Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Helloooo! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bristol Houses, Random Houses and Tiger Houses

Lots and lots of houses!

Hello, how is everyone? After looking at many many different houses, big houses, small houses, fancy houses, smelly houses, funny houses, quirky houses and some not-so-nice-houses, I have finally found one that is just right. I saw it on monday this week and have decided to go with it, the people seem lovely and the house seems cool too. There's a surfboard in the lounge, and a great view of the suspension bridge from the road too.

My move date is all set for saturday 13th Dec. eek! And there's still so much to do! Daisy is starting to wonder what's going on, as boxes are now steadily stacking up around my room... it's at times like this I start thinking maybe I should try and cut down on the collections of bits and bobs, general crap and stuff... moving house is a good 'cleansing' experience, it forces you to sort through things and makes you think 'do I really need that?' But most of the time I think well, I don't need it but it sort of means something (even a little scrap of paper someone has given me, or the little puzzle peice I once found in the street, or the guitar plectrum I once found, or the many gig/theatre tickets....) I think I'll stuff it all into a big 'box of special things' - that way i get to keep the stuff, and it's tidied away to look at occassionally. The thing is, my box of special things is starting to overflow....

Anyway, from Bristol houses, I spent a bit of time with Random Houses this week, in London. I spent weds, thurs and friday up in london town and had such a great time, everyone is really friendly at RH. Really nice to chat with the people outside of work :o) The Xmas bash was lots of fun, lots of wine was consumed (as should be done at Xmas do's) and I met lots of really lovely new people :o) The party was held at a very glamorous Mayfair Mansion, I even bought a new dress for the occassion! I feel really special to have been invited :o) So thankyou so much everyone at RH! It really is the sort of thing dreams are made up of.

Then on my way home on Friday, I had a phone call about my little Tiger and on saturday morning woke up to the postman delivering his new page layouts and previous colour artwork. So I can get started on that now!

But first, a song! Now, when I first started work with Random house, I had a dream they had a big fancy garden party. It was held in a 'very big house in the country' (a big old mansion house, which was a bit like a really big version of my Granny's house. It also had a huge maze, and lots of goats.. no idea why, but there you go!) Anyway, since that dream, I keep getting Blur's lyrics stuck in my head 'lives in a house, in a very big house in the country'..... nothing else in the song relates to RH or my dream, just those lyrics, so, thought I'd share!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Falmouth!

Trains and boats and planes, what a busy few weeks! This week I went to visit my good friend Cat who lives in Falmouth (where we both went to art college). Part of the fun of going to Falmouth is the train ride! I think trains are my favourite form of transport, especially along this part of the coast:

Here's a pic of me and Cat in our lovely hats...There's a new falafel van in falmouth too, it's called 'Falfalafel' Brilliant! And has lovely illustrations painted all over it:A trip to Cornwall is not complete without a creamtea in the afternoon...YUM!It was nice and Christmassy too, some of the window displays were gorgeous :o)
And now I'm home again! And catching up with my 2 book projects and househunting..

Also in my news, I bought a book the other day - 'Don Quixote de la Mancha':
It's a story I've been thinking about for aaaages, and after visiting Madrid 2 weeks ago, I decided to give a go!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Madrid!

Last week I went to stay with Sandra and her family for the weekend. Sandra is a brilliant Spanish illustrator, who I met through my illustration agency. Thanks for having me come and stay, Sandra, I had such a brilliant time, it all feels like a dream now!

I flew from Bristol airport, it was such fun! It's been ages since I've been away anywhere.Then I landed 2 hours later in Madrid! Madrid is the capital of Spain, right in the middle of the country. It stayed beautiful and sunny for the whole weekend, it was quite cold as it is surrounded by mountains (although it gets very hot in the summer!)

This is the view from top of a hill in Sandra's village, isn't it pretty!Roof tops of the city, and an interesting painting in the bottom right corner...We ate 'churros', sort of donuts which you dip in thick hot choclate! YUM!The streets got very busy on Sunday morning when everyone comes out to shop at the Rastro Market!We did sooo much shopping! I bought 2 scarves, a hat, a bag, a pretty top and a cardigan!There were lots of gorgeous antique shops, I just wanted to take everything home with me! One day I would love one the fancy metal flower chandeliers we saw! Or a big old lantern.Or a giant tortoise!After our hard morning of shopping at the market, we went for tapas in one of the little bars. We had a selection of meats and cheese, soup, meatballs, calamari, salad... it was delicious! I saw some people eating snails, and bulls tail!Later, we passed Don Quixote! The author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, lived near Madrid, and the stories are written all around the local area. The author is now buried in Madrid. I just love the characters, so recognisable.Then, as the sun was going down, me and Sandra and her two chidren, went on the cable cars! It was a bit scary - a bit wobbly! But fun! We waved 'Hola' to the passing cars! And now I'm back in bristol! I had such a fun time! I want to travel a lot more like this, visiting friends along the way.

I forgot to add a song too! The song that will remind me of staying with Sandra this weekend is Manu Chao 'Me Gustas Tu'. (He likes lots of things and he likes you! One line in particluar 'Me gusta Malasaa, me gustas tu" (Malassa is a cool area of Madrid!):

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cosy things......scary things...and lovely things.......new slippers and pyjamas......(which Daisy approves of)..
and a gloriously messy desk!
And a sparkley star-shaped invite to the Christmas party of the publisher I am working with at the mo, how exciting!

I'm still here, sorry haven't blogged in a while. Lots has been happening.

I'm going away to Madrid soon for a long weekend, I can't wait! I'm visiting a fellow illustrator friend and her family. I haven't been away in years, so it will be something extra special visiting a friend too. It's a bit of a spontaneous decision but those are often the best kind. We are hoping to go to a Flamenco Bar and visit the big Rastro market on sunday :o)

And the dummy book I worked on a few weeks ago was received well at Frankfurt, so we now have the go ahead for the whole book! And it's with one my 'dream publishers', which must be why I feel like I'm dreaming most of the time...

And there's changes a-foot at the moment too, as I have to move house soon. Me and my housemates must move on, so I am currently house hunting! I'm not tooo worried at the moment, I'm planning on drawing and painting up until the move date and then take 2 days off to move and unpack. There seem to be a lot of lovely houses around with nice housemates, so we shall see! In 2 months time I will have a new home! It's exciting too, in a way....

Here's a pretty tune that I like. It's called 'Words to that effect', by 'Hint', from the album 'Portakabin Fever':

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My first book!
About November last year, I was working with Kingfisher on "Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" (1 story within the compilation) and, now, my 2 copies arrived last Friday! It was so exciting, I had no idea what was inside the package, even after seeing 'Macmillian' printed on the outside.. it still didn't click until a few moments later, when I tore it open - it was like Christmas! It's so lovely to see it in print. There's 16 stories in total illustrated by other fabulous artists, and mine is on pg 38.
Look! Can you see my name? And my mouse?Here's little tiny Timothy, the poorly mouse in bed with fever...
And here's Mrs Frisby, delighted at how Spring has finally sprung! (She's so happy that she's singing by the looks of it!)
Ah, and here is pessimistic little Mrs Shrew, forcasting doom and gloom...
How will it end!? You'll have to buy the book to find out!
I think it looks just grand on my shelf, with all my other books! And Mrs Frisby even stars on the spine of the book too! *grin*

Thursday, October 02, 2008

South West Illustrator's at the Bath Festival of Childrens Literature! Hooray! What a week, between 19th Sept till 28th Sept, we had our exhibition in Bath. It took a lot of hard work to organise by other members in the group (to whom I can't say enough 'thankyous') And the exhibition room looked great, all the work stunning and so beautifully framed. I'm not sure who decided where to put all the artwork, but my work was displayed next to Jackie Morris in our own little corner of the room which I thought was lovely! And it was especially lovely to meet Jackie at the end of the week, go for coffee and look around Mr B's Bookshop, and write and draw in their guestbook...

Our grand opening/private view was brilliant (was soo nervous beforehand, woke up with such a tummy ache) But it all turned out fabulously. It was great to have all my housemates there, and meet another lovely illustrator who's joining the same agency as me. We went to the launch party of the festival too, where I met a lovely lady from the Booktrust, and a lovely illustrator and author. It was especially fun to talk with them as another illustrator/author, argue over watercolour techniques, compare ways of working, and hear about what they do. We also talked about moustaches and eyebrows. I nearly missed my last train home and stay over at their hotel, but they kindly stayed up with me so I could get the 01.15 train home... (I had a great time talking with you guys!)

But I think the bestest moment of all, was during our grand opening, we had a lot of little school kids come for story time and then they were let loose around the exhibition. A lady I was with picked a girl at random and asked her "which picture is your favourite?" and this little girl said "The Lion!!!" and pointed at my Lion! Haha! That made my day!
On saturday, I went back to the show, and the lovely author who I met the night before came to visit! And the lovely lady from the Booktrust (Thanks for coming to visit! I hope you enjoyed the show!)

On monday I went to Bath in the evening to see an illustrators talk thing, which is always interesting to hear how other people got into all this!

I looked after the show on wednesday, with the lovely Carol Tratt I had a great day! I loved sitting amongst all the pictures. We got to watch Sarah Warburton do a gig 'Drawing Rumblewick' and Chris Fisher drawing an endless stream of animals and creatures - as dictated by the floor-full of school kids.

On wednesday, I also discovered a draw full of a million plastic spoons:
The show came down on sunday, and we all breathed a sigh of relief! Although brilliant and exciting and fun, it was exhausting. Especially when we are all working illustrators with deadlines and so close to the Frankfurt bookfair!

So inbetween going to Bath, I have been working on my new secret project, it's such a cuuuute book. But I'm not aloud to say anything.
While I was painting yesterday, the sun shone through my window and cast a shadow on my wall of the plants outside, it looked amazing!
Oooh, and I have press cuttings!

Venue Magazine, thanks to the brilliant Simon Fry

And October's issue of Artists and Illustrators magazine!
Phew, what a week. And now I have my artwork back home, Daisy is pleased to see the mice back with her...