8 Apr 2014

My new books about 'Betsy' are out now!

Jane, the Fox and Me

Gerry bought me a new book 'Jane, the Fox and Me' by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. It's so beautiful, incredibly sad, but with a very hopeful ending. Now I've found her, I'm going to treat myself to some more Isabelle Arsenault books. I can't find anything else by Fanny Britt, maybe this is her first book, but what a first book!

21 Jan 2014

Mainstreet Trading Company

I visited The Mainstreet Trading Company a couple of weeks ago to paint a 'How to Hide a Lion' window. If you haven't been, it's a fantastic bookshop/ deli/ cafe/ homewares shop based in the Scottish Borders.

They have a wonderful range of books for children and adults. I treated myself to a lovely handknit fairisle cardigan.

Etherley Lane Primary School

I visited Etherley Lane Primary School last week. What a lovely school, they were so enthusiastic and they did some fantastic work.

This is some work from the year 1 'Mini Books'.

A new Lion book out later this year!

'How to Hide a Lion from Grandma' is due to be published July 2014.

Grandma is coming to stay, so Iris needs to hide her lion. But Grandma seems to be hiding something of her own. What on earth is in her dressing-up box?

9 Nov 2013

An interesting review in New York Times

A very thoughtful and interesting review of How to Hide a Lion in The New York Times. It starts:
'It’s not always easy to follow your heart. It can mean challenging the status quo, defying others’ expectations or, sometimes, discovering that those harboring strong preconceptions had you pegged correctly all along.'

28 Oct 2013

'How to Hide a Lion' exhibition at The Bowes Museum

'How to Hide a Lion', an exhibition of my work opened at The Bowes Museum this weekend. We had a launch party, and these are a few photos that Gerry took. 

If you get a chance go and see it, I know it's my show, so I am going to be biased, but Amy Bainbridge who put the exhibition together has done a fantastic job. 

There is something for everyone. You can dress up as a character from your favourite book, find the lions hiding around the museum, have a pretend tea party, draw at the light box, watch films of children reading the books, make your own penguin...  everything you need for a good day out with children. 

Yes, that's me on the left, with Zoe and Pippa from Alison Green Books.

It's also interesting for grown-ups. The exhibition shows how a book is made, from the first ideas, to the book being published. Michael Morpurgo has lent his 'Jo-Jo notebook' that he used to write his first draft of Jo-Jo the Melon Donkey. That is very interesting, full of crossings out and rewrites. I love seeing the that stuff, the work that goes on before a book is published.

The Bowes Museum Cafe does lovely food, and they made us these fantastic lion biscuits for the launch party. 

I'll be visiting the museum to do more readings on 24th November 2013. I'm also doing a Mini Illustrator's Workshop on 26th January 2014. I hope I'll see you there!

24 Oct 2013

'How to Hide a Lion' up for The Red House Children's Book Awards

'How to Hide a Lion' is up for The Red House Children's Book Award. Vote here! (subliminal message... lion... lion... lion...)

21 Oct 2013

Exciting news! Red House Book Awards

I have had to keep this under my hat for a few days, but I can tell everyone now: 'How to Hide a Lion' has been shortlisted for the Red House Children's Book Awards! It's up against some biggies though, Jeanne Willis, Rachel Bright  and Julia Donaldson no less. Fingers crossed!

This isn't from 'How to hide a Lion', but from 'How to Hide a Lion from Grandmar', the new lion book, out next year.

17 Oct 2013

Staindrop Primary Hide a Lion Competition

The children at Staindrop C of E Primary, my old school, took part in a How to Hide a Lion drawing competition organised by Amy Bainbridge at The Bowes Museum. (I'll be having an exhibition called 'How to Hide a Lion' at the Bowes Museum very soon, it opens at half term and runs over the festive period.)
The children each thought of an amazing and interesting place to hide a lion. There were some fantastic ideas, here are the winners:

Sally Dykes from Early years Foundation Stage

Under a table. I love how children at this age draw, the simple round shape to represent a table, and we can see through the table to the lion underneath. Lovely!

Evie Sizer from Key Stage 1

In an egytian pyramid. Look he's hiding in a door at the bottom left, very well hidden!

Daniel Jackson from Key Stage 2

Under the sea. This is so full of life. I love the graphic shapes and the strong colours.

20 Sep 2013

Giles Coran, a bit surreal!

This is a strange one, Giles Coran mentions 'How to Hide a Lion' in his restaurant review!

21 Aug 2013

A new screenprint of 'Iris and the Lion'

I have a new screen print to sell. It's an edition of 10, dimensions: 47cm (h) x 38cm (w). Please get in touch if you'd like to buy one. There are more prints on my website, and there will be more posted soon, so keep looking. Screenprinting is my new passion!

p.s. A screenprint is not a digital or machine produced print. Each print is made by hand by myself.

25 Jul 2013

Doorstep Picture number 3

When we first moved into our house in July 2010 I posted a picture of me and Pie on our doorstep. I decided to do it every year, so here we are this year. Here is 2010 and 2012 (I missed 2011).

10 Jul 2013

Picture Book Retreat

At the weekend Gerry and I went to tutor on a Picture Book Retreat organised by Bridget Strevens-Marzo and Anne-Marie Perks from SCBWI.

Photo by Bridget Strevens-Marzo

It was at Holland House, a wonderful place. I hope Mike Brownlow won't mind if I quote him here, he said it so well on his FB page:

'There were lots of nooks and crannies in the house, and lots of secret places in the garden to hide away and draw and write, or just to think. The public spaces were welcoming and friendly and there were areas like the den, where we could explore messier activities like lino-printing. The weather helped of course, but altogether it was an inspired choice!'

Photo by Mike Brownlow

There were talks, activities, and mentoring sessions all weekend.  Gerry gave a lino cutting demonstration. Lots of people went on to make some great images of their own, even some writers who'd never drawn before. 

This is Christine Pym  and Dave Gray (both writer illustrators) doing some lino cutting after Gerry's demonstration. 

Sarah Frost from Hodder, and Alice Bartosinski from Egmont came to give talks about picture books from a publishing perspective. Alice set us a task, she lay out 15 picture books and asked us to put them in order of sales. It was fascinating, trying to work out whether a Julia Donaldson sells more than a book with pants in the title. The ruthless reality!

I gave a talk on Rythme and Pacing, for me it was lovely excuse to get out a pile of my favourite books and read some of them aloud.

What an inspiring and unforgetable weekend, thank you to Bridget and Anne-Marie for organising it, and all the people who came. Let's do it again some time! In the mean time, here are some sketches I did there.

Also, take a look at my friend Alice Wood's blog. We don't get to see Alice much since leaving London and it was lovely to spend some time with her.