It's been a few weeks since I've stopped by here..! I've been busy organising work for several upcoming exhibitions, the first of which is "SAIL". It's taking place over a couple of weeks in May at galleries in both Cirencester and Cheltenham. There will be a huge variety of different creatives exhibiting and should be an exciting show! There will also be plenty of art works, prints and cards avaliable to buy if you wish! If you live locally, please pop by and say hello!
A letter to SGJ, circa 1973.Pen and ink 13cm x 18cm. Click to enlarge.
My poor little blog has been rather neglected of late. I do have a good excuse though; I have been very busy. Last weekend I was exhibiting my work, along with some other local artists, as a part of the Derbyshire Open Arts weekend. It was a great weekend.
We turned Catriona's
little barn into a lovely exhibition space, sent out the invitations and waited to see if anyone would turn up.
I was amazed by how many did. A huge thanks to everyone who went off the beaten track to find us. They came from far and wide (hey Louisa!) to see the arty loveliness our little barn had to offer. I'll post some photos when I get them back from Snappy Snaps.
Before the event I assumed I'd have three days to do lots of sketching. But, no chance. We were busy throughout which was great because there's nothing that makes me happier than sharing my sketchbooks with people.
You know up until quite recently the only artistic community I've been involved in is an online one. Being a part of that community has been amazing, and life changing, for me. It has enabled me to set up a blog, encouraged me to keep drawing, supported me in becoming a professional illustrator and always been there for advice on all sorts of things.
I had not, however, been involved in a local community of artists. In fact, for a long time, nobody even knew I was drawing like a maniac at home. It was my exhibition in Buxton, last summer, that brought me to the attention of a local audience and then everyone knew. Joining Sketchcrawl North a little while later made me realise the great things that come from being part of a group.
Exhibiting with this group of talented and generous artists over the weekend was a joy. I'm so happy that I've connected with a local arty community because you get good things from being with people. People who share your passion. So reach out because we are, after all, just chubby babies floating in a sea of tissue paper.
Check out the amazing work by my exhibtion mates; Catriona Hall
, Sandra Orme
and Rob Wilson
. And a big big thanks to the photographer, and my friend, Lynne McPeake for everything she does.
They've had a big change-round over the last few weeks. By coincidence, both the editor of picture books and the pre-school editor left within a couple of weeks of one another, so Egmont took the opportunity to have a rethink. Instead of 2 parallel editors, managing different titles, they've rolled the 2 lists into one under the control of a new Editorial Manager, who works to assist an equally new Publishing Director.
6 Comments on Meeting my Publisher, last added: 6/24/2012
Yes, following on from the regular SketchCrawl, then our SketchJam idea, we SketchCrawl North sketchers have coined another new term: the SketchDrool. It combines two of my favourite pastimes - drawing and eating!
Last Friday night, despite unbelievably torrential rain, a small group of us met up to go to the preview of a new exhibition of screen prints by Mick Marsten, at Pete McKee's A Month of Sundays gallery in Sheffield.
It was really nice stuff. We thought that the foul weather might put people off though, but the show was packed. It was nice to bump into several people we knew and chew the fat over a glass of wine and some nibbly things.
Afterwards, we crossed the road to Otto's restaurant, where we had booked a table for a drawing evening. I took along my Inktense watercolour pencils, my trusty waterbrush and just a tiny A6 sketchbook. I managed to grab one sketch for each section of the meal.
Serious food-sketchers, like sketch-buddy Matthew Midgley, did their drawings before they ate, but I couldn't resist getting stuck in while it was hot, and only stopped to draw half way through.
As soon as my main course arrived, I realised that mushroom risotto was not the wisest choice...
It tasted delicious but was mainly white, not to mention consisting primarily of impossible-to-draw rice! I was happy to stop and sketch though, as it was very rich and I was getting seriously stuffed.While we waited for our food to settle, we had some more wine and moved places, so we could chat to new people and have new angles to sketch from. This is Moya, who I met at my clay modelling evenings:
After a bit, the waiter came to try and tempt us with the desert menu but, though puddings might have been fun to sketch, we all groaned and took the sensible option of ordering coffees instead.
It was great fun to try something a little different and worked especially well for having a combination of stalwarts like myself, Andrea Joseph and Matthew, but also some first-timers. It was a lovely evening and an idea I'm sure we will repeat.
Last year, I was invited to create a small piece of artwork for a charity auction and exhibition, Stars on Canvas, in aid of the fantastic Willow Foundation. They sent me a little blank canvas last December but, since they didn't need it doing until June, I tucked it away on a shelf and... you guessed it: completely forgot it was there! They emailed me a couple of weeks ago and I felt really guilty, but luckily it turns out I am not too late.
Last time I did one of these, I had a bit of a disaster, because pastels don't really work on canvas. I ended up using oil pastels, but it was still not ideal. As it happens though, I recently bought myself some acrylic paints: I've been fancying having a go for a while.
Unfortunately I couldn't leap into action when I got my e-nudge from Willow: I was still frantically trying to get my Swap! artwork done, ready for Gullane to present at Frankfurt. That deadline has now passed and, though I am still working hard to get the rest of the artwork finished ASAP, I was able to steal a day this week, to get my little canvas done:
I chose an illustration from Class Two at the Zoo, as I thought that, since that book's been around a while and been on telly a fair bit, on Bookaboo, it might just be an image people would recognise, and so maybe fetch a bit more money at auction.
I decided to use the edges of the canvas to let people know what it was all about, but I have to say, painting the lettering took almost as long as the picture!! The project was really handy for getting a feel for acrylics though - it's my first try with them.The idea is to sign the canvas and they sent a black marker pen, but I didn't want to put a great ugly signature across the front, so I initialled it in my normal way and signed the top edge instead. Hope that'll work for them.
There will be around 300 canvases in the auction, not just by artists and designers, but also by well known faces from the worlds of sport, music and entertainment. Bidding will open on 22nd November and closes on December 2nd (good timing for interesting Christmas presents perhaps..?). The auction culminates in a public exhibition at Maddox Arts, London W1, from November 29th until December 1st.
This is the 3rd Stars on Canvas auction. The first 2 events raised over £100,000 towards providing memorable experiences for people living with life-threatening conditions, such as cancer and motor neurone disease.
I'm finally back home after a successful show at Space Yui in Tokyo.
Japan was wonderful for both daughter and myself, though it was very much a 'working holiday' for me. For the first month I was largely focused on meeting deadlines, producing work for the show and other such business, so not so many opportunities for socialising and enjoying the summer break. However the hard work was all worthwhile in the end, the exhibition at Space Yui was a tremendous success. My deepest thanks to Kimura-san and all the other staff at the gallery.
|Setting up the show in the gallery (photo courtesy of Space Yui)|
In addition to the artwork from 'Jack to Mame no Ki', limited edition prints
and the original images drawn for the show, Space Yui also produced some T-Shirts
from the unfinished artwork to my next book The Stone Giant
. Although the artwork is yet to be painted in colour I had some scans of the ink drawings in black and white stage, which were perfect for the T-Shirt and made a very big impact on the show attendees.
|In Space Yui Gallery modelling the t-shirts produced for the show|
|One of the numerous drawings developed from sketchbook images sold during the show|
|Legendary zoologist, TV personality and author Mutsugoro (Masanori Hata)|
I didn't take many photos, but I've posted a very few snapshots of the attendees and more of the displayed work on my Facebook feed
Finally the exhibition was over and daughter and I were able to finally relax. Straight after the exhibition we were invited by my editors at Fukuinkan to the Nagano mountains to stay in a Besso
(country cottage) and research our next book. It was a wonderful tonic after the stifling heat of Tokyo!
|Seren in Kobuchizawa with Roa and Yuriko|
Finally back in Tokyo I was just in time to enjoy the release of Jack to Mame no Ki
on 10th September!
|Fukuinkan section in the Tama Plaza branch of Yurindo Bookshop. Jack gets centre stage!|
This lovely image is the poster for an upcoming exhibition I'm involved in this May entitled BLOOM. The show is taking place at the beautiful Gardens Gallery in Cheltenham, where I have previously exhibited with the lovely GradGallery collective.
The exhibition will showcase the work of five creatives including myself, Sophia Bloxham
, Liz Clayton
, Emma Ridgway
and Katie Thomas
(who designed this fabulous poster!). Please click on their names to visit their websites/blogs to check out their work. There will be a variety of illustration and design on show and, as always, there will be lots of lovely prints, originals, postcards and greetings cards for sale!
Hope you can make it along to the exhibition, please pop in and say hello if you are in the area!
Some of my sketchbook characters
decided to spend the month in a wonderful cafe called "Ninas Café Klatsch" here in Hamm, Germany. I took them there last night so they can watch Ninas guests having delicious cupcakes and soups for the next 4 weeks.
We seem to have had quite a lot going on lately. You know, when your head starts buzzing, because you have too many different things on the go? To be fair, much of it is good fun and hardly feels like work at all, but still - I reckoned we were ready for a few days off.
So, when John and I were invited to go and stay with my uncle and aunt in Beaconsfield (between Oxford and London) for a few days, it sounded like a grand idea.
It was lovely to catch up with my folks (and being looked after for a few days is always nice). We also took advantage of the location to visit some galleries.
We went to an exhibition at the Ashmolean on the way there, where I discovered (in my ignorance) a painter I hadn't heard of before: Chaim Soutine. I just loved his crazy, frenetic paintings of Ceret.
On another day, we visited the RA Summer Exhibition. I have not been for a few years. It's a mixed bag of course, but the wild variety of work on show is part of the appeal. I particularly like how it was hung this year, with paintings and sculptures reflecting themes and styles back and forth. There are always pieces to love and hate, but it's never boring. We walked from the Royal Academy to Tate Modern. My Aunt and Uncle went to see the Matisse Cut-Outs show, but we had already seen that (wonderful by the way), so we pottered around the standing collection, which is always rewarding, as it's so well put together. On Day 3, John drove us to the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I was desperate to see the Art and Life show, as I love the work of Alfred Wallis and Ben Nicholson. I didn't know Christopher Wood's or Winifred Nicholson's work as well, so it was a surprise that her work in particular really stood out. I think it was the most inspiring exhibition I've seen since the extraordinary Hockney show at the RA.
We spent ages inside the gallery, then I spent ages in the shop, deciding which book to take home with me, to keep the inspiration alive. The exhibition catalogue is really good, with excellent reproductions, so I treated myself.
If you have never been, the Dulwich Picture Gallery is a fabulously green and calm oasis, tucked away in the midst of the busy, grubbiness of South London. It was a beautiful day too, so we had lunch outside then I sat on the grass and did some quick paintings.
It was a good thing the exhibition was so brilliant, because the drive back to Beaconsfield was diabolical and went on for ever, through rush-hour traffic (poor John was a quivering wreck).
On our last day, we all went out for a lovely walk in the sunshine, along the bank of the Thames, out near Cookham (Stanley Spencer country - another of my faves). It was fun eyeing up all the mega-expensive houses on the far side of the water. When we came across these cows cooling themselves in the river, I had to ask people to hang on for 10 minutes, while I did a quick sketch:
Our wonderfully relaxed walk ended up by chance at a village show, where we had an ice cream and watched the dog show: always good for a giggle. And then, all too soon, it was time to start for home.
Thank you so much to Bill and Anne for putting us up, feeding us and generally making our stay so lovely.
I'm currently in Tokyo again, preparing for my upcoming exhibition at SPACE YUI in Aoyama. The show runs from 21st-30th August, and will be chiefly showing original artwork from my recent picture book Stone Giant (Charlesbridge/Komine Shoten), plus there will be other original artwork on sale, copies of the book, prints and Tshirts. If you're in town please drop by the show! I'll be at the gallery from around 2pm daily.Space Yui is open 11.00am-19.00pm daily (closed Sunday). Nearest stations are Gaienmae and Omotesando on the Ginza line.
After the close of the show at Space Yui, the exhibition will be re-shown for another week at a new gallery Yui Garden, set in the relaxed environment of Seseragi Park in Nakamachidai, Yokohama. However I'll be on my way back to the UK by then so won't be in the gallery.
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I keep having this ideal for my blog, that every day I should post a new drawing. It's tricky, when I spend all day drawing stuff my publishers don't want me to show you yet. But here we go, a pub drawing from last night. Viviane Schwarz did the bottom half, and I did the top half, upside-down.
Viv and I met at St Pancras station and walked over to the new Central Saint Martins art college building. It's ENORMOUS. High ceilings, vast slabs of concrete, reclaimed brickwork, huge panes of glass. You can just see it in the background here, behind Viv swinging in this rather quirky little pavilion in the middle of the Kings Cross building site.
We started off the evening at the party to launch Christopher Brown's new book, An Alphabet of London. I've been excited to see this book, because Chris was one of my visiting lecturers on the MA Illustration course at Camberwell art college, and he loves that luscious, heavy, solid look you can get with lino cut prints, and I do, too! His publishers, Merrell, also had an earlier book on sale that he'd illustrated, A Pack of Dogs, and both books are very yummy. Nom Nom.
Here's a little peek at the page for T; Viv and I got a laugh from T is for Trepanning. It took us awhile to remember where we'd seen that carved wooden tiger mauling the colonist. I thought it was at the British Museum, but in the back of the book, it says it's Tippoo's Tiger at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Ah yes. And it's from 1793. If you've been to London, you'll undoubtedly recognise the art museum at the top of the page. The others are harder to guess: Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse in Poplar, Temple Church in the City of London, oh, and there's a tourist in the corner.
At the party, we got to see his original lino cut prints on display, so lovely! It's a great conversation piece, trying to guess all the letters. This book will make a perfect London souvenir for people visiting London, a Londoner's gift for friends abroad, or a book for a Londoner to have on a coffee table to give everyone something to talk about at awkward dinner parties, ha ha.
I just had to get a photo of these lovely chappies. There were more than a few excellent twiddly moustaches present. (I have no idea who they actually are. Chaps, if you read this, please identify yourselves!) :)
Besides the alphabet, Chris gives us, in the back of the book, a big of a description and photos of how he set about making the prints. I'm itching to do a book of lino prints, starting with the trees in Greenwich Park, but I don't want to approach a publisher about it yet because I want it to be something I do for the pure enjoyment of it, not be freaking out about a deadline. Because making lino cuts