Monday, February 28, 2011

Cats in Boxes

I finally got around to assembling the pieces of this artwork in the real world, now they can be framed.
Also I watched The Life Aquatic yesterday, and I liked it actually a bit more than I did when I saw it in cinema. It made more sense, maybe, after a few years of diving after my own Jaguar Sharks.
Thus, I am listening to Seu Jorge while working.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Finished! For now.

HA HAAA! And I hit my deadline with the sound of dinosaurs smashing through the stratosphere. Or, more accurately, the Super-Sargasso Sea.

No more colouring, this goes off to the Bologna book fair.
By the way, I got to make use of the original cloud drawing I did years ago on a plane while planning this comic. That's what that whize fuzzy stuff is. Yay.

Music of the moment: Birdhouse in your soul by They Might Be Giants


This is what the designer who places my speech bubbles has to put up with. Well, I hope he will put up with it. Umm. This scene is proving a bit difficult to lay out... what can you do if everyone is plummeting at high speed - and still keeps talking?
It's a complete coincidence that this comic features a bear in the clouds, not unlike Eric Orchard's latest work... it's only briefly, they'll land on something rather solid in a second or three.

Music of the moment: Gravity by John Peacock

Kauf'n Haufen!

Wir präsentieren:


Bald erhältlich und hervorragend übersetzt. Kann schon vorbestellt werden.
Los los! Zapp zapp!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Falling Dinosaur

I coloured some more pages today. It's looking okay. Here's a falling dinosaur for you. He's only very tiny on the page he's on, and he ends up being eaten by a giant metal pterodactyl the next moment, so I felt he deserved a moment in the limelight.
Music of the Moment:  Lost and Found by Taken by Trees

Tomorrow I'll make a tail for you.

Music of the Moment:  Paper Plane by Matthew Robins

Knitting the Midnight Oil

Fox almost finished.
Music of the Moment: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Knitted Monster

I coloured my favourite panel so far:

Reason I like it so much: I got to use the beastie that I crocheted in the name of research years ago.


Music of the Moment: Organ Donor by Jeremy Messersmith

Outing in times of Deadlines

I just decided I needed to see some human beings, and interrupted my digital colouring work to take my fox to the cafe.
I crocheted half a second front leg for him, then I grumbeld about bread-throwing children, ate a huge salad and walked back. I bought a coffee table on my way home. It's tiny and oaken and I love it.
Room is in disarray due to deadlines. Pillow is torn open for same reason: fox needs to be ready to go on exhibition by Friday and I ran out of toy stuffing...

Song of the Moment: Crazy, Violent Femmes

Exhibition coming up!

I have a couple of red crocheted creatures in this exhibition, but there will be all sorts of colourful goodness again. Come and have a look. More info after the jump.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Colouring Sheep

This is what I've been looking at for hours... I shall have some tea and carry on.
I'm getting rather fond of these sheep.

Music of the moment:  Little People, French For Cartridge


Yesterday I came home to a dark house.
I closed the door, switched on my mobile phone torch and went to check the fuse box.
The fuse box seemed okay.
I ghosted through the house for a while, switching on and off darkness and silence.
Then I was struck by a complete and utter sense of not knowing what to do.
It had been a long day, involving a surprise birthday event for Gwyn where all his friends plus extra recruits chased him all over London mercilessly, and I was still winding down from having had to pretend I had no idea what was planned for weeks. I am bad at pretending.
I was tired and I wanted a cup of tea and some light and for the freezer to not defrost.
So I phoned Gwyn, and he explained to me that there is an emergency number to call. I didn't believe him. I said I'd rather just sit in a corner and cry for a bit.
Then I called them, and a person of unearthly niceness and patience told me it was a powercut that had only hit my house and nothing else apparently, and they'd fix it, probably before midnight.
So I set up camp on the sofa because I wanted to be close to the phone, the only other live thing in the house. I put tea lights on the dinner table and waited.
It was very silent, and my tin lantern was making patterns on the ceiling.
I thought about how easy it is to feel completely thrown by something you'd expect to be able to deal with easily. But I've never been in charge of a house before, I've always been a lodger or had other people around... a house is such a big thing...
Then, just before midnight, there was a growling and a rattling and a bright light, and the fridge took a deep breath and the TV receiver got its bearings, the radiators gurgled, and then the kitchen shuddered to life - literally - I think it was the water pump coming back on. I suppose there is a water pump somewhere in the wall, isn't there?
All the dead switches I'd tried earlier went live and made things come on randomly all over the place.
The whole house hiccuped twice, went dark and dead again, then it settled. I switched off the lights and radiators and went to bed.
I never noticed before all the little noises of a house...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shower Timer... yay

I bought a shower timer a while ago, and it's rather brilliant actually. I highly recommend it.

It comes with a plastic bag that you need for adjusting it to your shower - great fun, sticking the showerhead inside and trying to turn on the water and the timer at the same time, and then turning off the timer again without soaking yourself... I think it would have been a lot easier with two or three people involved.
But now it works, and it has stopped me from dozing off and showering forever while waiting for the morning coffee to kick in. Instead I am juggling razors and soap and shampoo with incredible efficiency trying to beat the 35 liter beep... great way to start the day. Honest.

A PLACE TO CALL HOME... I've got a copy!

My latest book! And my first book that I didn't write: Alexis did.
It's almost out. Well, It'll come out in May. And yesterday I visited Alexis for dinner, and he surprised me with a proper bound copy of it that he'd picked up at Walker Books.
Isn't it cute? It's got a hole in the cover and everything.
And as usual it has a few more features that I am really pleased with.I've noticed at some point that every one of my books has something about it that makes people say "I can't believe you got away with that". It's not usually completely intentional... anyway, in this book I got away with:

  • We covered up all the characters' heads for almost the entire book. I get very annoyed whenever people claim that we only connect with characters that have expressive faces. There are many other ways of being expressive and engaging, and here's my bit to prove it. You'll see.
  • A really limited palette. The hamsters are orange. Some things are yellow. Everything else is just one colour, changing with the passing of time.
  • An epic adventure tale that shows none of the actual adventure but is instead set in an entirely boring place.
  • All sorts of hidden little plot hints just for fun that most people will never notice.
  • And, yesss, a hole trough the cover.
And still, people read it and laugh and go aaaaaaawwww.
Basically, WE WIN.
Published by Walker books in the UK, Candlewick in the US, and all sorts of other places, including France and Germany. The German translation is lovely, which means at long last people back where I grew up can get involved.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Also I am crocheting a fox...

...whenever I'm stuck on the train or some such. I seem to get stuck on trains a lot. On Sunday I was actually stuck in a luggage rack for an hour.


Oh brave new world! That has such fish-hats in it!

I am much enjoying living in a day and age and city that allows me to proudly wear this new hat my mother hand-knitted for me.

Pattern here, at

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Drama, and dog.

Much shouting and running and nervous tension in Sleepwalkers this week.

And I've been experimenting with wall paint on paper.

Breakfast Biscuits are silly, and Spring still hasn't arrived.Meh.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Year of Kittens For Me

Alison Sampson sent me this to make my year more reassuring.

Feeling rather good about 2011 now!

By the way, she just posted a lovely photo series of artist's desks...

"Insectopera: The Windy Day" - Matthew Robins

I have been telling everyone about this show since I saw it, it was instantly my favourite thing ever. The way it is animated, the music, the story, everything. I sat in the audience feeling like the whole world was aglow.
And now Matthew put it online.
Watch it now. It will make your life better. Watch it tremble and cling and burn.


I was working on this scene in the comic

And complained about it on facebook, saying how hard it was to draw a scene where everyone is chased by an invisible tentacled beast in the pitch dark.
And then I got this surprise t-shirt in the post

Which is plain awesome. Am wearing it now to draw the rest of the scene. Grr.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Off to uni again!

And suddenly it's time to get on the train to Plymouth and to do some teaching. New year, new projects, and this time I am supposed to set some targets for the students. That'll be interesting, and probably rather fun. It's good to get a dose of that level of busy creativity now and again.

Otherwise, I'm now preparing "Sleepwalkers" for the Bologna book fair - I haven't drawn the last chapter yet, which is a shame, but everything else is there. Most of it is edited, and now I just need to finish colouring in the first two chapters. I'll start on it as soon as I'm back home.
There's a bit of time left until I need to catch the train, so I'll fiddle a bit more with the last scene I drew - it's a scary episode set in complete darkness, with half the characters glowing brightly and the other half only partially visible in silhouette. I want to try out a different way of drawing the eyes from what I've done, they look a bit too alarming I think. I was going for that wide-eyed blindness of animals in night vision footage, and it's a bit much, considering that there's also a huge tentacled monster appearing in the scene. I also added a fight scene and am pondering how brutal it can be - I want a tentacle to get chopped off, but can it bleed? And bleed what? Darkness, presumably.

The end is definitely in sight for this project, and the one that is surfacing again, after months, is the fox novel. My brain is slowly switching back to story mode, and I am thinking of scenes in the story when I lie awake at night, and I listen to the characters talk in my head, playing out this part and that, dying and coming back to life just to see what best should happen.

I think this is going to be an interesting year, work-wise.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Hat

Two heads are better than one.
It's really warm, too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taking Vern and Lettuce out for lunch

I had some Very Serious Challenging Drawing to do today, so I went and printed out Sarah McIntyre's excellent Vern and Lettuce colour-your-own paper tractor from the Fleece Station website and made it VERY STRIPEY.

Then I took it to my favourite cafe for lunch.

Now go and make your own tractor.