cover! Dragons and Marshmallows is the first of three titles in the Zoey and Sassafras series written by multitalented superlady Asia Citro of Fun At Home With Kids fame. All three books will be coming out in March 2017 from American publishing house The Innovation Press. It’s a bit of a dream illustrating these books – not only do I get to draw pictures of Zoey and her constantly entertaining cat Sassafras, but I also get to draw monsters and dragons – perfect! Here is a sneak peek at some of the interior illustrations from book 1: