Saturday, 22 December 2012

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Pre-book doodlings

Here's some last-minute personal work before I dive into bear kingdom. This is the drawing from my previous British museum post.

There's a San-sukumi in here!:

"The snail, frog and snake are known as San-sukumi in Japanese. These creatures are all afraid of each other. The snake can eat the frog, the frog can eat the snail and the snail’s slime can poison the snake." 

*** fun fact - the mountain in a garden fence is also from a dream image ***

And here are some dwarves and pixies... just because.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

New book for Serafina Press

 Faint rumblings of news about my new book - It will feature bears .... Lots and lots of bears.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Museum sketches

Nothing like a trip to the British Museum to re-inspire me.  I'm in the process of colouring this image on the bottom left right now.  I love pretty much everything in the Japan room on the top floor - especially 'netsukes'!

Sunday, 29 July 2012


Here's some photos from a little stall I did the other day.  Cards and postcards are available from my Etsy shop - and let me know if anyone wants a signed and dedicated copy of 'The Lion of St Andrews'.  Just message me and I will post one to you!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012





First non-book drawing

Certain drawings I've made have characters with their own story - this is one where a story formed in my mind halfway through.  I'm never sure whether to write it or leave it unsaid.  I would welcome opinions on this.

Here's the progress so far... 

Friday, 6 July 2012


Some of these are taken by Jude at J & G Innes, but most are courtesy of Liam, the handsome gentleman pictured here in front of the cathedral.

Jen and I had a great time at the opening, and the book sold brilliantly - the shop sold out of all but four in the first day alone!  And we enjoyed our time in St Andrews so much, we stayed an extra day before returning to the big smoke.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

St Andrews Book Launch this weekend

St Andrews Book Launch this Saturday - and after this date you will be able to order your book from Amazon

Friday, 15 June 2012

How to...

I thought some people might be interested in how I create my illustrations, so here's an technical overview using a page from the Lion of St Andrews as an example:

Stage one - Drawing. 
I use a hard, typically HB, pencil to lightly sketch out the composition. I then draw the detail in with a technical pencil. I usually don't use references for my drawings, but in the book I included several real St Andrews locations.  For this image I used a reference photo of the castle.

Stage two - Colouring. 
I then colour the image using Photoshop and a drawing tablet (Wacom) with a pressure sensitive pen. I scan the image into Photoshop and set the layer to "linear burn" and then do the digital painting on a separate layer underneath, which allows me to see through the drawing while colouring. This is how the digital colour looks underneath the drawing..


And this is what the final image looks like. In this example there is some digital collage I added (the musical notes) using a layer mask. 

And if you are around St Andrews this month, I should be doing a live demonstration of this colouring at my book launch in J&G Innes on 30th. In the meantime look out for news on the new Facebook group or the official Lion of St Andrews website.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

On another note...

So, as much as I want to tell you more about the Lion of St Andrews - I wanted to post one more thing first about my hero Maurice Sendak, who sadly died last month.  Of course, everyone thinks of 'Where the Wild Things Are' when that name is mentioned, but a particular favourite of Sendak's is called 'Dear Mili'.

When you find a book you love, you just want to share it with everybody!  It has been such an inspiration, that I even snuck in a little homage to the little girl from the story and Saint Joseph in the procession images from LOSA:

More of my favourite Sendak titles include:

Outside Over There
The Nutshell Library
Higgledy Piggledy Pop

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sven Nordqvist

Wanted to share this amazing book I bought. It's been keeping my inspiration going:

Where is my Sister? By Swedish illustrator Sven Nordqvist

"The idea for this book first came to me twenty-five years ago. It was meant to be a journey through dreamlike landscapes, made as a single, long, continuous picture. Initially there was to be no text; the picture was everything. I tried adding some text later, but it was difficult setting words to pictures instead of vice-versa ...

The text is meant to be independent to the extent that a child can derive pleasure from the book without it. It is about a little brother who wants to find his missing sister. In order to search in the right places he needs to consider how she thinks and what she enjoys doing. And while they look he recalls certain events so we get to know the sister too, even though she only appears as a little dot on each spread.

This is the first time I have tried creating pictures before the text."

Very interesting method. And I would so love to see this "long, continuous picture" in the original form. Exhibit, Sven!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The project-in-progress

So, the time is nearing!
For anyone who's interested, here's glimpse into what's been going on with my LoSA project.

After much research ...

The dummy book is finished ...

The pages are pencilled ...

Coloured pages are making an appearance ...

As much fun as it is working on this project, I do miss having time to work on other things (like posting here on my blog) and now I'm beginning to look forward to the next stage - promoting the book! I've got 2 launches to look forward to; one in St Andrews of course, and another in my local bookstore Rye Books in London.

In the meantime, it's a hard slog with many Photoshop crashes and scanner failures, from here till the day of publication - lets hope my computer and I can both survive the next few weeks!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Did you know?

Did you know that The Lion of St Andrews will feature a harp ..?

... And, Queen Margaret of Scotland?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sneak Preview 2

It's another sneak preview... This time with colour!