Thursday, 20 October 2011

BICKIDS Competition

Last month I had the pleasure of being invited to be a judge in the annual competition run by BIC -- the BIC PICTURE -- to find talented young artists amongst Britain's primary school children. My fellow judges were children's TV presenter Kirsten O'Brien, and colour expert Cecile Parenton, who heads the children's division of BIC. The winners have just been announced.

The theme was 'What I want to be when I grow up,' and the ambitions of the nation's children ranged from becoming a mad scientist to a roller coaster designer. If this small sample is representative, there'll be lots of footballers, astronauts, dress designers and chefs around in the future!

It's not as easy as you might imagine, picking winning pictures from a room full of shortlisted entrants, and there were several (good-humored!) arguments along the way. We had some really lovely designs to sort through though, and choosing an overall winner was especially difficult. Well done to all who took part. Congratulations to all the age group winners, and especially to Laura Burton who won the main prize. Laura wants to be a children's book writer, and with her winning picture she's made an impressive start.

I've pictured a few of my favorites here, but this is a link to the BIC Kids website, which gives more information: and to the Flickr site which shows more of the winning entrants:

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

No Line!

I've just received the proof copy of a book I wrote and illustrated for OUP earlier in the year -- a re-telling of the Elves and the Shoemaker. It was a bit of a departure for me because I decided to do away with a holding line, which for a long time has been the way I've preferred to work in Photoshop. I rather liked the result. The pictures felt fresher somehow.

I think a dissatisfaction with your own style is something that most illustrators feel at some point or other, and I've certainly jumped about more than most in an attempt to find a perfect formula. This approach made me re-examine the way I added shadow and texture, and I even found myself drawing the roughs in a slightly different way, aware that I could do more than usual with elements such as candle light... if that makes any sense. Anyway, I felt I was using a different part of my brain, which was enjoyable!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Michael Rosen Illustration

I was recently asked to illustrate a story by Michael Rosen for a book that’s being put together on behalf of the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Contributors include Jacqueline Wilson, Alexander McCall Smith, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Anne Fine, Nichola Bayley, Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman, Emma Chichester Clark, Nick Sharratt and several others. The story is called 'The Worst Cough In The World', and this is the illustration I came up with. Nice to work in black and white again. It's the first purely B/W illustration I've done in ages.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dog Did It! out today!

I'm pleased to announce that "Dog Did It!" is released today! It's written by Lynne Garner, illustrated by me and published by Piccadilly Press. The story is about a troll who eats too much green worm soup and tries to shift the blame for the ensuing series of farts onto his pet dog. But Dog doesn't like being the fall guy and plots revenge...

We're working on a sequel at the moment. Look out for previews at the Bologna Book Fair.

Here's a double-page spread of Boris the Troll guzzling his green worms. Yum!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Full-ongna for Bologna

It's been a very busy period for me. I've been doing lots of work in time for the publishing extravaganza that is the Bologna Book Fair. Held this year at the end of March, it's the biggest book fair in the world devoted to children's publishing.

I've been working to produce artwork for three books. Two of them feature my little character Hugo and his madcap scientist family. In the first book they build a giant robot and in the second, a rocket ship. These will be published by Scholastic next year. The third book is a sequel to 'Dog Did It!' written by Lynne Garner and will be published by Piccadilly.

Here's a sneak peek at a spread from 'Hugo and the Robot', showing the family as they begin to cobble together a few bits and pieces they've found around the workshop...