Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Parallels of Writing and Illustrating.

Over on Turbo Monkey Tales today I am chatting about why I find the skill sets of illustration and writing pretty similar, using examples from my new book from Kane Miller, 1,2,3 by the Sea, by Dianne Moritz.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Turbo Monkeys are Go

Turbo Monkeys GLOG launches today. A group of eight monkeys who met at NVSCBWI 2010/11 mentor programme. Lot's of great info.

There will be prize giveaways all day to celebrate ... to enter follow the blog

Hope you will join!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Optimism - sketch of the day

The Sketch for today concerns optimism. Something we all need.

If you go to my facebook page I am running a competition to win a print of this sketch, you just have to share it and send me a link.



Thursday, November 3, 2011

And the winner is .... me!

Look, when something nice happens, celebrate! Heaven knows, there is enough of the other in this world.
So here I am, with a big cheesy grin, with my ipad2. Mine courtesy of as prizewinner of their recent competition to recreate a classic tale as an ebook. And, if you've been following this saga, you will know that I did a new take on Hans Christian Andersen's wonderful 'Ugly Duckling'.

It was a lovely surprise -  an ipad was way down my shopping list, so it's even better. It's a spiffy bit of kit, and I love it. Now, I've to work out how to use it ....

The big news (also) is that Utales launched on ipad/iphone Nov 2. You can trot along and see the ebook for yourself! Go to and register for a free trial. There are a lot of fabby books on there for kids. You'll love them too.

Maybe I will do another Hans Christian Andersen retelling .. watch this space.

Elsewhere in my world I have been bunking off. Me and 'im indoors caught a last-minute-cheapy-cruise from Boston to Bermuda a couple of weeks ago - fun. And limited internet! It was good for me. We managed to get a balcony room. Gorgeous to sit and gaze at the ocean, plus leave the door open at night and hear the sea swishing by. However, there was a force 7 gale on the way back, and it was a little windy - even for me. Here's a couple of pics from the trip ....

 Morning Cuppa

'im indoors and yours truly

 Bermuda colours

Amazing tree

I DID do some work on the ship. (Norwegian Dawn if your interested). A rough layout for a PB dummy. And a total rewrite of synopsis and character sketches for a MG I started a year ago. Yes, yes, it's been a long time since you heard about THAT, but people, I've been busy!!

On a darker note TWO people died on the cruise. Oh my. And on the same night, not related at all. Funny to think of all that human drama in one big, steel teacup on the seas.

I DID like Bermuda. And you can buy sensible things, like Lucozade, Mars Bars, Fruit Pastilles and sausage rolls. So I did. And the street signs are correct and people drive on the proper side of the road. Very civilized indeed.

So then it was Halloween:


When the tooth fairy goes bad

 Zombie leg anyone?

         How King's open wine                                                      Suess meets Batman
 So that was Halloween.

And here we are in the middle of next week. I have been doing some work, I promise. Finished a book for a private client ... more on that soon .. here is one of the spreads ...

Next on the drawing board is an online PDF ebook for an educational company. No rest for the wicked!

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my crazy photos this week.


On the Bedside Table:
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss.
Picture Writing - Anastasia Suen

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jack and Jill

The weather is beautiful here in Maine ... spring is early! And I have been painting a stormy sky for my latest promotional postcard which I send to art directors and editors every 3 months.

So I thought I would show how I created this piece ... the subject is self explanatory (I hope!)

First of all a rough thumbnail sketch ...

 Then a more detailed drawing of the main figures ...
Final drawing of the figures with 8b pencil
Coloured in photoshop ...
Same thing with the Well ....

Now here is the background. I wanted to have a complete contrast to the figures, so this is painted in acrylic and watercolour on card, with graphite detail afterwards.

And then I put all the elements together in photoshop! Now to get it printed and mailed out ... that's the hard work!

The caption for the postcard (on reverse) will be 'When Jill grew up she vowed she would have indoor plumbing'.

I had a lot of fun doing it, and I hope you like seeing the process of how I work.

Talking of fun, me and him indoors went to see Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' at the Imax in 3D. Yes the story was changed, yes it wasn't traditional, but it was amazing, the effects stunning and worth driving 2 hours to the IMAX. The only thing I hated was Johnny Depp's horrible and totally out of place dance at the end .... I do so hope that TB hated it too .... leave me a comment Tim, if you happen upon this blog ;-). Oh and the puppies ... guess that had to be Disney for sure. What did everyone else think of Mr Burton's masterpiece? Let's hope he get's back to original stories soon ...

Talking of stories I have been working on a set of educational stories about MATH. Yuk! Not my favorite subject ... but more of those in another post ...

The dogs are going crazy (probably the skunk again), so more soon and thanks for reading!

The Wacky Brit

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pirate Sheep

It was a quiet week this week after all the excitement of the trip to New York. Time to get on with what's in the in tray and reflect on the year ahead. There has been little time to get back to the stories I want to work on ... Mrs Lah Di Dah and Mrs Mop are in their tea shop, waiting for me.

Sitting in the bank for an eternity to see the head honcho I did give some thought to a story I have had in mind since last summer, when I was sailing on the Isaac H Evans Schooner. A tale about 'Pirate Sheep and the Night of the Evil Knitters'. This was suggested to my (odd) mind by the knitting cruises that take place yearly on the Schooner. Lots of lovely ladies (and maybe gents, I do not know!) sail around the coast of Maine knitting like crazy, tossed by the waves. They even have special lights on their heads so they can knit by night. So I thought, wouldn't it be crazy if they turned into raging evil knitters on the full moon and hunted down the pirate sheep for their wool? So here are a couple of character sketches I did on the back of an envelope ....

I have to say you can tell I went to the Tim Burton exhibition.

This time of year always sees me working on caricatures for weddings and the like. It's something I have been doing since I can remember and it pays the bills ... you can see my caricatures at they can be exhausting to do! Here's an example.....

I am into the long slog of tracing, inking and finally colouring the illustrations for Lexi's Magic Clothes and the Magic Moon. Got to say tracing and inking drive me nutzzzzzzzzzzz. It's my least favorite stage of what I do, and I am always happy to get to colouring which is a lot of fun. Like being paid to play. So that's what I will be working on for the next few weeks ...

Meanwhile I am escaping 'Down East' with some girl friends this weekend, staying with an artist friend and having a break from the drawing board/computer. Hopefully do some writing! Him indoors will have Valentine's Day with the dogs .... awwww. Still he will be able to watch all the Sci Fi he wants to at least!

So happy Valentine's Day to y'all, whether you are spending it with your smoochy one, or poochy one, and more soon!

The Wacky Brit

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pipped at the Post

Well, it wasn't really that I got pipped so much , but it felt like it. I KNEW it would happen and I guess it is something you have to get used to in this book game. I just noticed (not very on the ball I admit) that a biopic children's book about Django was released in Sept 2009, (see last post for Django saga) and that another, (although not so literal), is to be released March this year. C'est la vie ... it is after all the 100th anniversary of Django's birth.

It is frustrating when this happens, and I guess that I am just at the beginning; your title is thought of by someone else, a book with the exact same plot/drawings/concept is released, your characters names are created by someone else. I guess there are only so many ideas available in the world. How many plots is it? 15? There must be some mysterious ethereal internet linking writers and artists together as a joint consciousness.

ANYWAY I had a bit of a stomp around, moaned at the dogs and ate some chocolate. I beat myself up for letting the story rot for what is a year and a half now when I could have submitted it. So, move on. All that research?  I am thinking that there is a middle grade novel here about Django's life, with illustrations. I had better not sit on it for 18 months though!!

Apart from the usual rejections for Ducky (3 this week) I have been chained to my desk beavering away to try and have some kind handle on my in tray before going to the SCWBI conference in New York. Why does time seem to speed up when you are going on a trip? It is always a culture shock to be transplanted from the 900 strong population of our village in Maine back into a city. And this is my first REAL trip to the Big Apple ... it will almost be like being a person again!!

So, I have been working on sketches for Magic Moon, also a cover for a book about the Arizonian Desert and, in between, drawing caricatures for wedding invitations (got to pay the bills!) It all keeps me out of mischief, and heaven knows I need it!

Here are some of the sketches ... maybe I will get to colouring some soon, which is the fun part!


Out on a snowy day shopping in Bangor, I called in at University of Maine Museum of Art to check out the gallery space ... it's really nice. Looking forward to seeing the Whale Photo in there! I must leave the loft more often and visit these places ... it is too easy to say 'I can't - I have deadlines!'

Talking of photography I took some wacky photos of a block of ICE I emptied out of my cooler over Christmas. I am thinking of working on a group of them to exhibit as a show .... I just love the fantasy landscapes that I saw in them. Very little Photoshop trickery by the way ... all candles and lights behind the ice.

See the full set at Fire and Ice Show


One of these days I will get down to our river bank and take some shots of the water and snow ... before it all melts! (A while yet in Maine me thinks!)

I have struggled this week to work on writing a new children's story. It's hard to make yourself sit down and write when there is paying work to be done. I am not sure about the concept of this one ... it's not like Ducky, but about two old ladies, tea and friendship. I have a feeling it may be too English for the American market ... but hey, look at J K Rowling! It is called (so far) 'Mrs Lah Di Dah and Mrs Mop' and I will tell you more about it soon.

Right! It's been great to procrastinate for a while, but I must get back to the pencil and paper!

More soon ... The Wacky Brit.

(Oh and I must get a new profile picture. I love the one with Dexter, my deceased Border Collie, but I guess an 11 year old picture is a bit misleading!)