Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lovely Liquids

In college, I mostly used liquid colours, brushes and dip pens, for lovely flat colour and scroobely lines. I suddenly was inspired to give that another go when I realise dthat the main reason I stopped using the stuff was that I felt I didn't have space for it - all that paper stretching, and the bottles themselves... hmmm, paint is fun but this stuff makes SENSE to me.

Old Blackfriars Railway Bridge

Or what's left of it, on a lovely beachy low-tide sort of an almost spring day.
It was too weak for trains, so they got rid of it - but left the columns. Wouldn't it be VERY good to stick some huge sculptures on them? Anyone want to draw some on? Go on... here's one with more space:

Send me results if you do.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Last night I watched David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive", and after that I kept waking up from scrabbling noises. The mice have returned to the studio, just in time to pretend to be tiny people coming to get me... on the good side, in the morning I had a pretty satisfying interpretation of the film in my head. I decided the pale cowboy guy is Death, the blue box is the girl's head, the short man in the curtained room is the sub-conscious that channels reality into our dreams and hopes, the black book is a reference work that would explain the whole story (full of phone numbers, which explains why different parts of reality and vision are phoning each other up all through the film, trying to coordinate), the ragged bum is the demonic hatred that ate sanity and left nothing but the two little old people, and I have no idea who they are, but last night they were mostly mice.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What's London Like?

Well. If you REALLY want to know, read the headlines.

Else, wait a bit until I am back from my Monday art materials acquisition trip, getting a set of Dr. Martins radiants and some pretty paper. Am planning to check out some museums on the way...

Friday, January 25, 2008

I used to be more Japanese.

Ran myself through sophisticated face recognition software.

Me in 2004

Me in 2007

I put my Official Promo Picture through as well and registered as being probably either Julie Andrews or Pol Pot.
I hope they aren't using this yet in airport security...

V&A: Spectacular Craft Exhibition

Here's a picture I just got in the mail of myself looking at some art (by Lu Shengzhong): lots and lots and LOTS of tiny-tiny red paper guys all cut out by hand made into a red paper flood...

That was a lovely day, by the way, with Norwegian visitors, cake, tea, art, and looking at wintery trees.

Here's the official website, of beautiful things... I especially liked the cloud formations etched into blocks of glass. And the many tiny red guys. There's pictures on the site where you can see them close-up. Look Look!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh! Post!

Aaah! Two new things arrived in the post! And I have no time to look at them!

Hah, that's quite a good Amazon success rate... I ordered five things and got one next day, one got lost in the post, one just arrived and was something entirely else, and then here's these two. Good!

Now must run like mad thing across London and have meeting about next Timothy-Smallbeast-style book of even higher adventure featuring even furrier protagonists.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

...been binding a new sketchbook... lalaa...

...I knew I kept that ribbon for a reason last Christmas.

...bind bind... Nothing like making your own if you know exactly what size and paper you want. In this case, nice A4 sketch paper with different shades of blue and green ingres paper every few pages.
Close up just in case of interest - stitching on the endpapers makes all the difference!
Making the covers next week, too busy now!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Natural History Museum

Aaaah, what a majestic place!
I mainly wanted to draw this guy for a few pages.

So after that I wandered around and looked at all my favourite things and found new ones. I had not realised that they'd opened an all-new gallery of geological treasures! So I looked at a piece of the moon that fell to earth, and a piece of Mars... the crystal box mystery from the Virtuous Lady mine in Devon... poppy jasper, riband jasper, and white jasper with dendritic pyrolusite and quarz... Woodwardite with undulating green crust from Cornwall... and of course, besides, a blue whale, many hummingbirds, a fossilised tree-trunk and a slice of a tree that was 1335 years old when twelve people cut it down, and a skeleton of a sloth the size of a shed... it almost made me cry because it was all so brilliant, so I went to look at the animatronic T-Rex to get back to the real world.

Grey Monday

Whoah! You can ignore the following grumblements - It's all been swiftly fixed! Someone at Booktrust read my blog! ... must be more careful...

Hmm... I am getting ready to go out and do some museum research today. Yawn. I would be on my way already, but I've been fruitlessly trying to get the feedback form to work... I just found they posted a lovely recommendation and review of "Shark and Lobster", but listed Joel (le colourist) as le illustrator, which is le olde frustration pour moi. He really coloured that book very well, and incredibly in no more than a week or two (gratitude gratitude etc), all by himself, but I spent over a year drawing it, all by myself.
Anyway, the form is NOT working and so I find myself irked much more than I would have been if I could have just nudged them quickly about it. (Maybe it's a mac thing... anyone on a PC out there feeling like telling them?)
I guess it makes no odds, really, I checked what other places say about it and he's listed as all sorts of things, my favourite being "author/colorist" on Amazon. What do they imagine that job description entails? "I have an idea for a story and a colour scheme, now I am looking for someone to do all that boring linework?" I guess it's possible. I hope there aren't too many of his fans getting a bitter disappointment :p
Never mind, I'll leave it be now and concentrate on the three NEW books I'm supposed to be working on this week. Aieh! Where's my coffee?

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I just had a piece of cheesecake, just when I wanted some cheesecake and wasn't expecting cheesecake. Now I shall have a go and write a short story for charity, I promised I would.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

From my notes...

Am just taking a Saturday to collate some doodles and project notes... I did a lot of thinking about things to do and make and write on my Edinburgh trip. It's going to be a busy year, this!

That's a Whole Lot of Knitting, That!

Remember the skirt I was knitting last year? The one that started as a knitted quilt?
Mmm, it's a dress now! And it's so comfortable, and super-hero-coloured!
All it needs is something embroidered on the chest. Any suggestions? I got a feeling I should wait for a moment of pure inspiration... Don't want to have a case of nervous mis-embroidering, you know, after all that time, accidentally embroidering some terrible swear words right in the middle.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Google Library... wow...

This is amazing! I was just doing some research and noticed that Google Book Search is up and running... have you guys used it yet? I am busily sticking useful reference books into my Google Library...

Missed it

Would you believe it... plane crash at Heathrow airport, the sky was full of circling planes, I would have noticed if I'd looked out of the window, but I was working like a loon...
I got everything done though, and packed it all into my backpack along with some of my favourite books to show to the team and marched off to the publisher, still ignoring a sky full of planes in the West, apparently. Then a sudden hailstorm came down and soaked me completely, and I ran because my backpack isn't waterproof. There were lots of people with broken umbrellas running the other way, to Vauxhall station... Londoners tend to have flimsy little umbrellas that break in any serious wind, and I had none at all because I forgot mine at the publisher's last week.
So I had a meeting in my socks (shoes full of water), and with some coughing and wheezing, and it went very well. Now I can put the current project aside and wait until it's gone through acquisition, and start an all-new one illustrating something I didn't write myself for the first time.

Now what? Now tidy up and stock up on food, because my latest work-phase used up all resources of food and tidyness.


This guy looks ready for some sort of adventure...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Candle-lit Studio

Steph just published a photo of her studio when she was working by candlelight... here's my own! Just the brush-jar, but a particularly nice candle thatw as a present from Scotland and looked like a tiny snow ball.

New Clothes!

My home-knit jumper... I realised after finishing it to planned proportions that the sleeves would look much better longer. Arf. About 24 squares longer. BUt look: lovely new dress I got fir Christmas... at last a dress that completely camouflages body poasture. I look like a friendly blue cake no matter what!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh Dear

... I have SO MUCH WORK to do today!

It's My Studio!

...what's your studio like?

The shelves are up and sorted! HOORAY! Now I can have my desk completely empty between projects and at the end of the day! It makes such a difference, I can't explain if you don't already understand.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Looking For Inspiration...

I'm just looking for an out-of-copyright text to turn into a picture book... always a good thing to be planning. There's all sorts of things I remember being impressed about as a child, and just then now I downloaded Edward Lear's Nonsense Books on Gutenberg... it's a great e-text, fully illustrated and hyperlinked, I totally recommend everybody download it right now.

Hmm, I'll keep looking... something with animals... and adventures... there's loads of great ballads I can think of, mostly German though... hmm...

Helga is still alive and hopping about on her mangled toe, I have hopes the vet will sort it all out tomorrow.

Broken Toe

Bad weekend, this... Helga-canary caught her foot in the wiring of the cage last night and twisted one of her toes right around. The toe-nail is at the bottom now, she is unhappy, and I can't take her to the vet before Monday - I could take her to an emergency place across town, but that would probably be a bad idea, carrying her on a bus in the winter like that. So now I'm trying not to worry too much, I'm sure they'll amputate it and prescribe antibiotics, and she can just sit on the cuttlefish bone for today. I don't want to go out in case she bites the whole thing off and bleeds to death... I'm rather cross about that cage now, it's not stupidly ornate or anything, it's just got places to snag toes that I've never noticed before. And I'm cross that I can't do anything much useful now.

And I can't seem to get any painting done either, oof.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The World

I've just taken an atlas of the world apart, and now I'm re-binding it with sheets of trace paper between the pages. I want to use it to map out places and movements from all the stories I have heard of the world since I was small, to learn about how it all works and why.


Heyyy! I know this octopus! How lovely to read news of someone you like doing well. I remember visiting newquay Aquarium years ago, and everyone stood watching this huge Octopus sit in the corner doing nothing, and when everyone else had left and only I was there he suddenly swam up and came up to the glass... a six foot octopus, staring me in the face, I decided he was my best friend for the minute! - He didn't ahve a Mister-Potato-Head-Toy yet then but I'm glad he does now, I thought he was probably bored in there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pin Board

I'm going to un-pin all this and use the space for a new project... thought I'd take a picture first.

That's not my plan for world domination there, it's a hand-painted game board with some countries not on yet.


Here's me in Edinburgh making a stupid face.

And now I'm back in London, and struggling to make sense of the world... there's loads of work to do, but the studio looks like this:

and there's no bathroom. In a couple of weeks' time there will be a wonderful bathroom and wonderful studio shelves that will make everything very neat and brilliant, but until then I am sitting on a heap of physical confusion, and I am finding it hard to plan the day... I normally work along visual lines, first clearing a space and then putting only the things that need dealing with there. Now I spend all day moving stuff about aimlessly and trying to remember where I put my clothes, my lunch or my work and what it was that I meant to do right now, because there is an overwhelming impulse to TIDY UP all the time...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I hope you all had a great time!!!
Edinburgh was grand, we climbed up Arthur's seat as far as we could be bothered and watched the fireworks, which were amazing... I've never seen so many fireworks set off at once, the hills of the city turned into synchronised volcanoes. We'd remembered to bring thermos flasks of mulled wine, and it even stopped raining just before midnight. SO: an unusually proper start to the year! Normally it's a complete shambles.

And now - I'm back! And there's lovely new-year mail, all been waiting for me.
1) A lovely wedding card from Steph looking beautiful with handsome groom on beach
2) A mail from the Tate telling me I can pick up a limited edition wallet designed by David Shrigley, the like of which I have seen and jealously coveted before
3) A letter from Cambridgeshire telling me "Timothy" has been shortlisted for the "read it Again" picture book awards, with a friendly award ceremony in summer and maybe even in StIves (venue not confirmed as yet).
4) The first issue of "Craft" Magazine, which made me decide that I MUST crochet some more toys.

So... all good! :) But now I need to excavate the studio, because some renovation work has started when I was away and now the bathroom seems to be located mostly on my desk.
I might blog some holiday things later on, I've started working on my novels again and got quite far in designing a language for mice, and also Kris took a picture of me looking like a prim adventurous auntie in the snow which I really should blog.