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.
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).
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.
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. Here are my entirely brilliant Editor and Designer from Walker Books:
Me drawing in books (when does it stop feeling like defacing school property?):
And illustrators! Some of the many excellent friends, family and book-people who made it so grand:
Very many enormous thanks to everyone who helped and all who came along!
Following on from last year’s snakes and skates, here is what a heap of illustrators, in Bologna for the bookfair, got up to during dinner at Trattoria Rosso (Bar 51 now has cloth napkins – pah!). First a shape game that turned into a story: Then some shape-game people:
It was lovely to see Cambridge illustrators’ books – just published and not quite published – all over the fair, two graduates in the Illustrators Exhibition, and too many hundreds of other beautiful books to get excited about. And it is Quite Grand to see your own book there for the first time too. It is sometimes a bit intense though, and you worry that maybe someone has gotten hold of your squeegee and you better go home and see.
Recently I went to Finland with Becky to see the moomins and their house. Apparently, Finland also has wolves – luckily I did not know this or I might have stayed home and looked for a man with a load of bricks. So here is the first of two comics we drew, which tells more or less what happened to us in Helsinki. The next instalment can now be found on Becky’s blog. A few things may be obscure, such as how all brochures and some humans said the Finnish thing was to go and “be in the Nature”, how there were many gigantic inflatable ice-hockey players in Helsinki’s Narinkkatori, and how the wading stanley is an avid philatelist. Oh and the Finnish dinner is not really part of the story.
Further to my recent post on napkins, I have just returned from the Bologna bookfair, where collaborative drawing happened in a grand number of ways, including this three-napkin bonanza by Elena, Becky, Caroline, Emily and me in Bar 51 (click to see it bigger). We also drew on placemats and on giant paper on the side of our stand at the fair, and we played a stunning game of telephone pictionary which I hope to share at some point.
In other news, I met hundreds of beautiful books and several beautiful ice creams; I also had an altercation with a wheelie-suitcase on the way to meet a publisher, which resulted in a split lip and an afternoon spent in hospital on a sugar drip. Many lovely Cambridge people looked after me and I am getting less scabby every day.
Oh and here is the suitcase I took (and didn’t trip anyone up with):