Monday, 19 November 2007

russelling down under

Always good to see what Russell's getting up to. He's found his way to Traeger library at O.L.S.H Alice Springs and is being spoiled rotten by Peri and her fabulous students. this picture put a huge smile on my face. Thanks guys!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Max and the Canary, collectables

Just wanted to introduce you to Max and the Canary. Two of the new guys on the block and the result of a collaboration with Country Artists Ltd. Feel free to check out the entire range at :

And my personal favourite...Pup Idle!!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Megan. A study

I work in a variety of styles but over recent years I've been focusing mainly on my 'Russell' style. However, it's important to stay as fresh as possible, so now and again I try to do something different.
I've recently been brushing up on my figure work and began this painting as a body study (from reference) in which I could explore skin tones and form. Before I realised it, the image was on it's way to becoming a finished piece. Please let me have your comments. I'll put more imagery up for your thoughts as and when I can.

Art and storyboard from Russell's Christmas Magic

Here's a spread form Russell's Christmas Magic and the same pages in storyboard form. It is essential that books are planned as a storyboard to establish the flow and design of the story. This is such a rewarding time as the book visually begins to breath and take on a life of it's own.

Russell's Christmas Magic

I am so excited to be able to say that Russell is baa-aaack!
This time it's Christmas, and when Santa loses control of his Sleigh and it crashes in Firefly Wood, the Christmas Spell is broken. To Russell's horror, Santa has no choice but to cancel Christmas. Thankfully our woolly hero has a plan, albeit a ridiculous one. However, with huge dollops of sheepish ingenuity, it just might work. Can Russell save the day?
Russell's Christmas Magic will be unleased in September 2007.
The book has taken thirteen months to finish, and I will be posting some more illustrations and background info later to give you a sense of how the book came about. For now though, here's the cover.
I would love to know your thoughts about the Russell books so far, and as the bookcover is such a hugely vital component, I would very much value your thoughts and comments about this and all the Russell covers. Actually, maybe you could tell me what YOU believe makes a good book cover.
Constructive feedback is always welcome so please...pen away.

Go to Sleep Russell the Sheep

July saw the release of a new Russell offering, it's a fun take on the original Russell and produced as a board book -nigh indestructible to those little, sticky, curious fingers. When Russell finally manages to reach the land of nod, we are treated to the sound of his contented snoring thanks to the inclusion of a snoring device, activated by opening the final page - Can you see what we did there? Technology, heh! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The cover for Russell's Christmas Magic; finished...again!

I've just finished, finally, once again, the cover for 'Russell's Christmas Magic'. The third picture book in the Russell series. The mission to complete the cover has proven to be a Groundhog day experience. I've designed four or five different covers so far, which have been scrutinised by...the whole world...Design the cover...all seems well....the day moves forward with smiling faces all round....everyone loves the cover....marvellous...great...BUT!!! thing!...we've spoken to...could you know...change the design...deja-vu...Groundhog Day!! Gotta say though, I really like the last one. Here' a sample page of the art from Russell's Christmas Magic', and a segment of the storyboard.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Red House Book Award children's event

On Saturday we took Russell to the land of the White Horses - Wiltshire of course, and St Michaels School main Hall in Aldbourne to be precise. This was a thankyou event for the children who judged the Red House Book Award last year and It was an opportunity for the kids to meet the Authors and Illustrators of their favourite books, and a chance for me to meet some fellow 'book makers' also; (did that come out right??)
Jo Williams and her team organised a wonderful day, and a never ending supply of tea and cakes. I was grateful to you Jo, but my waistline wasn't and still isn't.
Liz and I had a great time meeting the kids and their parents.

As I said, it was great opportunity to meet other Authors, and curious to find that we had all travelled down from the midlands. It turned out , in fact, that Chris D'Lacey is actually based in the area where i grew up in Leicester, and his first School event was at my old Primary School!!
As Arthur once said. 'Small world but I wouldn't like to carpet it.'

On the road again.

Long time no blog...sorry! Friday saw us taking Russell into Alexandra Infant School in Kingston-on-Thames. It was an event organised by Liz's cousin Mel, whom Liz had last seen at the age of eight and who now sits on the School's board of Governors.
The event consisted of two full events to large groups of children between the ages of 4 and 7 and two readings for nursery classes - all packed into one morning!
Now, being a Night Owl rather than a Morning Lark I find that it takes me a while to get into my day, and an early morning start always seems to find me struggling to get a rythmn. But after a stuttering start we all seemed to have enormous fun, and word came back after the morning break that the children's verdict on the first event was that they thought it all " Fantabulosy!!!!" which apparently is good. The whole morning was wonderful fun, and it always intrigues me how no two events are ever the same. A ten minute reading of 'Russell the Sheep' to a nursery class became a clash of three versions of the story. My version, for what it was worth, and two alternatives offered up by two very 'chatty' little girls (they actually knew the story better than me). They also wanted to tell me how I could improve the story. One of the girls pointed out that maybe it was a little silly for a sheep to try and sleep in a tree, and on a very small branch at that. Fair point! So I asked her if she thought a talking sheep was maybe a little silly. She looked at me sternly and said "Of course it isn't!"
The next little girl kept a hand in the air for a little while before I dared enquire what it was she wanted to ask. "I know how Russell could have got to sleep much sooner," she said. "Why didn't you just draw him with his eyes closed at the beginning."
Thanks Mel, Chris, David, Isabel and Zoe for looking after us and all the Staff and kids of Alexandra Infants School for a wonderful morning. I look forward to visiting again very soon.

Friday, 12 January 2007

I just like this photo of Russell enjoying the sun in San Diego.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Highlights from 2006..Edinburgh Festival

As I've been so slack getting the blog together, I missed the opportunity to tell you about my first showing at the Edinburgh Book Festival way back in August. I didn't know what to expect, but I tried to approach my event there as I do with any new venture. That is, I try to be as relaxed as possible, just take a deep breath, and do it. So I did, and as usual there was no need to be concerned. The audience was fabulous fun, the kids very responsive and I had lots of positive feedback. It's an amazing thing to learn that a character that I've created is entertaining and delighting an ever expanding audience of kids. In fact, parents and students have also told me how much they love Russell the Sheep. This adventure is just getting better and better, and to top it all, Liz and I were able to spend time and catch a dinner with the mighty Shanster himself...Darren Shan and his Partner Bas as well as our good friends from Harper Collins, Emma and Charlotte.
Thanks for a very entertaining evening guys, and a great Edinburgh experience.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Resolutions are not just for January...right???

Already the 9th of Jan, and I’m still shaking off the leftover cobwebs from 2006, and although I’m not big on NY resolutions I am determined that I have a decent stab at keeping at least one of the following common and garden varieties.
I will get to the gym more regularly…..Blah! Blah!
I will lose ‘that’ Christmas podge…..Whatever!
I will find time to read more…..Just do it!
I will find a better balance between work and personal life…Hmmm!
I will maintain this blog …Yeah sure!!!
Let’s all have a truck load of fun!!!
LOOK OUT 2007!!!