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1. Library Workshops for the Summer Reading Challenge

I spent a lot of last week at different libraries around Cambridgeshire, making pop-up mythical creatures with children, as part of the Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge activities .  I had a great time and was really impressed with all the different creatures that appeared! Here's a small selection of the dragons, mermaids, unicorns, gorgons, minotaurs and yetis that were made:

 At Buckden library, the young volunteers had made a great poster for the event too!

Big thanks to Anne, Sue, Jakki, Joy, Isabelle, Anna and Sharon from Cambridgeshire Libraries for all their help and enthusiasm over the week, and to everyone who came and did such a good job of making pop-ups!

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2. Histon Feast Pop-up workshop

Last Saturday I spent the day at the Histon and Impington Feast running a pop-up workshop with the lovely Marion Lindsay (who took some of the photos below).  We were in a tent on the school playing field - the weather was a bit wet and windy to start with so we wondered whether we'd have many participants, but we shouldn't have worried!  Here are a few pictures from the event:

Four hours later we were exhausted, but so impressed with all the pop-ups that were made!  Thanks to Richard Young from Cambridgeshire Libraries and for the Histon Feast Committee for inviting us to do the event.  And big thanks to Marion too! 

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3. And the Winner is....

Congratulations to lucky number 58 (as picked by the random number generator), Catherine Friess, who entered my giveaway via twitter.  Thanks to all of you who entered here, on facebook and on twitter...it's been lovely to have such a positive response!

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4. Pop-Up Weather

This was my first attempt at using Vine and features hand modelling by the very lovely Marion Lindsay!  I have converted to a gif in my new phase of experimenting with technology :)

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5. 2nd attempt!

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6. My first attempt at Photoshop animation….

This is my first attempt at making a little animation in photoshop!
Stop Sticking, Stan! is out tomorrow :)

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7. Great Big Giveaway! 3 New books out on May 8th

It's been a while since I've blogged - so I thought I'd come back with a big giveaway!  In a couple of weeks time, Egmont UK will be publishing 3 new books of mine and to celebrate I'm running a giveaway here on my blog, on my Facebook page Nicola Killen Illustration and on twitter too @nicolakillen.

The prizes:  All three books: My Pop-Up World Weather, My Pop-Up World Things That Go and Stop Sticking, Stan! AND an original piece of artwork signed by me.

How to enter:  Either follow this blog and leave a comment under this post; like my Facebook page and share a post about this giveaway; or follow me on twitter and retweet a post about this giveaway.
If you do all three you will be entered 3 times so you will increasing your chance of winning!

The winner will be picked at random after the closing date which is 8pm BST on 8th May 2014.

More information about the books:

Stop Sticking, Stan!  Stan loves collecting things.  Odd socks, buttons and feathers are a few of his favourite treasures.  One day, when Stan has been extra good, his parents give him a sticker…but, of course, ONE sticker isn't enough for Stan.

It comes with a free sheet of stickers at the back of the book - just like the ones Stan uses!

My Pop-Up World   My Pop-Up World is full of fun things to discover and explore with a pop-up on every page.

Things That Go In this book, have fun with cars, planes, rockets and trains!

Weather  In this book, have fun in the wind, rain, sun and snow!

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8. Stop Sticking, Stan!

I received the first copy of my next book Stop Sticking, Stan! a few days ago.  There is a free sheet of stickers in the back of each book - they match the stickers that Stan plays havoc with….I have been finding it very hard to resist tearing them out and sticking them everywhere.  I think the book is a little more autobiographical than I realised!

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9. More Handmade Christmas Cards!

Here are some bears in hats!

I will be selling my handmade cards at Cambridge Christmas 2013.  This event is on the 25th November at the Unitarian Church Hall in Cambridge from 1pm to 8.30pm.  For more details click here.

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10. Some new handmade Christmas cards...

It's less than a month away to this year's Cambridge Christmas event so I have started to make some new cards.  Here are dogs in hats!

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11. My Agent's New Website

My agent, Elizabeth Roy, has just launched a new website which you can see here.  Each illustrator can mange their own content so we can refresh our images as often as we want. See my page here!

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12. Some snakes!

Here are a few action shots from my recent library event.  20 children drew dogs, penguins and made pop-up snakes.  I really enjoyed the event as everyone really got involved - and the feedback from parents was great!  Thanks to everyone who attended and to all the library staff for making me feel so welcome.

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13. Pop-up Snake!

I will be at Cherry Hinton Library tomorrow morning between 10.30-11.30am reading stories and making pop-up snakes! It's a free event for ages 3-5 but places need to be booked. This is my demonstration snake - I'm sure there will be some much better ones made tomorrow!

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14. New Animal Board Books!

I have just received the first advance copies of my Animal Opposites and Animal Noises board books.  They will be out in September!

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15. Co-editions

This is how Animal Colours looks in Finnish!

And here's a couple of familiar looking Penguins.....

Tom und Timmi (aka Fluff and Billy) is being published by ArsEdition in Germany in September!  See their website for more details including a chance to see inside...

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16. World Penguin Day!

The man on the radio has just announced it's World Penguin Day so.....

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17. Exciting times!

While I was away last week I had an exciting tip-off from my friend Anna....my book I Got a Crocodile was read by Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Damian Lewis on the CBeebies Bedtime Stories slot on Thursday evening!  I've taken a few screenshots to prove to myself that I'm not imagining the whole thing!  It's still available on the i-player for a couple of days: if you're in the UK and want to watch click here.

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18. I've been away....

I've just got back from a short break in Cornwall.  While I was there I did a little bit of drawing as well as walking up and down lots of beaches.  It was REALLY windy so quite hard to draw outside so the second two were done hanging out of windows. It was also the first time I'd used my little travel set of watercolours for a long, long time (you'll notice I'm getting the excuses in early) so it's now chock-full of sand!

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19. Festival of Illustration

As part of the ongoing Festival of Illustration in Cambridge, myself and my studio buddy Marion Lindsay will be running a session at Heffers Children's Bookshop this Saturday from 11am - 1pm.  We're going to try and create an animal alphabet with the children who come along - it's not a tried and tested event but fingers crossed it will go well!

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20. Today at the Fitzwilliam

I went drawing at the Fitzwilliam Museum this morning.  The exhibition The Search for Immortality comes to an end this Sunday and I really wanted to see it.  The exhibits that really caught my imagination were two jade burial suits.  Small pieces of jade were patchworked together to make them: on one it is all held together with ribbon and linen; on the other wire links all the pieces.  They looked amazing.

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21. Fluff and BIlly Jigsaws!

Fluff and Billy is about to be published in Korea and to promote the book the publishers Gimm Young have produced these jigsaw puzzles.  The two designs come in a plastic wallet together - I was very excited to see my samples which arrived this morning!

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22. An Animal Alphabet at Heffers Children's Bookshop

Here are a few pictures from last Saturday's Festival of Illustration event at Heffers which I did with Marion Lindsay (my studio buddy)!  We didn't get the whole way through the alphabet but we did get up to 'N' in the end!  Big thanks to all the staff at Children's Heffers and to all the participants - it was really fun!  You can see more pictures on Marion's blog.

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23. Sheffield Baby Book Awards

At the end of November I attended the Sheffield Children's Book Awards.  Fluff and Billy was shortlisted for the Baby Book Award - it didn't win but I had a lovely morning meeting some of the other authors and the library staff from Sheffield.  Lots of local school children, toddlers, babies and parents had been invited along for the morning too as they had voted for the awards!  Thanks for everyone involved for such a great day and big congratulations to Camilla Reid who won the Baby Book Award for Lulu's Lunch!

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24. I Got a Crocodile!

Tomorrow is the publication date of my new book 'I Got a Crocodile!' (Simon & Schuster).  It seems like the publication date has come round very quickly since I finished the book, but the original idea goes back to when I was on the MA course at Cambridge five years ago!

The characters are still the same as they were all those years ago!  Here's a picture of my graduation exhibition:

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25. I Got a Crocodile at Children's Heffers

I will be at Children's Heffers bookshop in Cambridge next Thursday evening along with some other Cambridge School of Art MA graduates and their new books: Marta Altes, Elys Dolan and Courtney Dicmas.  Please come along and say hello!
Big thanks to Courtney for putting together the invitation!

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