Monsters in residence at Mainstreet Trading Co.

Mainstreet Trading window
Last weekend I went all the way to Scotland to paint a window and fill it with cardboard monsters – now there’s a thing I never could have imagined I would do. The window belonged to Mainstreet Trading Company, a beautiful book (and cake and soup and many thing) shop in St Boswells. I arrived with fourteen brushes, three kinds of tape, two kinds of glue, two kinds of string and four rolled-up paper monsters, feeling fairly daunted by the idea of making a window display worth bringing someone to Scotland for.

First I had to mount the monsters on cardboard (running out of both kinds of glue) and cut them out with a scalpel.
Scalpel
Then I convinced them to stand or hang in the window (thanks to both kinds of string).
Window characters
And (now in a panic about having used up most of the day without actually PAINTING THE WINDOW), I sort of managed to get the smaller Alphonse to eat a copy of the actual book.
Window Alphonse
Finally I got around to using two of my fourteen brushes, and Mainstreet’s window pens, to help Natalie and Alphonse decorate the window. I did some of the drawings with my left hand, as I did for the monsters’ drawings in the book, and perhaps I should’ve done left-handed painting – except I think I’d still be there now (it took six and a half hours as it was)
Window from side
and it was important to leave time for signing books and eating cake. Okay actually, I didn’t, so I had to eat my cake in the taxi, but it was Mmmmm. In fact, it wouldn’t be so bad to still be there now.

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Sheffield Children’s Book Award shortlist

I’m very happy to say The Girl with the Parrot on her Head has been shortlisted for the Sheffield Children’s Book Award! It’s especially exciting as the prize is judged by children, voting through schools and libraries. Here’s Sheffield Libraries’ tweet:


The winners will be announced in November.

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Out now: ALPHONSE THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!

ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!My second picture book, ALPHONSE THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! has just been published by Walker Books in the UK, and in seven other languages too (please see books page for details of translated editions).

 

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Original screenprints for sale

Online gallery Children’s Book Illustration have started selling some of my original screenprints. Six prints for The Girl with the Parrot on her Head (from the same editions as the prints used in the book) are available now – including a few of the soon-to-be-seasonal scootering spread.
Street screen print

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ALPHONSE at WayWord festival

I’ve just come back from having the MOST FUN being Festival Illustrator at Chester’s WayWord children’s festival for the second year in a row. This was my first chance to read ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! with children (even though it’s not published until 5th March), and to try some monster-themed drawing and making.

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

At one event we read ALPHONSE and The Girl with the Parrot on her Head and played drawing games together, just as Natalie and Alphonse draw together in the book.

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

I also ran a monster finger puppet workshop.

©

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Puppets

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

And another (with a lot of help from Nicola and Helen of Chester Performs) on stencilling onto canvas bags. It would have been hard to do screen printing (which is how I usually make my illustrations) in this workshop, unless everyone had printed the same image, but the freezer paper stencils were quite magic, and the resulting bags were so cool!

nvnb

Photo © Mark Carline for Chester Performs

Ice creamCat by MeganAlphonse with trunk

I spent the rest of my time drawing the festival – which was embarrassing as I’m heinously out of practice with observational drawing, but good for me. Here’s one of my drawings – visit WayWord for more (and next year, maybe visit the actual WayWord as it is ALL THE FUN).

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Dulwich Books has a system

To celebrate the release of The Girl with the Parrot on her Head in paperback, the lovely Dulwich books have put Isabel and her system, and the WOLF in their window:Dulwich Books window
I am extremely grateful, again, for the amazing scalpel work performed on this display by the design team at Walker Books. Hmm, I wonder if I will get to design any monster windows when ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! is loosed in March…

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Paperback parrot and delivering Hilda

The Girl with the Parrot on her Head is published in paperback today!
Paperback edition of The Girl with the Parrot on her HeadIn other newts, today I’m also taking the last bits of artwork for my third book, Hilda and the Runaway Baby, to Walker Books. Weyll, actually the endpapers will be the last bit and I haven’t finished them, but I can scan those myself.

I am a bit late delivering Hilda: I hadn’t really realised before I started making the screenprints how challenging this book would be. I’d already printed illustrations for half of the original version (made during my MA) but ended up re-doing everything, partly because we changed the format from portrait to landscape. There were one or two vignettes I could have kept but they were the easiest prints in the book (and besides, horrors – the wheels of the pram were unfeasibly small!).
So tiredWhat made it tricksy was the seven landscapes, all at different times of day and night, and the three village scenes, two of which had to be made at a tiny scale because of the size of my silkscreens. I am now much better at getting two eyes, a mouth and a nose onto a face the size of a lentil – but is this a transferable skill? If you need any bespoke personified lentils please do let me know. Here’s is a detail showing lentils printed yesterday (and Hilda, who I’m going to miss).
Detail of Hilda printHilda and the Runaway Baby will be published in 2017.

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Advent jam the third!

Ho-HO! It is that time of year again when Becky Palmer and I start a day late on our gloopy pot of Christmas comic jam and continue posting a panel a day (sometimes with gaps and gluts) throughout advent. If your toast needs MORE jam, you can catch up with our 2013 and 2014 comics here or on Becky’s blog, and ahem well I’m to go first:
1st December panel by Daisy2nd December by BeckyBy Daisy4th December5_72
By Becky
By DaisyBy BeckyBy DaisyBy BeckyBy Daisy
By Becky
By DaisyBy BeckyBy DaisyBy BeckyBy DaisyBy BeckyBy DaisyBy BeckyBy DaisyBy BeckyBy DaisyBy Becky

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Alfons, Alfonso, Antero and Ingolf

¡Estoy muy muy emocionado porque mi próximo libro va a ser publicado en ocho idiomas! Me gusta especialmente el nombre danés ‘Ingolf.’
AlfonsoALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! will be published in Dutch by Lemniscaat, Finnish by Lasten Keskus, Spanish by El Naranjo, French by Albin Michel, German by Aladin, Italian by La Marguerita –Ellebi and Danish by Jensen & Dalgaard. Oh and English too I spose.

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ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!

Here is an advance copy of my second book, ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! to be published by Walker in March 2016.
Advance copy of my second book
I have been drawing monsters for a very long time and am so excited to see some of them (almost) about to be loosed into the wild… I’ll write more about the book closer to publication, or there’s a little snippet here.

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