Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Not really catching up.

No uni this week - I've been feeling a bit under the weather - plus it's half term, so I thought instead of abandoning my child I would try and catch up a bit at home/in the studio. That was the theory but, of course, millions of obstacles were put in my path. You know when you have one of those bad dreams when you're trying to get somewhere or do something and you can't move properly or you realise hours have gone by and you've missed something really important? Well that's real life for me buddy! Anyway I did get to try a bit more engraving.

Bea and her (newly acquired in the re-write) cat:-

And a mouse I did for my New Address card:-
Thank you and good - Nytol enhanced - night.

Friday, 22 October 2010


I had a nightmare journey to Cambridge this week and was stuck on a train for ages due to points failure. That meant I only attended uni for the lecture before starting the crappy journey home again. To top it all I forgot my sketchbook - so no train sketches to put on this week.

Then at my studio yesterday I spent the day trying to storyboard my book which is definitely not fit to be seen here yet!

I've been thinking about picture books, as I have done a lot over the years, and in particular, the characters in them. I got to thinking about children with disabilities, and how it must feel to be so un-represented in picture books and literature; to feel different to any of the characters they read about or see in illustrations. When I worked in a children's book shop, the only picture books featuring any disabled people were books designed to "inform" children about the disabilities. Like "Emma has Cochlear Implants" or "My Mommy has a Wheelchair" (Not actual titles but you get my drift). The story, if there was one, was about the disability. Some were OK, but quite a lot were dreadful.

Anyway I looked around the good old internet on the subject and it turns out there is an organisation dedicated to this very matter. There are examples of work by lots of illustrators including Quentin Blake and Jane Ray (who is a passionate believer of inclusion in children's books and has written widely on the subject). There seem to be more books published now where disabled children feature, especially in books for the very young. The publisher Childs Play certainly seems to be the most inclusive at the moment.

I don't know yet if any of the characters in the book I am working on now will have disabilities. But it's certainly something I will always think about if I ever have a "career".

By the way the lecture was great - Fabian Negrin - absolutely stunning work and a lovely man to boot. (What a strange saying "to boot" is)!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Well, that all took longer than I hoped. What a faff. In short, I got huffy, Sky got dumped and I'm now online courtesy of BT. So, normal service has been resumed and there's some drawing to be caught up on. Not much, admittedly...but here's a few from the last couple of weeks. Alexis Deacon in a lecture...
And later that day a hideous journey home which didn't end til after ten and involved torrential rain...

Last week's train journey to Cambridge...
No drawing on the way home last week.
Back at the studio today, and I am still at the early stages of my new project. Wrestling with the story, and meanwhile learning the printmaking technique. Here's my character again only printed with oil based ink (as advised by the wonderful John Lawrence who I was lucky enough to talk to last week) on nice paper. And with added colour at no extra charge.

I love printmaking but I always seem to be in need of something crucial yet really expensive in order to carry on. I would so love a would make my life so much easier and so much more enjoyable! And it wouldn't make my hand joints hurt so much and I could do etching as well as relief....sigh.

For someone who is proud to be non-materialistic I sure do want a lot of things.

In other news, I had cleared up three piles of poo before 8 am this morning (one cat, two dog.) The glamour.