Thursday, August 26, 2010

THERE ARE NO CATS IN THIS BOOK! The cats are out again!

It's out! It's out! My new book is out!
I just went to my local bookshop to sign a big load, and in fact this is how I found out that I'd out already. I completely forgot to have a launch! Anyone up for an impromptu quasi late launch gathering of some sort? I feel completely not able to organise it while moving house, but I do rather want to celebrate this silly book, I'm proud of it...
So... quick, head to Review Bookshop if you can and get one of these signed copies, or else get an unsigned one from your local bookseller... you know you need one!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Digital Chalk

I forgot to draw the shelf in the background of some of these panels, so I just chalked it in to remind myself to draw it later. Actually, that looks kind of almost nice... I wonder...
Oh Sheesh, I forgot to draw the window as well. And the doormat. And that black sheep has some uncanny skills in moving all over the room without leaving his chair. And why is the ram losing all his wooliness in the penultimate panel? And why am I not keeping my reference sheets by the drawing table at all times?
This book is going to be fun to proof.

Bikes, Goats, Monkeys.

I'm still cycling! To my own surprise.
First, I cycled with Sarah along the Thames for about 20 miles, apparently. We met some goats and found an amazing hidden reference library full of scrap books from the 70s.

I nabbed those from Sarah's blog - she has a proper report, and more pictures of me looking like a fool, which in this case I rather enjoy. There's no way of looking less than daft on my bike. I mean, look at it.

Anyway, I've been riding it to work and back and generally around the place, and I'm really rather fond of it by now, even though I am covered in bruises from mis-foldings and assorted things that happen every time it needs to travel up and down stairs. I also gave the new rental bikes a try which have popped up all over town, and I like mine a lot better. Those things weigh a ton, I was completely knackered after the first slight incline. For some reason the folding bike isn't tiring at all. Nor is it fast, admittedly.

Today I almost stayed off it after seeing a bad car wreck just by my bus stop, but then decided to keep going. I felt a bit rattled all day though... I am feeling a bit rattled anyway, moving house is very daunting. I expect it will be wonderful once it's accomplished, but right now it's just a matter of many large items being in the wrong place, one of them myself, basically.

I drew another page of comic today, meaning I'm well into the second chapter now, and I also took some time to paint some monkeys for the nice people who gave me a dinner table in exchange. Here's a stack of monkeys. I am keeping one myself, because it makes me smile, but they can choose from the rest. I suggested taking the two on the left in the photo as a set, because they shouldn't really be broken up I think, much funnier as a sequence.

I've got some more furniture for drawings offers, but no sofa yet! Come on!

Hm, I wonder if I should write a picture book about monkeys.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Flood of Mice

Cheese Man

Every so often it happens that I get to draw a comic panel that I've been looking forward to ever since I wrote the script.

Here is the one with a cheese man sitting at a cheese table with cheese, as seen through the wall of a cheese house.

Happy now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Furnish Viv's House Competition!

Hello everyone! Well, everyone in the London area, for this particular post.

It's almost time for me to move into my first unfurnished home, and so what I rather need is furniture!
I decided to make it a challenge, and a project.
I am offering illustrations in exchange - if you give me something from my list, I shall replay by drawing/painting your favourite animal, size and detail and such depending on the value of the furniture.
For a nice two seater sofa, for example, I'd give you for example a watercolour portrait of your pet dogs playing chess if you wish. For a chair I'd give a doodle of a dinosaur (or whatever you fancy). Original artwork for you to keep, that is.
If you have something to offer, get in contact and send me a picture, and if it suits the house and can somehow be transported there, you can make your request. Hepp!
I already got a nice dinner table...

I require:

  • a bedside table (or two)
  • a standing lamp
  • a sofa (clean and comfortable)
  • a coffee table
  • some bookshelves
  • some plain shelves to store stuff in the garage
  • a chest of drawers
  • four chairs
  • a housemate

The last item would be especially awesome. I'll advertise on Gumtree etc. very soon, but if you know someone nice who'd like to live with a children's book writer/illustrator in South London (zone 2), get in touch now... good sized double room available from 1st of September. Have your own bathroom if you like. Professionals and non-smokers only. No pets.

Right, I am looking forward to whatever happens with this! Contact details here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fortunately, a plum tree.

Today I wasn't in the mood to face rush hour in the rain, so I stayed at the office late and managed to draw two pages of comic. I'll post one when I've got around to colouring it. Only two pages left now to finish the first chapter of seven!
I have been cycling again, I've finally worked out that it's actually not all that hard to ride on the road if I go at a decent speed. I've also tried out a normal bike, and I am feeling much better about my achievements on my little folding one. It actually IS a bit difficult to handle, and no, potholes don't make you flip over on a normal bike, and yes, on a normal bike you can signal without swerving. And you can pedal uphill at faster than walking speed. Okay so other people can do that on a folding bike as well, but... I'm just saying it's rather an effort. I do love my bike though, it does get me as far as I could comfortably walk, but faster. Not much faster maybe, but hey, it's an improvement. I was incredibly chuffed when I arrived back home after riding back from work on the direct road instead of taking the long way through the park, and it was faster than taking the bus. (So is walking, some days, but never mind.)
I felt a bit gloomy because there is just too much work to do, and it is raining, and I need to find a housemate and move house and buy furniture - exciting things really, but it doesn't always seem like that in the mornings. So I've been playing "fortunately/unfortunately" in my head, which usually sets things right. Unfortunately I need to spend loads of money on setting up a new house. Fortunately I can theme it all to make it like a Natural History museum... Unfortunately I agreed to tend too many plants for other people. Fortunately one of them is a plum tree... Unfortunately I still need to advertise for a housemate. Fortunately I will probably find a new friend that way. Oh I embarrass myself sometimes with my chirpiness. (Fortunately, it's part of my job.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Having Fun

Okay, I am starting to enjoy myself drawing and colouring this comic... it's still confusing, but since I've decided to let go of perspective and continuity to some extent and worked out some sort of colour scheme, it's pretty nice work actually.
Here's a page I posted earlier, coloured up.

And now I shall find something to eat and then have a nice Sunday afternoon out in Hyde Park.
Hmmm actually I need to add some more shadows on the floor... ah well, something's always left to do...

Saturday, August 7, 2010


It's definitely Accounting Weekend. I must get my books ready to send off, because there's family visits and house-moving ahead, and buckets of work. I'd like to write some interesting things about how life is going, but even though I'm rather happy I can only think of few things, and they are all boring. I've cricked my left shoulder. I've changed my breakfast habits from just decaf coffee to decaf and muesli. I bought a small stunt kite but haven't tried it yet. It's raining. I need to go and water someone's plants, but I'd rather have a nap. I really, really must sort all my receipts today. And at work: good things are happening, co-editions, new plans. I want to finish writing my half-novel about foxes, and thought about it yesterday for a while, wondering if the next big scene I have planned is plain wrong. But all that is vague.
Sometimes it's nice not to have anything spectacular to write about for a while. Things are just going well. Yay.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No picture today, not because I didn't draw one. I'm still diligently doing my one page a day, and today I delivered a sequence of three to have speech bubbles and type added. I looked over the shoulder of the deigner making my font, and I'm rather excited about it... odd black blobs on her screen that looked definitely like something I'd done, and they'll all be put together to make letters and words and sentences and stories. And I won't have to hand-letter all those hundreds of bubbles. Life is good.

I also just went to see "Inception" and in some ways I liked it but overall I feel a bit like I should have been paid to watch it for some reason. Probably that's just an idea that seeped into my subconscious while watching all those actors work so hard to be characters when all their dialogue was basically a manual for a non-existing science. Yeah, I do hope they got paid well.

Hm, the house is silent, and I shall sleep, and tomorrow I get to draw a particularly easy comic page where everyone just talks and drinks tea at the breakfast table, so I even just have to draw them from the chest up. I might take the afternoon off to go for a walk in the city...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Today involved walking to work, drawing a new page of comic, an important meeting where we turned a book inside out and I tried to write and re-write a whole new layer of text for it, and it also involved swearing at the internet for not transporting my files from home to work and back the way I expected it to. Now it's involving blankly munching away at a pack of broken Ryvita because I can't be boggled to cook quite yet.
I was going to colour in today's page at home, but I forgot to draw an important bit before having it scanned, so I'll re-scan tomorrow. In any case, I got to draw the library today, which is a set I've been looking forward to. Here's a panel.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sleepy Sheep

I'm pleased with today's comic page. It's starting to be fun to draw instead of crampiness.

Oh argh I forgot to draw some of the blinds though. Top right. That's almost a pun, but mostly it's just very annoying.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another Page...

I am starting to enjoy the colouring process. That is, it makes me swear less.
I think I have a good combination of flat and chalky colours now, and nice purple shadows, and the line is reasonably black...  There's some bits that aren't quite right, but I'm trying to get it 80% well done by the presentation deadline rather than 100% well but only half way.
I'll attempt one more page, then I'll hand them on to have spech bubbles and lettering dropped in.

By the way, if you notice that the furniture changes slightly from panel to panel, that is intentional. Things on shelves and such. I just suddenly remembered how much I liked that effect in "Calculus Cat", and seeing this story is all set in dreams it makes sense.