Monday, 22 December 2008

Burning of the Clocks

Brighton's annual celebration of the Winter Solstice involving a parade and burning of paper lanterns, followed by a bonfire and firework display on the beach to welcome the coming of the longer days.

Clocks Mosaic

Friday, 19 December 2008

Tales from Porth

Last August I was contacted to do a set of books to help people learn to speak Cornish. This time last year I had begun working on them, they were finished in April this year, and yesterday I finally got my set of books through.







I drew the characters, and the other illustrator, Brian Hoskin, drew the backgrounds and coloured everything. Some of my ideas and sketches for the project are blogged here.

I am pretty chuffed with these. It's one of those rare instances where you get the finished product through all those months later and you're not completely embarrassed by it. I love how they come in a little box, and there's an interactive CD, too, but I haven't tried it out yet. The website for the books is pretty awesome, too.

It was a pretty interesting project to work on. Not only because I was working in a small team with another illustrator colouring my work and that was all new and exciting, but because I had my "breakthrough" while doing it - rediscovering my on-going love of the dip-pen. Not that it wasn't incredibly difficult at times. I nearly resigned twice, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It taught me that I can use sketchbooks and I can work out ideas over pages and pages without the "Oh-my-God-I-have-to-have-a-proper-finished-idea-NOW!" feeling. The way I draw things now - like birds for example - is totally influenced by how I worked here. But it's turned out really well. There are plans for another set, but it all depends on budgets and costings and all that other complicated stuff.

I have to say, the thing I remember most about the end of the project, when the deadline was drawing closer and closer and things were really moving, was the dread that Amy Winehouse would do something stupid and our Goraswonnek ("Celebrity") would have to be completely redone!

The best thing of all about this project is that it gave me the money and the freedom to move into my own place, and I love it just for that.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

I have feedback!

And it's pretty good. There wasn't too much to change, so I've already sent back my revisions. Hope they're OK. The Evil Cold is well on its way out as well, so that's good too.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Wonder Bear

I came across this fantastic book by Tao Nyeu while working at one of the branch libraries last week:






It's entirely screenprinted and wordless.

The blurb on the back flap reads: "(Tao Nyeu) attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, receiving her MFA in Illustration in 2007. Wonder Bear was her thesis project, inspired by an odd-looking gummy bear with magical powers. (It was promptly eaten.)" Hehe.

Can't wait to start my screenprinting course in January now.

PS Still waiting.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Thursday, 11 December 2008

I am slack...

...because, and this is incredibly lazy, I've only just taken my Halloween bats down from the ceiling. Honestly. What's worse, if I wasn't going to be hanging paperchains up at the weekend, they'd still be there.

I am waiting for feedback on my two sets of roughs. This means I am in the slightly weird position of not having any work to do. VERY odd feeling. I have, however, done six library shifts in the past seven days, so it's been nice to have a day off today, especially as I hab a colb and I've been carrying round a whole box of tissues with me since Tuesday. Still waiting, though. Not that I mind as such, it just rattles your nerves a bit as your imagination goes into overdrive wondering what they're going to say.

I have one of my Christmas pressies already:


It was HALF PRICE on Amazon a couple of weeks ago, so Boyfriend and I went halves on it. I've made two cakes with it so far. I do feel a bit lazy not mixing it all by hand, but I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough!

Last week while out Crimbo shopping with Steph, I saw these in Habitat:



Had to have them. Habitat is usually out of my price range, but these little jars and the bowl were yelling "take me home!". The bowl is the best. It's quite small, smaller than a cereal bowl, so I suppose it would be best for nibbles or dip or something. Right now it's in my bedroom on my bookcase awaiting a purpose. Bit too nice to use in the kitchen, I think.

Monday, 8 December 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

The roughs for Frogs part 2 and Pirates part 1 are in, two days ahead of schedule, so today I had the rare luxury of a morning to myself. I went to collect my Christmas cards from the delivery office, and, despite the hassle I had uploading them, they look AWESOME.


I will be sending those out ASAP (especially as I just discovered the last posting date for 2nd class is next Thursday, not to mention the fact that half the people I will be sending cards to won't even be in their offices after the 19th).

I don't really have room in the flat for a Christmas tree (well, not the kind of seven-foot-500-light-silver-bauble-extravaganza I usually favour, anyway) so I'm going for a mantlepiece garland, paperchains on the ceiling, and this 'ere branch on the table:


I'm waiting for the weekend and the appearance of Boyfriend before we put up the rest, but I couldn't resist getting a little festive already. (Although, to be honest, I'm far too much of a Monica and even though I might let him put on a bauble or two, after he's gone to bed I'll just re-arrange them to how I like them.)

I also have 108 songs on my "Xmas" playlist on my iPod, and I have to confess it's been on repeat play since last Tuesday. I go to bed singing Christmas songs, I wake up singing Christmas songs. Newly discovered favourites: Miss Piggy's version of "Santa Baby", KT Tunstall's "Mele Kalikimaka" and The Spinners' "Twelve Days of Christmas". Genius.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Only in Japan


Not the obvious choice for pairing with chocolate, but it kinda works.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

I love my job

I really do. I get to draw aliens and pirates and superheroes all day. And I get paid for it. Awesome.

Monday, 24 November 2008

One down...

...three to go.

Frogs Part 1 is in (and liked pretty much as is by the publisher, which makes a nice change), just got to make a real start on The Pirates before Frogs Part 2 comes along.


Friday, 21 November 2008


...the thing is, I took my camera and everything but I spent Saturday just looking around, then started taking some pics Sunday morning, but then it rained on us so I stopped. So, er, the sum of my photos is pretty much thus:




Pants, I know. None of your dreaming spires here. Sorry.

On the plus side, we had a lovely time, even though I think we must've walked 72 miles. My feet certainly think it was that far. I heartily recommend The Covered Market, in particular Pieminister (hom nom nom), G&D Ice Cream parlours (hom nom nom again), and The Royal Oak's Sunday roasts (HOM nom nom nom). Oxford could definitely do with a few more public loos, though, but then, where couldn't?

I've been really busy this week working on the final artwork for part one of The Frogs. It's due this coming Monday. Eek! However, I did take this afternoon off to go and see Boyfriend in London. I managed to do my first real bit of Christmas shopping, so I'm feeling a lot more relaxed and organised about that. We went to the Ethical Christmas Emporium, which runs until Sunday, and then to Wahaca, Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers' Mexican street food canteen. Fab food, and incredibly well priced. Not at all like the usual, stereotypical Mexican food you get in this country.

Well, it's a busy weekend ahead for me. At least I can take a breather Monday afternoon ready for starting properly on The Pirates on Tuesday. Back to PhotoShop I go...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Updated Shop Shocker!

I have updated my etsy shop with the felted brooches I had left over from Saturday. Shocking, I know, but they are there and waiting to be bought.


I also sent off the artwork today for the Korean project I have been working on since August. It was supposed to be finished mid-September, but with one thing and another, it's only just been completed now. I have put my faith in Fedex to get the artwork over there in one piece. They tell me it should be there by 6pm on this coming Monday, so I have everything crossed that it gets there OK. I'm not sure what I would do if it all got lost. ARRGGHHH!!!! I hope I can relax and just get paid now, it's been such a long time to completion that I am sick of it.

The roughs for my current book project (hereafter called The Frogs) have all been approved today, bar the front cover, and I have agreed to get artwork for them for the 24th. Eek! I also get the layouts through for my next project (hereafter called The Pirates) through tomorrow and I have until the 9th of December to get the roughs done. I had to turn down a job from Macmillan, of all people, today. It was only a quick job and it looked really cool and I would LOVE to work for them, but as you can see I already have enough on my plate and I don't want to spend my weekend away panicking about fitting everything in!

I cannot say how much I am looking forward to this weekend in Oxford. I only hope it doesn't rain too much! I shall post photos on my return.

Monday, 10 November 2008

A Sneaky Peek of a Card to Come


Not only is my Christmas card well on the way to completion, but I've also updated my etsy shop today with a couple of Monsters left over from Saturday's sale. I'll be adding the others up there in the next week or so. I've purposely not signed up for any library work this week so I can sort a few things out at home that have been hanging over me and bugging me for a while before I head off on a mini break (how awfully Bridget Jones) to Oxford this weekend with Boyfriend*. Hopefully a proper update will be one of those things.

* I have shortened it to just "Boyfriend" now. Hope that's OK with him.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The First Ever Brighton Knitting Safari!

Tomorrow I am taking part in this:

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

So I have been stitching, felting and knitting away, and now have a nice lot of wool-based products to sell.






I am also going to sell the monsters I had sent back from HK Handknit earlier in the year. Anything I have left over tomorrow I am going to put in my ebay shop in time for Crimbo. I'll take my camera with me and take pictures of what everyone else is selling.

Right, better go bake some lovelies for the cake stall....

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I am SO down with the Americans, already.

So down, in fact, that I have my Halloween decorations up already.

Well, ceiling decorations, anyway. I'm sure there'll be a whole load more come Friday.

The weather has turned much colder this week, to the extent where I've had to switch my heating on every day. (That makes me sound like such a stinge bucket, but I do prefer just to chuck an extra jumper or pair of socks on instead of always relying on the central heating.) This means after it hanging in my wardrobe for about two months, I get to wear my new purple coat.

Terrible light in there, I know, but I do like the fact the colour compliments my hair so nicely.

I am also working my way VERY slowly through my new books, so I will have my Christmas plans set in next to no time. Not sure how New Boyfriend* will feel about all this early Festive planning, but it does make me feel all snowy and bright already. (At least, that's what I'm going to tell him. He he.)

* I must think of something else to call him, as, after eight months, he really isn't all that new anymore.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

New Books Smell Yum

So does chocolate cake (my Red Velvet recipe without the Red) with a cinnamon buttercream centre.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

It's official.... is autumn.

I know it is because I have:

a) Made Sophie Grigson's Braised Red Cabbage, my absolute favourite wintery vegetable.

b) Had the heating on three times now.

c) Knitted myself a new scarf.

d) Bought two new coats.

e) Been out walking in the park just to kick up the fallen leaves.

and f) Found Russets, the best apples ever, at the local market.

I love their rough, mottled green-gold skin. Their flesh is pale yellow and firm and juicy. Hom Nom Nom.

Autumn is my favourite season. And the weather, bar a day or two here and there, has been beautiful, golden and crisp for the past five weeks. I'm starting to think about Christmas and have already started my annual collection of Christmas catalogues. I have ones from Boots, Sainsbury's and Woolworths so far, and am constantly looking out for new additions every time I go into town. Sad, I know, but I love the feel of the build up to Christmas even more than the day itself!