Friday, 12 November 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Burning'

This week's Illustration Friday topic is Burning and it's been a while since I've submitted an illustration due to holidays and other distractions so I'm so pleased I was able to find something to fit! It's from Silly Goose by the lovely Marnie McGee

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Latest news!

Oh, I'm such a hopeless blogger! I know I should be blogging regularly but I get distracted, so here's a quick update on what's happening. A few weeks ago I finished my latest book for Little Tiger Press and I think (not very modestly) that it's looking pretty good! It's a lovely story with a theme of changing seasons and friendship. It'll be a while before it's published - it's probably off in China being printed at the moment! I'm just about to start another new book with them and I'm so excited because the author is the lovely Tracey Corderoy (Star Friends) and the storyline is fab! I'm also working on a lovely new book for Caterpillar Books (My Little Night-Light, By Lantern Light) and doing the illustrations for two new anthologies for Stripes Publishing (Winter Tales series) so I'll be busy with my favourite sort of work over the coming months! In the meantime I've been doing artwork for some new greetings cards which makes a nice change for a while. And I made this for the Village Autumn Bazaar - it was a late entry and came first in the adult category because no-one else had bothered to make one!!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

October Update

It's been a hectic few weeks here and I've not had time even to post entries for Illustration Friday :o( but I've finished a new book called 'When will it Snow' which is off at Frankfurt Book Fair with Little Tiger Press getting it's first airing! I did a local school visit with Lauren from Stripes publishing yesterday and in spite of having twice as many children as I expected (75!!) we had a great story and craft session and the kids made lots of little monsters - each one unique! I love how creative they are and how some love to make them neat, some colour co-ordinated and some just go wild with their imaginations!
Anyway that's it and we're off to Spain now for a lovely holiday so bye bye blog for a couple of weeks !

Friday, 17 September 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Acrobat'

This is my entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic of Acrobat. It's from a book I illustrated a few years ago for Brainwaves called Manic Math which was full of animals doing bizarre things to encourage children to practice adding and subtracting. It included a calculator gadget inside the back cover to help with the sums - very clever!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Proverb'

It Never Rains but it Pours

This week's Illustration Friday topic is Proverb, so I chose "It never rains but it pours" or in other words when troubles come they come together. Bit miserable now I think about it! But I think this illustration fits the bill.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Dessert'

This week's Illustration Friday topic is dessert - yum! Thought this picture would fit the bill - it's a sneaky preview from a magical mousey fairy book that I illustrated which won't be published till later on this year - hope you like it!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Edinburgh Book Festival 2010

Just back from a fantastic festival weekend in sunny Edinburgh! My workshop went very well and the children were lovely - they all made their own versions of little furry monsters hatching out of eggs and their creativity was amazing! There were so many variations on the theme and some of the children just went way off and came up with the most bizarre ideas - I loved them all! Definitely need to be watching my heels - these little'uns are already so clever and talented ...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Atmosphere'

I almost wimped out this week - what a stupid subject! Then I decided to take an existing illustration ( it's from 'By Lantern Light' by Cat Weatherill ) which already had an atmosphere of tension and add some effects in Photoshop to create an environmental atmosphere - it now looks foggy! Hope it works :o)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Illustration Friday chose MY subject this week!

How exciting - people all over the world are creating lovely art based on the subject of atmosphere and it was my idea! I can't wait to see what they come up with - there are usually several hundred entries each week. Puts a bit of pressure on me too - Oh, what was I thinking? I'm stuck!
Thank you Illustration Friday for choosing my word!

Off to Scotland soon!

Next weekend we're off to the Edinburgh Book Festival to do a children's workshop so I've had a lot of fun planning what we're going to do (lots of glue, fur and feathers involved!) and practicing reading stories ( I'm better at painting than reading out loud so I think the talented Lacey from Little Tiger Press is going to help out there!) I've managed to find a stand-in for her as you can se in the photo but I've had to keep his identity a secret! Not sure how impressed the young audience is though!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Star Gazing'

The subject for Illustration Friday this week is Star Gazing which is very appropriate as this week I lay in bed with the curtains open hoping to see a shooting star from the Perseids Meteor Shower. I think I managed to keep my eyes open for about 25 seconds before I drifted off!
This is a mixture of two greetings cards I painted a while ago - I took the bears from one and the sky from another and hopefully you can't see the join!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Caged'

This little chap is one of the illustrations from A Winter's Night which will be published in October. This is a sneak preview, because he was just right for this week's IF subject - 'caged'. Actually, the door is open, so he's not going to be caged for long.... :o)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Double'

Friday again and this week's Illustration Friday subject is 'double'. It's nice to be able to submit these dolphins which are part of an illustration I did a few years ago for a book called 'My Little Night-light' published by Caterpillar Press. I had so much fun painting the light on the waves - I'd love to do more seascapes if I ever get a chance!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Breakfast'

Perhaps it's not your regular Ulster Fry, but it's still someone's breakfast! An illustration I did for Tracey Corderoy's Star Friends which I thought was just right for this week's topic.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Diary'

I've finally managed to produce something new for IF - I've been so busy the last couple of months that I had to rummage through my existing stuff to fit the word! But this week I have a day off - so what do I do? An illustration - bit of a busman's holiday!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Just some news!

I've had a really busy month and there's lots going on so here's an update on what's happening in my illustration world!
We had the launch of Star Friends published by Little Tiger Press on Thursday, and you can buy it here!
Yesterday I finished the artwork for a new book in the Flip-up Fairy Tales series published by Child's Play. It's called The Magician's Nephew, based on The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and it's going to be released in October.
This weekend I'm starting work on my next book for Little Tiger Press - it's always very exciting to start a new book as there are so many possibilities, and I love the story, which is by Kathryn White. More on this later.
And, as if that's not enough, next week I'll be working on the illustrations for A Winter's Night, for Stripes Publishing which will be my third book in a series of winter animal stories for children aged 6-9, the others being Winter Tales and Winter Magic. This will be published in October as well.
I've got a busy few months ahead, with a high spot at the end of August when I'll be doing a workshop at the Edinburgh Book Festival - very exciting and a bit daunting for me!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Giant'

My illustration from The Elves and the Shoemaker - the shoemaker is a giant if you are an elf!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Satellite'

Wikidepia says - In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavor. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon

This satellite is a Boogle and it was accidentally set into orbit by Ooogle-Doogle!

the Boogle shot off Ooogle-Doogle's back and flew into space
"Oh no!" cried Ooogle-Doogle. "Come back...."

My illustration from Star Friends by Tracey Corderoy,
out next month!

Thank you for your comments!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Magician's Nephew

This month I've been working on a new Flip-up Fairy Tale book for Child's Play which is a retelling of The Sorcerer's Apprentice with a female magician in place of the sorcerer. I'm having lots of fun with the flaps - it's a while since I've done one of these and I'd forgotten how complicated it is to get them all to line up nicely! This is my fourth book in this series - the others are Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Elves and the Shoemaker.
Here's a sneak preview of the apprentice/nephew from one of the roughs!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Paisley'

What a difficult subject! Just thought I'd design a nice paisley pattern with a birdie theme. I definitely don't have any existing artwork that I could use for this one, and I'm very interested to see what everyone else comes up with!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Star Friends

I've a new book coming out on 1st July - so here is a sneak preview of some of the illustrations! It's a lovely story by Tracey Corderoy and it was great fun to illustrate. Bit of a change for me - not as soft and fluffy so maybe the boys will like it more!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Illustration Friday - Ripple

My Illustration Friday submission this week which hopefully will help to raise some money for the big clean-up operation required to help the wild animals affected by the Gulf oil spill. It's an original watercolour painting of a pair of gannets on a black background. I love gannets - they're stunning birds and I chose the subject because I believe a northern gannet was one of the first birds to be picked up and cleaned after the gulf oil spill.
Have a look at the rest of the artwork on

These photos are from my cousin Jo who lives in Camas in Washington. The children are from the special needs class where she works, and they've got a thing about turtles! They put on a play inspired by Bear and Turtle and the Great Lake Race by Andrew Fusek Peters, which I illustrated. I love the hats!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Blue Door Commission

I've just finished a commission to paint a doorway for my friend Mary - I think she likes it, but it's so long since I've done a commission I must admit I was nervous! It's quite a big canvas, so it made a lovely change from book illustration. I thought the door was in Ireland but it's actually in Monmouth, in Wales.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

One for Father's Day

We had a swarm of bees in the garden on Sunday, which is lucky because we just happen to be beekeepers! So Jeff cut the branch with the swarm on it and put it in front of an empty hive. The bees obligingly walked up the ramp and set up home - so cute! As a result Jeff has a big swollen hand where he got stung. In Northern Ireland we would have said "it swelled up like a bap".
On the plus side, we have a nice big bowl of honey in the kitchen which he collected from our other bees to remind us of why we like to keep them!
The swarm looked like one of the illustrations I did for 'Me and My Dad' by Alison Ritchie.
And I thought I might as well plug the book as a great Father's Day gift while I'm at it!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Trail'

One of my illustrations from 'The Magical Snowman' by Catherine Walters

Little Rabbit stopped and looked around. He wasn't sure which way he had come.The swirling snow made everything look strange.

I'm probably going to be sacked from Illustration Friday because it took me three goes to get this link to work - but it's my first go!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Flax fields

My daily walk with the dogs is getting very pretty now that there's flax flowering in the fields! I couldn't resist bringing my camera - and there's always a chance that I can find the time to create some new paintings!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

My Pewter Plate Award!

My Highlights Pewter Plate award has arrived and Dorry is very impressed!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Bluebells in the Wye Valley

Just had to post this photo of the bluebells in the woods between Bigsweir Bridge and Redbrook in the Wye Valley. Don't know whether it's because we were in France last year but the bluebells look stunning this year and they seem to be everywhere round here!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

It's Christmas - in May!

As usual I'm in Christmas mode again in May because of the big shows - Surtex and PG Live. I managed to do seven new cards in time for the shows - bit of a rush but two were commissioned so it was well worth it! Some traditional Christmassy scenes and some quirky ones...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

AEP Award Nomination

I'm also up for the AEP ( Association of Educational Publishers ) award in the Preschool category for the same Highlights illustrations. Wish me luck! The award ceremony is in June in Washington DC - sadly, I don't get to go!

Highlights Award

Hurrah! I've won an award! Decided this is something worth blogging about, even for a reluctant blogger like me!
It's a "Pewter Plate" award for my work on Little Fox, Little Fox for High Five magazine.
The award is for the best illustration of a fiction story for the year.