Monday, April 18, 2016

Life Drawing

I've been life drawing a couple of times recently, a little rusty, but a really good 'brain workout'!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gromit unleashed: Bunty now a figurine!

It all started 2 years ago when The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital charity, launched Gromit Unleashed! The public arts trail was sponsored by a host of different business, from small local companies to national corporations. And many well known artists and household names came onboard to design and paint the Gromits, including Sir Quentin Blake, Nick Park, Cath Kidston, and Disney Pixar.

The 80 giant Gromit's were unleashed on Bristol, for the entire summer of 2013, bringing 1.18 million people to the city, and when they finally went under the hammer they raised £2.3 million for charity.

I was very honoured to be included in the event, and painted my Gromit, Bunty, with a Bristol street party theme with plenty of bunting, balloons and boats.

5 foot tall, it took over 2 months to paint, and lots of pots of acrylic paint! I shared a big painting space with lots of other artists, we kept each other company and helped encourage each other too. As you can see it was quite cold, painting in March/April time, wrapped up in a big jumper!

Once he was finished, he was sent away to be lacquered, and then joined the rest of his friends on the harbourside train on the opening day, where I was reunited:
After the big launch day, all the Gromits were sent off to their own spots around Bristol, launching on 1st July (which happened to also be my 30th birthday!) So Bunty spent the summer outside St Mary Redcliffe:

Bunty was sponsored by Unum, who were all very enthusiastic and excited to see their Gromit in situ, coming out to have a big group photo:
Unum were very generous and commissioned me to paint a 'portrait' of Bunty for them to keep, posters of which went on sale through The Grand Appeal, raising yet more funds for charity.
So for the whole of the summer of 2013, the Gromits enjoyed meeting all their visitors, until finally they went under the hammer to be sold and sent to their new homes! I, and many of the other artists, went to the auction together, and cheered each other on when each Gromit came out on stage. The first, Patch, set the ball park and sold for £36,000, and the highest, Gromit Lightyear, sold for £65,000.

I was over the moon to see my Gromit, Bunty, sell for £31,000!
A total of £2.3 million was raised on the night, and a total of £5 million to date for Bristol Children's Hospital, and they're still going strong! Part of the funds which are still providing for the Children's hospital come from the Gromit figurines. Bunty has been in the process of being transformed for 2 years, but it's taken so long because there is so much detail to accurately reproduce! But, finally, the wait is over... 2 years after the trail, my Gromit, Bunty, has been transformed in to a mini figurine! And he's eager to join the rest of the pack. I have one of my very own, at home on my desk, and can honestly say he's a very true reproduction of the original and full of loveable character!
He's made of solid resin, and is 16.5cm high, 12cm wide (ear to ear), and approx. 17cm long, and is available to buy for £35! Take a look in the Grand Appeal shop and on the Grand Appeal website...
 A perfect Christmas present for a loved one!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Shaun in the City

I am so proud to be one of 70 artists to have painted a Shaun for Bristol's 'Shaun in the City'!

My Shaun is called 'A Sheep's Eye View' and is at home outside the Clifton Observatory (my sponsor). He has his own little grassy pen surrounded by a white fence, and some hay bales to keep him happy.
He is inspired by Bristol, with city views around the harbour. There is Temple Meads, the M Shed, SS Great Britain, Tobacco Factory, Ashton Court, the Suspension Bridge wrapped around his tail, and then Clifton, Hotwells and the harbour, and finally Park Street and the Arnolfini (and many more in between!) It's definitely a 'see how many landmarks you can spot' kind of Shaun. I had great fun painting him, and really enjoyed adding as much detail as I could! (I was still painting an hour before they came to pick him up!)

Here are some shots of some of the detail...

I usually paint quite small, in water colour for children's books, so painting something so big is a new thing for me! (Although I did paint a Gromit in 2013) I painted Shaun in my studio, and was good fun sharing the experience with my fellow studio buddies.

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation. Charity no. 1043603

Shaun the Sheep & Shaun in the City ©& ™ Aardman Animations Ltd 2015

Monday, June 08, 2015

Shaun in the City

I am very honoured to be painting a Shaun for the 'Shaun in the City' trail, coming soon to Bristol!

Here is a sneak peek of my Shaun...
And I can reveal that my Shaun's home, between 6th July - 31st August, will be outside the Clifton Observatory! Such a great spot, be sure to take a look at the Camera Obscurer and go down to the 'Giant's cave' while you're at the Observatory, (and maybe pack a picnic to sit outside and admire the view of the Clifton suspension bridge!)

Aardman’s internationally-acclaimed character, Shaun the Sheep, is appearing in two ewe-nique arts trails this year! In total, 120 giant sculptures of Shaun the Sheep, created by artists, celebrities and designers, will be placed in iconic locations and beautiful green spaces across London and Bristol. The London trail has now ended, but there is a brand new flock of Shauns coming to Bristol this summer from 6th July! Before they all go to auction to raise money for children in hospitals across the UK.

Shaun in the City is brought to you by the team that created the award-winning Gromit Unleashed which saw Aardman’s loveable canine sidekick Gromit raise £2.3 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation. Charity no. 1043603

Shaun the Sheep & Shaun in the City ©& ™ Aardman Animations Ltd 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Scribble of Illustrators

Read all about it! I'm taking part in this exciting group exhibition coming up in May:
A Scribble of Illustrators,1st - 7th May 2015,  11am-5pm daily
Centrespace Gallery, 6 Leonard Lane, Bristol BS1 1EA

The children’s book illustrator - a species seldom seen out and about during daylight, and almost never in a group of it’s own kind, or ‘scribble’. What could possibly tempt these shy, retiring (some might even say anti-social) creatures to gather in one of Bristol’s finest gallery spaces for a week-long fiesta of original artwork, prints, books for sale and family events? 

In an unprecedented display of team-spirit (an ‘agreement’ of illustrators, perhaps? Seems unlikely), eleven of the west-country’s finest children’s authors and illustrators will be sharing this brilliant space to show off their diverse range of techniques and skills, as well as hosting a variety of family events, readings and workshops over the bank holiday weekend.

In addition to exhibiting work from past, present and future publishing triumphs, each of the illustrators will be creating a new artwork for the show, illustrating one of their favourite collective nouns. A tishoo of sneezes? A charm of finches? Who knows, there might even be a beautification of spatulas. Come along in May and find out.

Details of workshops and events to be announced on Facebook page link to be supplied

For further information or more pictures, please contact Joe or Henning on the above email addresses.

Exhibitors include:

Joe Berger
Joe is the author/illustrator of Bridget Fidget, and Bridget Fidget Hold on Tight, published by Puffin, and recently illustrated three new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang books for Pan Macmillan, written by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Joe is currently drawing the Hubble Bubble picture book and young fiction series by Tracey Corderoy, and Superhero Dad by Timothy Knapman, both series published by Nosy Crow. Joe was World Book Day Illustrator 2010, and one of the BookTrust Best New Illustrators in 2011, which is odd because he’s not very new.

Paula Bowles
Paula writes and illustrates children’s books for a number of publishers including Bloomsbury, Random House and Templar. Her books include Little Lou and the Woolly MammothScary MaryWhat Goes Up,  and Messy Jesse.
Paula illustrated The National Trust Family Organiser 2015, and is currently working on the 2016 edition. In 2013 Paula was an chosen artist to paint Gromit as part of the ‘Gromit Unleashed’ trail.

Jo Empson
Jo Empson graduated from Cambridge School of Art with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration. During the course she created her first picture book Rabbityness which was published the following year in 2012 by Child’s play International, and has been nominated for 8 awards, including Kate Greenaway Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and UKLA award.
Her second picture book published by Child’s Play, Never Ever, was awarded a Kirkus Star, won Moonbeam US Children’s Book Award - Gold for Preschool Picture Books and also nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. 

Yasmeen Ismael
Yasmin recently moved to Bristol; she is writing her fourth book for Bloomsbury, her first for Walker Books, and is also working on picture books for Nosy Crow and Pan Macmillan. She has just completed two books for publishers in the US and has more exciting projects lined up for 2015.
Her book Time for Bed was selected by the New York Times for the Best Illustrated Books list 2014. She has a love of watercolours, inks and paints and her illustrations are bright, fluid and full of energy and movement.

Sean Julian
Sean was born in Derbyshire and studied at the Mansfield College of Art before moving to Bristol to study Illustration. Sean being himself big and hairy has always been happiest drawing Bears, Gorillas and other big hairy creatures. Since 2001 he has been illustrating children’s books for an array of publishers and book packagers. Recent books include: My Dad written by Steve Smallman and published by the Little Tiger Press, and Brave little Owl written by Penny Little, published by Random House. The latter was recently read out by Maggie Aderin-Pocock on the Cbeebies programme ‘Storytime’.

Steve Lenton
Steven is the illustrator of the best selling Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam which was both Waterstones picture book of the month and The Times children's book of the week. Since this successful debut Steven has written his first picture book Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights with publisher Nosy Crow and is also illustrating the latest fiction title by Frank Cottrell Boyce The Astounding Broccoli Boy.

Henning Lohlein
Originally from Germany, Henning has lived in Bristol for 25 years, during which he has illustrated over 30 children's books, published in more than 15 languages. His latest pop-up book Fish Food, published by Templar, won the Sheffield Children's Book Prize 2014 in the baby book category. He was selected as one of the artists to paint Shaun the sheep for Bristol’s "Shaun in the City" trail this year.

Gwen Millward
Gwen is particularly fond of drawing bugs. Her books for children are full of them; most famously 'The Bog Baby' written by Jeanne Willis which won the Book Trust Early Years Award. She has illustrated for Puffin, Simon and Schuster, Andersen Press, Egmont, Candlewick, Random House and is currently working with Bloomsbury. All of these books contain Bugs.

Donough O’Malley
Donough is an Illustrator and author from Monaghan in Ireland. Since completion of his degree in illustration at UWE and an MA in Brighton, his first picture book Monkey See Monkey Do (Frances Lincoln UK) was shortlisted for the Cambridge picture book award in 2007. Recent picture books for Irish publishers Futa Fata have been selected for the White Ravens catalogue and inclusion to the permanent collection of the International Youth Library in Munich. Donough is also the illustrator of the successful book series, The World of Norm, which won the Scottish Book Trust Award 2013 and has been printed in over 14 countries.

Lauren Tobia
Lauren has illustrated Anna Hibiscus and Song and Splash, Anna Hibiscus!, both written by Atinuke (Walker Books). Anna Hibiscus was included in Time Out New York's Top 50 Best Books for Kids; "a book that deserves to become a classic". It was also a 2011 Boston Globe Honour Book for Excellence in Children's Literature.
Lauren is a founder member of the Bristol based illustration group Brillustration, taking part in collaborative drawings in galleries to bookshop windows. 

Sarah Warburton
Sarah Warburton hails from North Wales but has lived and worked in Bristol as an illustrator for 20 years. She uses a combination of pencil sketches, digital colour and collage. Sarah has produced a bestselling trio of Princess books with a difference with Caryl Hart  and Nosy Crow - winning the Oldham Brilliant Book award in 2013. Dinosaurs in the Supermarket, with Timothy Knapman, was shortlisted for The Coventry Book Award 2013 and Oscars First Book Prize in 2014. Sarah’s first book with author Mark Sperring Mable and Me - Best of Friends was longlisted for a UKLA book prize in 2014.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Custom Name Art Prints

I make 'Custom Name Art Prints' for babies and young children. I can make any name you like, especially for you.

These are fade resistant 'giclee' prints, on acid free watercolour paper. Size A4 - A3 depending on size of name. £35 unframed. £45 framed.

Just drop me a line to make enquiries:

Book signing at Playfull Toyshop!

Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth have taken up residence in the window of Playfull Toyshop! (Gloucester Rd, Bristol). I will be reading my book and signing copies here on Sat. 7th March, from 11.30am. Children can also decorate their very own woolly mammoth too! Come and hi! There may also be special loooong woolly sweetie treats!

Read a lovely review here to learn more

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408839660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408839669

Friday, February 06, 2015

Radio Interview!

I was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol this week, about my books and about libraries, as part of their lead up to 'National Libraries Day'. It was my first time on the radio and I was a little nervous, but managed to get some words out in the right order and not make too much of a fool of myself!

It is available to listen again until the end of February, just click HERE I'm introduced around 47mins 30sec. (Just after the lovely George Ezra). Enjoy!