Hamish takes the train is the story of a bear who wants to see the world and of his friend Noreen, a goose. It’s about trains and cranes and friendship and pizza and is available now from Two Hoots Books.
This book has been many years in the making – it took us a long time to decide how I should make the illustrations and in the end they look quite different to the screenprints in my other books. Hamish is illustrated with pencil drawings and black ink washes, coloured and assembled in photoshop. There are more images of the book and of the processes behind it on my Instagram but here is a gif of the layers building up and a picture of some of the ink washes:
Last Saturday I had an amazing afternoon at House of Illustration, running a family workshop based on ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! After a quick reading, we did some giant collaborative adventure drawing – just like Natalie and Alphonse do in the book. Highlights included Natalie and Alphonse on their five-wheeled motorbike: Squirrel and treehouse worlds joined by ladders, and a majestic giant bee featuring cup-holder, chips-holder, sound system, umbrella and MANY SHOES. Next it was time for monster puppets: here are just a few of one family’s horde.
We started with corrugated paper finger puppets, with all manner of multiple heads, horns, tongues, wings and other appendages.
There was even one with eyes on accordion stalks. It’s interesting running events at House of Illustration because the great facilities and unusually long workshops mean you can plan more extended, open-ended activities, so I’d prepared various kinds of puppets to experiment with. There were accordion-beasts inspired by Chinese dragon stick-puppets, of which this was definitely the longest. And this one has a wonderful expression. There were also puppets with moving wings, mouths, arms or eyebrows made using split pins, but I seem to have no pictures of those. At least I can show you this brilliant new thing: a box-mouth monster with a monster baby inside, operated by hidden lolly stick!Some people even got around to building theatres – I bet some ace plays were staged once they got them home…
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.
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.
I also ran a monster finger puppet workshop.
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!
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).
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).
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!
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:
If you’d like to meet a Velopresso in real life it’s probably best to follow them on Twitter or Facebook.