Friday, 29 June 2012

Professor Cortex and StoryLab

Recently I dressed up as Professor Cortex and went along to a local school assembly to talk about this summer's UK nation-wide summer reading challenge for children. 

I had a white coat and silly name-tag, but sadly no crazy professor wig or giant Elton John specs, as the person getting those was still looking hard for the perfect afro-style multi-coloured wig! I would have settled for a Professor Einstein wig, but there you are!

This summer's reading scheme is called StoryLab and is all about Professor Cortex who collects stories in his strange laboratory before they are lost for ever. It also has a very loose Olympic theme too. Children have to read six books over the summer holidays. Once they sign up they get their very own StoryLab, which folds out and can be a sticker book too. Once they read three books, they will have accumulated numerous scratch and sniff stickers and a 3D bookmark. Once they've completed all six, it's more StoryLab stickers, a story catcher, a marvellous certificate and, WOW, a gold medal (well not real gold, come on!). It is a shame I am not little any more because this all sounds brilliant!

If you want to know more and get your child involved, visit your local library or take a look at this website right here! Shame I didn't get to do the artwork for StoryLab, maybe another year, hey?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

How to draw cool lettering

As I posted my logo for Hobbledown yesterday I thought it would be appropriate to share with you today my video on 'how to draw cool lettering'. Not that I go around vandalising railway sidings and bus stops, to develop cool lettering, but it was one of the many things I was asked to produce a tutorial on by videojug.

But before I reveal the video I thought you might like to see a few of the many ideas that I played around with early on when thinking up logo ideas for Hobbledown. All included silhouettes, produced as vector images that Kidspace Adventures Ltd are now using elsewhere!

This was one idea from very early on in the project when we were thinking more about animals and less about everything else that will be happening at Hobbledown!

This is another idea and I did a whole series with different colour combinations, but we all felt this was a bit fussy and the tree just didn't work! However the animal silhouettes went down really well and in the end I produced those all on their own!

Now I've shown you a few lettering ideas, see if you can follow my video and have a go yourself right NOW!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hobbledown news flash!

I have been told only this afternoon that the grand opening of Hobbledown, near Epsom will be taking place on Thursday 26th July! This means that after this date I can blog about all the many illustrations I did for this project and there are many of them to share with you and I can't wait. I have been waiting months to share some artwork with you! 

However as they have already started using the coloured logo I did for them in their promotional newsletters I think it is OK for me to at least show that today! 

Below is the whole logo, but I have also zoomed in a bit in places, so you can see more detail!

In this image I have zoomed in on Eliza, one of the main Hobbler characters in the book!

Here are some of the wee little animals!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Cat drawings and how to do them

Well it's Monday and therefore it's 'how to draw' day on my blog. 

Here I will share a video tutorial to help you draw a kitten. I am also showing you some of my own cat pictures and my nephew's digital artwork of his cat, Nicnoy, which he sent me on Sunday. "Nicnoy" is Thai for small. I think it's pretty good and he drew it on his iPAD!

The video takes you through a step by step approach using simple shapes to build up your picture of a kitten. You may not achieve absolute success with your first attempt or indeed a few, but if you persevere you will get it in the end. Just make sure you have sharp pencil or technical pen (these never need to be sharpened), a good eraser, clean sheet of flat paper, and of course patience!

Firstly here's some of my cat artwork. As you can see it's a mixture of quite cartoony stuff and more serious studies.

Here's my nephew's drawing!

Now try drawing a cat yourself and watch my video below - good luck!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Agatha Christie's Ariadne Oliver

Sometimes when you are working on a project you get major challenges and I think having the task of drawing four of Agatha Christie's most loved detectives can be classed as challenging. Especially when my drawings have to be approved by no less than her descendants! The four I am referring to are Tommy and Tuppence, Hercule Poirot and Mrs Ariadne Oliver. 

Luckily for me so far all my artwork for these four characters have be approved and have been or will be published. Consequently I can only share with you today the two that have just been published: Tommy and Tuppence.

Below are my pencil roughs for these characters, along with the finished artwork!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Videojug: how to draw a pig

I totally forgot to do my tutorial post on Monday! So a little belatedly here it is. This week I thought it would be fun to show you how to draw a pig, using the video I did with 

I also wanted to share a piggy illustration with you too! The illustration has been drawn just using a soft graphite pencil. I tend to use technical pencils, because they never need to be sharpened and it can be quite irritating, having to keep stopping to sharpen a pencil. I am also useless at sharpening pencils and often end up with nothing!

First, here's the video for you to follow

Here's an illustration I did earlier this year - note the pig!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Sketches Agatha Christie Magazine

Sketches Agatha Christie: When doing sketches for the Agatha Christie magazine I find when I am working on a brief I often like the sketches and roughs better than the finished artwork. You can sometimes lose the vitality and movement in roughs when they are translated into colour, which is a shame. So today I thought I would share artwork with you from issues of the magazine that have been published.

I work in pencil. Actually I use a technical pencil, because it never needs sharpening. There is nothing worse than being interrupted mid-flow by an annoying blunt pencil - very irritating!For all the roughs I do a great deal of research first.  All are set in different decades of the twentieth century. I have done the turn of the century, right through the 1960s so far, and so my knowledge of fashion for both men and women is expanding too.

The magazine itself is called The Agatha Christie Book Collection and is selling internationally, and can be bought in the United Kingdom in all WH Smith stores (if you're interested.) I am one of four artists who illustrate for the magazine regularly.

To read more articles on my work, try going to my blog by clicking HERE!

Here's Cust from ABC Murders, Julius P Hersheimmer, Tommy and Tuppence from The Secret Advocacy:

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Kidspace Adventures Ltd have released some fun photos on their facebook page of how the site, to be know as Hobbledown, due to open in July is coming along. I thought I would share them with you today. 

For this project I was commissioned to illustrate the jacket cover and thirty-two internal illustrations for the book and website. I also worked on a series of silhouettes of hobblers and animals that have been used elsewhere on site and in their new logo. If you would would like to see more examples of work I completed for Kidspace Adventures Limited, just visit my older children fiction pages on my new website, silhouette pages and also take a look at some of my older posts!

I still can't share artwork with your on blogspot, but not long to go now and then I have loads to show you!

Some Hobbler homes...

Some strange-lookins Hobblers hard at work

Friday, 15 June 2012

Little grey rabbit

About this time last year I was one of the many artists that Templar Publishing were looking at to become the new illustrator for the famous Little grey rabbit series. Unfortunately I came second. The artist that won it was taken on several weeks before me and was ahead of the game, so won the commission. However coming second was pretty good, as there were many artists all going for the same job who failed. In terms of the X-Factor, I came runner-up.

Despite that disappointment I am still pleased with the work I produced - many, many sketches and a sample piece of colour artwork and I feel now is the time to share it with you! So I hope you like cute animals, because there is a bucket load coming up...will share some more with you Monday. For some reason blogspot would only upload these - very frustrating!!!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

My new website is here!

I have been working on my new website since March and it's now pretty much finished and can be found on Google and Yahoo.

I still have a portfolio on my new website, but far more categories, a blog where I regularly post and also a nifty search button that appears on every page. The search button is really handy because you can put in whatever you happen to be looking for, let's say 'fairies' or 'pirates', and then hit 'search' and a search results list with links for my website will appear. It actually works too!

I also have facebook 'like' options and buttons for sharing on twitter, StumblUpon, MySpace, Reddit and lots more! I have also added widgets to allow people to link to my page and try out some of my drawing tutorials.

You can also leave me messages if you like, and you get to have a monster avatar! 

All in all, it's a lot more interactive and extensive and I hope you will like it. To visit my new site just click HERE!

I wanted to show you a screencast of my site that you could watch, but the screenr website is not working today at all - a real bummer! Nor for some reason can I upload any images to show you - a thoroughly frustrating day.

So I'm sorry very dry post today - YAWN!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Animal silhouettes...

I promised to share some more silhouettes with you and today I thought it would be nice to post some silhouettes of animals.

All these images were commissioned by Kidspace Adventures Ltd and some have been used for their new logo and elsewhere.

They have all been created using Illustrator and vector images.

This is a sort of frieze of all the animals, a monster (see if you can spot it), and children I created for them in Illustrator.

Individually each character is much, much larger!

Can you spot the monster?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Pride and prejudice, and silhouettes!

I thought I'd share some arty news with you today. I have just finished doing my silhouettes of the Bennett family for an underwear company. I am now awaiting the clients approval (always a bit nerve-wracking). Hopefully if they like them that's that project finished. I will be able to share this artwork with you shortly, that's of course if they intend to use my artwork straight away! 

In the meantime here's some silhouette artwork I did for another company earlier this year! I did a whole range of animals, fantasy creatures and children with pointy ears...called Hobblers!

These were great fun to create and were 'drawn' using illustrator. I will share some more with you tomorrow!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Monday's lesson: How to draw a deer

This is a new weekly post that I will be doing on Mondays. 

Each Monday I hope to share a 'how to draw' lesson with you. Sometimes with videos and also through tips and advice. I will also be posting step by step graphics - well that's the intention anyway!

Today's lesson is a video I did for videojug and is all about drawing a deer. In the video I will talk you through how to successfully draw a deer from scratch, with easy to follow, step by step instructions. 

Feedback is most welcome and so do send me a message!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Des fleurs et des fées

Yesterday I shared some pictures taken at Wisley in Surrey, and I promised I would share some more with you today. I've mixed things up a bit and included some of my fairy artwork too, as the two go together really well.

I have also hidden some fairies in amongst the flowers in these images and so see if you can spot them!

Artwork from 'The Fairy midnight surprise party'

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Queen's knickers

No I am not committing treason and have a great deal of respect for her majesty! All will be revealed!

Last Friday I went to the RHS gardens at Wisley and amongst the spectacular and mind-blowing range of beautiful flowers was a wonderful display of mini gardens, created by local children. Indeed when we arrived the judges were going round each garden to choose the best - bit like the Chelsea Flower show. Anyway, one was entitled The Queen's knickers, hence the title of my post and this wonderful photograph along with the rest was taken by my friend, who was mad enough to take me!

Thanks to Andy for the great photographs!

Here's a shot of the whole mini garden

I love flowers and use them for inspiration, especially when I am working on a fairy illustration, and this is one of many photographs from Wisley I will be sharing with you in my posts. The illustration underneath this is taken from my book The fairy midnight surprise party, and is one of the many layers this pop-up book had.