Friday, 13 February 2015

Hospital adventures, and drawing recognisable characters, and never using a laptop for writing my blog

Well... it has been a very busy week, and I am attempting badly to get this blog written on my new laptop. It took three attempts at sending the photos from my phone at the right size for this to work, and I still can't work out how to get the photos in the middle of the column so it may look all wrong but I am an idiot so please excuse me! Now I can't manage to add text in between the images. This is all going quite wrong. I think all the pictures may end up at the bottom of the blog annoyingly.

First of all, here is a small portion of an illustration for a new book I am illustrating for Frank Cottrell Boyce. It will be out this year (Barrington Stoke) so more about that in a few months. It was only when I was colouring it in that I realised I had subconsciously drawn a friend of mine in the crowd. She is quite pleased indeed! I think I probably usually base my characters on people I know, or have seen. 

Today was day 3 in a row at the Sick Kids Hospital. Today Linda and I ran a Valentine card workshop in the Radiology reception, and we had some great cards made by patients, parents, surgeons and junior doctors. It was quite a lot of stupid fun and I was pleased to be making use of my degree in Printmaking again, even if it was just printing letters on an ink pad. Yesterday we spent the whole day in the Lothian Health Service archives at the University library. I love going in there and reading minute books from the 1840s. Some of the writing is quite hard to read but I have traced some interesting story lines, and am starting to piece together an idea for some work. On Wednesday we worked with a lovely girl on ward 1. We wrote and illustrated the beginnings of a very good story.

I will now attempt to add some more photos of illustrations I did with Katie on ward 1. If there is only one photo here it's because I gave up and had to have a nap. Yeah...that looks a mess and I think next time I will not use my laptop. Lesson learned.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Happy New Year?

After a horrible end to 2014 and a bad start to 2015, I am starting to get back to normal, or as normal as I ever am, or as normal as you can be when you lose your second parent (and thank goodness I only had two).

But things are going great career-wise, so here are a few things that have been happening...

The Scotsman newspaper published a Christmas story written by my hospital partner-in-crime, Linda Cracknell for the second year running, and illustrated by me. This year she concentrated on the Ebola epidemic, and I worked with my idea that the virus itself looks a bit like a macabre Christmas decoration.

I have been colouring-in a LOT and here is a probably-not-allowed look at one of the pages I have been working on for Hachette. The series is about a Stone-Age family, written by my good pal Vivian French. This big guy is my favourite to draw.

I have also been working on the second Squirrel Boy book (Phoenix Yard). This is how I work, doing the ink line work over the pencil drawings on my light box. I can't believe I have been an illustrator for so long without a light box. What an idiot.

At the end of last year I travelled to Burntisland Primary School with Lari Don to be a prize in a reading competition! I love working with Lari (luckily we are working on another book together at the moment, yay!) and I also like when kids copy my drawings of animals really well.

Here is a big pile of books. SQUIRREL BOY VS THE BOGEYMAN is hitting the shops in a few weeks. It is a really funny book but I didn't write it (probably for the best). I will be doing an event with Dave Lowe at the Edinburgh book fest this summer and I'm looking forward to meeting him.

That's it really. I tried to update all this on my website blog, but it was being a pain in the bum and it only takes a very small amount to make me utterly furious at the moment, so I gave up and have returned here. Thank you for reading.
Oh, and happy Australia Day!