Thursday, June 30, 2011


I went to the D&AD Young Blood exhibition in Shoreditch today, and I am so proud of my students... well, the graduates from the Plymouth University Illustration BA where I am associate lecturer. 

I can't list them all up here and as a tutor would feel bad to make a selection, so here are a couple of oddly uncredited photos that I snapped with my mobile while talking to people. The show is on until Monday and well worth checking out. HOORAY! I wish them all buckets of success.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


And listening to Klaus Nomi on a loop I finished colouring the epilogue of my graphic novel.

Now it's just tidying up, really.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Crowd, Coloured

Right. This is more or less finished and I need to get out of this room before I melt in his heatwave... I'll sit downstairs with the windows open and smell the tomato plants, drink iced lemonade and draw plans and blueprints for a dream-vehicle (that's the last page still missing in this book, dream vehicle plans).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pantone Monkey

I found some time to do a one-off commission that needs to be done using a limited set of colours, here's a detail of the artwork. It's brush painted in Noodler's Ink and coloured in Photoshop.
I'll tinker with it some more, maybe change the shadow so it's a bit more realistic, and fix that left elbow.
But first I'll finish colouring the graphic novel... eight pages to go, woo hoooo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Noodler's Ink

I ordered some Noodler's ink, and today I had time to try it out... I just doodled a quick drawing on Bristol board. And this ink is amazing! It's like thinking in ink. I tried different pressure for the rabbit and his trousers here. - The hands and feet are brush drawn, that's not brilliant with this ink on Bristol board, but works well on rougher paper.
 Then I did the loo roll test: draw on soft loo roll with a sharp nib. Any pressure tears the surface, any delay makes a blotch. Check this out, against my usual ink on the right. - Noodler's ink is fountain pen ink which normally runs - but this stuff really stays in place! I must find my fountain pen converter so I can fill it into a pen and see if that makes a decent instrument, maybe even to draw on that awful moleskine paper I dislike so passionately. Apparently it's good for writing on pretty much any paper... I wouldn't be surprised!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deeply Meaningful Sequence

Here's something for you to contemplate while I finish colouring this comic.

My Goodness There's EVERYTHING In These Books

I just got an email from the University School in Bloomington, Indiana USA. They have been reading my books, and decided they wanted to play too. Here are the results.

Roger Federer. Why didn't I think of that?


It's a President Simulator. HOORAY!



What the heck is is THIS book? (Besides conspicuous Ninja)

These books can entertain each other intercatively. IT'S THE FUTURE.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

John Franklin Sketch

I needed some small drawings to collage into an artwork, and found this in a sketchbook of mine: John Franklin, explorer.
I'm working on the comic even though it is Sunday, just for fun. And I'm eating stawberries. It's raining outside. I'm happy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Donating Bone Marrow

Today I learned about donating bone marrow.
To be put on the donor list, all you have to do is fill in a form and spit. Literally. They just need a spit sample to be able to match you to a cancer patient who desperately needs your stem cells. Then they take out your bones and scrape them out... NO THEY DON'T!! They just extract the cells from your blood, or (in some cases) your hip bone, under anesthetic, and you'll recover in 48 hours or less. And someone else might NOT DIE.
It's not like donating blood where you go and donate and they store it in case they need it - you can keep all your precious stem cells inside yourself until someone needs them. Possibly someone who isn't a match with anyone else on the whole list.
All you have to do is fill in a form, spit in the post, and keep your address updated on the list just in case you are a match for someone one day. No holes will be made into you for any other reason than attempting to save a particular life, and even then: only very small holes.
I didn't know that.
Did you?

Anyway, here's how to sign up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hay Festival Hamster Drawing Workshop with Alexis and me

Alexis and I did a workshop at the Hay festival - we did a dramatic reading of "A Place to Call Home", taking breaks to draw together on the flipchart what the children thought the travelling blind hamsters thought they were doing.
The Edge of the world. A steep cliff. Tornadoes. Saturn. Shooting stars. Aliens with teeth in their nostrils or six heads. Weightlessness. Today's children know about weightlessness. 
Then the children drew their own adventures. Mostly Hamster In Space.


These hamsters travelled so far, things started growing out of their heads.
In the end, we had a show-and-tell.
At the Edge of the World there is ice cream. And Robots. And a toilet.
"You would need the toilet, with that much ice cream to eat."

Hamsters encountering Aliens.

Hamsters will react differently to Space, with "Help" through to "Wow!"

The Spikey planet of Spikes approaches. Also tube-head made some tiny perching alien aquaintances.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Difficult Page

I've been dreading the day that this page would be due to be coloured. It's today, and I still haven't finished it, and I'm taking a break now. - When I come back I hope I'll have worked out which way things go darker, lighter, more or less blue, and wibbly.

Critical Readers

My favourite discussion halfway through my picture book reading to a crowd of 4-6 year old children yesterday:
Me: "I wish we could get out of this book, says Tiny Cat..."
Boy, suddenly: "Cats cannot talk."
Me: "Well yes, technically this book is a translation. I could read it in the original, but then it would be all meaow meaow. I translated it for you."
Boy, raising one eyebrow: "You DIDN'T. You can only do that with SCIENCE."
Me: "Ah. You need to learn about the power of ART, m'boy. - Coincidentally there is a collage workshop after I read this book, why don't we discuss this then?"
Boy: "OK."
Me: "So. - Excellent idea! Says the big cat... How will they get out into the world? Let's see..."
Boy: "They are already out in the world. The book is in the world."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Still Colouring. Give me music.

Hello World!
If you don't hear from me much it's because I'm colouring. I've got six weeks left to finish this graphic novel, and the amount of problem solving I have to do for every new scene is baffling at times. Just when I worked out how to colour a sun-dappled jungle I have to do an underwater scene. And all those made-up animals that need natural looking colour schemes... and the shadows, all the different kinds of shadows from all the different kind of light in a story where every chapter is a new world. - If you know me you know that I use tricks when I'm colouring, sometimes calculating colours on the computer, sometimes sampling them off fine art or photographs, and sometimes I physically mix them by my own rules which I can't ever remember once the book is finished.
I thought when I started this comic that I could use one set of tricks for the whole thing. By now I've used every one I know, and am inventing new ones for myself. It's exciting, it takes up my brain and... it takes up my brain, yeah. I am finding it hard to keep up conversations, and to read books. Words seem to mean less than usual, and colours distract me everywhere I look. I often fall asleep halfway through a picture and wake up an hour later with an idea how to improve it.

This weekend I have to peel myself away from work to go to the Hay festival and run two workshops, one by myself and one with Alexis. That'll be fun, but to be honest right now I wish I could stay home and colour four more pages instead...

So, anyway, that's what's going on. Do visit me and drag me out of the house for coffee if you are one of my visiting friends. Or else put nice music on my colouring playlist, because I've listened to all my music so much now that 'm starting to feel a bit groundhog-day-ish.

Anyway, I'm very proud of the way this is going, can't wait to show it all off...