One more tiger

Last time I showed a little drawing, done by a child, which inspired me to draw a couple of tigers.IMG_9609I didn’t know when to stop, so I painted this picture.

One mo e tigerI also started to work on the final illustrations for my latest book. This is the very first picture and also first spread in the book. IMG_9638The text will say: “Far away in the south a blue penguin was born.”

I can’t wait to get on with the rest of the book. I’m very excited, although the text is still not quite finalised, but my editors and I are working on it very, very hard.

rekiama 069In the mean time, as I’m waiting, I looked at this old picture I did a long time ago. I still like it. I often take the picture with me to schools and  talk about the cat, who was rather special.  I thought I should perhaps have a go and do one more picture like that.

IMG_9641So I did.

 

 

Penguin and Tiger

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Some picture books are relatively easy to do and some take absolutely ages. I’m working on a book about a penguin. Next month it’s going to be a year since I started it. I’ve changed the story so many times that I’ve lost count.

This is definitely one of the more difficult books to write.

Scan 6How many times I’ve thought about leaving it and write something else instead, but few days later I would have another go. The truth is, that I’m really enjoying sketching the pictures. In fact I can’t wait to start working on the final pictures.

I’m going to see my publisher next week. I hope that we will finish the text and I will get approval to start working on the final illustrations then.

IMG_9620But I’ve already started to sketch the main character. IMG_9622IMG_9623

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Yes I know, you don’t see a blue penguin every day, but that’s what the story is going to be about.

Last week I wrote about how I get inspiration from drawings done by children.

As a student of Fine Art I learnt a lot from copying paintings done by well known artist. Now I’m trying to learn from copying children’s drawings. This tiger was done by a child in one of the schools I visited last year. IMG_9609
I love the drawing, so I thought I would have a go myself.

IMG_9625 Here are my tigers.

IMG_9627Tiger chasing zebras.

IMG_9629 Two tigers IMG_9630

and one jaguar. I love the idea of the tigers having a greeny blue head. It makes them more scary, don’t you think? Definitely.

 

Looking for inspiration

It’s still summer. People from publishing houses and editors are still on holiday, work’s slowed down. This gives me time to look through my sketchbooks and think about some new ideas. To be precise, I’m looking for some inspiration from my older sketches and ideas.

IMG_9596Here is one I quite like. An early sketch for a novelty book. It takes me some time to understand what it was that I wanted to do. It’s like looking at old family photos and trying to work out who is who.

At the right corner of the page is a drawing done by a child from a school I’ve visited.

I love little drawings I’m presented with. I keep the originals or at least I take a photo.

IMG_9609Look at this flying tigerIMG_9603or the crocodile.

IMG_9605Here is one of my favourites – Puffin.

It reminds me that my neighbours’ daughter Flo also gave me a beautiful card with a drawing of a puffin.

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I keep the card in my studio and I look at it quite often. I wanted to make a copy of drawing for some time. Finally this summer I had the time to do it. It was great fun.PUFFIN - paintingHere is the final canvas.

 

 

 

I love Edinburgh

IMG_9213It’s time to start working again after a nice holiday. What a better place to do it than in Edinburgh.
Last Saturday and Sunday I was doing talks with workshops at The Edinburgh Literary Festival.
I love Edinburgh as a city and I love the Edinburgh book festival. The festival is always so well organised with a great programme, nice people to work with and great audiences.audience

IMG_9211Here is a picture of Natasha. A little girl who came to my event with her best friend. I like Ted (that is his name) who was patched up so many times that he became an amazing piece of art.

IMG_9210With children we made little books at the Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab. The book was of course about Little Mouse.

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At the festival I had time to see a couple of very interesting and inspiring events. David Roberts and Sally Gardner talking about their book “Tinder” was one of them and I enjoyed it very much, but the highlight was Judith Kerr and her son Matthew Kneale.

judithJudith Kerr is so inspirational, witty, funny and a talented artist. Real treat to see and hear her live!
As for me, Edinburgh also gives me a good chance to meet up and catch up with fellow artists and authors. I already mentioned the great organisation of the whole event, but I was also very pleased to see the bookshop at the Edinburgh book festival.  Lots of space and very well stocked! Most of my recent books were there including the new pop up version of Silly Suzy Goose and some of my board books.bookshelfTalking about board books – I have two new board books out! IMG_9272

A Surprise for Tiny MouseIMG_9270

and “Where Do You Live Snail“?

IMG_9269I’ve been recently quite busy working on a new picture book and  promoting  ”The Mouse Who Ate The Moon”, so I completely forgot about publication day for these two board books.

In the past I may have said enough about the importance of board books, so let me just say that I’m AGAIN very pleased with the quality of  the board books Walker Books is publishing. The books are always beautifully printed. The colours are great and so is the quality of the card. Long live Walker Books!

 

Making books and tennis

Working at this time of the year is so hard for me. The reason is Wimbledon of course. I haven’t seen much of it during the first week, but I was only in two schools this week, so I was “working” in front of the telly, but multi tasking is not my strong point.

Congratulations to Ms Petra Kvitova!

This week I was in a really nice school Kingham Hill School. I was invited and very well looked after by librarian Donna. For two days I was working with children from year 8.

We were developing ideas for picture books and we were also making little concertina books.

IMG_8822It was good fun, but also a very intense two days. I started on Tuesday with a presentation of my work and after introducing myself and explaining what we were going to do, we started working on the stories.

I was simultaneously working with two classes. Together it was 39 children. IMG_8845

Working with 39 children on their stories is an achievement I’m quite proud of. IMG_8851 The truth is that I enjoyed the challenge and looking at the children’s work I’m quite confident to say that the children enjoyed it too.

IMG_8847I didn’t know the children and you never know what can happen in workshops like this. The start was slow, but pretty soon it was obvious that I’m working with some really talented children.

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Some of their work was amazing. Just look at these few pictures!IMG_8815This is probably one of my favourite illustrations. IMG_8816

I would happily queue for  a book with these illustrations of the flying mouse.

IMG_8848Here is an illustration from a novelty book. This book had holes in the pages.

IMG_8831Another beautiful picture.

IMG_8839And here is a book and story which doesn’t need any comments. The boy knew exactly what he’s doing. The pictures were simple and bold, the story was very good.

IMG_8841His book was about a penguin. I’m also working on the book about a penguin, but I’m stuck with finalising the text. I thought about giving myself a little break from it (another excuse to watch tennis) and prepare and stretch papers for the illustrations instead.

Since my book is going to be about a penguin, I will paint lots of snow. Here is one more book from the girl from Kingham Hill School. Plenty of snow there.

IMG_8827Isn’t it great?

Well, you can see how exited I was working with such talented children.

These two days were my last two days at schools before the holiday. I’m going to Czech Republic for a few days and I was just sent this photo.Puffin PeterMy Czech translation of Puffin Peter. Czech Republic hasn’t got sea and I was always wondering how many people know what Puffins are, but paradoxically this is also what the book is about.

I’m writing this blog soon after the men’s final and what a final it was! I wished somebody jumped out when the score in the fifth set was 4:4, stopped the match and shouted: “That’s it! Both of the finalist are winners and they are going to share the cup. I would be happy with that. It didn’t happened and Djokovic won at the end.

Congratuations Mr Djocovic! I do hope he is going to read my blog. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of books

It’s nearly the end of the school year. How does it effect me? Quite a lot actually. This year I visited more schools than ever before. I still have two school visits next week, but the holidays are around the corner.photo-3

 Going to schools, talking to children and doing workshops is very inspiring for me and I do enjoy it. photo-6I will never get tired of seeing children drawing these amazing  pictures

photo-5O.k. it can be hard work too. Talking from morning to late afternoon to hundreds of children and their teachers, making sure that everybody is happy isn’t always easy.

But what makes my job much easier is the agency SPEAKING OF BOOKS , run by Kate, Elli and Jan Powling. Speaking of Books organises my school visits and events and they are do a great job. I’ve just realised that I’ve been with them for a few years and I can’t  praise them highly enough for what they do!

It’s always nice to see children being excited about the visit. It’s good to know that they are inspired to read more books, perhaps write some stories themselves or do pictures (or both).

For me it’s  great to see children’s reactions towards my books and I do get inspired by their enthusiasm.

Apart from organising my events Speaking of Books also sells quite a big number of my books at schools. It does make a difference these days when it is so hard to get books in to the bookshops. It’s appreciated not just by me, but also by the publisher, I’m sure.

I realised how long I’m with Speaking of Books last Tuesday when I went to Yardley Primary School in Birmingham . It was one of the first schools I visited some time ago. Three lovely ladies I know were waiting for me.  Phyllis, Pat and Denise. They are now retired, although Denise has few more days at her lovely school.

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I did two talks and we made this picture. It was a great day and nice to see familiar faces.

On Monday I was at Stanley Road Primary School in Worcester. Again, I know the deputy head Stephen Murphy, who is a writer and poet himself.

Wednesday – I was picked up from the hotel where I was staying by Lisa, the head teacher of the primary school, Samuel Ryder Academy in St. Albans. I know Lisa. I visited the school where she used to be before she the became head teacher. It was nice to meet up again. I had a good day in the new school.  It seems that the theme of  the week was Elephant and Suzy Goose.

photo-2On Thursday I was took part in a celebration to open the new Primary School in Tooting in London. Of course, opening a new school is always an exciting experience not just for children and parents, but for everybody involved. Great day. Brilliant Jeremy Strong was also there.

On Friday I was mainly doing emails and I fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon watching Wimbledon. I was tired though.

This week I’m going to Kingham Hill School in Kingham. I will work with children on ideas for picture books. These workshops can be challenging and I never know what exactly can happen, but it only makes it more exciting.

I’m looking forward to it.

photo-4Here is one more picture. This one was done by a teacher. Who said that pigs can’t fly?