Book Club Review- The Princess and the Giant

Welcome everyone, to the very first of a BRAND NEW series to the blog! Woop Woop!

I make no secrets of the fact I am an ENORMOUS picture book nerd. I draw write, read, study and live them and you’re either lucky or lying if you say you’ve ever attempted a conversation with me and I’ve not slipped off into the realms of an illustration related ramble. My bookshelves are booming with all things pictures, so I’ve decided to introduce to the blog a new series of reviews based around the contents of my studio! Welcome to the Bagley Book Club, kick starting this week with The Princess and the Giant.

I mentioned in my last post, that I recently attended a very lovely book event in London, hosted by the indie publishers, Nosy Crow. Here I purchased a (signed, natch) copy of the next installment of the Princess and the.. Series. And yeah okay, I am cheating a little here, as the talk did allow insight into the creation of the book, but it’s my first review so I trust you all to forgive me.

warbie_5Author: Caryl Hart

Illustrator: Sarah Warburton

Publisher: Nosy Crow

 

So, let’s get to it! Following two already successful titles in the series, The Princess and the Giant sings to the same, whimsical tune. Our feisty, heroine princess – suitably cute, of course- is ever strong, albeit less comically obnoxious than that of the Princess and the Presents title, yet still brimming with life and charm. Her stoic determination to quell the furiously, grumbling giant above them using the home comforts of her own night time routine is bloomin’ adorable, offset with a hefty dose of humor and feist for a pleasingly full-bodied tale.

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The fearsome, yet not really so monstrous, giant’s ferocious, tired tantrums are no doubt a familiar tale to countless parents and can only to be conquered by pragmatic Princess Sophie’s application of all the proper elements of bedtime. Empathetic and stubborn, her repeated efforts to comfort the frustrated beast are depicted through rich spreads that all conceal extra layers of visual delight.

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Cracking pajamas.

 

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In conjunction with endearing, curious characters, Hart’s poetry is frankly, a delight. It seems to me that rhymes in kids’ books fell out of fashion for a while, I would guess due to the eye-roll inducing forced couplets that had become oh-too familiar. But this looks set to change as Hart, and an increasing number of writers like her, have proved that they’re more than capable of restoring rhyme back into the limelight. The poetic trick is particularly relevant to the fairy tale setting, drawing on conventions and speaking in the language of all that lovely, sweet and wholesome tradition!

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Warburton’s varied of composition keeps every spread fresh and intriguing. I love this crop of the soldiers as we view the world at Sophie’s level.

Who am I kidding? Modern readers are more demanding than that! Kids books got smart and one dimensional, conventional tales just won’t cut it. Been there, done that, worn the somewhat tatty t-shirt.

Instead, Hart and Warburton expertly exploit the classic, folklore elements to subvert all the expectations into a fresh and funny result. Hart’s assertion that princesses should all ride bikes, and kings and queens would, naturally, perform the simple daily tasks of making porridge and chopping wood, ensures that any preconceived ideas of grandia are well and truly usurped by a more down to earth, accessible breed of royalty.

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Hats (and crowns!) off too to Warburton, whose ability to take Hart’s quickest of throw away lines and develop them into full blown sub-narratives breathes fresh, secondary stories into every spread. From humorous costume choices of the fluffy, cable knit clad ‘villain’ of the tale to the casual, checked-shirt donning Queen, Warburton takes the written cues and creates full, delightfully quirky characters that add depth and even more personality to the tale. The growth of the mouse butler from one line into an expressive and visually essential sidekick seems an ingenious touch that adds further narrative to every page for children, parents and enthusiast (AKA-nerds like me) to get lost in. The days of illustration’s role being limited to repeating the hard work of the text are well and truly over. Contemporary practitioners speak in their own voice that operates alongside that of the author, and the results seem to only be getting richer.

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Warburton’s beautifully hand rendered type also adds a comic-style movement and fun to split spreads.

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Let’s face it, the quality of kids books in recent years has been leaping into entirely new realms. From insane print quality values (may the designers among us take a moment to drool over the delicate cover foil here) to cunning split narratives that speak to the big-uns just as much as the little-uns, Warburton and Hart are far from sole talents in pioneering this comically subversive, contemporary and reactionary tone. But what they’ve done, they’ve done pretty darn well. No doubt with careful guidance from Nosy Crow, the Princess and the… series has been a delight and the empathetic Princess Sophie and her devotion to bedtime is another champion of this popular breed of contemporary fairy tale.

 

 

Illustrator natter and why we suck at Photoshop

I, generally speaking, shouldn’t be allowed in Shoreditch. There are a handful of reasons why I tend to visit London and rarely do they involve being anywhere near East London. I get unspeakably disorientated each time I step off the overground and I swear every time I do, every other building has decided to transform into something else. It’s the land that can’t sit still where every business and every building is aspiring to be the wandering shop from Disc World.

And true, unfamiliarity  is, of course, only conquered by more frequent visitation. But the REAL reason I should not be allowed in Shoreditch, is that quite simply I am not trendy enough. Everyone is cool. Everyone wears hats. Every business is some rule breaking, frontier breaching venture and I feel like the ultimate hip black hole every time I turn a corner, catch my shoes out of the corner of my eye and realise I forgot to commit to being stylish when I dressed myself that day. Or any day.

But I digress. Sometimes there are good reasons why I should risk the danger of polluting the exceptionally well maintained stylish status quo and venture. This Monday was a prime example.

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Seriously, the whole ceiling. Must be so awkward to clean! :-/

I found myself in a pub so cool it had light bulbs for a ceiling (not all functioning, of course, more like the interior design equivalent of ready-ripped jeans) for the an event hosted by the independent children’s publisher, Nosy Crow. An Illustrator Salon, with the ever-charming Sarah Warburton.

Gloriously casual, the talk was a delight. Sarah Warburton, illustrator of the fabulously sassy ‘Princess and the…’ series (written by Caryl Hart- who unbeknownst to me I was sat next to-the SHAME) was as bubbly as they come, nattering through the progression of her work from the early days to it’s modern success. I was enchanted by her sketchbook snapshots and delighted to hear it’s not unheard of to role the eyes at the thought of  drafting a scene separately. Kate Wilson, NC managing director’s, questions successfully drew an in depth and raw insight into the gritty of Warburton’s process and its development over the years. From the organic changes of her personal artistic ‘style’ to the influence of technology and visual movement of the British illustration market over her 22 year career span (I couldn’t believe it either.)

Having begun in traditional methods, I was glad to see that her passage into the digital age had brought with it the energy and life of her watercolour beginnings, but now using the computer as an extension of her pencil case. Even these days, too frequently you hear of the traditionalists, or certainly the stubborn amongst them, spitting the words ‘Digital’ with a sneer, as though – Warburton asserted – the magic of creation was lost to string of binary that popped out an image at the end. Not so, having a plethora of her works (as well as innumerable others) happily sat on my bookshelf, I can assure said critics that the magic is ever present – perhaps even more so in this digital age where minor colour corrections and post production can draw a viewer from part way to fully invested in a scene.

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Warburton actually sits in the same camp as I do when it comes to technological intervention, I discovered. We both begin old school, with real life drawings from real life hands that are then scanned and altered digitally as appropriate. We both have struggled, so far, with the full plunge into drawing on screen, sticking instead with the tips and tricks we’ve picked up en route and failing miserably to invest too much further once a happy plateau has been found. While I  I question her assertion that she is “rubbish at Photoshop” on looking at her high quality illustrations of quirk and fun in front of me (arguably tweaked by talented designers too of course) I do recognise with a touch of shameful embarrassment, the threat of an technical-artistic rut of sorts, in which you sit, comfortable on your plateau until a problem arises that FORCES you to invest in learning a new skill to add to the bank.

It was reassuring, as it always is when I listen to admired practitioners, to draw similarities between our working processes. I felt, as she walked us through her career that I could peg myself onto a similar string behind her, acknowledging each of her early struggles and achievements in my own path. Even more so in a chat afterwards when she, somewhat apologetically,  assured me that the insecurities of an illustrator are suffered regardless of your successes. And I certainly wasn’t alone, noting all the times myself and the rest of the audience nodded enthusiastically along to her experiences, like an enlightened audition line up for the Churchill ad. It’s essential, when your work is based outside of a collaborative office space, that events like this that link you back into a shared world. It can assure you that you’re treading correctly, or even make you reassess your current position. Either way, the outcome is similar; a development towards better, more informed working practice.

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Unfortunately, my poor camera was not trendy enough for Shoreditch lighting.
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My limited Photoshop skills could not salvage my terrible attempt to combat trendy low lighting 😦

I left Shoreditch still entirely uncool. I was and still am little more than a children’s book nerd, no matter how many light bulbs I stand under. But I was also inspired, assured and had a brand new, signed book under my arm. Events like this by companies like Nosy Crow are a little lifeboat of sanity and vital to the development and improvement of the world of books.

While still comparatively small, Nosy Crow have been climbing the ranks at a rate of knots in their five years of life and I think events like this are seemingly a testament to everything they stand for. Routinely holding events in which their nurtured artists take the floor to share their inner workings, their commitment to fostering talent,  sparking and engaging in public discussions about the current and future role of the picture book has signified a real love and involvement in the industry that has not gone unnoticed. With awards coming out of their ears, and numerous professionals working wit them again and again, the quality of Nosy Crow’s output is climbing from strength to strength, and for picture book enthusiasts like me, accessible and invested publishers like this are a real gem.

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So, HUGE thank you to NC for setting it up and an enormous cheers to Sarah Warburton for sharing her own behind the scenes. Inspirational and charming, I only hope one day I too can be such an expert I do not need to pull the faces when I draw them. Even if I am still pants at Photoshop.

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs, buns and public holidays!

Happy Easter weekend you lovely little lot!

I know it’s a bit of a funny one for those of us not particularly into the whole ‘religion thing’, but I can’t help but have a lot of love for Easter. Not only does it come armed with TWO bank holiday weekends, but it’s at that lovely time of year when, in Britain at least, life finally decides to stop looking quite so darn depressing.

I genuinely felt the joy of spring this morning, on my errand to replenish milk, wandering through the gently warming sunshine, surrounded but the hints of greenery breaking through the wintry drabness of everything. The air was cool, but it felt like Life was really beginning to drag itself out of the winter slump.

Of course, the magic was somewhat broken when I got to the store and remembered it was a bank holiday so everything was shut, but still, for a moment it was all rather lovely.

Anyway, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do a big, Easter thing, but here are some rabbits out of my sketchbook I’ve quickly coloured to celebrate the Easter weekend. Whatever religion you do or don’t subscribe to and regardless of what you’re up to, I wish you all a lovely weekend.

 

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I probably would have had more time if I didn’t decide to spend all of the weekend baking copious amounts of hot cross buns, but such is life.

Sometimes life just has to have a back seat for yeast you know?

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Happy Easter! Nom nom nom

 

 

Colourful Collecting and New Things!

I’ve been on twitter for a while. I haven’t been using it, but I have, technically  been on it. It was really just a bit of a hangover from a university module and following graduation it sat, un-utalised and gathering dust for a good, long time.

But the past few months, I’ve been breathing a bit of life into the sad blighter and have, as a result have actually managed to amass some followers. Not a showstopping amount, but you have to start somewhere right? Give me a bit of credit, I am, almost entirely, social-media illiterate.

Anyway, I’ve become a bit addicted to the little beasty in recent months. I follow illustrators, writers, design blogs and news sources and publishers. I follow publishers and children’s magazines. I follow picture book blogs and reviewers. I’ve basically created a news outlet tailored to me and immersed myself in the world I’ve always wanted to live in (thus almost entirely bypassing the real one.) I spend a long time scrolling through the feed, gathering all the brand new announcements from the world of picturebooks and feel genuinely more involved and up to date with the scene than ever.

While generally tweeting work and commenting on that of others has been a big part of this online networking business, I think a total turning point for me with it has only come about in the past month.

I’d been watching the #colour_collective movement from afar for a while, but decided to take the plunge and commit. It’s a weekly, twitter based challenge started by the talented mum-of-illustration, Penny Neville Lee. Each week, a colour is established and 19.30 GMT on the Friday, anyone that wants to get involved released their image utalising that weeks colour with the hashtag. It can be old, new, any theme, any subjects, just as long as it contains some link to the colour.

No pressure, no expectation, just people with passion sharing things they make.

I love it, it gives me the boost to make a new piece of non-work work every week. Four weeks in, and here are my offerings:

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Deep Lilac with Colour Collective
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Ocre Year of the Monkey
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Cool Grey
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Moss

It’s great fun, everyone is so nice about the work and there’s always one hell of a range to look at. It’s a digital gallery space and makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside 🙂

Friday night has become my favourite night of the week and yes, this does mean that I that I stay in and scroll about on my ipad instead of doing real life things, I am not ashamed. This is my life.

Plus I get to learn the names of all the specific colours. It’s like gaining a degree from Dulux.

Anyway, do check it out, it’s great fun and there’s no commitment required. Follow my colour collective adventures, and generally keep up to date with my doddly-goings on  @bagleybooks, or just stop by to see what it’s all about.

I can’t say I’ve really got this social media thing down, but I certainly feel I’m finding my feet. And just in time for the stocks to crash out of the bottom of it! Horray for timing!

 

 

 

Working for the MAG(azine)

Hello All!

Just an update on a few things I’ve been up to. Firstly, this week an editorial of mine has appeared in the very slick and informative Wisconsin based lifestyle magazine, Isthmus. I have never been to Wisconsin, but it sounds like a pretty fun place. There’s a whole lot of neat arty things going on (and some delicious food if Isthmus is anything to go by!) and I had the pleasure of doodling a little piece to go alongside an article about ‘Play Clubs’.

Never heard of them? Neither had I, go right on ahead and check the article out online (it’s looking real swanky in print too!)

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Play Clubs editorial for Isthmus Magazine

Secondly, and this time a little closer to home, another editorial of mine has been doing the rounds in issue two of Union magazine. For those of you who’ve not yet been introduced, Union is a very nice newcomer to the scene of men’s lifestyle mags. It’s a fascinating mix of journalism and sharp, classy photography and I HIGHLY recommend you find a copy. If nothing else for the production values, the use of spot-UV on the cover is just TASTY.

My piece for this one was a little more grown up and serious than my usual fare, but was certainly a ball to make, and a fascinating article to work to. Go right on ahead and check out this little gem, it’s produced by a team with a real passion to bring journalism back to the forefront of men’s mags, and it really does the job with class.

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Editorial re Russian Rambos in Union Magazine

And Finally, in the world of drawing things and pretending it’s a real job, I have some super great news!

Getting back to my comic book roots, I’ve been making a few shorties recently that have been featuring on my site. Things like this and this and this.

These little fables have not gone unnoticed by those clever and observant folk at Broken Frontier, who’s passion and commitment to finding and championing the best new talent contemporary comics have to offer, still continues to astound me.

In a new feature, begun 2015, the team have picked 6 promising small press comic makers to hone in on and expose for the talent they really are. Last years bastions boast an impressive list from the shores of the UK and I highly suggest you take a peek here.

However, while their work continues to grow from strength to strength, it comes to our attention that is, in fact, now 2016. The new batch have just been released and, guess who is apparently a talent to watch this year?

Well it’s only bloomin’ yours truly isn’t it!

Check out the full collection of marvelous storytellers (and me!) here and why BF claim we may well be worthy of keeping an eye on this year.

And before my ego grows too big to fathom, I would also just like to thank the Broken Frontier team for having such faith in the things I make. I will absolutely do my best not to let you down, so keep your eyes glued to the site for odds and sods and let’s have a productive 2016!

Over and OUT

x

I HAVE seen a hat!

Okay, So what I’m about to tell you may provoke some cringing.

Before Christmas I went to the theater…all alone.

Yes, that is a very sad state of affairs, but it’s true. I went on my little tod, all the way to the bright lights of London, and there I sat, surrounded by families and groups of friends, clutching my ticket in my single seat, listening to the joyful giggles and playful interactions of those around me and sighed…alone.

But there’s more. Not only was I the only solo member of the audience that day, I was also the oldest. By some way. Or at least, the oldest that wasn’t there primarily as some kind of guardian.

Yep. I went on my own to the theater to see a play for children. Little children at that.

And before you sink your head into your hands at, what is very likely, the most socially pathetic tale you’ve read today, let me just clarify this scenario and explain why it is that I refuse to be ashamed by this.

I went to see the stage adaptation of John Klassen’s I want my Hat back.

Oh Yes.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar, the reason this make the sorrowful tale any better, is that I want my Hat Back is probably the greatest children’s book ever written ever and I was absolutely fascinated by the prospect of how those fantastic, simplistic, enigmatic illustrations could POSSIBLY translate into real life people on stage.

Turns out they do. Really bloomin’ well actually.

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With some stonkingly suitable music from Arthur Darvill and Joel Horwood and a number of outstandingly weird performances from the energetic, multitasking cast (I didn’t think it was possible for a human to become generic ambient forest quite so convincingly!) the show was a genuine delight from the start.

On entering to the stage, following behind an absurdly yarn bombed, argyle-socks and waist high shorts donning antlered band, I was immediately in love with the dated, 70’s appeal of the set. The perfectly haphazzard, retro costume choices and array of mismatched, flea market blankets strewn elegantly around, seemed to have the very heart and quirk of that book directly on tap; tipping it out in front of me time and time again throughout the show in a pile of retro quirk and charm.

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From the three eared rabbit and Led Zeppelin tshirt sporting bear to an impossibly perfect use of lounge-lift music, it was by far the most magical and downright absurd hour and a half of my festive period. And to be honest, based on my experience of the book, I wouldn’t have expected or wanted anything less.

If any of you are in the vicinity and have the chance, I wouldn’t hesitate to check out this little gem, with or without little ones. It’s wonderful and enchanting and yet another example of how beautifully and bizarrely children’s entertainment is progressing into something really special.

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I felt like the National Theatre had been transformed into a festive toy town for the ocassion

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I left inspired and energised (and just in time to catch some great winter-sunset light!). Because if there are grow up imaginations making books and stage plays like this now, I cannot wait to see what the kids of the future; brought up on a diet of media as magic as this, will be capable of.

Peace OUT and a happy new year

Bx

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Sunset in the Big City

 

 

Christmas Time is here!!

Ahoy chaps!

This week, I have sunk my whole life into Christmas. I have literally been like an illustration elf; my whole practice has fallen into that big ol’, commercial black hole of joy that is December.

And I’ve been blooming loving it.

Here’s a selection of festive goodness I’ve been power-housing to bring you.

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And for the, slightly more grown up type people:

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I had them printed up into cards the other day and, I must day, I am feeling full on READY for Christmas.

Hope you all enjoyed and are looking forward to making your own Christmas plans.

Right, I’m of to look at recipes for Turkey.

Obvs.

What I’ve been up to

Hello everyone!

Just thought I’d share a few links to new places that are talking about my work at the moment!

Firstly, I’ve had a mention and lovely little interview featured in this month’s Frrresh magazine. This is a great little monthly, digital number that is a complete goldmine of new and up and coming talent and I highly suggest you check it out. There’s a fantastic mix of works in every issue and it really is a ‘something for everyone’ kind of deal.

View issue 33, in which I feature here, and thanks again to the lovely people behind the scenes who kick-started my Christmas season with this little inclusion!

 

Next up, I was contacted a short time ago by Thortful, a new, very handy greetings card website, devoted to championing good artists through their high quality prints. They have a fab range going on at the moment, including some really quirky little designs and I highly suggest you take a peek at the cards on offer.

They were good enough to invite me to be one of their featured artists for their launch so if you browse their impressive library, you’ll find a few little tidbits from me hidden among the plethora of good stuff on show.

It’s a great service for that mad Christmas rush, quick and handy with a really neat little app you can download for easy access (you know, for those times when you’re out and suddenly remembered that you definitely forgot someone far too important to have forgotten.)

Their blog is also a great place to discover a little more about the artists involved, and if you’d like to check out my interview (and I think you should.) go ahead and take a peek, here.

One final note, just to say too that there’s plenty of new work of mine on the portfolio sections of this website so do stop by and browse through my children and teen works.

I hope you’re all beginning to get festive and I’ll be uploading this years Christmas Creations soon!

Happy December everyone!

The Illustrator that came to Tea: a Visiting Talk from Living Legend

Not to indulge too dramatically in hyperbole, but I think I might have actually witnessed a real life living legend in real life this week. Seriously and for real.

Yep, as part of the Bath Children’s Literature Festival (of which I have been a devoted attendee for the  past 3 years) I attended a talk by none other than the charming and, quite frankly, utterly enchanting Judith Kerr.

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Apologies for the camera, but the lady herself shot of our glamorous, Bath Guildhall.

An absolute staple of British children’s bookshelves everywhere, Kerr is one of those awe inspiring talents whose timeless works effortlessly span generation after generation, capturing imagination and breathing life into young minds with simple tales of simple pleasures. And really, who can’t relate to those?

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From her magnificently quirky tales of enigmatic tigers and their casual visiting habits, to the familiar madness of cats, old ladies and, most recently, baby seals in the bathtub (yep), Kerr’s work has inspired and excited so many from the pages of her timeless titles, that I simply couldn’t be expected to resist the opportunity to see this godlike mother of charm in the flesh.

And what was she like? Well, she was everything I hoped she would be. She was an embodiment of her books; a perfect personification of charm, wit and warmth.

She was the perfect house guest, she was the maddest aunty, she was the reckless old lady and she was the sweetest grandmother. She was peculiar and adored and she was creativity in it’s purest form.

Led by the insightful questions from, Julia Eccleshare, Kerr wove elegantly from story to story, recounting memories and experiences that eluded to a, seemingly remarkably strange, lifetime; extractions of which formed the basis of every one of her tales.

Yet, as she spoke, with her enchantingly perfect comic timing and an unchallenged humbleness, it occurred to me with warmth that she was a true genius of creativity. Because really, her life had not been so grand or elaborate as first thought. Certainly not as much as you may expect from someone born in such turbulent times. Do not get me wrong, there had been interesting events most certainly, but I challenge any full life not to suffer a few of those during it’s progression.

No, I honestly believe that the true magic of Kerr’s work lay in it’s simplicity. It was her own wonderful eccentricity, that enabled her to extract those marvelous tales of curious wonder from family memories with the green bean obsessed cat. It was her interpretation and examination of the minutia of everyday life, and vitally the people in it, that transcended so well into, seemingly magical stories and eccentric, yet inherently familiar characters. Every one of us can conjure memories akin to those of family outings to the zoo, observations of adored yet barmy pets or childhood fondness of strange artefacts in our parent’s studies (admittedly a stuffed seal is a bit of a weird one), yet it is only a true genius of creativity that can take these everyday occurrences and use them to build tales of so much whimsy that they can, without fail, capture the imaginations of every reader lucky enough to consume them.

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From this week’s brief insight into the world of Judith Kerr, I feel I came a step closer to understanding and sharing in the magic of her books. Throughout the course of the evening, a simple and charming truth became apparent. The magic of Kerr’s world was not due to a incomprehensible and unreachable grasp of the imaginative process, but rather a reflection of her own personality. Her books are a public extension of herself, in all her quirk, enigma and warmth. From the moment she began speaking, I was entranced by her. The presence held by her slight and delicate physical frame was instantly eclipsed by the immediate reveal of her sharp wit and, subsequently, her strong and enigmatic character. I could not help but draw parallels between this wonderfully sharp storyteller in front of me and the enigmatic whimsy I associate with her name.

She was seemingly  as timeless as her stories; a testament to the strength of result when the illustrator becomes a personal presence within their work. Perhaps some, no less talented, practitioners do write and illustrate successful worlds on queue, do create independently of themselves, simply to fulfil the goal of entertaining an audience, but I struggle to deny the magic of writing for yourself, with the joy of appeasing your own indulgences. It is through this process that one captures a genuine joy in order to share with others. I think it is these books that communicate a timeless magic. An honesty that cannot be manufactured.

Disappointingly, as there was no book signing a this one, I did not get to meet Judith. But her presence was so entrancing, I felt as though I had. A personality like hers is a joy to come across and I only hope one day my own work, and indeed myself, can speak with such as unique yet universal voice as hers.

And even if this is all just starry eyed hyperbole, one thing is for sure. I would absolutely love to have Judith Kerr over for tea. And I wouldn’t complain a bit it she emptied my cupboards.

What a hero.

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New Old Comic for your viewing pleasure!

Me again!

Settle down for story time kids- I have a tale to share!

About a year ago I was gearing up for a convention. I was working full time in the Publishers and literally spending all the hours in between trying to get a zine up and running so I could turn up with some new work. I planned and wrote a bunch of short stories and one off images, all inspired by the Autumn – my absolute favorite time of year.

Anyway, cut a long story short, the convention was cancelled a few weeks before and, as a result, without the push of a heavy deadline, life took over and I never finished the zine.

Sadly, the zine remains unfinished, however a number of the tales in it are still milling about, either in my sketchbook, desktop, or noodle. Unfinished, uncoloured and sad. Aw.

So, I dug one back out this week. I dug it out, I designed it properly and I bloomin’ finished it! (extract below!)

Toffee Apple Pt 2

It’s only short and it’s barely a story, but it’s oddly personal for me: a memory that seems relevant for every autumn I can remember from my tiddly years. The desire to be spoiled with treats on day outs in the cold air with my parents. I was, clearly, a grumpy, greedy – and potentially not that smart – kid and I remember strangely vividly the frustration of being hoisted by my own petard; when saccharine stickiness from autumn delights  stained my fingers and prevented my ice cold fingers from sinking comfortably back into the warmth of my mittens. The excitement of catching sight of that toffee apple and absolute, incomprehensible adoration for my parents when they caved (as I knew they would) and presented it to me. The irritation at their manhandling me with those old, dry tissues; dug out from the bottom of every mum’s pockets, and ultimately, the relief when my freezing cold, begrudgingly cleaned hands returned into my gloves and my foul mood, outwardly projected onto my parents, would quickly subside as warming circulation returned and I settled into the sweet tang of satisfaction.

God, being a kid is really a roller coaster of emotion isn’t it?

That said, the lesson here is that I really bloody love toffee apples. And I recall so happily that sweet tingle on the sides of my lips that I do equate so solidly with times spent with my parents. Luckily, the tenancy for childish projection of my discomfort as frustration towards them, was (I think) shed with age; but that feeling of gratitude and adoration from their original generosity…that seems a little more resilient.

I sit here in the darkened grey of a British afternoon in late September, watching the drizzle set in, as it will fairly solidly, for the next few months and I know the summer is done. And the knowledge that those short, autumn afternoons that bite at your face are sitting pretty just around the corner…well, I may not see my parents much these days, but I can’t help but sink into memories of gratitude; of that sweet tingle on the side of my lips and, ultimately, that same adoration. I smile now, just thinking it.

So, in conclusion to the longest sales pitch in history, check out the brand-spakin’-new addition of a long-overdue-old-comic on the portfolio now and then book an appointment with your dentist. After this much sweet, we’re all going to need it.

Happy Autumn!