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1. Glen Keane, Nora Twomey, Roger Allers, Robert Kondo, Graham Annable Will Present at Spark Conference

This week in Vancouver, the Spark CG Society will hold its annual Spark Animation conference and festival with an impressive group of presenters including Glen Keane, Nora Twomey, Roger Allers, Robert Kondo, and Graham Annable.

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2. Spotlight Chemers Gallery Handmade Holiday - Meet the Artisans!

Updated 10-20-14
'Tis the season! The holidays are right around the corner and we can't wait for our first ever...

Over the next few weeks leading up to our Holiday Artisan Faire we will be shinning a spotlight on our Artists & Artisans and sharing a sampling of their delightful goodies with you. Keep checking back, because we'll be updating weekly!

Suzanne mixes up paint and paper to create her brightly-hued mixed media on wood melodies. She constructs a frenzy of bright colors and attractive patterns, and then finishes them off with a layer of epoxy resin to give them a nice shine. Her creations take the form of small, one-of-a-kind contemporary images, large bold statement pieces, artsy bangle bracelets and fun throw pillows (these aren't on wood because that would be really uncomfortable!)

Local gal Soraya has a flair for gemstones, beads and crystals! She labors over her stunning hand-beaded creations to craft wearable magic. A mostly self-taught artisan, Soraya's jewelry follows intricate designs and color schemes that could only be paired by her intuitive eye. Soraya continues to push her beaded work to the limit with innovative techniques and designs, all the while silencing voices that claim “it can’t be done!” Come see her latest designs and find just the right one for yourself or a friend!  

Ready to get your tea on? Tea liqueur that is! Made in Slovakia, Tatratea unites the finest brewed black Assam tea with a number of hand-picked botanical ingredients and fresh fruit in a unique fermentation process. Enjoy as an addition to traditional hot tea or sip chilled neat, on the rocks, or in an endless variety of delicious cocktails if you are in the mood for something festive! Available in six flavors of Coconut, Citrus, Peach, Original, Bohemian and Outlaw and range in proof from 22% to 72%. Rado will be mixing up some knock your socks off libations. Try them all on Dec. 6th!

Monique Selwitz
New & Exclusively at Chemers Gallery!
Silver & gemstone jewelry with an eye catching harmonious flair are the hallmarks of Monique's rings, pendants and earrings. This talented artisan takes inspiration from her creative upbringing surrounded by artists, galleries, goldsmiths and musicians. Originally from Switzerland, Monique possess a keen interest in melding both traditional and new metalsmithing techniques. Breathtaking, each piece is uniquely Moniquely!

Mary Hammond
Mary's delightful handmade fiber designs are the result of dabbling in domestic crafts, sewing clothes, and needlepoint. While working alongside her mother, Mary fabricated her own process by combining knitted fabrics with quilting and collage techniques. Inspired by designs found in nature, Mary sews together various yarns, fibers and silk pieces and then washes them to ensure every creation is soft and wearable. Her elegant creations can be hung on the wall, draped over a  table or bureau, or worn as an eye-catching scarf!

Custom chocolate house, Luisa Chocolatiere, features delicious handmade gourmet chocolates of premium grade and absolute freshness. Luisa learned the art of chocolate making from Monsieur Sender, Master Patissier and Chocolatier in Paris. She received additional training in advanced specialty chocolate courses in Nanterre, west of Paris. Luisa crafts a variety of delectable confections with the highest quality ingredients, assuring rich, silky smooth chocolate goodness in every bite. We are so excited to have Luisa participate in our Holiday Artisan Faire and can't wait for you to meet her and her oh-so-yummy chocolates!

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3. The Fairy's Conversation

I found this little sketch while cleaning out my studio.  I nearly forgot about it.  Hope to come back to it in paint some day.

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4. Marcel Hausler

Marcel Hausler on grainedit.com

 Marcel Hausler is a designer living and working in Hamburg, Germany.  A recent graduate of  the Fachhochschule Mainz, he has worked for well known museums including the Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin and the Gutenberg-Museum Mainz.



Marcel Hausler on grainedit.com


Marcel Hausler on grainedit.com

Marcel Hausler on grainedit.com


Marcel Hausler on grainedit.com


Marcel Hausler on grainedit.com



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5. Rainy Day Friends

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6. Breaking: Disney Sets ‘Moana’ For Late-2016 Release

Disney announced this afternoon that Moana, their 56th animated feature, will be released into theaters in late-2016. The film will mark the CGI directing debut of Disney stalwarts Ron Clements and John Musker, who have helmed many of the studio’s beloved hand-drawn films of the last 30 years. “John and I have partnered on so many films—from The Little Mermaid to Aladdin to The Princess & the Frog,” said Clements. “Creating Moana is one of the great thrills of our career. It’s a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.” The studio offered the following film description on their Disney Insider blog: In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore. “Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

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7. Discovering ‘Templeman Art’



After being recommended by a friend, I discovered the beautiful work by Emily Templeman of ‘Templeman Art’. Her main themes are based around nature and animals, often using watercolours to capture the beauty of what she sees.

I contacted the artist asking about her main inspirations, background and where she sees her work heading in the future. I was very pleased to receive such a detailed response, giving me great insight to her thoughts and inspirations:


‘Basically, my decision to start pursuing art as a career stemmed from A level art class. Part of the course was to try and get in contact with a local artist and create work inspired by theirs; similar medium, or style, or subject choice. I contacted Mary Ann Rogers and we got talking a lot; she was very helpful and encouraging and was the first person to look at my work and say ‘that would sell’.

I ended up doing a year of Computer Games Art in university but that didn’t stick and I ended up completing only the first year before deciding to leave. It was then that I chose to try and chance my luck at setting up as a self employed artist. Now my style has changed greatly; if you compare the images in the Animal Watercolour and Tribal galleries to the 2014 gallery, but it’s still very much animal focussed, with my attentions now on capturing the flow, movement and colour rather than a realistic.

I’ve also been inspired by the designs and styles you see in art nouveau pieces. Particularly, I use the vines, leaves and flower motifs in my paintings. The Showa Koi, for example, has leaves that make up the black markings and a flower design for the red crown. As for the future, I think just with more practice and experience, I hope to carve out a niche in the art world where my work is recognisable as mine. With my early pieces, I did get a few comments along the lines of ‘That looks like Mary Ann Rogers’ stuff!’, which while a huge compliment, also means I wasn’t really creating anything unique to me. Ultimately, I’d love, love, love to have my own studio and gallery. I don’t expect to become hugely famous or rich, but if I could make enough to earn a decent living, it would be an absolute dream come true.’


More work by ‘Templeman Art’ can be found on her website or Facebook page, don’t miss out!


Thanks for reading,


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8. "Super Shapes:" Wonder Woman

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9. Weekend sketches

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11. "Super Shapes:" Superman

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12. Terror at Dean Clough!

Luckily for me, it wasn't real terror, but Tales of Terror, a wonderful exhibition of beautifully detailed illustrations by David Roberts, which has just opened in the Illustration Gallery at Dean Clough in Halifax. John and I went along to the opening on Saturday, where we met the absolutely lovely David Roberts in the flesh (I think all children illustrators are lovely to be honest... but then, I am biased). 

I just love David's work and I especially love this series, because of the sinister edge to each illustration. It's often quite subtle but definitely disturbing. Wonderful stuff:

They were created for the Tales of Terror books by Chris Priestly, a Victorianesque series of horror tales for children. David explained that that's why the illustrations are created to look a little like the old etching plates from Victorian novels:

I also met up with my friends and fellow illustrators, Chris Mould and Lydia Monks. It was great to have a good old chin-wag. Chris has a permanent studio at Dean Clough (they do loads to support artists). I went to visit his studio a few years back: take a peek... Chris was also the curator of David's show (well done Chris - nice job).

Here we all are in the Dean Clough restaurant, after I had just finished scoffing down a rather yummy lunch (I was a little worried about my grin, visualising bits of rocket between my teeth and am very relieved to see that, if it's there, it doesn't show).

There are several galleries at Dean Clough, and all the exhibitions were opening at the same time, so we had a lovely afternoon, mooching around them all. I particularly liked Jo Brown's abstract paintings

Go take a look yourself. the exhibitions are up until January 3rd.

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13. Blueberry Diapers

Here is a recent design that I sold to Blueberry Diapers. Check out their wonderful company and product line.

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14. Inktober Day 20 #inktober #inktober2014

Inktober 20


Micron Brush pen black, graphite, watercolor

Some of you may recognize these two characters. Piggy and Chicken have danced before, however it was in the ballet. This is ballroom :)


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15. the ghosts of night, the dreams of day

Had a lovely day yesterday, drawing for the love of drawing rather than for work. I always love catching up with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, my sketchcrawling buddies, too. We spent the day at the National Emergency Vehicles Museum in Sheffield. It was right up my tree. Loved the subject matter. I could spend another day, or ten, there. And, maybe even a night; apparently there are many ghosts in this former police and fire station. If you believe in that sort of thing, of course. I don't but I'm willing to have my mind changed.

 There was a very specific colour scheme too. Reds, blacks and a little yellow were the colours of the day. I managed to not take seventeen pencils cases, which is an achievement for me, and narrowed it down to just the three sketchbooks. I always try to take some tools that I wouldn't normally draw with at home. I try and play a bit more on sketchcrawls. It feels like the right place to do that as you often encounter subject matter you wouldn't normally choose to draw. The red Bingo dabber was an inspired choice of pens.

 Here's something I've noticed during October, as I'm participating in Go Sober For October, I do a lot more with my weekends. It's much easier when you're not factoring in a 'big night' or a hangover. That's just another benefit to being sober; doing more stuff with your time. Just look at how my blogging has increased in the last month!

 The museum holds a vast range of fire service related memorabilia that had previously been sitting in attics and local fire stations all over the county and amongst the exhibits were prisoner files from the last century. I found these the most fascinating of all, and below are my drawings of some of the mugshots from around the 1940s. It's funny how just by drawing somebody, spending that time studying someone, you can feel a real connection with them. I don't just want to now more about the faces I drew, I feel an empathy, sympathy, for them. Protective towards them even, like I knew them. I guess what I'm trying to say was that I was touched by them. Maybe I do believe in ghosts.

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16. starred review

Happy Monday all! I'm going to  start the week with a couple of black and white Illustrations from my upcoming (first!) chapter book Audrey (Cow)

We're celebrating a starred review in Publishers weekly, hurray!

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17. Comic: Watch Those Dangling Modifiers...

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Thinking about getting a tablet or pressure sensitive monitor like Cintiq? I go over my thoughts on what worked for me and what didn't and what I'm using now...

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19. My son and I are instant fans. We have taken to making fan art...

My son and I are instant fans. We have taken to making fan art in our spare time. Shown here are Peppermint Butler & Cinnamon Bun (who always seems to be melting?)

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20. scribble: my 24-hour comic

Hello! Here's the comic I made for the 24-Hour Comic Marathon at this weekend's Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal.

The challenge I set myself (besides making a whole book in 24 hours!) was to make a comic book that an adult could read aloud to a child. (Usually comics are rather difficult to read aloud.) So there are bits that might be slightly wordy, but I was doing that to try to make it read better. It was an experiment, so see if you think it works!

Ta-DAH! Thank you for reading! I'll blog more about the event and creating process soon, but big thanks to Scott McCloud, who set the original 24-Hour Comic challenge, and came all the way from the USA to give the festival a boost and pop his head into the room a couple times with his wife, Ivy, to cheer us on. Here we are in the Page 45 room with the six other creators who were working on their own books along with me through the night (from left): Jack Teagle (@jackteagle), Kristyna Baczynski (@kbaczynski), Warwick Johnson Cadwell (@WarwickJC), Scott ((@scottmccloud), awesome coordinator Dan Berry (@thingsbydan), Fumio Obata (@FumioObata), Joe Decie (@joedecie) and me. Dan was amazing and worked with a local Kendal printer, Absolute Digital Print, to roll out 50 copies of each book by that evening. (Wow!) I've sold out of my copies, but perhaps sometime I'll print some more.

Oh, and did you notice that big crowd scene, when Jamie the scribble is on display at the art museum? I got some help with drawing the crowd from the amazing team of Kendal College assistants who stuck with us through the night, in two shifts. A lot of the people were drawn by Janet (here with her sketchbook), who's ace.

And here are Phil Welch and Katie White, who stayed with us through the WHOLE 24 HOURS and created an AMAZING BLOG, tweeting as @24hcm and using the #24hcm hash tag. Also, a little look at my work desk, and a pose on the following Sunday with festival-mascot-creator Felt Mistress and the two top festival coordinators, Julie Tait and Sandra Wood. Thanks so much, everyone!

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21. ‘The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl’ by Mike Roush

Meet the Burrowing Owl. He has recently lost his mate to a large predator that is hunting in his treacherous natural habitat. How will he survive in this dangerous wilderness alone? This is a story of love lost… and survival.

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22. 2014 Update!

Mr Beaver takes a walk!

Hello, long time no blog! Can't believe I haven't posted since April 2013, time has just flown by! I'm still here though and still working away in my studio here in Cheltenham. I've worked on a couple of commissions outside of my day job, the most recent being the cover art for a US children's magazine called High Five. It's the November issue which is out now!! I haven't seen a physical copy yet, but my lovely cousin who lives in New York has taken some pictures of it for me in Barnes and Noble! I'm pretty excited to think that my illustration is currently all over America and as soon as I get a physical copy I will definitely be sharing the artwork here alongside some photographs. Here is a photo she sent me...exciting stuff!:

My most recent piece is Mr Beaver above who is off on some kind of walking adventure! I'm not exactly sure where he's going yet, but we will see!

Please let me know if you are in the US and see a copy of High Five, it would make my day!

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23. I wonder what I should do today ?

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24. Doctor Who

Probably my favorite Doctor Who for #Inktober day 20

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25. the carnegie co-author conundrum

I was glad to spot Oliver and the Seawigs on this year's Carnegie Medal nomination list, but something made me do a double-take on the way it was written:

Now, I feel uncomfortable writing about awards. Partly because they're someone else's business; other people can give awards to anyone they like. Partly because I don't spend a lot of time researching the exact particulars of each award because I'm too busy trying to make good books, and good books that earn enough money to let me keep doing this job. So I'm no expert on the Carnegie and Greenaway medals. But these awards are set forward as the most important of the book prizes and picked up the most by the media, so when I spot something that seems amiss, I feel I need to ask questions, even if they don't directly benefit my own prospects.

Question: Why would the Carnegie list a highly illustrated book with just the writer's name and not the illustrator's name?

Answer (Answered by awards judge @mattlibrarian): Because of the eligibility criteria, the book must be written by a single author:

So books with two writers are out. And books with a writer and an illustrator are eligible, but only if the illustrator remains uncredited.

My publisher and agent didn't know about this nomination listing in advance, and it's causing all sorts of stir. They're asking, should we insist that I'm a a co-author and pull our book out of the running? (I blogged about this co-author business very recently!) Or should we leave it there on the list and pretend I'm not a co-author, like many other illustrators have had to pretend in the past? The book isn't a whole book without the pictures; they're integral to the story.

I'm fine with Oliver and the Seawigs not being nominated for the Greenaway Award, that's the personal taste of the judges, and whether they thought it met the criteria. I wouldn't expect Seawigs to win against full-illustrated picture books; there are too many words in the book to give space for lavish pictures. Compare this page of Oliver and the Seawigs...

... to a wordless page in There's a Shark in the Bath:

Or a page in Jim Field's There's a Lion in my Cornflakes:

Both of the picture books have SO much more room to show off blazing technical skill and overwhelm the reader with pure imagery that makes more visceral impact than the text. (And the Greenaway medal is supposed to be a pure illustration award.) Oliver and the Seawigs doesn't work exactly like that; it's more of an equal partner to a longer text. Occasionally it has moments when the imagery speaks more loudly than the text:

But we also have page with no pictures at all. Compare this to Philip's Carnegie-winning novel, Here Lies Arthur, which is pure text. Philip's a wizard at creating mental word pictures, and he has plenty of room for long descriptive passages:

Or his famous opening lines to Mortal Engines:

Philip CAN write in a way that needs no pictures. But he chose not to write that way for Oliver and the Seawigs because we were trying to do something very different. 'They had met on the top of Mount Everest' is short and says very little; that's a job for the picture to do.

So the Carnegie judging process could go two ways:

1. Oliver and the Seawigs and other highly illustrated chapter books could be read for words alone.
'They met on the top of Mount Everest' with no picture is not going to knock off anyone's socks or be humourous in any way. The 'meh' of the mountain goat doesn't even make sense by itself.

2. The judges take the illustrations into account when they judge the quality of the story, but any award given would be to Philip alone, listed that way in the press release. It would be up to Philip to give me credit, and the prize money situation would be awkward.

Do you think either of these options seem ideal? I'm not just asking for our books, but for other writers and illustrators, too.

Why does it even matter?

We don't really have a word for these kinds of books, but in the USA, they call them 'Middle Grade' books, to distinguish from 'Young Adult'. Philip and I think these books are absolutely vital to keeping kids reading; we're losing a lot of readers between picture books and books with no pictures at all. We watched Philip's son start reading Oliver and the Seawigs and he kept going until he got to the first page without a picture, and that's when he put it down. A page with no pictures at all can be completely daunting to a non-bookworm. This is a feeling a lot of book lovers can't even imagine, and it's book lovers who judge these sorts of prizes.

Two things I wish would happen:

1. The Carnegie would be opened to more than one author, to co-authors.
That would allow proper recognition for illustrators as co-authors, as well as close writing partnerships. (Why should authors have to be solitary for a book to be good?)

2. There would be a third prize created for these 'Middle Grade' books. There would be allowances made for stories that might appeal to younger readers, and for illustrations to play a major part in the storytelling process. A lot of kids who can read a bit more text than they find in picture books aren't quite ready for the very grown-up themes of recent Carnegie winners. You don't go straight from reading This is Not My Hat to The Bunker Diaries. Prize money would be spread equally between the awards, to show these books are all important.

Why would people nominate a book they didn't think stood a chance of winning? If Seawigs is judged by words alone, it won't win. If it's judged as a whole, it will be a blow to the whole illustrator-as-co-author argument.

I did get a tweet from the organisers, CILIP, on the subject:

And Philip's made his stance clear enough. (Can I say how much I love working with my co-author?)

So what should we DO? Pull out of the award? Stay in? I know it's only the long list, not the short list, and I'm tempted to stay in, for Philip's sake, and because I want to give the awards process a chance. I think the inclusion of the book allows us to talk more about these issues. But what do you think? Do you think this issue needs addressing? You can tweet to CILIP at @CILIPCKG and/or use the hash tag #CKG15 and I know they'll welcome the discussion.


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