Saturday, 31 March 2012

Seven Months in One Book

I am unspeakably chuffed to be able to share some of this at last. This is the first part of the HUGE year-long project I was working on for OUP last year. Ta da!!! Splash A is the first part, Splash B is the second which is out a bit later on this year. Finally I have something new to put in my portfolio and on my website!


I shared a little sneaky bit of the cover about this time last year. It's so exciting to hold it in my hands and appreciate all the hard work that has gone in to putting it all together.


This page has intentionally blank areas for the kids to colour in.


These "storycards" come in two sizes. There are larger, A4-ish sized versions which come in the "Teachers' Pack" which I haven't received yet. As they're a bit wider, they have a bit more background artwork in them. I just had to work to two sets of guidelines; one encompassing the centre of the action which you can see here, and another wider set containing a bit more of the landscape. Can't wait to see those at the larger size.



Stickers!! How cool. These have been printed on lovely, glossy paper which just makes the colours pop so beautifully. I love Tex the Turtle here. MY WORK IS ON A STICKER!!!!!!!

tex sticker

finger puppets front

finger puppets back

Pop-out cardboard finger puppets, front and back.

dizzy dress up doll

And a dress-up doll of Dizzy the Duck and her winter wardrobe.
I'm so, so pleased with how it's turned out. It was a mammoth task and one I'm so glad I took on. It's so weird to look through it and remember "Oh, yeah, such and such was happening when I drew that" and "Yeah, I was listening to this or that audiobook while colouring that part". This project meant I could move house, pay the year's council tax in one go, and spend far too much on shoes. Thanks, OUP, it was a fab job and one I hope everyone is proud of.

Show me the second part!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Decision

tom final idea

So, in the end I went for a grey-green line. Artists' prerogative. Once I'd put the colour in, the black was definitely too harsh, as I thought it would be, and the grey just too flat. So grey-green for Tom here it is. This means each character will have a slightly different outline colour, which I like the idea of. I used MS for all the character outlines, which I am LOVING. It's so quick, and produces a pretty realistic ink-pen line. Lovely jubbly.

This little sample here is just a small part of the cover test which is with the publishers now, waiting for a verdict. If it's OK, I can go ahead and colour the rest. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Brief Outline

I've just started working on the colour for my current project. The comments on the roughs are in and are pretty good, so I'm just in the process of deciding how on Earth I am going to tackle working up this baby. I have to colour the cover and one spread for Friday so the AD can check the palette and what-not before I go ahead and do the rest, so this is the ideal time to experiment a bit.

So, decisions, decisions. It seems such a long time since I've coloured people I'm finding it a bit strange! (In fact, it was my Christmas card 2010. But only one Santa amongst eight reindeer. Whoa.) About this time last year, I took up a pretty good offer on Manga Studio Debut, which I bought, installed and promptly ignored. It's the standard software comic artists use not only to ink up their artwork, but also plan their storyboards. I'm obviously not planning boards, but I like the HUGE range of brushes it comes with. So I've been experimenting with drawing the outlines both in PS and MS using different brushes and with altering the colour of those lines. Recently, I've been outlining my characters in darker shades of their body colours, but with this book I think I'd like to outline the main action in one colour, probably a dark grey, then have the backgrounds with coloured, or even no, outlines. I'll have to see how that works out once all the background colours are in.

So, in the meantime, I just have to choose a line:

tom studies

I'm edging towards MS in grey, the top right, but we shall see!

Sunday, 11 March 2012


Husband and I have had a very outdoorsy, active, heavy-on-the-walking kind of weekend. It's been lovely. We put our National Trust membership to good use and went to Nymans this afternoon. The original Regency house was re-built as a fake Gothic mansion in the 1920s, but then most of it burnt down in 1947. The ruined parts have been stabilised, but left as ruins. The rest of the house is arranged as its last owner, Anne Messel, liked it. A nice contrast, and so interesting.


nymans 1


nymans candles1

Friday, 9 March 2012

A New View

pier from the eye





old pier from the eye

This afternoon, Middle Sister and I went on the Brighton Eye. Like many a Brightonian, I was a bit WTF? when it was constructed last September, but, actually, the view was pretty interesting. I don't know if it was supposed to, or if it was just because we went on a slow day, but we went round seven times. The first couple were a bit freaky, but by round 6 we were, like, totally blase about it.

I'm not sure how long it's going to be around for - the local goss says a year - but it would be lovely to take a ride at sunset on a clear day.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

New Gocco!

I've (finally) put some Gocco'd Mother's Day cards up in my Folksy shop:






I've been experimenting with using several shades of the same colour in one card, which I think came out quite well. It means each one comes out differently to the next, which is great.

I've also got come new-ish Gocco prints up in the shop, which I can't quite believe I haven't blogged about yet. This one is inspired by Steph's Ladies in Monochrome blog and her obsession with finding a photo of a nun with a cat:

full nun 2



full nun 1

I do like printing on brown paper; I've only ever used white before. That's one to do again in the future.

Do go take a look at my stuff, I'd be well chuffed.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

You Know How I Said I'd Be Knitting Colourwork Soon...?

glove back 2

glove palm 2

Not too keen on how this has turned out, though. I very much enjoyed my first foray into knitting with more than one colour at a time, and working from a chart, but I'm just not too keen on the fit, particularly around the thumb, so there'll be no mitten no.2. The pattern designer refunded the cost of the pattern to me off her own bat, and has asked for any suggestions on how to improve it, which I though was very nice of her.

But this is quite a big deal. I have tried cables, charts and colourwork all in the space of a few weeks. Shockingly swift progress!! I have no idea what I was so worried about, though; they're not scary at all. Bring on the scaries!