Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I am SO PROUD! Now you can download Matthew Robins' latest live album on Amazon (and itunes, actually) and some of the lovely songs have lyrics by me! And the others are all fine examples of Matthew's own beautiful musical storytelling. They all made me laugh and/or cry.

Download the album!

Or, of course, order a CD from Matthew himself.

And also please look at the comic that goes with it. It's Awesome.
Here's page one, the rest is to be found on his blog

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One Day Before Christmas...

I am enjoying my wallet sketchbook. Here is a sad lady I saw on the tube. She was wearing a big black hat that seemed to weigh her down. Even her bag seemed a bit dejected.
I hope she's having a nicer time now.

And I cooked for German Christmas - some friends and boyfriend are coming around tomorrow. This is the red cabbage (before cooking). Loads of muscovado sugar, apple, and, for the first time, experimentally, cranberries.
I cooked a game stew as well. I don't normally cook meat, pretty much only for Christmas, and it turned out really very tasty. It'll sit and wait until tomorrow.

Drawing Videos

Here's a Christmas treat for you: a glimpse into the workings of whatever part of my brain does the drawing.

What-is-it? from John Peacock on Vimeo.

Drawing Hamsters from John Peacock on Vimeo.

And here, The Cats.

Drawing Cats from John Peacock on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookie Planes and Burglaries

Hello there!
There's a festive sort of feeling in the air here. Even though just about everyone has either a cold or vomititis or both. I managed to pay for Christmas food with artwork sales, and lugged home a tasty haul of port and nuts and cabbage and suchlike winter delicacies. My friend Inga passed through and gave me some baked planes. She said it was the closest thing to stars she could get, cookie cutter wise.

I spent a brilliant weekend helping to run an adventure game pretend burglary with Fire Hazard, most notably spending quite some time tied to a chair in a police cell singing "Les Miserables" to myself waiting for players to spring me so I could hand them a bunch of keys and run off for coffee. I think I'll blog more about all that later.

Now I shall do some more comic drawing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monkey Worries

Why is it Snowing Upstairs?

Why is it snowing upstairs, mama
Every night when you put me to sleep
I can hear the snow-flakes falling
Like small feet crawling upstairs, mama

Isn’t there anyone living up there
Aren’t they home?
I can hear the snow fall, hear the snow fall
Won’t they be sad when there’s snow in the hall
And there’s icicles hanging over their heads
And there’s sheets of ice on their beds?

Aren’t they home?

Why is it snowing upstairs, mama
I had a dream about legs
Long leggy legs, crawling, crawling
Like snow-flakes falling upstairs, mama
Why is it snowing upstairs, mama
Every night when you go away

Sometimes it snows in the day

Why is it snowing so

Why does it


That's a small song I wrote for a show years ago. I think the show never happened but I just found the words and thought: ah! Seasonal. So there you go.

(That's a song I wrote for a show some years ago, just found it and thought it's appropriate for the season.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Almost finished another chapter...

...well, in theory, if I keep drawing all day today, which I'm planning to do. Am just taking a short break and gathering visual reference material. And, to be fair, I think I'll leave a couple of pages out for later because they feature complicated architecture. And the other pages need re-scripting somewhat. But anyway, I'm getting there, by tomorrow hopefully.
I drew my favourite page yet, here it is:
And I promptly left it on the train on my way back from boyfriend's house. Thankfully an honest soul picked it up and phoned me so I could retrieve it. ALWAYS PUT YOUR MOBILE NUMBER ON YOUR PORTFOLIO, FOLKS.
Monkey in Diving Bottle.

My monkeys are for sale at The Colour Makes People Happy Store, all original brush drawings on watercolour paper. I'm rather pleased with them.
Monkey Sale!

Don Quixote by Rob Davis
 I did an artwork swap for a monkey painting with Rob Davis, now I own this! HA!

Christmas Treepee
And, finally, the Treepee is kind of getting there now. Still looks very odd, but I just wired it up with lights, which helps a lot.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I made my Christmas tree. Now I can't find my box of decorations...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Red monkeys

I painted red monkeys... They all came out quite nice, I think most of them will go in the monkey sale.
If you want to buy any monkeys, come to Colour Makes People Happy in Dulwich, or send me a mail. I will post all the monkeys once I finished painting.

Monday, December 6, 2010

SCBWI Masterclass

On Saturday Ben Norland and I gave a Masterclass in picture book illustration for SCBWI
We talked, and presented, and then looked through people's dummy books. We read out "A Place to Call Home" which will be published next year - I think that was the first more or less public display of the book, actually. I'd brought an early dummy for it so we could demonstrate the sort of changes that are made.

It was an enjoyable day, but I am glad that this was the last event of the year... I will try and keep events to a minimum next year and concentrate on work. Events are my least favourite part of the job, on the whole, no matter how fun they may be they make me feel desperately tired, sometimes for days. I strongly feel that my place should be with my imaginary creatures, and a drawing implement in my hand, as far as my work time is concerned. I get confused by questions like "where do you get your ideas" and "how many changes are made from your initial idea" and all that stuff about ideas in general, and sometimes I don't feel all that helpful. People seem to have a different idea of what ideas are.
Anyway, they were nice, that lot. And Ben is always very useful to listen to.

I would rather like to spend some time just dreaming about the characters I need to work with next, they have faded in my mind...

Well, tonight I shall make a start on the underwater sequence in "Sleepwalkers", I wonder if that means wibbly panel borders... and how to draw fur under water... hm...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Book shopping in Hampstead

I decided to hide in Hampstead today, eating lovely food and visiting book shops. This is what I bought. I am very fond of The Iron Man and it's always exciting to see a new beautiful edition, and this retelling of Puss in Boots is very neat, clever and satisfying.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Win Cat Books with Stitch London!

Stitch London is running a competition for some of my books!

Which is very cool indeed.
Stitch London, in any case, is cool anyway, and if you like to knit, or crochet, or any such crafty thing, you should really join them, because it's free and fun and generally rather a good idea.


This is a Christmas tree pot I am painting, just a quick commission... So, yes, I will do that kind of thing occasionally.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Drawing drawing...

Peace and quiet...

It's snowy, London is asleep. It doesn't take much snow for that.
I crossed London twice, using whatever transport was at hand, to have a planning meeting in a North London pub. I scribbled and smudged around in my wallet-sketchbook, thinking about the characters in my graphic novel. Here's an angry monkey, her name is Amali Tumbili. She's probably cross because I smudged her out and redrew her so many times, not because I was trying anything in particular, just for fun, to see her disappear and re-emerge.
Amali Tumbili, in a mood

I'm glad my dad sent me some snow chains for my shoes, they really help with walking on ice.

I fell asleep on the couch when I got back home, it's so peaceful out there and so warm in here...
Also I put a stew on an hour or so ago, on the principle that if I buy whatever bags of vegetables they have reduced in the shop across the road and boil them in stock with some sort of alcohol that isn't eggnog for long enough, stew will happen. I shall test that now, and then have an evening of drawing.
I'm happy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm making progress with the comic today, in chunks of twenty- five minutes, using the pomodoro method. It's working! I am actually both enjoying the drawing and catching up...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Glad that's sorted

I told the hairdresser to do whatever she felt like. Came out like this:

Snow snow snow

I woke up under a blanket of snow.
Bedroom Window, Snowy.
I went downstairs and looked out of the window... outside fat flakes of snow are dancing, hollywood-style.
I turned on the radiators and lights and made coffee, replied to all my mails with "that's ok, see you later" and now I am sitting on the sofa. I will eventually start drawing. But right now I am just sitting. It's very quiet out there, and I'm thinking about how much I've been worrying this winter... I shall have a snow day, wearing my warmest home-knitted clothes, eating soup, drinking tea and drawing. And no worries today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sofia Vlazaki

Sofia Vlazaki

Sofia Vlazaki

I went to college with Sofia (we did the same MA authorial illustration course in Falmouth).
Look at her brilliant drawings, do.
I love them.

It's been a good weekend.

Lovely Fan Art
My New Awesome Wallet, containing hand-bound sketchbook (and a pen)
Ice skating at Canary Wharf

I also went fencing, and, in the words of the coach, "Who won? Probably everybody". I sure enjoyed wildly attacking frightened strangers. And I crewed my first game of survivor sports for Fire Hazard.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stressed? (Apparently, yes.)

I seem to have bought a T-shirt in a bout of insomnia. I forgot all about it straight after. I have no idea why I felt I needed another t-shirt, or how I got to the site. I was pretty much sleep-shopping, guided by my subconscious.
So I was VERY surprised when it arrived.

It is now my favourite T-shirt. I absolutely love it, and so did everyone I ran into so far while wearing it.
You can buy it here if you like it, too, in John Allison's scary-go-round shop.
If anyone could enlighten me what the link is to my waking life, I'd be very grateful. How did I get to that shop? Did anyone send me? What made this happen?
Actually, his other shirts are bloody brilliant, too.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back in Plymouth...

They gave me the tiniest room at the B&B, which I am very happy about - I prefer tiny rooms when I'm by myself,  large ones sometimes worry me at night. Then they gave me a huge mug of black tea, some biscuits and the WiFi password. I like this place a lot!
Shall huddle up in bed and write now. Tomorrow I'll be teaching illustration at the university again...
New stylish backpack and extremely nice washbag.
Which reminds me, one of the foundation students I lectured to last time sent me some results:

Cats and dogs by Kathy Evans
That was the lecture where the projector exploded and my memory stick was killed by a virus and generally a good time was had by all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dream Shelf

I just fixed this by my bed - it holds tiny cardboard speakers to plug my mobile into and play white noise when I can't sleep, plus my dream diary and a pen, and a tiny sheep. (The app is "Sleep Now" for android - it's not bad at all, comes with row-boat noises and a heartbeat, too.)

I also finished painting the shelf, got some silk cocoon fairy lights from Muji and framed up a print-out of my favourite picture by Tim.
The room is slowly becoming cosy.

I think I'll huddle up in bed with some strawberries and a cup of Rooibos tea with honey, and do a bit of writing. Tomorrow I'll be off to Devon again to do some teaching...

It's Cold.

Looks like every branch is still hanging on to exactly one leaf. How organised.

Just bought this in the bookshop.

Friday, November 19, 2010

This little kitty is going to the market

I am getting most of the artwork of "There are no cats in this book" ready to be sold in a gallery. This morning was all about locating the parts and cutting them out with a scalpel, because they were originally collaged digitally because scanning physically assembled collage artwork is actually more fiddly. So these original cats are meeting for the first time on actual paper.
If you think you might want to buy some, get in touch and I'll let you know when the sale is on.

Now my hands are very cold and I am warming up at the cafe across the road from the studio with Lapsang Souchong... Brrr I got so cold that my back hurts. Bah.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Captain Moonpie travels on

Captain Moonpie is still travelling, making friends and sending me pictures, and sometimes trying to phone. I'm not at all sure where he is at the moment, actually... but he seems to have good travel companions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Home Improvements Ongoing

The staircase is so much better with a framed print of an egg-shaped pigeon by Joseph Sumner.

I delivered my files

One chapter of comic linework to art director, who wasn't in today, so I left it on his desk guarded by a sheep because I was too sleepy to think of a note to write. He'll know what to do with it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Off

So I decided to take the day off for home improvement purposes.


This shelf, now, is more green than brown, but reluctantly so. I will get back to it. And I will have things framed. And I will paint the other shelf. All this will happen.

However, halfway through this I realised that I am supposed to be handing in all the finished linework for chapter two of "The Sleepwalkers" to my art director on Tuesday, and that the only possible time to finish those files was RIGHT NOW. So much for my day off. And while I was at it I ordered some new toner for the printer and printed out the layouts for another book I am pitching at the moment - I wrote a test chapter on the train from Plymouth, and it sure is weird. I am quite pleased with it, actually.
Then I noticed my hand got firmly glued around the paintbrush with green, and I had to soak it off in the sink.

At least the morning was rather perfect. My lovely boyfriend cooked me some porridge, which is doctor's orders for breakfast. It's much less awful if someone else cooks it.
We cycled to a couple of places that we might want to use for exciting future events.
Then we went and had Vietnamese lunch, and I was (as often, these days) so happy that I had to remind myself humans don't express themselves in weird yelping gurgles of joy in public while running in circles around the object of their admiration. Not in Deptford, anyway.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Needful Things

Today I bought a desk lamp for the studio. I can't quite believe that it took me this long to do this.
It cost me ten minutes and fifty pounds in Argos, and it is actually really pretty - heavy black metal with pleasing joints, it looks like a friendly robot. And I CAN SEE WHAT I AM DRAWING.

Light at Last.
I also put a radiator on the desk, another beside the chair, and Simon helped me to sling a lamp on a cable across the ceiling, to be suspended from big hooks as needed. Clever construction.
I got some drawing done, although the paper felt a bit damp. It really is getting cold. But I refuse to worry. I'll just keep making it more comfortable and warm.

I slept late, because I felt I had to - I noticed my writing had become a bit incoherent and my drawing a bit wobbly, and I felt like crying for no reason. I was just very tired. It's hard, changing my life around in so many ways, and keeping track of what needs doing - I want to have more time to go into town and make use of London, for one thing, and I want to get my room to a point that it makes me happy to walk into it, and the studio to a point where I can just sit down and start drawing any time. Tomorrow I will paint my bedroom shelves, and have some prints framed. It's strange, last year I would never have paid for framing, I'd have done it myself... I'm starting to feel strangely grown up, paying people for things I don't have time for. My life used to be all time, a big bag of assorted time... now it's a big bag of assorted work. Brilliant work, but nevertheless, it confuses me sometimes.

I started having little silent chats with my comic characters while I have a rest on the sofa, or before dragging myself out of bed, and they are very reassuring. They seem to be much less tired than I am myself at the moment. It's good to think they know what they are doing, and I just need to keep putting them on paper. They've become my friends. Especially Wolke Daune, the white sheep, who sometime tells me to stop, have a cup of tea and look at my calendar and see that actually there's a bit of space somewhere so I can go and buy a dressing gown after all to make my mornings happy, for example.

I managed to merge all my digital calendars into one, thanks to gcal, and to get them all up on my android phone, and for the first time I can really see how much I am taking on because it's right there in stacked up coloured stripes across the days and weeks. And I can spot the places where the stacks are too fat, and move appointments and mark days out for life things rather than work things. It's great to have a smartphone, it really helps. It's also been good to be able to deal with my email on the move - in the post office queue or waiting for my desk lamp in Argos, in fact. It even watches over my 20 minute power naps and the assorted pills I need to take. And at night, if I can see a planet through my window, it tells me which one it is. It's great. In fact, have a list of apps I've found useful, after the jump, if you like.