Friday, December 30, 2011

More rats... rats and rats

I'm drawing and drawing and drawing rats.
Around lunch time, my new scanner arrived - a huge thing. Now I can scan my artwork without folding it, which will please the nice lady who sells it to collectors when the books are finished...
A detail from today's spread
I realised today that I have no idea what I'm doing, but at the same time I always know what to do next. I think that's a good way to work - every new page surprises me.

Also I'm finally absolutely able to just smile about all the people who used to tell me that my pencilwork wasn't much good. I mostly avoided it since college because assorted people told me that inking is the only way to go, and that my pencil drawings looked laboured and clumsy. And that my characters are scary and look mad and like they never sleep. Yeah, maybe they do! Maybe I'm a bit short myself and sleep badly and some days I eat ALL THE POTATOES and then I'm kind of tubby around the middle. Maybe the people who told me to stop drawing in pencil are neurotic whingebiscuits.
Maybe perfection isn't everything!
Also I like my drawings better than theirs. (Just ran through the list of critics in my head, and, yeah, I like mine best. By a distance.)
(Do I hold grudges? You bet. I started collecting them when I was about four.)

And I am seeing a whole lot of pencil shavings in 2012!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Big Desk.

I'm back from Germany!
Look at the beautiful necklace I got as a present:
Best Christmas Ever.
That's on my hand, not on my neck.

I started straight away to upgrade my winter studio, AKA my bedroom. I set up a huge drawing desk...
View from my bed. It's a big desk.
...and I ordered an A3 scanner, and an anglepoise lamp. In powder blue, because no one wants that and so it's about half price.
Now I shall be working hard to make that money back.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Almost Christmas...

I'm drawing rats every day. They are getting hairier and hairier. Half the book is drawn by now. Alexis came to visit and drop off some presents yesterday, and he said that the drawings were mad, but some of my best work yet.
I wasn't really aiming for a mad book, but I'm enjoying it immensely so that's ok.

I'm working late into the nights... it's great to be a freelancer. You can get up late and look like this and just start working in pyjamas.
I pretend it's for reference.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Working at home

I'm drawing rats. The dinner table is covered in rat drawings. It's the most fun I've had drawing a book. My process is a bit shocking, I just draw the whole page freehand without a rough, then scan it and chop and change it until it fits on the page nicely, then in the end I'll redraw all the bits that don't fit.
As usual, this means scrappy, crinkled and scribbly originals that will give the fear to galleries. But the books looks spontaneous and fun for it, and I care more about that than about neat original artwork.
I love my job.

Yesterday we had a Ghibli day, some friends visited and we projected four Studio Ghibli features in a row. The house feels friendlier for it.

Back to drawing! Tonight I'll be missing another exciting gathering of illustrators in the city because I really want to stay home and bake triple chocolate cookies.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tree! Tree!

When I came home today, best housemate ever had got us a tree and decorated it.
I shall go and buy batteries for the lights...

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Drilling and hammering and sawing is going on next door. We worked out that the landlord is having the building converted to rent it out for more, and are grumbling that it would have been polite to put a note through the door if there is to be drilling walls on a Sunday morning.

Everything is cosy and domestic. I got the box of Christmas decorations out of the garage, and borrowed a huge projection screen so we can watch festive movies. A Studio Ghibli day is planned.

I'm working late into the nights, drawing rats, photoshopping cheese, enjoying the silence.
Last night I accidentally drew an artwork that isn't even needed in the book, ah well. I'll replace it today.

I found another song I really like, By the Mountain Goats. Some of their music is so beautiful...

Friday, December 9, 2011


Thought you might enjoy seeing these covers change as my agent is sending feedback. Change colours! Add scrolls!

She's very right.
I'm starting to realise that I kind of need InDesign and Illustrator now, lettering in Photoshop is RIDICULOUS WORK.
Oh dang it's still all over the place isn't it... no grids :(

That's just cheating

These books don't even exist, but I felt like making some more covers...

The Rescuers

Here's another portfolio piece: a cover for one of my favourite books.
Digitally painted, and fast as well - I'm making these cover in the breaks between comissioned work.
UPDATE: working on it...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You better like this lady...

'Cause she's starring in my latest book.


I'm working on a set of book covers for my portfolio... three classic books. The first one is Pinocchio, because he's fun to draw.

or maybe less garishly coloured...

Here is the drawing-in-progress.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Black and White

OK guys! I am working on a black and white style for my portfolio. I am working on a portfolio! Oh yes.
So, what do you think of this?

Not the best drawing evar, I know, a bit stiff and all that.
But - a good style for a novel? Ish?

Also: greyscale? Am I allowed greyscale? Must look up rules.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Aldwych Station Inhabitants

I'm going through my photographs from Aldwych station... here are two. More soon.


Wow gee I am BORED. I still have a cold, I've read several webcomics halfway through, listened to five hours of "Game Of Thrones" discussion podcasts... and I actually spent about twenty minutes trying to work out what Bill Murray whispers to Scarlett Johansson at the end of "Lost in Translation" (As far as I can tell: "When I see you at the next business trip, don't forget the tarantula, ok?")

Quite basically if I don't get out of bed and to my drawing desk tomorrow, my head will implode.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Small treasure and adventures

I finished teaching for this year, and events, and everything else that could distract me from drawing. OH YESSS.

I also finally bought a jewellery box, because the cookie tin Iw as using got too small.
Here's part of it. I'm particularly fond of the clockwork jellyfish earrings, and the shiny steampunk ones that Gwyn gave me. Earrings are fun, I discovered, having had my ears pierced at last.
Today I visited the disused Aldwych tube station and took pictures for a mini project... more on that soon, in the meantime here's a poster that's been stuck there since the early seventies.
And now I'll go to bed and read because I have a cold.