An evening in Lewes

  [Click to see bigger] An evening featuring five children’s book illustrators and writers in conversation lured me onto a train to our neighbouring town on a dark and cold evening last week. I was already aware of Miriam Moss and Leigh Hodgkinson: the former has written some excellent children’s picturebooks, including Scritch Scratch, aContinue reading “An evening in Lewes”

The secret thing about picture books is that they aren’t for children at all

I’ve got rather a busy couple of weeks coming up, thanks to the flurry of booking I indulged in a few weeks ago when the Brighton Festival programme came out. Tonight, I went to see a panel of children’s book illustrators: John Vernon Lord (revered illustrator, to quote the blurb on the back of hisContinue reading “The secret thing about picture books is that they aren’t for children at all”

Stamp forest

This is another of my aerial view collages – click the image to see it bigger. Birds fly over a forest at twilight, taking messages to a loved one. Between the trees are little houses and lakes; on some of the lakes are boats. This one is almost entirely composed of stamps; the sea andContinue reading “Stamp forest”

Green Shield stamps paddyfields

In the last few days, I’ve put the finishing touches to a complex collage of paddy fields. It’s made of tickets and postage stamps (many contributed by kind friends) and maps (including one I used to navigate around Japan, before the advent of smartphones in my life). These elements symbolise travelling over great distances. IContinue reading “Green Shield stamps paddyfields”

Trying things out

Here is a small bird I made from some Brighton bus tickets. We’re all switching to pre-loaded cards and mobile phone tickets these days, so it’s not as easy as it used to be to get hold of paper bus tickets. It’s funny to think that  maybe in a couple of years’ time, this pictureContinue reading “Trying things out”

Drawing characters – and two kinds of eye-openers

I’ve had a couple of eye-openers this week – one artistic and the other cultural. Let me try to explain… Eye-opener one: mess So, it’s time to think about the protaganist in my picturebook – the one who’ll be telling the story. Here’s what I know about her so far: she’s very, very sad becauseContinue reading “Drawing characters – and two kinds of eye-openers”


After the first week of the course, I went away and started thinking and drawing and thinking some more. I’ve had this one idea for a children’s picture book for ages (along with many others), and now seems like a really good time to explore it. It’s a funny thing: the course itself? It’s justContinue reading “Birds”

Some more learnings from the children’s book illustration course

Looking back on Tuesday night, I’m amazed at how many insights were packed in to the 2.5 hours – AND there was still time for tea and Tunnock’s cakes. Here are some more points the tutor made that really gave me food for thought. 1. What age group is your book for? This isn’t justContinue reading “Some more learnings from the children’s book illustration course”


Last night, I left the house, walked over the big hill, and didn’t come back until after bedtime. AND I had charcoal under my fingernails. It was week one of an evening class on Children’s Book illustration, taught by the self-styled Baron Gilvan. When we were asked to draw enormous body segments, as part ofContinue reading “Consequences”

Illustrators in Conversation: Oliver Jeffers and David Mackintosh

Last night, I went to see children’s picturebook illustrators Oliver Jeffers and David Mackintosh in conversation, here in Brighton. It was a fun event – there seemed to be real rapport between the two writers and their Editor (whose name I can’t find online, sorry, Editor!). You could buy all their books, of course. Here’sContinue reading “Illustrators in Conversation: Oliver Jeffers and David Mackintosh”