Friday, June 28, 2013

MOONPIE! Or, in fact, Fergus.

I just got this photo in the mail... it's Fergus! A crafty parent made this for their child who renamed Moonpie from "There are Cats in this Book". SO CUDDLY!

TINY PENCIL interview

Tiny Pencil is a great new magazine featuring pencil-made art, and I'll have a piece in the next issue.
They interviewed me for their website...

Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your work. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?I am a children’s book maker. I write and illustrate them, and I try to invent new ways of using the format to encourage children to be creative, to entertain them and to help them overcome troubles and to stay curious, inventive and be excellent to one another.
Tell us about your creative process, from the initial idea to the finished piece.I have a mental bucket of ideas for books that I think should exist – books that are in some way needed or would simply be brilliant. Now and then one surfaces, I realise what to make of it, and I start planning a structure for the book. When that is in place, I fill it with characters and a story. I make dummy books physically and very roughly using a lot of invisible scotch tape, cutting and tearing and sticking and scribbling. Then I refine them until they become publishable books. the rest on the Tiny Pencil blog! 

Moving House, update

I am still unboxing. If I haven't ben in touch, that's why. - Hello cat. Cat likes me now. She thinks that I am the Bringer of Exciting Towers.

Yesterday a very deep sinkhole opened down the road, which was exciting. I didn't do it. Not my fault. Nothing to do with my removal van.

WAH! Other cat isn't sure about me yet, but working on it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Moving House

Tomorrow I move house! HOORAY!

We've been thinking a lot about how to arrange furniture, what colour to paint which wall...
It'll be fab. And I'll be living very close to an excellent ballroom, so I go dancing all the time now!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Friday 5th of July, London! Come and bring friends, eat cake, admire book! Hosted by the wonderful Review Bookshop in Peckham. Their bookshop dog who Buddy the ghost dog is based on (you can see him there carried by the bear).

Bank of England Legal Challenge: where are the women?

Here's something I rather care about, and want to tell you.
The Bank of England has just decided to remove the only woman of historical importance depicted on their banknotes - Elisabeth Fry - and replace her with Winston Churchill. Yes, there is also the Queen on every note, but she is there for a different reason to everyone on the other side of the notes: by right of birth. This is sending out a very bad signal: that there are no women historically important enough to be featured in this gallery celebrating cultural heritage.

When challenged on this, the bank replied that they are acting fairly: Churchill was picked from a group of four candidates, and one of them was a woman. She just didn't make the cut.
I'm not against Churchill - I'm appalled that we even got to a point where there was only one woman left. You have to make an active effort to avoid such a thing in a country that has a long history of a majority of important men in charge - but not a huge effort, really not. There really are enough very important female historical figures available to keep the banknotes balanced.

Admirably, The Women's Room has taken it on themselves to challenge this decision under the Equality act, which states that
“A public authority must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to –(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under this Act;(b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;(c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.”
Half of the legal funds are raised. If you agree that this is an important matter, consider heading over to their funding page and helping out.

I am really disappointed with this whole matter - I spend a lot of time thinking about what message my books are sending, analysing other media and thinking what impression of the world children are getting from it all. What are girls supposed to think of this? Are they supposed to have ambitions to be the monarch one day, because the only way to be declared historically important as a woman is to be born into the royal family? Really?
Not cool.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Childhood Memory: editing

I am tidying up my workroom, preparing to move house... this is a little diary cartoon I found in a box.
It's a childhood memory of the kind of thing my mum had to deal with. I re-edited all my magazines, made novels end mid-way through where I thought it improved them, I changed sexist and racist scenes (probably not knowing these words yet but generally being bothered) crossed out badly written sentences, added illustrations and maps and swapped genders and characters around.
I'm not recommending that children should necessarily allowed to do this, It's just a memory... and it did really set me on a path early on. I'm sure I spoiled a load of perfectly good books with the zeal of a morally outraged child... but I never shredded beautiful, rare books or books beloved by others... I hope. Mostly magazines and paperbacks from bargain bins.

Now that there are more and more digital works about, we can edit them without breaking the originals! HOORAY! Back then, I just pulped the parts I hated and turned them into papier mache dogs.

The cartoon that's just about showing through the back is another memory which I posted here.

Monday, June 10, 2013


My studio colleague Bridget blogged about our studio.As you can see above, my crochet bear rug has moved in here for the time being.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Have you heard of LOAf MAGAZINE?
Well, I made a thing for their next issue, which will be all about friendship - comics and activities by some really excellent illustrators. You should check it out.

(click for full size)

A lovely day out with Emma Collins

Last Friday Emma Collins and I had a day out in London and went to Gosh Comics. It was fun.