My second picturebook, ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO! was launched on April 20th at London’s most splendid comics shop, Gosh! by a crowd of very lovely people and an unreasonably delicious new instalment in the Emily-Wilkinson-bakes-my-books saga (see here, and here, and here, and here for Emily’s page).
I arrived in a tiswas, thinking, “AIEE, what if no one comes?” followed by, “AIEE, what if someone comes?” and, “AIEE, biscuits stuck in traffic! What if people come mainly for biscuits and get justifiably enraged?” But those nice comics folks calmed me right down with tea, and got me started on signing The Heap.
I was overwhelmed by so many friends and relations coming along to celebrate Alphonse, and that was before the biscuits and Natalie and Alphonse arrived to make sense of it all – sitting down centrepieceishly in the space between all the books and drawing their giant pig (which was eaten and magically regenerated two times! And then decisively consumed in our third attempt).
Thanks so much to everyone who came, and to Gosh! and Walker Books. If you couldn’t make it but would like a signed book, I think Gosh! may still have part of The Heap.
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.
Then I convinced them to stand or hang in the window (thanks to both kinds of string).
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.
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)
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.
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).
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:
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…
The Girl with the Parrot on her Head is published in paperback today!
In 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!).
What 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).
Hilda and the Runaway Baby will be published in 2017.