Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Crumbs! Has it really been a year?!

Firstly, I must write everyone a sincere apology- I can't believe it's been a year since I last updated my blog.......my only excuse is that I've been utterly and ridiculously busy. Amazing times, projects, opportunities and people who have truly taken my breath away.....

In an attempt to summarise (and in some kind of chronological order):

"Chaz, the Friendly Crocodile" by Miller Caldwell and illustrated by me, back in 2011, was picked up by wonderful publishers - Austin Macauley in London- and has 'hit' the educational market in a big way. The Education Department in Dumfries and Galloway have ordered copies for all their primary School children, which is Amazing!
Let's hope "Lawrence the Lion seeks work"- Miller's next children's story, will be as successfully received! So thrilled and delighted, as this lovely book has already been translated into Dutch........

Am already working on Miller's next book.......(under wraps at the moment)

Talking of books, 2014 sees the release of two other new books: the first written and illustrated by me! Originally meant for my Mum as a lovely Birthday gift, (all beautifully hard backed and bound)- some of her friends saw it and ordered a copy. As word spread, I was lucky enough to find a wonderful publisher and printer, and after a BRILLIANT book signing in Happy Days Toy Shop in Olney in May, sold all of my allocation. Looking forward to another book signing in Waterstones Bedford in September. Here's a sneaky peek below:

And second, the very beautiful (and very different for me) illustrated 'Tiger Thoughts and Wild Words' written by local author, Paul Gardner. Paul wanted to write about which came first 'thoughts or words'......and how we all struggle sometimes to put our thoughts into words and our words into thoughts; whatever age we are. It's a gorgeous book- as I was desperate to illustrate the artwork on dictionary paper, so....... mindful of the dictionary having to be out of copyright- I eventually found an 1892 version on it's very last legs, which was perfect!
After Paul's and my fantastic book signing on 21st June at Waterstones Bedford, I'm delighted to say that all books are now available to buy on Amazon and from Waterstones.
After completing the illustrations for Paul's book- I really wanted to continue the dictionary theme......so decided to incorporate my own personal work onto dictionary pages: these have ranged from all sorts of birds and animals and have been exhibited at Bromham Mill, a local exhibition, the River Festival, No.13 Restaurant and will also be 'starring' in the September Art Trail, with the Artists Network Bedfordshire: www.artsnetbeds.org.uk Please see the website for more details!
Continuing with exciting news: 2014 has been the year of School workshops! It has been terrific, brilliant, rewarding and truly inspirational working with some wonderful children and Staff. After another successful 'block' of After School workshops at Newnham Middle School in the Spring Term; the Summer Term has seen me work with the Council on a project called 'Reach for the Stars' focussing on the self esteem and aspirations of some of the young people in 5 of Bedfordshire's Schools. The project incorporated a theatre company and a lady who teaches dance, to explore some of the ideas based within the 'Reach For the Stars' text (story by Serge Bloch).
I decided to hold a Schools exhibition at the Council's Borough Hall, which provides the ideal backdrop to showcase the children's work. After the hugely successful private view on Thursday, 17th July, with the exhibition opened by the Mayor, the exhibition is now open to the public until 14th August, from 1-4pm Monday- Friday.
Excitingly, this has lead to more workshops and School work in the Autumn Term!
And finally, after a lovely selection of my handmade cards being commissioned and bought by Beckworth Emporium and a classroom prop commissioned by fabulous author, Steve Cole.......I am part of a small team of 'book geeks' called Booktastic (we organise free workshops once a month for Key Stage 1&2 children to inspire children to read, draw and get generally excited about books!)......who organised Bedford's First Children's Book Festival on 5th July! With support from the Council, the Higgins, Waterstones Bedford, the authors, workshoppers and the wonderful people of Bedford, the Book Festival was a HUGE success........so much so, plans are already in place, for next years!
Phew......quite a year so far!!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Life has been a whirl!

It's hard to summarise my 'comings and goings' these last few months.....but if I've learnt anything....it's: grab every opportunity with both hands......you just never know what might happen.

February seems aeons ago now.....and with the long cold Winter, the late Spring and now this amazing hot weather, my illustration work has managed to sustain, inspire and engage me through all of it.....even though I've been painting in multitudes of stripey woollen layers or very cool wide legged comedy trousers. I've laughed and I've cried.......sometimes the going has been tough (especially illustrating goats!) and my hands have been frozen or the paint has dried, before it's even poured from the tube!

The good news is, I don't need much sleep, so I can concentrate fully on whatever project at whatever time of day!

So, to attempt a summary:

I'm currently illustrating 3 children's books: one, a very talented young author who has translated a Hebrew poem into English; another that I'd illustrated some initial work for but now some more artwork is required (please see illustration) and the final one is a lovely story about the relationship between a young girl and her 'cat' best friend, due for release at the end of the year.

I've got a couple of other illustrative and one soft toy project 'on the go' that at the moment, are 'under wraps'.

My cards are still going from strength to strength, with commissions from individuals for personalised Birthday cards and invitations and of course, regular work from my lovely existing handmade card clients!

I've also been asked to partake in a lot of teaching, reading and art workshops. I had a wonderful time at Newnham Middle School in Bedford, just before the Easter holidays; teaching an After School Illustration Club to 20 students. Taught over 5 weeks, for just over an hour each week- the student's artwork transformed and developed: each one (and me!) getting over the initial 'worry' to produce some truly fabulous work!

I enjoyed it so much, I was invited back on a bitterly cold and rainy day to paint an external mural with 25 students (in small groups of 4 throughout the day)........we managed most of the painting! It looks fantastic so far....... I hope to have some time to go back to finish it!

Since then, I have taught 2 Art Club lunch workshops in a local School and have been invited to take a position as an Artist in Residence at another School for 10 days in September. Big plans, big project......I can't wait!

I'm so sorry to 'sign off' but a bunny awaits.......please check out my Facebook illustration page for more updates and artwork:

Thursday, 7 February 2013

December and beyond......

Sorry everyone, I had intended on publishing photos of a community project taking place in October, when I last posted......but have just been so ridiculously busy since then.....I'm going to post a couple now....better late than never!

It was an amazing day-freezing cold, but bright.....and I think the results speak for themselves: 2 x HUGE billboards in Queens Park, Bedford - painted as murals by 4 Illustrators, a super team from Bedford BC and the wonderful people of Queens Park.

Illustration news:

After another successful signing in Bedford Waterstones just before Christmas with Pamela Strofton and 'Mumbo's Stories' (our second book signing of the year!), I began work on 2 more books: one for a lovely client, based in Scotland and some concept ideas for a fabulous new Charity.

Both have taken off 'big-time' and 'Lawrence the Lion' will be published later this year and....... further to my rough concepts for the Charity, I'm thrilled to have been asked to illustrate an amazing 7 books for them (over a period of time!).......plus a logo for a mutual contact! WOW!

Handmade Cards:

The lovely company 'Enchanted Doorways' have been super busy too and have been 'repeat commissioning' my handmade fairy cards......they're a wonderful company to work with and the cards are an absolute pleasure to make. You can see the cards and Enchanted Doorways website here:

Prototype news:

All very exciting and a little bit secret at the moment.....but watch this space!

School Workshops:

Can't wait to get back to my Workshops......they're starting at the end of February, at an After School Club in Bedford!

2013.....holds some really really exciting projects: new clients, contacts, work and good times! I'm inspired!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

November- eep! Where has the last 3 months gone?!

November, already!

Leaves, colours, smells, crunchy sounds, sunsets and sunrises......I love Autumn.

Sorry I haven't posted anything since the end of the Summer......and apologies for sounding repetitive, but my goodness, it's been a busy time!

Prototype news:

After the phenomenal successful launch of soft toys, Hoppy and Patch, Safe Dreams have commissioned 3 new prototypes, due to be released next year.......I think it's a bit of secret at the moment, but if you look very carefully at one of the photos on www.safedreams.co.uk. you might just make out the new members of the Safe Breathe family!

Illustration work:

The Search for A Golden Eagle by C A Mackenzie, has been brilliantly received- the illustrations were completed in September, the book published by Authors Online in October and this was followed by an AMAZING book signing at Bedford Waterstones on Saturday, 3rd November. Thank you to everyone who came and supported us- it was a FABULOUS day!

I've also been commissioned by two more wonderful authors: one, a client, I've worked with before and the other, a super new talent, with an equally talented and creative 12 year old daughter. Watch this space......

Other brilliant Illustration news is to be announced next month.....let's just say it involves being commissioned by a new Charity.......

Community project news to follow in a separate post- I'll let the pictures for that, speak for themselves!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Introducing Friesop's Fables!

Friesops Fables is a lovely collection of 3 short stories by Julian Defries: 2 stories illustrated by me!

Available as a fabulous Kindle Download from Amazon- please follow the link below to get your copy!


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Lollipop Goes to the Olympics!

"Lollipop goes to the Olympics"- a lovely new book, by talented author Steve Apelt, and illustrated by me, has finally been published!

Aimed at 2-5 year olds, this gentle story about a woodland bunny, who saves the day is available from Steve or Amazon.

Please reserve your copy, it's well worth it!

Wow! July!

2 months on and busier than ever!

Hoppy and Patch have finally arrived! You can order yours, from the lovely Louise at www.safedreams.co.uk

I am so thrilled!

My illustration work has gone from strength to strength and in amongst ongoing work, 'Lollipop goes to the Olympics' by fabulous author, Steve Apelt has finally been published! It's been well worth the wait!

My next post will give all the details!

Lots more news to come.........