Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Littlest Witch casts her spells

Published today! The Witch with an Itch written by Helen Baugh is a funny and intriguing, rhyming tale about a bold little witch and her first encounters with magic. We see her skipping through the Little Witch school gates, freshly qualified with wand poised to make her mark on the world.  Everything seems right but as the first spell is cast the magic backfires and despite word perfect incantation the spell goes wrong!
Nature features largely throughout this story and for me it was a pleasure to illustrate the shade dappled woodland and its bustling traffic of insects and other small slimy creatures not normally given much attention. We tiptoe behind the little witch with her trail of wrong spells and increasingly explosive clouds of colourful magic where finally, in fits of frustration and comic anger she has a dramatic realisation! 
Helen's story gave me plenty of challenges, fitting all the action into the layouts, even though the spreads are HUGE  thanks to the Jonathan Cape super large format and keeping the creatures appealing at that size - How do you make a newt look cute?! It has been a treat to work on this tale of human nature and animal magic. Here's some more art/sketches on what has kept me very busy these past weeks.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Magic in the air

Hats , cats, frogs newts and witches. The new book to appear very soon!

Here are some sketches...

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pirates and portraits

Here's a visit to Grafton School for an art work shop with the reception classes.
Based on the Night Pirates book I asked my newly recruited crew to give themselves a make over. Well done shipmates!

My big book of Night Pirate sketches get things started...

House of Illustration opens in London

A summers eve with stars, champagne and an exciting new permanent venue for illustration. Quite a giddy experience as we squeezed into the elegant gallery to view the opening exhibition of founder and legend, Quentin Blake. Who more fabulous than Joanna Lumley could the House of Illustration hope to have as Patron!
There's a pantheon of artists involved in developments so there should be some inspiring events to come.

Larissa Joy Chairman of the House of Illustration


Lucky last post for She'll be Coming Round the Mountain brought me to an event where I got the chance to dress up as the character and spend time with some beautiful horses - oh bliss! 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain

Past sketches & art out of the blue drawer

The finished art for a new book is merrily whisked off to the printers, leaving behind a vast pile of layout & character sketches, a cast of hundreds (only a slight exaggeration!) stuffed in a deep dark drawer... this post sheds light on past book projects. 
Stampeding out from my plan chest today, some sketches & art from the picture book 'She'll be Comin' Round The Mountain' written by Jonathan Emmett and based on the song of the same name. The original chorus becomes a sing-a-long adventure with train-tooting fun twists.
I created 'Clayton' the singing Cactus as the story's narrator. He nearly didn't make the final cast though.
My pen and wash visuals were the next development from pencil roughs. Sampling some colour and texture before going to full colour with painting and a sprinkle of collage. YeeHaW!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Clapping Song

The goose drank wine, the monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line.
The line broke, the monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little row boat...

The Clapping Song has always intrigued me. Here's my visual take on those crazy lyrics.