It has been busy

IMG_1651It was a busy week. I went to London to sign a stock of “A First Book of Animals” for independent bookshops. It was a big pile of five hundred books and it took me almost five hours to do it. On my way home I got extra book labels to sign “when I have a minute”. I didn’t mind.220 Independent bookshops are doing a great job and we all should do everything to support them. Without independent bookshops things would go down hill very quickly.TOMAnd this is what independent bookshops are doing for us. This is the window of “Tales on Moon Lane” and this one is the Children’s Bookshop in Huddersfield.
davies 1I did a school visit at the lovely little Ewhurst Infant School. I’ve been there before a couple years ago and it was a great day making books with children.

Last week I was also twice at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. On Monday I did an event with Nicola Davies, talking and painting animals from our book. I’m really enjoying these events. Nicola is a great speaker and it is always great fun watching the children being involved and having a good time.

Then I was back on Friday to do a talk about my picture books. I love the Cheltenham festival and I always have a nice audience. I also have a very young audience, but it all works well. It’s simple, the parents who take children to such events are the parents who read books to their children, therefore the children listen well and enjoy the stories.cheltenham

The next stop was in Totnes -Turn the Page Totnes – Children’s Book Festival. Once again I did an event with Nicola. It was brilliant, we even had a real barn owl visitor, who joined us on the stage! IMG_0120

Totnes was really nice and it was one of the festivals, where you can meet up and chat with fellow illustrators and writers and you can also go to see their talks. Nick Sharratt’s event was fun!

I’m now hoping to catch up with my work.1I have these sketches for a picture book on the table and some sketches for a board book too.3I’d better get on with it.

I’m back and the book is out

IMG_6067I’ve been away for three weeks. I was in Prague to start with. I did a couple of talks and met lots of nice people who like books and picture books in particular.unnamed-2

I even met one of my favourite artists and book illustrators – Kvete Pacovska! She signed my book!


Later I travelled to the south of the Czech Republic and spent two weeks in the woods and meadows, counting dears and woodpeckers.

I do this trip to the wild every autumn. I write new ideas for books, I paint and I walk in the woods.IMG_6085Woods are so inspiring. You have to be very careful not to step on something beautiful. I love these mushrooms, they are like little flames in the middle of the woods.

Autumn is my favourite part of the year. Just the sunsets….they are so amazing.

I paint outside, but it’s not always easy. One day the fog lasted for a whole day!IMG_6063

I still finished my picture though.IMG_6131

IMG_6124Here are two more paintings I did.IMG_6129

The whole trip to my home country was great. I did lots of writing and painting. It’s too early to be sure, but I think I have an idea for a nice book!IMG_6091

It’s always hard to go back to the city, but this time I had no chance to think about it. As soon as I came back I did a master class at the University of Worcester and then an exhibition opening of  ”The Worldwide Picture Book Illustration Competition”. What amazing work was there to be seen!

And look what a nice poster was done for me!Horacek-1 3

I then went to the Crickhowell book festival and did an event with Nicola Davies and now I’m off to do the same at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. I’ll be doing a school visit in Ewhurst and I’m in Cheltenham again on Friday…and then Totnes book festival on Saturday…

…and in the middle of everything “A FIRST BOOK OF ANIMALS” by Nicola and me was published! How exciting! I’m off to London to sign a stock of 500 copies. My hand will hurt, I’m sure, but I’m so excited about the book. It was such a fun to work on it.

A First Book of Animals

THANK YOU NICOLA AND WALKER BOOKS for giving me such a wonderful book to illustrate!

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Holiday, advertising and off again

IMG_5880It seems only  yesterday (and it almost is) since we came home from holiday. Rome was hot and full of amazing architecture and Florence is now one of my favourite cities.


Inspiration is everywhere you look. My favourite place in Florence is Covent of San Marco  and the beautiful frescos done by Fra Angelico.


Since we came home I’ve been working on a new idea for a board book. 1 4I like doing board books and I say that a picture book is like writing a novel, but a board book is like writing a poem.

1 5What I mean is, that it’s not easy and one has to be very economical with words and with the story too.

1 8So far I haven’t got very far.

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1 13But I like a challenge.

I’m now going to pack these sketches and tomorrow I’m off to the Czech Republic. I’ll start in Prague doing a couple of talks. One of them on 13th September is going to be in the City Library in Prague. Here is the invitation.

Next day at 16.30 I’ll be doing a little event in a newly opened shop “Hamleys”. They are selling my books in English over there. I’ll also pop into a Czech school.

And finally there will be time to travel to the south of Prague and stay in this beautiful cottage next to the wood and apple orchard, and I will paint, write and sketch new ideas. I can’t wait!

onen svet

This place is magical and I will walk through the woods a lot and I come back with some ideas. My latest picture book “The Greedy Goat” was “born” there.The Gready Goat

I’ll sadly miss a couple of things here in England. One of them is a live creative musical storytelling art show. One of the people behind this project is Ann Bruder. Ann was one of my students in Arvon this year and if you haven’t heard about her yet, you will soon.


Ready Steady GO! is an immersive theatre show for 3-9 year olds and their families which allows the audience to create, decorate and drive cardboard cars. Check Ann’s website for the dates of the tour.
I have just mentioned “Arvon” Centre. If you are interested about writing and illustrating books for children, don’t look any further. Here is one course just for you!

Rooted in Nature: Writing and Illustrating for Children

The tutors on this course are Nicola Davies and Jackie Morris.  I’m sure none of these incredibly talented ladies needs an introduction. As far as I know there may still be some places free.

One thing I’m not going to miss, because it’s in Prague is the exhibition of my good friend Vladimir HanusIMG_4408I used to study with Vladimir at the Academy of Fine Art in Prague. I discovered books for children, but Vlada never stopped painting pictures. His paintings and objects are beautiful and he is definitely one of the best painters around these days.

His paintings are full of colours and light. I can’t wait to see it!

O.k. I’m off. Here is one more finished illustration just before I go.A Big Sniff 2