Thursday, 26 February 2015

One Week To Go!

The winner of this years Blue Peter Book Award will be announced on the show next Thurs 5th March, World Book Day. Our book, The Silly Book Of Side Splitting Stuff, written by Andy Seed, is one of three books in the Best Book With Facts category (there are only two categories). The other two books in our category are great looking books though, so we'll have our work cut out!! Fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.


Every time this song pops up randomly on my itunes it makes me sit up and take notice, so i'm sharing it here. You'll need a little bit of volume though, don't let it just tick along silently in the background... it's music!

and following the theme..

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Small Victories

I was notified last week by Sara, the lovely designer on the Here's Hank books, that the series had made it onto The New York Times Best Seller list for children's series! It doesn't make me any richer, but it's nice to know the books are doing well and my illustrations didn't sink them! (I don't ask for much do i ;-)

(It seems it's now dropped back off! but hopefully it get's back on soon! I should have written this last week when it happened, but i was away for a few days, hey ho.)

Illustrators don't always get the credit they deserve, it's mostly the authors, but I've been made to feel like an integral part of this series from the very beginning. It's very much appreciated.

Thank you Grosset & Dunlap!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Creatives Clutter

Perfect blog post over at Root Simple ! It's all about the creative person's clutter and the curse of dabbling in many interests! I'm definitely a "...just in case" kinda guy! crap.

Here's a small extract, but i strongly suggest a read of the full post.

Creative people seem to have two kinds of production. There’s the work they actually do, the kind with tangible results, and then there’s the work they think they might do sometime in the future. Imaginary work. Theoretical work. They have tools and materials they actually use regularly, and then they have other tools they keep around...just in case.

Just in Case

Three dangerous little words, Just in Case. Dangerous because they are slippery. Just in case of what? Just in case when?

Just in case is a clause which stretches to the end of time, or more realistically, to the end of you.  At which point your heirs will heave all your just in caseinto the nearest dumpster while muttering about what a pack rat you were.

Just in case can be apocalyptic thinking (“This will be valuable when the oil runs out.”).  It is also that tiny persistent voice in any creative person’s head which says, “I could make something with that..someday.” It’s also the nagging voice is the frugal person’s head which says, “Better hold on to that. If I don’t need it, someone will.”

Just in case is not a useful category in which to place any belonging. Get rid of this category as an excuse for keeping junk around. We can be producers without being hoarders.

It’s real, useful and secure only when it is in your hand or under your eye

The problem with accumulating materials and supplies which we are not using immediately is that we lose track of these things. We forget where they are. We forget we have them at all. How useful are these things at that point?
The truth is, if you don’t know where it is, can’t get to it because it’s buried somewhere, or have forgotten it altogether, it functionally doesn’t exist anymore. You’ve lost it. You lost it long ago. All you’re holding onto is a spacial and psychic burden.

... and another little clip, because i know how hard it can be to click a link sometimes :_)

#2 Let go of old interests

Creative people are curious people. We go through a lot of creative phases. And in each phase, we accumulate equipment and supplies specific to that phase. Once we go onto a new thing, we often don’t return to our old thing.

Sometimes a phase doesn’t even get off the ground. You end up holding onto a tool or an instrument or supplies or a kit that you bought because of an impulse that never took root.
Either way, we accumulate a lot of stuff which we are not using and most likely will never use again. We like to keep these things because we think we might want to go back to them someday, but we should remember that there will always be some new craft or skill or activity to intrigue us. That is our nature.

It’s rather like books. We keep books because we think we might want to re-read them some day, but in truth there are very few books we love enough to re-read. The others just weight down the shelf–mostly because we are distracted by all the new books. (Shiny new books! Shiny new crafts!)
If you look back on your creative history, I’ll bet you’ll find that you’ve rarely returned to an older interest–or conversely, you have a steady core interest which takes up most of your creative energy.
I believe there are two basic types of creative people. There are those who commit to a skill and practice it the rest of their lives. I call those people the Masters. And then there’s the rest of us, those of us who love learning new things and who are always changing interests. I call us the Dabblers. (Fondly)

Masters might accumulate too much stuff around their center of interest, and need to prune a bit, but Dabblers have it much worse. The strata of our former interests fill our closets and garages. It’s hard to let go of these old materials, but it’s vital to do so, to make room for new ones to come in.
The more room you have for your current passion, the more room you have to spread out and really express yourself. Imagine clean cupboards. Imagine organized, easily accessed tools. Image open workspace  for the taking. It doesn’t have to be a dream. You just have to let go of the past.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Pickle Crazy, Fermented Vegetables

Love this! Alex Hozven at Cultured in Berkeley, California. Pickle passion, i can see how it happens. My fermented stash is growing, but i need to keep adding to it. My recent kimchi is looking great and tastes amazing, though it probably needs another week. Going to make another batch of krautchi at the weekend, maybe with beetroot and apples this time. Would really like to try some good kombucha, before i think about trying to actually make some. Also want to try a wild fermented cider, without actually adding the yeast. Might just try it with a small amount of good natural local apple juice. I like the simplicity of that approach.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Art As Album

I've always thought how much more I like the music world's model of creating an album of work, rather than the illustration world's ever rolling model. We just keep tacking new work on while dropping a few old bits off. The portfolio/folio/book/website model. I prefer the music version of going off, working on a body of work that sits cohesively together. You package it, release it and the hit the road to tour it. Then while out on the road you start to plan and build your next album.
I'd like to work this way, so in a way I am.

I'm currently working on my new, ahem... album (as yet untitled). Due for release late February. I'll put it up and promote it a bit, see what work comes from that. Hopefully there will be at least one hit on it! 
I may even create it's own cover art and track listing! Go the whole hog ...actually for that I would need to get a notorious manager who could screw me out of my fortune! ( I'll have to settle for my agent ;-) (kidding!)

Looking forward to getting it up on the website. I't's progressing well, there are some interesting tracks... sorry, images.

provisional album cover... and title.