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Friday, 16 December 2016


This year I've decided to fully commit to #illo_advent (which I say most years but this year I haven't failed!  Not yet anyway)  The point, for me, was to draw something everyday as somedays are spent entirely on my computer.  For this reason I wanted to draw on paper, and to post it online no matter what it was.  I'm really not keen on showing sketches so this was to spur me into showing whatever I drew, whether I liked it or not.  The bonus of paper is that I'm able to give my favourites away.

So here they all are.  Some better than others, some have already gone to good homes.  My advent only goes up to day 24 like the chocolate calendars, at least that's how they worked when I was a kid.

For all the Christmas babies, happy birthday!

I made it to the end this year!! Merry Christmas folks. See you in the future...anytime from now.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

illo_advent week one

Those busy elves on Twitter are preparing for the festive season with an illustrated advent yet again.  You can find lots of wonderful artwork at #illo_advent  Last year I only managed day one, this year I'm trying to do an illustration a day.  I'm up to date so far.  Here's week one.

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Cut out conga

Some of those clever Twitter peeps are doing a #cut_out_conga and I was asked to join in.  Each participant adds a cut out and posts it along to a new illustrator.  The incredible Nikki Dyson posted them on to me.   It was a lot of fun to do as I very rarely paint anything so it was nice to dust off my watercolours.  We're talking serious dust, I've had the same set since high school.
Here's my cut out in progress.


outline.  I'm a coloured pencil girl.


cut out

The gang altogether and posted on to Bethany Christou

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Friday, 28 October 2016

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Kate Greenaway Medal Nominations 2017

Yesterday the nominations for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals were announced, and I'm thrilled that Life Is Magic was included in the latter.


It's very exciting, and a little strange, to be listed alongside so many of my illustration heroes.

You can read all about the medals and see the full lists of nominees here

North Somerset Teacher's Book Award

In some rather exciting news, which I forgot to share,  Life Is Magic has been shortlisted for the North Somerset Teacher's Book Award.  

They even found a magician to model the book!

You can read all about the award here and the picture book category features some really excellent books, all of which you can see here.  My favourite thing about the lovely North Somerset Award is that each book gets a review.  You can read the full Life Is Magic review here which is full of tips to further explore the book in the classroom, but here's a little excerpt I particularly enjoyed because it was a real joy to fill the book with background bunny shenanigans,

'As engaging and fun as the story is (because really, it is), there is true brilliance in the illustrations. The host of little bunnies are absolutely hilarious and constantly up to mischief in the back ground. There is also much that can be inferred from the pictures: they show glimpses of the action behind the scenes and give clues about what might happen next (did you see where that dreaded banana skin came from?). There is so much on each page to look at but the illustrations remain gentle and uncluttered.'

Thank you to everyone involved for your thoughtful review.

Winners are announced on November 12th so good luck everyone!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Northern Lights

I've been re-reading Northern Lights by Philip Pullman recently.  I first read the His Dark Materials trilogy when I worked in a teeny tiny workshop as a model tree maker.  Yes, I made model trees.  We worked in the middle of the Welsh countryside down a windy narrow track that delivery men could not find, and lunchtimes were spent reading and eating packed lunches.   There was no phone signal and nowhere for us to go so we dove into our books and visited lands far and wide, real and imaginary.  It was a pretty perfect way to spend lunch.  I was lucky enough to have the set that was beautifully illustrated by John Lawrence.  As far as I'm concerned he's untouchable and that is the version I always think of, but I've been having a bit of a go on my own, just as a sort of personal project, to see how I would do it.  It's very experimental so far, there's so much atmosphere to capture, but here's how it's going... 

I initially had something much darker in mind, concentrating on the lights, but there's something so appealing about the cleanliness of snow.  One of the beauties of working digitally is that you can chop, change and generate new ideas quickly as you work.

Original sketches

The original cover idea

The drawings for the cover.

Some drawings of our heroine Lyra

Playing with watercolour brushes this time.

Thursday, 8 September 2016


Here are a few sketches of my dog Wilson.  He's a corgi, and full of mischief.

Screen prints of this image are available here

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


With my second picture book finally finished I've been busily writing my third whilst waiting for other projects to begin.  Everything lately has been very much in a rough pencil drawn stage so it's been a while since I actually completed an image.  Today I just wanted to finish something, and these little chaps were waiting in my sketchbook.

Here are a few more raccoons from the same sketchbook...