ML panto hatThis weekend I have been creating a prototype horse hat for my daughter’s school pantomime. The ears actually stick upright and not out (I forgot that when I was doodling).

At the moment it looks like it could be pretty much any animal…despite the addition of a dodgy-looking mane. BUT something fancy and a bit circus-horse-ish will happen on the top. I hope. Then I’ll need to make four of them!

Of Coati and Coats…

small Coati coatIt has recently been revealed in the Working Animals Gazette that most shop-bought coats have been made by bands of nimble-fingered South American coatis.

An attempt to interview them about their pay was met with snorts and woofs of laughter from the coatis, who claim that sewing coats is a restful and creative community activity, and that three pieces of fruit and two bird eggs a day was all they required as payment.

They also added that their embroidery was much more delicate than that of the foxes from the other side of the forest, and that fox-made coats tended to be a bit whiffy.

Top Aardvark Fact

Did anyone know that the only fruit the aardvark eats is the aardvark cucumber, which fruits underground???*

Apparently it grunts while it’s foraging.

This was a quick drawing for a new weekly drawing challenge on Twitter – Animal Alphabets, started by Chris Chatterton.

*This aardvark has never seen an aardvark cucumber, so he’s hoping it looks a bit like a normal cucumber…aardvark

Sunday in the Studio

Anyone in the Stroud area…I’m having a Studio Sale on Sunday! If you’d like to come, please let me know and I’ll give you directions.

Anyone interested and not in the Stroud area….there’ll be lots of Sale work up on the website soon!
Sale invite

Drawathon for Nepal

small Drawathon Last week at my children’s school we held a Drawathon to raise money for a school in Nepal. All the children came and drew on long rolls of paper and brought donations to send to a school in Patan, south of Kathmandu. They filled the sheets with beautiful colourful animals, mountains, buildings and flags inspired by what they’d heard about Nepal. small pastels

The first group we had in were 4-5 year olds, and after we’d talked a bit about what we were doing, and looked at photos of Nepal, they rushed at the paper with such enthusiasm I had to jump out of the way! It was amazing to see them lying on their tummies and just drawing, not worrying about getting it right.small roll

Friends of mine had been to Nepal shortly before the first earthquake and had links with the school there, and with a charity that helps the schoolchildren with meals, books and uniforms. The charity also helps them if they complete their education and need further tools or equipment. Sadly some of the children that they met when they visited had since become homeless and some were orphaned.

small leopard

My friends came in and talked to the children about the school in Nepal, and we encouraged the children to draw themselves waving at the Nepalese schoolchildren so that we could send photos of the drawings to the headteacher there. A lot of the older children also wrote messages about how they were thinking of the Nepalese children.

small creaturesIt was a wonderful day and we raised over £250 to send to the charity. The children’s drawings are now displayed all around the school outside their classrooms (for as long as the blu-tack holds the heavy paper…)

With fantastic smudgy encouragement from Susie Walker, Hannah Dyson, Juliette Saville, Lucy Birkinshaw, Tessa Walliman, Steve Saville, Sarah Lowe and others! Thank you for the photos, Tessa Walliman.

small smudgy hands

Ten Years of Illustrations…

One Lucky Duck Ten years ago I had just started illustrating my first children’s book, One Lucky Duck, written by Alison Maloney and published by Meadowside Children’s Books.

I painted in the evenings and while my one year old had her daytime naps, and her naps never seemed long enough for the work that I wanted to do. I worked on a coffee table and had to clear it all up whenever I stopped.

Most of the books that I worked on after that were painted at a table in my bedroom…until I’d painted enough illustrations to afford a studio in my garden.

Recently I’ve been sorting out my studio, and looking through the artwork that’s been piling up.  I realise that I need to make some space for my new work (both physically and mentally)…I don’t really need to hang on to all these paintings.

studio floor

 book illustrationsSo at some point in the near future I’m going to have a Spring Studio Sale and try to create a bit more space.

And I still love the fact that I can spread this many paintings out in one room without having to put them on a bed or worrying that someone will stand/crawl/draw/scribble on them!

Invasion of my writing desk…

model creatures

I made these this morning out of a Crayola modelling material that felt like a giant marshmallow. It was really soft and squidgy, much lighter than clay, and I LOVED making them. Next time I need a break from painting I think I’ll make a few more.