Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Willow Foundation/ Stars on Canvas

I was asked to contribute to the Willow Foundation Annual Exhibition and Online Auction. It's a charity set up by ex-Arsenal goalkeeper and TV pundit Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, in memory of their daughter, and provides special days for seriously ill 16-40 year olds.

They've asked people from the worlds of sport, art, design, fashion, music and entertainment to create a canvas in aid of the charity. In the Children's Illustration section, my little painting, (shown above, with a strangely orange background instead of the actual gold it's painted in,) will be sharing wall space with pictures created by Mini Grey, Keith Chapman (of Bob the Builder, Roary the Racing Car and others,) Sam Lloyd, Korky Paul, Nic Sharratt and Lynne Chapman. In the other sections, people such as Tracey Emin, Jamie Oliver, Zandra Rhodes, John Hurt, Jude Law, Giles Andreae (Purple Ronnie,) Tom Gauld, Blur, Razorlight, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Wayne Rooney and a whole heap more have all contributed.

All the details can be found here : http://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/starsoncanvas .
The exhibition takes place at the Catto Gallery, Hampstead Heath on 2-5th December. The online auction runs from 26 Nov to 5 Dec.

Go and break open the piggy bank!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

10 things I learnt at the 10th SCBWI Conference

I attended the SCBWI annual conference last weekend at Winchester. It was the first time I've been to one of these. It was made extra special this year as it's the 10th anniversary of SCBWI British Isles and the organizers decided to have a Group Book Launch for everyone who has had a book published this year. 'Dinosaurs of Doom' was released last month, so I qualified. Someone suggested that delegates should each write 10 things they learnt at the conference. Here are mine for what they're worth...

1) Group Book Launches are far more exciting than doing them on your own.
2) Group Book Launches are far less stressful than doing them on your own.
3) Group Book Launches have the potential to garner far more publicity than doing... hang on. I think I'm beginning to detect a trend here.
4) Group Book Launches are especially enjoyable when David Fickling is giving the address. He was funny, wise, and radiated boundless energy and optimism for the future.
5) Next time, remember to take a camera to a conference, then I can add pictures in a post like this. (You can see some great photos of the event at Candy Gourlay's site:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=332276&id=635152677)
6) Don't fret pedantically about research. Just make things up. Duh. (Pause for a quick slap of the forehead.)
7) It's never too late to embark on the inner quest for the Holy Grail that is your Unique Selling Point.
8) Maybe it's the mix of unpublished as well as published authors and illustrators that adds to the collective energy, but I've never been a member of a more enthusiastic, innovative and supportive group than SCBWI Brits.
9) It's easy to forget how much creative nourishment writers and illustrators gain from meeting up with each other from time to time.
10) I have SO MUCH to learn about Facebook and all the other digital ways to network.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

SCBWI Badges Competition

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI), recently held a competition for members to design badges for the upcoming conference in a couple of weeks time. I've just heard that my three entries came 2nd, 3rd and the last one (my favourite!) was placed in the top twenty. Not too shabby a result, then. These are they, in the order the judges picked them. Looking at them a second time, the colours are very Farrow and Ball, which could be something to do with the fact that we're shortly going to paint our entrance hall, and I've been looking through a lot of colour swatches lately...