Thursday, July 30, 2009

Visiting King Tyrant Bird

Today I shall be tidying up and proofing my comic script draft, and in the evening I'll go and see an exhibition of concrete poetry. So it's a word-themed day.
Picture-wise: I painted a bunch of cats for sale but forgot to photograph them, shall do so tomorrow.
Am really just blogging so you don't think the cats ate me.

Some things that happened:
I bought an ice lolly from a Polish shop on a hot day, and it was very nice.

polish ice lolly

Then I went to see some very good shoes...

baby shoes

...and King Tyrant Bird.

king tyrant bird

(He resides at the Horniman Museum.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cat Break

Good Morning!


Aaah, I'm having a cat-flavoured mini holiday again, cat-sitting in Forest Hill.
I went to the Horniman Museum yesterday, which was interesting and relaxing, and on the way back I bought a bag full of nice food which I shall leisurely consume today and tomorrow. I've already had the nachos and guacamole, today I'll graduate to artichokes and small tasty joghurts. I'm even having proper breakfast cereal with milk, for goodness' sake. - The cats woke me up by pressing the reboot button which is my nose, and I fed them and cuddled them and now they are out probably killing something small. I'll draw them when they are back, I've got an old typescript here the back of which should be covered in cat studies.


I finished the first draft of the comic script, and I won't touch it until Tuesday or so - then I'll read it back to myself and fix it up a bit, taking out all the foreshadowing of scenes that never happen and giving some dialogue to characters I forgot halfway through, and generally making it more funny and exciting.
Hm, there are swifts and parakeets outside making lovely bird noises. Good Sunday so far.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Storage device ramblings - but also a free DO NOT DISTURB sign for you.

I've not finished my script yet... everyone is walking through a very scary forest on page 111 and I'm having a cup of tea and a break.

But not a long break.

I'm slightly distracted by random mind-ramblings triggered by the tangle of projects I'm working on at the moment, especially:
Some time ago I bought a micro SD card for my mobile - I had not realised how cheap these little things have become. It's quite amazing, a few quid buy gigabytes of storage on a chip the size of a thumb-nail. Baffling. And at last a form of storage that appeals to me... I never got on with CD's (wasting lots by burning not quite the right files and burning multiple copies just-in-case) or external drives (what if it breaks and I lose EVERYTHING AT ONCE) or USB sticks (where am I supposed to keep them all? And I can never remember what's on which one. And they are slightly to expensive to not wipe and re-use them all the time) - but a small box of tiny neatly labeled memory chips, yes please! That's exactly what I've been expecting ever since watching Mr Spock deal with Stuff on telly. That'll sort my life right out.
I've already collected all the spare cards in the house (the low capacity ones that they give you with cameras and such) and filled them with music to stick into the otherwise pointless USB-in on my stereo. Yay.

Anyway, I just found this old thing which I'll print out (now that I have a colour printer) and hang on my door for the rest of this writing session.
Feel free to print one for yourself (I'm pretty sure I already posted this doggy ages ago, but hey ho so what.)

Last Chapter

Today I'll be Mostly Working in Bed.
That's because I want to finish writing this script. And because yesterday I did too much drawing and at night I couldn't fall asleep at first because my back hurt.
The amusing leggings are a recent purchase - they came with a nice bit of card on which I drew some singing birds and such.

Huh, I'm still tired. I made some coffee and almost poured it away when it turned milky in the cup. I assumed I'd used a dirty cup, actually Alexis had put some milk in it for me already, caring flatmate that he is.

Meh, huh, huff, better get going, only one chapter left to write!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Junkyard in Progress

Hello world! I'm drawing. And writing. That's why you don't hear from me much at the moment. Here's a re-cap, anyway.
I am working on the (for me) most difficult part of the new picture book, the part where you can see a lot of background. Busy backgrounds confuse the heck out of me, so I decided to build a model this time.
Here's the model:
model junkyard
Here's the drawing, well, one of them. I've still got to do a good few more this week.
junkyard drawing
Due to materials available at the time, this junkyard features an unusual amount of strangely futuristic debris. In fact, I just took the box marked "spaceships" off the toy shelf and grabbed all the broken parts. I don't think it matters much since the story isn't set in a specified time or place, but I do expect some questions about it on future school visits.

I've almost finished the comic script, just one chapter to go, which I'm going to plan a bit more before I write it so I won't forget to tie up any loose ends.
I'm cranky, mostly because I experimented with social norms again and shaved my armpits - you never know with local social norms, one should try everything, English tea for example was a good surprise - and let's just say it was a mistake in many ways. (And if you're saying eurgh I didn't want to know that you are probably exactly the kind of person who insists on such nonsense in the first place, so I'm glad you're uncomfortable too because I SURE AM.) I'm also always cranky when I am writing something difficult, so if you phone me up don't be surprised.

On the good side I discovered how to make badges with my lovely sewing machine, and am now cutting up the offcuts from my Moomin dress to make Moomin badges for my friends.
moomin badge

Oh, and, Octocat is my favourite thing I've seen in months and I don't know how come I haven't seen it earlier. I'd write a full review of it if I had time, but as it is you just have to go and watch it if you haven't yet.

OK, signing off, more writing and drawing to do.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big Lunch!

Goodness me, there are nice things going on around here.
In Bellenden Road there's a very long table laden with foodstuffs and decorated with the most elaborately carved melons...

big lunch melon

And all over the place the shops have put out little tables with food. I walked out of the door and got some Pimms and a cream tea straight away... Roz at the bookshop has baked some bread and made apricot jam.

big lunch jam


UPDATE: Here's a video of it. Don't I have nice neighbors...

Why you want a sewing awl in the house

This box contains one of my More Useful Possessions: a sewing awl.
speedy stitcher
I just used it to fix my backpack - the zip was broken, and I was tempted to get a new bag but then this one is covered in patches of places I've taken it to, so...
stitching awl
I fixed it. I absolutely recommend owning one of these, because there's some stuff you just can't fit under a sewing machine.
stitching awl seam
And, probably more interestingly to most of you, it's a BRILLIANT tool for stitching a wodge of paper into an impromptu sketchbook.
stitching awl seam
It's also great for punching horrific holes into yourself by accident, I do hope that red stuff on the book spine isn't blood. It's from 2002 so I don' really remember... actually I WOULD remember if it was. So it's more likely red ink.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bouncing, and writing.

Running, I have decided, is not my thing to do every day. Jumping up and down and flailing my arms with my ipod tucked into the waistband of my pyjamas, much better. So my flatmate made some space in the bathroom to put up the trampoline, and found lots of things while tidying up, for example my Totoro hairclip.

totoro clip

(Incidentally, this is my "is this mobile phone camera working???" face, I'm ok really.)
And otherwise and anyway, I shall be alternating bouncing on the trampoline and writing today until I've finished part four of "The Sleepwalkers" (all seven parts due in end of this month) - right now the monkey and the bear and the dog are all rowing out to sea, towards a strangely shaped island. There will be adventure.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


London artist Matthew Robins needs dinosaurs for his show, so obviously we should all knit one.
The show is called "Walter Knitty" and will be performed at the National Theatre's Flytower on Saturday the 15th of August, turn up before 10PM with your knitted dinosaur and it will become an extra in the show. And there's a prize for the best one, if that's not enough excitement for you.
Here's Matthew's website, so you can see the kind of thing he does... and even if you don't make a dinosaur (booo!) you should come and see the show, because it will be brilliant, beautiful and funny.
You can also find his contact details on his page, I think he'll be happy if you send him pictures of your dinosuars in progress.
wool for dinosaur
This will be my one, incidentally.

Here's some more information about Watch This Space, part of which this event will be.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cats, dogs and socks at the Kirkdale Bookshop

So! Sue Eves and I did a reading, assisted by Woofie the Dog and Biskit theCat.

reading with puppets

Sue is more of a pro than me by several miles when it comes to readings, and puppeteering. My cat got lost under a shelf for some time, and blindfolding it with a wooly hat to play "find the wool" almost malfunctioned because I actually forgot where the wool was hidden... all in all, my cat-handling skills are not that great. It's a fine cat though.

Then I ran a sock beast workshop, and some rather wonderful beasties resulted, here are a couple of them presented by their makers:

sock beast

sock monkey

I do enjoy these sock workshops. I forgot to show everyone how to tie knots at the beginning this time, which caused some confusion, but in the end we had a good menagerie anyway.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Old pictures

I'm still trying to work out a good way of sorting my photos. iPhoto is irritating me immensely, I want some way that is not date-based or event-based or look-who's-on-this-picture based but... sense-based, basically. Project-based. Ideas-based.
Anyway, I keep coming across old pictures that make me happy...


this was in-between the scenes of a film my friend Kris Loeer made years ago. I helped out a bit, mostly with the fake blood.


And this is Alexia in her most excellent pig-head on a beautiful day. Also years ago...


Gosh, old times. I am thinking back fondly now, which would have surprised me then. Life was all a bit Withnail and I, I just still don't know whether I was Withnail or I. Or if I was I, who was Withnail. Or otherwise. Not that it matters any more, now that everything is so shockingly well-sorted...



Thursday, July 9, 2009


Huh. Hah. I spent all of yesterday thinking about stories, and monsters, and designing a monster, and thinking about my comic, and sketching, and in the end I felt absolutely dreadful. This morning I swung my arms around a bit, which made them creak, and then realised I had better get out of the house and run around before I fused into a knot.
Unfortunately I don't enjoy exercise. I hate every sort of exercise that is unproductive, I loathe cycling because it puts the fear of serious injury into me, and I am not competitive in any way so team sports are out. I mean, I've tried being competitive, in the same way one tries to take up smoking to look cool, because all the popular people in school were competitive. And sporty, actually. But it never caught. My parents tried, like good parents do, to get me interested. I remember being very small and my mum saying "See if you can touch your toes!" and me touching my toes and saying "yes" and her saying "but can you do it again?" and me saying "well, very probably, yes" and worrying about her state of mind a bit when she demanded proof.
Anyway, I enjoyed running at one point in my life. Well, that's not strictly true. I enjoyed getting away from my irritating home situation at speed, and I enjoyed arriving at the beach, sometimes even before the sun came up so I could look for planets. The point is, I didn't MIND the running.
And I really do enjoy long walks by myself, so why not just speed up the walks gradually...

Enough of this now, I feel reasonably exercised after running halfway to the park and walking the other half and then flopping down onto the grass and watching the crows walk by. Cup of tea and drawing now!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh Frabjous Day!

Oooh what an EXCELLENT day this is. First, I was given this here lovely thing:

Lovely Mug!

Polly Dunbar-illustrated, this is!

Then I wrote a whole chunk of script while it was raining outside (at last! rain!) featuring a monster that I am particularly pleased with, and some lines that made me laugh. Then I got to see the latest state of "There are No Cats in This Book", and all is looking good.
And when I got home I found a parcel from Belgium, containing all the needles I could need for my workshop at the weekend plus a badge for my bag, a pretty hand-made keyring and chocolate.

Goodies from Gent

The chocolate I put in the fridge, hence its not being in the picture even though it's very beautifully wrapped. This means that now the workshop is all ready to go, and on my trip to town tomorrow all I have to buy is thank-you presents for people, in particular some nice tea and suchlike to swap for this brilliant parcel.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Duck eggs, felt cats and colour coding

I have a sort of a feeling that I've not been communicating much, which is down to me working on... hmmm... how many books? Several. Each one has its own schedule, some of them colour-coded.


That's the one for my latest picture book. The colours mark out the different sorts of reference I need to get and other important things, red means "check what the dialogue is on this one" because I'm not writing the text. And scribbled out means DONE.
(The comic has a digital schedule, embedded into the project file, and the pirate book has a lot of marker pen scrawls in my diary saying YO HO HO.)

The drawings are getting done quite steadily... here's a detail. Can't show you much more yet.

High Five

Meanwhile, the comic is scripted up to page 20 and I just realised I mis-calculated the space I have for each episode in the book, but thankfully I mis-calculated downwards, after brutally stamping on the exposition until it fitted into a handful of pages I suddenly have amazing amounts of space for epic adventure in the middle part.

Meanwhile, I am having a reasonably quiet Sunday here. There's lots of tasty treats, Alexis and I went to Khan's Cash Emporium (no hang on, what is it called... never mind) to buy ingredients for some interesting curries (which he promptly cooked) and to Sainsbury's, where I bought some duck eggs. I love duck eggs. This morning I did my very favourite Sunday morning thing, which is sitting next to the cooker for twenty minutes, reading the paper and watching a pan full of duck eggs Not Quite Boil. It's important that they don't, then after twenty minutes they are absolutely perfect, with yolks like little orange pillows. So now I cn have one every morning until next weekend. Yay.

So now I'll tidy a bit, and make plans, and straighten out my old cat puppet who is scheduled for an appearance at a reading next week-end.

Cat Puppet

he's been chewed by the canary a bit, I wonder how to straighten out his whiskers...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stickers and Scripts and Mornings

So... yeah! Um. ooof. I feel hungover, but actually I've just had the first morning of my new regime. Write script from eight to ten, before going to work. I'm seriously sleepy in the mornings at the moment, what with a heatwave going on, but I think it's the only way to meet my deadline, and I like writing in the morning when nothing else has happened yet to distract me.
I'm writing in bed on my eeepc, which I enhanced with some nice stickers...
I got them in the post as a treat from Mia in New York, these ones are designed by Genevieve Gauckler.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hot Day

I patched my green dress up this morning because it's the only dress to wear in this weather.

The day got too hot to draw, and then it was too hot to walk home, so I walked along South bank instead.









polka dot

this path
I bought some nice things on the way.
Then I got home and ate a whole bag of olives that friends brought me from Greece. There are little white flowers on the chili plant.

Now I want to make ice cream, and eat a salad and something with artichokes in it.