Thursday, January 14, 2016


HOW TO FIND GOLD is only one of Anna and Crocodile's adventures.
I wrote a few of them down as letters to my team at Walker Books.
Here is a blustery one.

There's a whole book about Anna and Crocodile, called HOW TO FIND GOLD.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Isn't that awesome! First month of the year and Anna and Crocodile win a surprise honour.

I wrote a making-of feature for the Walker Books blog, you can read it here.

I wondered who these instructions were for. Was this a chapter from a pirate primer? Who was reading it now and why? I started to illustrate it, first imagining myself as a small child, practicing to sleep with my eyes open to make sure no one could steal the gold I hadn’t found yet.

“Get yourself a pet that will surprise you at night,” the story recommended. “A crocodile is ideal. Carry one with you wherever you go to build up your strength. Start with a young crocodile. It will grow.”

This was an idea taken from the Greek myth of Milo who carried a calf on his shoulders every day until it grew into a bull and he grew into a mighty Olympian. More importantly, one summer when I was tiny my mother bought me an inflatable crocodile in the supermarket. It was big enough to ride on and intended for the seaside. I carried it everywhere, dragging it by the tail until its snout wore through on the tarmac and it deflated before the holiday even started.

I drew a girl and her toy crocodile. It wasn’t quite right. They just seemed very quiet and small. - I drew them in on a new page and asked the girl some questions about the crocodile. She said it was called Rupert Maureen, and didn’t move unless she threw it and she wasn’t supposed to throw it. I didn’t expect that.

READ THE REST (both of the article and the comic)

Friday, January 8, 2016

MAKING OF "HOW TO FIND GOLD": letting the characters speak

As promised, here is the first of a few MAKING OF posts about How To Find Gold, my new picture book that's just been published (go buy it, thanks)!

I was developing the characters of Anna and Crocodile by letting them act out some of the ideas I had for the book on paper. I had no idea who they were yet. Anna had my haircut (it grew out gradually while I was working on the book) and the crocodile was a toy which Anna had told me was bought from IKEA ("when we got the wardrobes").

This is from the second sketchbook (there were many).

So, yes, that's how I work... I recommend it, it's really rewarding to see what these little made-up people come out with when you just let them run wild.

Next: Painting Like A Child. Watch this Space.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

HOW TO FIND GOLD - It's out!!!!

Anna and Crocodile have arrived! HOW TO FIND GOLD is in UK bookshops today, published by Walker Books.

Well, here you go. I wrote and illustrated an new book. It doesn't have flaps or speech bubbles this time. It has a quest, and it's very educational. I put in EVERYTHING I know about finding gold. Finding gold, as Crocodile could tell you, takes a lot of preparation, plus someone like Anna.

I'm really fond of these two - it took a long time to work out their story through many scribbly notebooks, letters, and sketchbooks, and by the end I felt like they'd somehow written it themselves. I hope they'll have many more adventures. Actually I am sure they will, I just hope I get to catch some more of them and put them into picture books.

I'll be posting scenes and drawings that happened on the way to the book here over the month, along with some treats... Watch this space!

On the 26th we'll have an official book launch in London, at Daunt Books (Holland Park Avenue). If you're a friend of my books, you're invited. Here you go:

Let's celebrate!