Saturday, 24 October 2009

There's a Lion in my Bathroom - sketches 2

Two posts in one day! Making up for lost time... This next post is for illustrations for the poem "Sir Robin Hood & Friar Tuck". Once again I cannot include the poem itself but I think (hope) you can see from the 'before' & 'after' that things don't go quite according to plan in the archery competition! I must admit to feeling a little lacking in thoughts as to how to depict such familiar characters as Robin and his merriest man but once I started sketching I had a lot of fun with them both. I think it has something to do with that Laurel & Hardey factor (WARNING. strong language from the link, but I couldn't resist, one of the funniest things I've seen in decades :) of it just working so well from a visual and humor point of view when you stick a big guy and a little guy together...see Mike & Sulley, Pooh & Piglet, Basil & Manuel, Fletch & Godber etc... etc... In case you cannot make it out the pay off to the ballad of the hapless Robin involves a metal codpiece!

There's a Lion in my Bathroom - sketches 1

Twenty days and I finally have some work I can put up on the blog! As I said previously I'm pretty busy with a couple of really stimulating and rewarding projects at the moment. One is pretty hush hush (I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you...!) but I'll hopefully have news on that in due course (fingers crossed). The other project is for an anthology of humorous poetry by an amazingly talented writer, Giles Paley-Phillips, which is, all being well, scheduled for publication by Rebel Books LLP next year. I'm working on 15 greyscale, full facing page illustrations for the book plus one of these being worked up into the colour cover, and it's with that cover design / poem illustration that I'll start the blog ball rolling.

The working title for the book is "There's a Lion in my Bathroom" and the titular poem is my favourite piece out of all 34 in the book. It's a shame I cannot share it with you but hopefully these illustrations capture something of the feel of the book (think Spike Milligan meets Tim Burton with hints of Roald Dahl thrown in...). I don't know what more to add regarding the fairly self explanatory visuals save to say I preferred to not reveal the Lion in full... for me it's just funnier (ha ha and peculiar...) that way. I'm also really pleased with the serendipitous lions paw feet on the old style cast iron bath.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Exciting projects (plural) ... & Meeting Quentin Blake!

Well I've had a lot going on over the last few days work wise and so, for the best of reasons my Jabberwock will stay sketchbook bound for a little while yet. The exciting news is that things are about to start on a real life actual book illustration project. I'm going to be providing 15 black & white illustrations, plus a colour cover, for an anthology of humorous poetry, which will be published next year if all goes to plan. I won't go into details yet but I'll try and post if I can as things develop. But wait, there is hopefully more news... of course I cannot go into specifics on this as yet (wouldn't want to jinx things) but I've also been contacted by a well known client who have very kindly asked me to submit a trial spread for a book they are thinking of publishing using one of their very well known characters... Not only that but they are happy for me to handle their character in my own style, very exciting! I realise I've basically revealed nothing at all in this post but I'm really fired up by both these projects and hope to share things on the blog if allowed/ ASAP!

And to top off all the good news I also met Quentin Blake at a Roald Dahl Day event at the National Theatre yesterday and got him to sign my copy of his autobiography "Words & Pictures" ( it's very hard to pick up a copy these days but I highly recommend it for the wealth of professional knowledge he shares...and the amazing pictures too of course!). Like everyone of my generation I've been a fan of Quentin Blake ever since I first picked up a Roald Dahl book. In fact I clearly recall having the Enormous Crocodile read to me as a kid and seeing Blake's illustration of the spinning toothy croc being flung into the sun! There were soooo many people queued up to see the national treasure that, of course, I only grabbed a minute with him, but I managed to ask for his professional advice (he finds that 'work he felt was right on one day can always stand revisiting the next' and also to 'just keep at it'...) and he was good enough to accept a little Toucan sketch I'd done for him (the beak is so long as it was concertina folded into three). They say you shouldn't meet your idols but he was really approachable and just the same in person as he comes across in his books and on TV.

On a related note all with an interest in illustration should consider supporting Quentin Blake's House of Illustration charity which plans to create a London based museum and centre (scheduled for 2011) to champion British & international illustration as the art form it rightly is. Quentin Blake has pledged his entire professional body of work to the collection to kick things off and I for one will be there on opening day! Follow the link -

I hope everyone who pops by this blog will forgive me for not blogging properly of late. I've really gotten out of that blogging habit but I hope to share project work and comment on the fabulous work of other's when I settle back into my usual habits. No excuses, just must try harder!