The SeaHouse pre-launch at The Brilliant Books Festival

This March held the very first “Brilliant Books” Literature Festival at Insole Court in Cardiff. We were lucky enough to start the festival off with a pre-launch book event for the SeaHouse ~ a month before the book is published.

Photo by ©Nigel Pugh

Photo by ©Nigel Pugh

We had a full room! There were bubbles to make us feel like we were underwater and Lucy read some chapters from her lovely story.

Meanwhile in the background, I did some live-drawing of some of the characters in The SeaHouse..

On display were some of the black and white illustrations I did for the inside of the book. We had a slide-show of the illustrations too because our audience hadn’t seen the book yet! We wanted the children to get an idea of the underwater world of the SeaHouse and to meet the sea creatures that lived there. We also introduced them to the main character, Coral and her sparkly fish friend, Fabulous.

Black and white illustrations from The SeaHouse

Black and white illustrations from The SeaHouse

At the end of the event there was a gift for one lucky member of the audience who had been listening carefully…..

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Lovely Morgan was the first to answer a question correctly on the SeaHouse and took home the live-drawing for her bedroom wall. Well done Morgan!!

There was a lot of Fabulous the fish colouring-in at the end of the session…

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Look at this beautiful work from one of the children…..

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It was lovely to talk to the audience afterwards and Lucy and I are now looking forward to the Book Launch at the Cardiff Literature Festival on Sunday April 7th.

Endpapers

The endpapers of a book are the pages where one half is pasted against the inside cover and the other serves as the first free page.

My current 2 books that I’m working on have no endpaper designs. Which made me think about the endpapers that I have designed over the years ………

Catch that Kitten by Pamela D. Edwards Published by PanMacmillan

Catch that Kitten by Pamela D. Edwards Published by PanMacmillan

Some are purely decorative ……….

I’m Big Enough Now by Pamela D. Edwards published by PanMacmillan

I’m Big Enough Now by Pamela D. Edwards published by PanMacmillan

This set that I drew for Nosy Crow has beautiful foiling on it and sparkles when the book is opened…..

Because I Love You by David Bedford

Because I Love You by David Bedford

Sometimes the endpapers are really elaborate. Look at this one that I illustrated for The Bluebell Woods series…..

Written by Liss Norton published by Little Tiger Press

Written by Liss Norton published by Little Tiger Press

These endpapers also formed the cover and opened out to reveal the secret little world of 4 lovely woodland friends. They neatly folded inwards where the apertures overlapped one another, framing an image of the main character of the story. This was particularly difficult to design. I had to think about both sides at once! A bit tricky for my brain!

You can see the rest of this lovely series in the ‘Books’ section of this website.

Often endpapers are an after thought, the last thing to illustrate. But sometimes they are a really important start, enticing you into the book.

These endpapers from the Ruby the Duckling series written by Jonathan Emmett gave you a little clue about Ruby’s character……..

Published by PanMacmillan now available on Amazon

Published by PanMacmillan now available on Amazon

Another lovely book written by Jonathan Emmett was Foxes in the Snow and probably my most detailed endpapers ever!

The front papers showed the opening scene of the story. Take a look…….

Written by Jonathan Emmett and published by PanMacmillan

Written by Jonathan Emmett and published by PanMacmillan

And the endpapers at the back of the book closed off the story when the snow had arrived….

Written by Jonathan Emmett and published by PanMacmillan

Written by Jonathan Emmett and published by PanMacmillan

They took a long time to do but I am SO glad we did them!! I think they are one of my favourite sets.

Traditionally the endpapers are the place to put bookplates or the owner’s inscription. I like the fact that they are an added extra, a decorative touch, a little secret to discover when you open the cover. Like having a beautiful lining on your coat the endpapers make the book even more special and something to keep and treasure .

Ruby the Duckling Easter Drawing Competition

Jonathan Emmett and I have self published the Ruby the Duckling series after Macmillan Children's Books took them out of print. We made this decision because we are still receiving wonderful letters from people all over the world who love these books and want to continue buying them. 

They are selling quietly in the background and we are rather pleased with the response!

This Easter, we wanted to raise Ruby's profile again - particularly as it's the season of eggs and all things fluffy and yellow! We decided on a drawing competition where the winner would be picked  randomly! (A huge relief not to judge the 'best' drawing as I loved all of the applicants and would find it impossible!!) 

The response was brilliant! We had over 20 children applying. These are just a handful....

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The winner was young Ethan Etherington and we sent this to him;

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an original Ruby painting, signed by Jonathan and myself. We may run some more Ruby competitions in the future.

Batik workshop in local school

 My son's lovely Primary school becomes a little "University" each term. How that works is the pupils choose a course and these range from Karate to Cookery, History to Recording Radio Shows. The courses change every half term and they get the opportunity to sample these  amazing new experiences provided by staff, support staff and visitors! The children use the word 'University' in their everyday vocabulary and it becomes part of every pupils timetable on a Friday afternoon. Brilliant eh! 

I offered my help in the Batik class this term. As an illustrator working mostly on my lonesome, it's a joy to spend a few hours with these lovely pupils, helping them gain confidence with their drawing and keeping them safe from the hot materials used in Batik. 

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The work turned out well!! They created some beautiful pieces of their own and this is the big piece that we worked on together. And I'm always chuckling at year 3 and 4's funny comments and ideas. They're very inspiring.

Wotton Gallery Exhibition

It was great to be part of this exhibition again over the Christmas 2015 period. It's just lovely to see an 'Illustration" exhibition at all! 

Lets have more of these so that children and adults can get up close and view the originals from their favourite books! 

Under The Sleepy Stars

"Under The Sleepy Stars" written by Stephanie Shaw - ISBN 978-1-84869-054-7   Little Tiger Press

Stephanie Shaw has written this lovely reassuring Rhyme for bedtime. A pleasure to illustrate and Little Tiger have produced it with a lovely squashy cover. 

Illustrating Larger than usual - on a shop window!

This was an interesting project I had this week! I don't normally work in large scale and in public too but I was asked to decorate a children's shoe shop window and loved every minute of it! Customers really liked watching the piece of artwork progress in front of their eyes and it's nice to speak directly to the public and hear their comments. The shop owner was very pleased too so it was a great day!! 

Wotton Gallery - Illustration Exhibition

Sat 29th Nov- 31st Dec 2014

"Wotton Gallery", 42, Long Street, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7BT 

It is lovely to be invited to exhibit in this gallery in the Cotswolds this Christmas along side other great illustrators such as Fran Evans and Anita Jeram.

Available to purchase will be original illustrations from some of my books plus black and white sketches based on the Winter theme of the exhibition. 

Snow Bunny's Christmas Gift

"Snow Bunny's Christmas Gift" - ISBN 978-0-85763-350-7   Nosy Crow

Hooray!! Another Winter adventure with Snow Bunny and her friends is available this Christmas!

Nosy Crow have gently foiled my illustrations in this second snowy installment. The sparkly pages and warm story makes it just a perfect "Christmas Gift"!

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Little Puppy Lost

"Little Puppy Lost" written by Holly Webb - ISBN 978-1-84895-909-5   Little Tiger Press

I was delighted to illustrate Holly Webb's very first picture book! This is another lovely animal story by the best selling author, where Harry, an adorable little pup meets a new friend. This was great fun to work on as the pages had such a variety of locations to keep the eye interested. The adventure takes the reader and the tiny pup through the park, a woodland, the street and best of all, cuddled up safely on a warm cosy lap. 

 

Because I Love You

October 2013
"Because I Love You" written by David Bedford - ISBN 978-0857632364

This is my second book published by the lovely Nosy Crow. An ideal bedtime book about love and the relationship between a mother and baby bear. Nosy Crow have delicately foiled my illustrations on the cover and each double page spread to give the book a magic, golden sparkle. 
The paperback version of this book is to be released in January 2015

Snow Bunny's Christmas Wish

"Snow Bunny's Christmas Wish" - ISBN 978 0 85763 125 1

I'm so pleased to announce that "Snow Bunny's Christmas Wish" is out this month!! Published by the wonderful Nosy Crow publishers. Each spread has foil delicately added to make this a great gift for a little one this Christmas. 
Images of the book will be up on my website soon.