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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.