Exhibition with a parrot on its head

Yesterday I put up an exhibition at Pickled Pepper, Crouch End’s specialist children’s bookshop. I framed eleven of the screenprints I made for my first picturebook, The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, and they’ll stay on display all summer, until August 31st. It’s great to have a chance to show the artwork, especially in Pickled Pepper’s lovely event space.
Exhibition at Pickled Pepper Books

The first week of the exhibition coincides with the Crouch End Festival (5th-14th June) so there are lots of other things to see and do if you visit then, including a Girl with the Parrot on her Head reading and craft workshop on Saturday 13th June.

The pictures are hand-made screenprints, and prints from the same editions (so almost the same as the framed/published prints) will be for sale. If you’d like to read more about the illustrations, I wrote a guest blog for Walker about making the book.

An update: now there’s a Girl with the Parrot on her Head window too!
Window displayPickled Pepper window

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Bunnies with lipstick, antiques

Yesterday at House of Illustration, in a workshop I’d been scheming about for months, a group of children created a whole new system based on Isabel’s cardboard boxes in The Girl with the Parrot on her Head. I’ll post more about this workshop but just wanted to share the giant mural right away, as it made me so happy to see the system so brilliantly reinvented (to enlarge, click on the image above and click again when it reappears).System composite

 

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Velopresso beasts on bikes

Last year my friends at Velopresso asked me to draw them a horde of cycling animals, people and beasties-in-general to decorate one of their beautiful pedal-powered coffee trikes. Trike 001 was recently launched during Bespoked in Bristol, where Velopresso also won the Constructors’ Challenge prize – HURROO!

Velopresso 001

Photo © Velopresso 2015

I haven’t seen it with my own eyes YET but I love the photos (more on Velopresso’s facebook page). The designer did a brilliant job arranging the crowd.

Bicycles are quite hard things to draw – not so bad as horses maybe (so many knees! On backwards!), but getting all the legs on the pedals? When the legs may be very short and belonging to pigs or sheep? Ach! I was afraid Velopresso, who clearly have an exemplary understanding of bicycle construction, would want drawings in better working order than I’d be able to muster – but luckily they were very supportive of skrunkiness and wrongness. I don’t know that my bike-drawing skills are much improved, but my repertoire of cyclists has certainly grown. Bring on the unicycling horse.

I must have drawn over 100 beasties or groups as I submitted about 70; I keep losing count, but I think there are 31 drawings on the final trike. Here are a few constituent beasts:
Tandem bearsVelopresso

ChickensLibrary
If you’d like to meet a Velopresso in real life it’s probably best to follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

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More monkeys

I can add the rest of these monkey screenprints now as the AMAZING new human they were made for is born and in possession of her monkeys (and an oddish long-nose bear which really taxed my sewing skills).
Family of monkeysMonkey runIn other news, I have an EVENTS PAGE and some events (more to add shortly). Hope to see you soon!

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Monkeys in the gap

I'm thinking about itI am having a gap. In a gap it is best to do THINGS. THINGS can include working on stories that nobody wants yet (maybe they are too weird or long, maybe nobody has seen them), and drawing, and seeing how monkeys work as screenprints.

By which means I learn the shocking truth that better-drawn monkeys make better screenprints. So the one with the umbrella stays insipid.

Monkeys butterflyMonkey whohoo!Monkeys umbrella

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Resident Illustrator with a parrot on her head

I spent most of last week in Chester Town Hall, as resident Illustrator at WayWord festival – an eight-day-long parade of half-term excellentness, organised by the lovely people at Chester Performs. My favourite thing was the cardboard den workshop (inspired by The Girl with the Parrot on her Head):

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Mark Carline took lots of other brilliant photos too. This one’s mine and not so good but I did particularly like the robot-rabbit den:
Robot-rabbit
I also did a reading and talked about how I came to make picturebooks:

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

And there were two more workshops in which we made animals to go on our heads. The animals were AMAZING. Here’s The Boy with the Jaguar on his Head and The Girls with the Tasmanian Devil and the Pink-faced Polar Bear on their Heads:
Boy with the jaguar on his head Tas

On my final day at the festival Kate Pankhurst and I made two completely new books in a picturebook jam. One of them started like this (me then Kate):
Jam pig 1
Jam pig 2
As resident Illustrator I also got to loiter around drawing all the other goings on – from an amazing range of author events to giant chess and never-ending free crafts. Some of my festival drawings are on the WayWord site but here’s the queue for Shlomo, followed by Alex Wiltshire talking about minecraft:
Queue

Alex WiltshireI felt very lucky to be there and very well looked-after – Chester Performs put on a grand show (and are incredibly good at collecting cardboard).

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Launching the parrot

The Girl with the Parrot on her Head has been out in the world for two days now, stomping about, sneaking into bookshops. Already Julia Eccleshare has written about the book at LoveReading4Kids where it’s also debut of the month! EXCITING TIMES. I’ve written about the process of making The Girl with the Parrot on her Head over on Walker’s blog Picture Book Party (where you can also find out how to make a parrot, or SOMETHING ELSE, to live on your head).
Umbrellas (photo by Trudi Esburger)

Two days before publication we had an amazing launch party at Daunt Books in Hampstead (thanks to Trudi Esburger for the better photos). If I’d put as much thought into the speaking part as the snackfoods I might have said something sensible. We had bears, hula hoops, not-actually-broken-umbrellas and truly incredible wolf biscuits by my cake-genius friend Emily of Love & Cake.
Snackfoods

We also had a lot of lovely people and a counter covered in books. In a weird reversal of my expectations, we ran out of books and had wine left over. It was totally predictable, however, that the wolves all vanished in no time at all.
Wolf biscuits by Love & Cake (photo by Trudi Esburger)Here are my entirely brilliant Editor and Designer from Walker Books:
Lizzie Daisy Ben

Me drawing in books (when does it stop feeling like defacing school property?):
Signing (photo by Trudi Esburger)

And illustrators! Some of the many excellent friends, family and book-people who made it so grand:Illustrators (photo by Trudi Esburger)

Very many enormous thanks to everyone who helped and all who came along!
Wolf

Follow Emily of the wolf biscuits @MissWilko or on Instagram.

Read about the making of The Girl with the Parrot on her Head at Picture Book Party.

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Out now: The Girl with the Parrot on her Head!

My first picturebook is published TODAY by Walker Books. Hurray!
Books at launch

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Llamas and monkeys

I have known for a long time that it would definitely be good for me, in all manner of ways, to do concerted doodling every day. But there are always MANY THINGS to do – and they often wear more important-looking hats. However, this seems to be mostly where stories come from. So, despite all the THINGS, this year I am really trying to do it every day. Here are some of the llamas and monkeys that happened so far.

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Watch out for parrots!

Here is a heap of my first book, The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, published by Walker Books on February 5th – which now, finally, actually feels quite soon.

Many exciting things will happen around the launch to help introduce the parrot, and the Isabel under its feet. For starters, I’ll be writing about the process of making the book over on Walker’s Picture Book Party blog. Then during February half term I’ll be working with children in Chester, making animals to go on our heads and incredible cardboard dens, as Resident Illustrator at Wayword festival. I’ll also give a talk and reading, document the festival on the Wayword blog AND do a picturebook jam with Kate Pankhurst! See: MANY THINGS!

Details of further events will follow soon – including something at House of Illustration which I think will be GRAND.

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