Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Monster Machine - Shortlisted for the Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book award!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that The Monster Machine, my monster picture book, published by Pavilion Children's books has been shortlisted for 'Read it Again!' the Cambridgeshire Children's Picture book award!

It is a great honour for myself and the monsters to be shortlisted, we would like to give a huge monster THANK YOU! to all the children who were involved in putting the list together and look forward to hearing from more from you soon!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Some new friends on the drawing board today...

Little Sabre Tooth Tiger and bat friends... pen and ink
A quick snapshot of my drawing board this morning, again I despair at how challenging it is to photograph a flat object, although the sabre tooth tiger was running all over the place...

Friday, 22 February 2013

A Wise owl for a bookshop and Happy Birthday Edward Gorey

This week has been hectic, and it isn't quite over yet! On Monday I sent this fine fellow off to join a whole host of other owls by other illustrators at Wise books who are raising awareness of the Family Support Work Charity.

Pen and ink, with monocle. He likes reading, eating things that are small, cute and fluffy but mostly he enjoys wearing his monocle and watching you through it.

After seeing today's brilliant Google Doodle, I'd also like to mention that today would have been Edward Gorey's 88th birthday, I've always loved his work, for me he is the master of the macabre and of scratchy pen and ink. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis Mackay - Cover Art

The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis Mackay Cover
I was excited to receive a little parcel in the post last week from Floris Books! inside was an advance copy of The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis Mackay, which I had the pleasure of providing cover art for. Today is publication day, Congratulations Janis Mackay!

As ever it was an absolute delight to work with Helena Waldron  (Design and Production Manager at Floris) and I always love having the chance to read the text before it is released... :) All you fans of time travel and adventure are in for a treat with this one...
Gold Foil title font and spine too! The Kelpies always have such lovely spines...

From the Floris Books website - 
'One ordinary day, Saul is on his way to the corner shop when a girl appears suddenly in the middle of the road. She doesn't understand traffic, or the things in shops, and she's wearing a long dress with ruffled sleeves. Her name is Agatha Black.
Agatha Black is from 1812, and Saul needs to find a way to get her back there. With help from his mates Will and Robbie, he tries to work out how to make time travel happen.
This pacy, time-travelling adventure from Janis Mackay, author of the Magnus Fin series, is full of funny misunderstandings and gripping action.This pacy, time-travelling adventure from Janis Mackay, author of the Magnus Fin series, is full of funny misunderstandings and gripping action.'

The Accidental Time Traveller is available to buy where-ever books are sold from today! (21st Feb 2013), and is available as both a nice solid book with decadent foil title text and also as an e-book for those with the technology...

Release Date - 21st February 2013
ISBN - 9780863159541

This is not the first time I have illustrated Janis Mackay's work, I also provided cover art for the Magnus Fin trilogy also published by Floris Books in their popular Kelpies range.

Janis Mackay's Books on the Floris books site
Janis Mackay's author website

Follow Kelpies on twitter! - @DiscoverKelpies
Follow Janis Mackay on twitter! - @janismackay

Sunday, 10 February 2013

2013 Year of the Snake, Chinese New Year

Year of the Snake, a little illustration to mark the transition.

Today is Chinese New Year! Goodbye to the Year of the Dragon and welcome to 2013, the year of the Snake.

This past year has been an eventful one for me, with both wonderful high points and sad low ones, but here's hoping the Year of the Snake is mostly a good one, I also hope the snake is a friendly one, I'm not quite sure yet...

Happy New Year...

See also my 2012 - Year of the Dragon

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Parliament of Owls... fun with pen and ink!

All the owls together. Watching you....
Recently I've had a hankering for black and white work, I love pen and ink, I love the range of tone and texture you can achieve with just one tool, here my weapon of choice was a thin Rapidograph drawing pen, 0.3 by Koh-i-noor. I sometimes use a good old fashioned dip pen with a really scratchy nib, but as there was no background planned for this every splatter would be evident!
Back to the owls, these were inspired by a recent trip through to Bakewell, where they have a beautiful collection of owls on display. I didn't do any drawings of the owls there but I did have a long staring competition with the chap with the black eyes on the far left. I'm sure there was an eagle owl and a spectacled one too (the penguinlike one in the centre) I've added a small owl and a barn owl too, although I have taken certain liberties with their anatomy and markings, they are my owls after all. haha.
The first owl, don't look into his eyes! Pen and ink.

More owls, a barn owl and an eagle owl, or thereabouts... A bit larger to show the detail.
After drawing the big stately eagle owl on the right he told me what he'd really like is a monocle, so I drew him one.  

Random fact - A group of owls is known as a 'Parliament' which I think it quite apt. Maybe I'll draw a murder of crows sometime...