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Results 1 - 21 of 21
1. fabulous princess spaghetti tea party!

Thanks so much to Natasha Worswick on her Bookish Bites blog for the great photos and recipes inspired by my Princess Spaghetti books with Gillian Rogerson!

Both books, You Can't Eat a Princess! (featuring chocolate-loving aliens) and You Can't Scare a Princess! (with skating pirates) have a lot of yummy food in them. Natasha's son, Milo, got right in and made some cupcakes and tarts.

Here's the lovely party food when they'd finished! Apparently Milo sneezed a couple times into the tart mix, so they're not really for sharing.

And they finished with this great craft activity, making Princess Spaghetti's hair out of real pasta!

Thanks so much for all the great ideas, Natasha! If you're throwing a Princess-and-Aliens party or a Princess-and-Pirates party, have a look at my website for party suggestions and activity downloads.

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2. some pretty things

Whatever you think of it's status as fine art, there's always something rather wonderful about a ship in a bottle. I passed this giant version on the plinth on Trafalgar Square yesterday evening.

And wouldn't you know, I drew a ship in a bottle in the artwork for You Can't Scare a Princess!. Here's a little sneak peek at a scene of pirates ransacking the palace (spot the bottle and its furry little inhabitant):

Stuart and I were going to the opera, so we had a picnic supper on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields and I had a little browse of the second issue of the fab Comix Reader. Have you got hold of your copy yet?

24 pages of indie comics loveliness, with a good dose of quirkiness thrown in. One page even features our favourite Panda Panda bubble tea, courtesy of most excellent studio mate, Ellen Lindner.

tidbits from The Comix Reader

I never found the pencil case I lost at Hay, and I first replaced it with that little green one up top. Except I discovered you can't stuff metal pencil cases; they'll either close or they won't close, there's no fudging. So I bought the orange one, which has three separate pockets and looks stuffable. Hurrah! Oh, and then I had to buy the lovely matching notebook. I love Paperchase stuff, I just wish they put the name of the artist on their products.

I'll blog more about the opera later, it was AMAZING. The English National Opera's production of Two Boys at the London Coliseum, go see it!
Oh, and Philip Reeve has just blogged our lunch with Geraldine McCaughrean in Oxford, and included a rather fabulous flip-chart drawing he made before his event.

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3. Leeds Thought Bubble comics festival

Hurrah! I finally met Gillian Rogerson, writer of our book You Can't Eat a Princess!

And here's Gillian at Thought Bubble, with a fab editor from Scholastic named Ellie Parkin (whom I first met at the Edinburgh Book Festival, when she took Stuart and me for tea with illustrator Alex T. Smith). This was both Gillian and Ellie's first visit to a comics festival, and I think they were well impressed with all the costumes and mad energy.

Ellie Parkin and Gillian Rogerson

Gillian picked me up from Leeds rail station and took me home, where we spent the evening making little felt aliens! Gillian had already sewn up the bodies, and we had a great time adding faces.

We sold a lot of them at the festival, but I made sure I brought a couple home.

Here's our fab DFC reviewer for the Forbidden Planet International blog, Molly Bruton. She's sort of our DFC mascot, but this was the first time I got to meet her. Yay!

Molly Bruton with one of our aliens

And I also got to meet comics creator Rick Eades... and look what he brought me! (I think I startled Gillian with my fan-girl moment.)

Rick Eades with a tiny sousaphone-carrying Vern!

Rick also made a miniature Queen Mum for the co-writer/co-illustrator of a picture book I'm working on, David O'Connell. Dave's take on the Queen Mum is so fabulous.

David O'Connell's Queen Mum, sculpted by Rick Eades

Children's book writer meets her first cosplayer:

Gillian, Ellie and I worked an activity area of four tables, where anyone could sit down, design an alien, make a space comics, decorate a space ship or basically muck about drawing. We had a great mix of ages jump in and make things, which was good fun.

Poster drawn by Sarah and coloured by Gillian

I was dead chuffed to get an amazing Vern and Lettuce go to Leicester comic adventure from the wonderful Selina Lock, which I'll post very soon with the launch of Vern and Lettuce online magazine, The Pickle. (Please do jump in if you'd like to contribute something!)

Selina Lock with her Vern and Lettuce strip for The Pickle

We were bustling so much to keep the Space Station tables going that I only had about ten minutes to rush madly about saying hello to people, which meant I so

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4. princess spaghetti news!

Two exciting things happened this week! First, I got a parcel from Scholastic with the brand-new US edition of You Can't Eat a Princess!. Hurrah! This version is almost exactly the same as the UK edition, except it's slightly taller and narrower. I'm glad they kept the UK front cover, I'm rather fond of that one.

This version's published by a division of Penguin Books, called Price Stern Sloan. You see it on their website, hopefully buy it in your local bookshop if you live in the USA, and here's the Amazon link.

The other exciting thing that happened today is that I just saw the book cover pop up on Amazon for the sequel book! It's called You Can't Scare a Princess! and, instead of aliens, it features... da da DAAAAH... PIRATES! And they are very, very silly pirates indeed, for all they are swashbuckling. Mockup version of the book went to the Bologna Book Fair, but it goes on sale officially this autumn, on Sept 1st.

Hey, studio matey, I even managed to get a giant squid on the cover! And it's drinking tea. Here's a close-up:

Here's the last I saw of the artwork before I rolled it up and took it to my designer, Zoe Waring, at the Scholastic office. A proud moment, when it's all stacked up like that.

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5. little friend

Look what I found for 50p at Deptford Market yesterday! Isn't he a lovely chap? He sat all afternoon on the edge of my laptop, gazing serenely at me. I have named him Marcus and I am hoping he will be my storybook good luck cat.

Because we all need a bit of good luck when it comes to getting the word out about our books. But I was pleased to see yesterday that The Bookseller gave a shout for my book coming out on September 1st with Gillian Rogerson, You Can't Scare a Princess!. Fingers crossed for this one! It's bursting with silly pirate-y goodness. (Or badness, I should say. They're still pirates, for all they're so silly).

(Hopefully you'll be able to find You Can't Eat a Princess! at your local indie bookshop (best option!), or you can pre-order the hardback or the paperback on Amazon, or Waterstones: hardback or paperback.)

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6. look! look! first copies of our new book!

This morning I went into the Scholastic offices to interview publisher Alison Green for Ireland's Inis magazine, and the production team I've been working with had a surprise!

Fresh off the press! Brand-new copies of You Can't Scare a Princess! We were all a bit giddy, there's nothing like working like crazy on a book, then seeing it all printed up. Ta-DAH!

Here's editor Fiz Osborne, me, designer Zoe Waring, and my new editor, Ellie Parkin. (I started the book with editor Katherine Halligan, who went on maternity leave, then worked on it with freelance editor Alison Ritchie, and now with Ellie. Actually, Zoe was my constant through the whole project, so we probably worked the most closely, but it's a lovely agreeable team at Scholastic, so the whole process felt fairly seamless. They like to swap around jobs at Scholastic, just to get a feel for what it's like in other areas of production, so Fiz and Ellie have both come along as publicists with me on events, even though they're editors. (Fiz came on her first festival event ever with me as a publicist - in Bath - and we had such a good laugh!)

And talking about good laughs, these can also be had with Scholastic’s Consumer, Marketing and Communications Director Alyx Price and fab publicist Catherine Alport. I'm not just saying this, the whole team at Scholastic are a LOT of fun. I'm really glad to be working with them. (Oh, and they also do a great job selling books! The first Princess book is doing incredibly well. Hurrah!) Here are Alyx and Catherine, looking markedly erudite.

Ha ha, no, really...

And here's lovely publisher Alison Green! I thought I'd only get about thirty minutes to interview her, but we nattered on for two hours, so I think this could be an amazing article. She gave me LOADS of fabulous anecdotes and insights into having her own imprint and working with creators such as Axel Scheffler, Julia Donaldson, Viviane Schwarz, Nick Sharratt and loads more. Thanks, Alison!

And one more of the team, just because they're fab. That's Publishing Director Lisa Edwards on the far right. This time, I didn't catch head publicist Alex Richardson, who was away, but she's done loads as well. Thanks for all your hard work, ladies!

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7. dear diary, feb 6, 1990

This is the entry I first read out to my sister over the phone and, between her wild laughter, she suggested I start illustrating my diary. (Thanks, sis!) Read earlier entries here. I sound like such a victim but we were both rotten scoundrels.

I went to my good friend Dulcie's birthday party a couple weekends ago (she's the one on my lap). I don't really do kid parties, but I'd known this one since she was a bump.

Yesterday I got this nice picture from her in the post, plus this text message from her mum:

(Can you spot it?)

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8. space princess hits leicester!

On Sunday night, Alex Richardson (my fab Scholastic publicist) and I took the train to Leicester to met up with fellow maker of book magic Lizzie Finlay. We had an excellent curry dinner with two comics friends, Selina Lock and Jay Eales and Lizzie's cousin, then spent all of Monday with 800 enthusiastic Leicester schoolchildren, ages 5-7. Lizzie took on half of them and led activities based her latest book, Little Croc's Purse, and I took my 400 into space with You Can't Eat a Princess!.

After I read out the story, I showed them some things I drew when I was a kid (such as angel fink and paper dolls). Then they helped me draw some aliens. In a later workshop, we made up new characters and stories based around a spaceship voyage.

I love this space and aliens theme, the kids come up with the greatest stuff. A lot of them used a sheet based on my Draw your own spaceship sheet, but some of them just drew on white paper:

Thanks to coordinator Ellie Lee (on far right in the group shot) and everyone who's been working so hard to make this event happen! That's Alex-the-publicist on the bottom left and a librarian named Jothi in the beautiful purply-pink salwar kameez. The little middle picture is me being interviewed live in front of everyone on BBC Radio Leicester, which you can hear online here. (Move the little arrow about half-way along the bar, to the 1:08:38 mark.) I like the kid who pipes up that his favourite place to read is on the toilet.

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9. space princess & king cupcake land on planet inverness!

And the inhabitants were friendly! Stuart and I headed up to Scotland for our first-ever visit to the Highlands International Comics Expo or Hi-Ex. It was also Stuart's first experience of running a festival table, and I think he's still decompressing from the strange voyage.

Photo thanks to Joe Gordon (whom I met in person for the first time, yay!) at Forbidden Planet International

Here's a comics jam I did with DFC crewmates Jim Medway, Dave Shelton and Gary Northfield.
(Click on pic to embiggen)

Hi-Ex had some great photo ops, here's Dave, Jim and Gary:

And after months of only managing to grab a few rushed words in passing with Asia Alfasi, I finally got to have a long chat with her in Jimmy Chung's Chinese restaurant, hurrah! She'd been drawing portraits all day, but I talked her into doing one more with me and we swapped.

Gary and I led a workshop called Stupidmonsters & Aliens: comics from outer space. (Stupidmonsters is a mini comic Gary did awhile back.)

(Click to enlarge)

Here's a picture from the workshop and another book of comic strips a guy brought in that he'd made:

Here are Ishara and Freya with their alien pictures; these gals spent 18 hours on a coach to get from Bath to Hi-Ex. that's dedication!

Gary, Jim, Dave and I did several comics jams right at our table with some of the visitors. This one's by Jim, me and a girl named Amy.

Here's a fab example of four people making three panels: Amy did the first, Jim did the second, I inked the third and Fiona coloured it in. The other one has panel borders by Jim and comics by the beautifully face-painted visitor.

Jim Medway's table and his alien:

Here's an amazing cat picture I got from Jim, which reminds me of some very old Russian woodcut pictures. I'm totally going to treasure this one.

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10. stratford-upon-avon shenanigans

I've never been so shocked, when we were in Stratford-upon-Avon, our book's publicist, Alex Richardson, stole a sheep! She ran right down the road with it, tucked under her arm. After we spent a night in the Stratford-upon-Avon house of detention, we promised the local constabulary that we'd spend the rest of the weekend leading workshops and generally acting as upstanding role models for the young citizens of Warwickshire at the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival.

But look at that sheep there in the window, standing so complacently. Tell me you wouldn't do the same...

The house of detention was very nice, actually, even though it had the same big picture of a queen in every room.

Since we were publicising the book You Can't Eat a Princess!, we had to bring along our team of aliens, who didn't behave very well at the breakfast table.

One of the wonderful festival organisers, Natasha Roderick-Jones, took us out to super-posh Alveston Manor for lunch in between workshops:

Since we only had a little over an hour, I didn't have a chance to change out of my space princess costume. You should have seen the black looks one elderly lady gave me. It was hard not to giggle.

As part of the festival, Alex and I got to listen to a talk by illustratious BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson. (Don't be too hard on me, I drew if from a fair distance.)

After his talk, Alex and I ran to catch the 9pm Ghost Tour, but the guy at the gate wasn't having any of it. No ghost tour for us.

The school we visited was amazing, they'd made bulletin boards for every guest speaker and really prepped everyone. So the kids were raring to go, and came up with amazing character designs. What a boost! Thank you, Bridgetown Primary School, you guys rock!

Here's Alex and me visiting Shakespeare's birth house.

And my take on the festival logo.

That was an amazing trip, thanks to Alex, Natasha, Steve Blackman, Annie Ashworth and everyone who's been making the festival happen!

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11. space hopping

Today the Space Princess lands at Paddington Children's Library at 2:30. I hope I'm hovering over the right planet (looks like Earth, but there seems to be a slight pinkish haze). Space Hop request permission to land.

Still trying to decide which combination to wear of the costume. I think silver dress and white boots today.

Don't forget, the Comica Social Club meets tonight! Main bar, Royal Festival Hall, 6-9pm. Look out for someone in a green fez.

And Caption comics festival is this weekend! In Oxford! Be there!

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12. mr fart bubble

My Space Hop workshop yesterday at the Paddington Children's Library went well. The librarian Laurence Foe even donned a Storm Trouper outfit and the staff wore antennae so we'd all be space themed! We designed aliens and some of the older kids made space comics. A group of four girls were in stitches with laughter over a comics jam they did together, and they said I could redraw it for my blog today. Here's their version, hee hee!

The writer of You Can't Eat a Princess!, Gillian Rogerson (the other space princess) is meeting up with me for Thought Bubble in Leeds, maybe Mr Fart Bubble will want to come with us.

I'm sitting here at the Fleece Station and just got off the phone with Anne Cottringer, a filmmaker and the writer of our upcoming picture book, When Titus Took the Train. This is almost too good to be true, but Anne is putting in a bid to be honourary Fleece Station member with a documentary about sheep shearing! Here's a fascinating clip about how to shear a sheep. It's awfully therapeutic watching that wool come off.

Anne's Youn Farmers Documentary website link

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13. aliens in essex

I've been a fan for some time of the work of comics creator Marc Ellerby, so I was very glad for an invitation to visit him at work! He set up a children's event at his Waterstone's shop in Lakeside shopping centre and we had a You Can't Eat a Princess! Aliens Party.

It was great getting to do a Comics Jam with Marc, but then I looked over at the finished artwork, to find this little girl adding her two bits to it. She was very pleased with her final result and took it home with her.

Marc let me sabotage the front window and till with on-the-spot drawings and his manager seemed cool with it. (Thanks, guys!) :D

These were my two favourite alien drawings from the day.

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14. aliens in the post!

What a fabulous surprise! Look what arrived today in the post from the writer of You Can't Eat a Princess!, Gillian Rogerson! Aliens! Handmade aliens! And chocolate! (That's in case they got held up in the post, so they wouldn't starve. As everyone knows, aliens LOVE chocolate.)

Next weekend is a very big deal because I get to meet Gillian FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! Everyone thinks we worked very closely together, but actually, Gillian's based up in Leeds and I've only ever spoken to her over the phone, and I've just worked with the Scholastic editor and designer on the book. But that doesn't mean I haven't been insanely curious about her! Gillian has the most lovely voice on the phone. She sounds like a very kind person, I know from a couple story manuscripts of hers that she has a wicked sense of humour, and she already feels like a friend. But meeting her will be amazing, I'm sure. And if you're in Leeds, you can be there, too!

Here's our first event together:

Thought Bubble Alien Attack!
From outer space, writer Gillian Rogerson and illustrator Sarah McIntyre will collide for the very first time at the Thought Bubble comics convention in Leeds on Saturday, 20 November. Creators of You Can't Eat a Princess!, a story about alien abduction and chocolate cake, Gillian Rogerson gets set to visit her first comics convention ever, right in her hometown of Leeds, while Sarah McIntyre will be arriving with fresh copies of her new comic book Vern and Lettuce. Kids of all ages (and that means you, too, grown-ups!) will be welcome to orbit with them at their space station, designing aliens and creating space comics. A perfect and very rare chance to get You Can't Eat a Princess! signed by both creators!

Visit the You Can't Eat a Princess! page for free downloadable activity sheets and space party ideas. And take part in Sarah McIntyre's latest project, designing your own page for a 'Vern and Lettuce' online magazine!

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15. alien dolls!

I've been e-mailing back and forth with Gillian Rogerson, the writer of You Can't Eat a Princess! and she just sent through photos of these dolls she made of the book's characters! Yay!

At last I got to see a copy of the English-language version of the book, and here's me drooling over the cakey endpapers. I did a lot of, um, research into these.

You can already pre-order the book on Amazon, in hardcover and paperback.

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16. prog rockin' stuart

Hooray, happy birthday to Stuart, the best ironing prog rocker on the planet!

Gary popped up to town this afternoon and saw You Can't Eat a Princess! already on sale!!! I thought it wasn't launching til March 1st, so I was well surprised, but also very pleased to see it on the rack at the front of the children's book section in their Trafalgar Square shop. (And it looks like it's on sale on Amazon, too!)

I'm doing some school events at the beginning and giving the book a good push at Hi-Ex comics festival in Inverness, but I just got an e-mail from Scholastic that they're going to take me out for 'fashionista afternoon tea' at The Berkeley to celebrate, whoo hoo! Fashionista tea and cakes!

The author, Gillian Rogerson, just sent me a link to this article on Book Brunch mentioning my stuff and calling for Waterstone's to set up a Best New Picturebook prize alongisde it's Children's Fiction award:

Perhaps all booksellers should consider offering their customers a 'Best New Talent' picturebook range, and creating a sense of discovery and surprise, of diversity and novelty. Perhaps this is the moment to look to build illustrators for the future. Otherwise, as one publisher puts it, "How are you ever going to find another Gruffalo?"

Yes, that would be brilliant! ... a cash prize, maybe? :) I think it's still going to be awhile before I start seeing any royalties.

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17. princess spaghetti costume dilemmas

There's so much fab dress-up in this book that I thought I'd better get together some sort of space princess costume to wear to comics festivals. Ellen offered to help me put together a silver space dress this weekend, but I'm not so sure about the big fluffy blond wig Scholastic gave me. It's AMAZING, but when I put it on this morning and sat in front of the mirror on my wardrobe, I had to come to terms with that fact that because I'm so tall and not exactly sylph-like, it makes me look like a total drag queen instead of a princess. Boo. :(

But I could still wear Princess Spaghetti's tiara! I'm trying to figure out how to do the little baubles in it, they need to look like a cross between big jewels and sweets (or just big bits of plastic, in a pinch), but I'm not quite sure what to use, or how to find them very quickly. Help! Any suggestions?

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18. princess spaghetti tiara

Thanks for all your advice, guys! I followed a lot of your tips, including Covent Garden bead shops and this make-your-own-tiara video from [info]ztoical. While Stuart's been making brownies in the kitchen, I came up with this!

Hehe, I'm getting way too excited about this. It doesn't look exactly like this tiara in You Can't Eat a Princess! because I got distracted by the eyeball beads in the bead shop. But close enough!

Edit: Oops, I dropped the tiara in the brownie dough! I barged into the kitchen and was 'helping' Stuart lick the bowl, so I guess I kind of deserved that one.

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19. cupcake alien friends

I'm doing my first children's event tomorrow, on World Book Day, for my new book, You Can't Eat a Princess!. So I'm taking along some aliens for support, I think they're pretty friendly.

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20. space princess!

Today I got to visit the Discover centre in Stratford, northeast London. The place looks amazing, with bizarre interactive story items packed into every square inch - a giant black dragon in the stairwell, a vibrating bridge, wiggling signposts, and something that had Alex Richardson the publicist and me in hysterics, a door in the toilets that made farting noises every time someone walked in.

I wore my new costume that my fantastic friend Ellen Lindner helped me sew! (Well, Ellen sewed and I cut out some things and flapped around, made tea and stitched some of her quilt square while she sewed.) Alex wore one of my tiaras and brought me a princess than we can eat, and I led the kids in a raucous but hilariously fun session of making our own aliens.

And to top it off, guess who walked in at the end! Remember that Olympics animation I posted awhile ago? Well, it was the marvellous director, Marc Craste from StudioAKA. (You can tell I'm a total fan girl because he even has his own tag on my blog.)

I was slightly embarrassed to be meeting him, looking a bit too much like Dame Edna Everage in my outfit, so I ripped off the pink wig as he walked up, only to realise I had about six bobby pins sticking out of my head, with hair everywhere. Ah, well.
Marc was there to do the workshop after mine... those lucky kids!

Edit: Oo, FPI have just blogged about the British Animation Award nominees, so you can get a look there at work by Marc and loads of other amazing people.

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21. celebration fashionista tea!!!

I'm not one to obsess over Amazon rankings (oh, no, I'm not), but I'd seen numbers like 647,876 for my latest book with Gillian Rogerson, You Can't Eat a Princess! and I was feeling a bit glum about how well it might be doing. ... But no! Yesterday after our workshop, My editor, our publicist and our marketing manager whisked me away for tea with Stuart at a fancy hotel in central London and gave us the good news...

The book's doing VERY WELL! The first print run was 12,000 copies and now they're already placing their order for the THIRD PRINT RUN! And it had only officially been selling for four days!!! Apparently the sales have been happening in the bookshops, not as much online, so that's why I didn't have a clue. Right now the book's selling at independent shops, Waterstone's, Sainsbury's, Tesco and just about to go into WHSmith. When they gave me the numbers, I was totally floored.

But then we ate cake. And amazing cake it was! The Berkeley Hotel had created an amazing Prêt-à-Portea, inspired by recent fashion collections, and it was all froth, frilly icing, brilliant colours and general yummyness. Then at the end, they even gave us lots of little cakes to take away, in special little boxes. Hurrah! I've never felt so spoiled. Thank you so much, lovely book team!

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