heroes and villains

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

The Cambridge Art Book

This runaway doggie is from a rather special book I have been involved with called The Cambridge Art Book. Cambridge artist Emma Bennett had a fantastic idea which was to create a book showing Cambridge through the eyes of the artists who live here. As a Cambridge dweller and illustrator I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the 50 artists who will feature in the book. Have a look at the book’s website which has links to the collaborating artists to get an idea of all the exciting stuff going on in this city!

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Maisie Hitchins at Yaxley library

On Wednesday I had a wonderful time at Yaxley Library working with children from Fourfields Primary School and Yaxley Infant School. The children learnt about how to begin illustrating a book and how to come up with characters. After a little drawing practice using Maisie Hitchins and Bella Donna‘s cat Pegatha for inspiration, the children created their own crazy collage creatures. Thanks a million to Sue and to Richard from Cambridgeshire libraries who are both worth their weight in gold. Below are some examples of the children’s rather fabulous work!

a little inspiration

I have been trying my hand at something a little bit different just recently – Make It In Design are running a competition to illustrate an inspirational quote with the winner earning a place on their Ultimate Portfolio Builder course starting in a few weeks. If I’m honest I’m already signed up to do the course but I couldn’t resist entering the competition anyway! “Damn the torpedoes” has long been a favourite quote of mine and I recently discovered the wonderful “nothing is impossible…” said by Audrey Hepburn. These two images were made by hand with ink and collage and were positively therapeutic to work on!

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further experiments in ink…

I have been doing some more work lately using splodgy ink and a feathery brush. I quite like the results and I thought I’d try adding other collage layers digitally. The black dog above is the result of ink and collage combined and the creatures below are ink applied with brush and dip pen. There’s a story there, I’m just figuring out what it is…

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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!

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DTRH Saffron Walden

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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:

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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.

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Art Club – collage

For me and fellow children’s book illustrator Nicola Killen, this month is all about Art Club. We are collaborating with Rock Road Library to hold a series of art workshops for children and yesterday was one of my favourites – collage day! The children worked with multi-coloured, glittery and hand-painted papers to create some beautiful and imaginative images. Inspiration came from toys, flowers and other random objects as well as an imaginary book cover for the final piece. Many thanks go to the wonderful Anne Worthington who has been a great help to us with Art Club. Have a look below to see some of the children’s fantastic collages!

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