The Mouse Who Reached the Sky!

Summer holiday is over, at least for me. I had a great time traveling and visiting lots and lots of galleries and museums.IMG_0624Here I am in one of them – The Eric Carl Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. I’m trying on the wings of the butterfly. Guess from which book is it from!

I’m now back in my studio. When I got home a parcel was waiting for me. Inside were the copies of my new book The Mouse Who Reached the Sky!

The Mouse Who Reahed the sky 2

I’m packing for Edinburgh Literature Festival. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities and The Edinburgh Festival is one of my favourite festivals. I’m going to talk and also do a workshop about Little Mouse who reached the sky.

As I was getting ready I found some of the earliest sketches for the book.IMG_8762 copyThis is a sketch for the cover.


Here I was trying to choose the most suitable mouse for the picture. IMG_0242.JPG


IMG_0250.JPGIllustrating this page from the book was fun!

9This is the final artwork from the book.

We already have a paperback cover ready.Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 08.10.47The paperback is made from thinner paper, so it can’t have the cut out in the front and the cover is a bit different.

I can’t wait to read the book to children and find out if they like it.

Since I was home I also finished two pictures for the book with Nicola Davies – My First Book of Animals.

Polar Bear 2Here is a polar bear with cubs

Penguinsand an emperor penguin looking after an egg.

Painting snow in the summer is rather refreshing.


Crocodile before I go

It’s time for a holiday, so I was finishing bits and pieces, before I go,

I also did a picture of a crocodile with babies.CrocodileCrocodiles are fascinating animals and I got a bit stuck watching documentary films as I was doing the research.

Talking about babies and crocodiles, here is an interesting picture I came about. I don’t think this crocodile would be very happy.

tumblr_kssmi2zztx1qa9b8ro1_500On the other hand this crocodile looks quite happy.funny-wallpaper-of-a-crocodile-with-butterflies-on-his-headI was also looking through my little sketchbooks, trying to find some pictures of crocodiles. I found two.85Here is a picture of a very large crocodile eating a tiger.

86And here is a picture of a very large crocodile being eaten by a monster.

O.K. enough about crocodiles. I must pack my suitcase.

Next week on my holiday I will pop into Candlewick Press. I’m really excited. I’ve never been to Boston before!

Candlewick Press recently published my book The Fly.1I promised to do a little talk about my work and about this book too. It took ten years from my first idea to do a book about a fly to actually publishing the book.

It was wort the wait I think. I enjoyed working on the book.

One more piece of news. It’s only couple of weeks before “The Mouse Who Reached the Sky” is going to be published!

The Mouse Who Reahed the skyHurray!


If I were a Bird

IMG_1290This week it was my birthday, so I was watching the Moon.

I was also working on “My First Book of Animals”. I was painting bees.

Bee 1 copyI decided not to write about bees in this blog because one can get stuck with the subject for ever. Bees are rather fascinating creatures.CamelsNext picture was picture of camels. Here is the sketch andCamel copyhere is the final picture.

I know, there is always something special about the sketches, but one has to keep in mind that the book is for children who may have never seen a camel before, so I have to be more realistic.

I looked at my little sketchbook for some more drawings of a camel.20Here is one! He should have just one hump, but he has two.

The next illustration I did this week was a picture of a waver bird. It’s rather fascinating how they make their nests.Wever bird copyTalking about birds. My friend and brilliant artist Piet Grobler gave me a picture for my birthday.Scan 1

I know – it’s beautiful! Apparently it’s a portrait of me if I was a bird. I love the picture and it’s already hanging on the wall so I can look at it all the time.

I looked at my sketchbooks and found lots of strange birds.176Some of them have faces and ears.177Some of them are just weird and have noses.159Here is a woodpecker.

239This is some kind of kingfisher, but the truth is – I made him up.191 Same as this very colourful duck.182This magpie and pigeon are not made up at all.194

And I like this strange bird. Not just for his bravery, but I like the colours too.

And the winner is ….

Salvatore Rubbino! He won the IBW children’s book award. CONGRATULATIONS! “A Walk in Paris” is a beautiful book publish by Walker Books, so let the best one win!



Meanwhile  I have to be happy with being shortlisted with “The Mouse Who Ate the Moon”. And I’m happy!petr horacek

People running independent book shops are people who know their books and they are good at what they do.

They have to be since it is not easy to be able to compete with big booksellers these days . You have to put in a bit extra to stand out.


Over the last couple of weeks I was painting a farmer’s family for my next book11and I also finished a couple of illustrations for Nicola Davies’ and my book “My First Book of Animals”.

oatritch an hummingbirdHere is an ostrich and a hummingbird. Did you know that a hummingbird is as big as an aye of an ostrich?

Sea turtleI have painted little turtles

Owland a big owl.Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 15.43.12I love Nicola’s poems. The text is inspiring me to do my best.

antsHere are ants.

I know woods in the Czech Republic where ants’ nests are so big that they can reach up to my waist and I’m quite a tall man.

Komodo dragon 2.uncropedTalking big, here is a Komodo dragon and a drawing of a sleeping lion.Lion I’m also finishing off pictures of bees, elephants, monkeys but more about that next time.IMG_0168Just one more picture. This is a new fan of board books – Guy Harrison. He knows a good book when he sees it!

Showing pictures

IMG_0613Claire Harrison – “Gate at the Other World” mixed media

Mark and Clare de la Torre, Adrienne Craddock, Claire Harrison and I are having exhibition!

One always forgets how much work it is to get everything together, frame and hang the pictures, make invitations and invite people, buy wine and food…and have a PARTY!

The private view was last Friday. The weather was fabulous. Lots of people came and the evening was great.


Here is the display of the beautiful jewellery made by Clare de la Torre. My paintings are hanging on the wall.

Over the weekend five of us were making coffee, pouring wine and chatting to people who came to see our work.IMG_0597 copy

This is display of Mark’s pots and lamps. The paintings are done by my wife Claire Harrison.IMG_0607I decided to exhibit some of my illustrations from books and also some of my small paintings and drawings on vellum.



There was enough space for my tigersWalking Tiger

and even more space for my big paintings.From the GardenThese are three swimming giraffes.

Three swimming giraffesThe picture called “Late Breakfast” was finished only a couple of days before the exhibition. It’s one of a series of ten pictures. I named the series “Interiors”.

Late breakfastThe exhibition will be on for one more weekend, so come to see us if you can! The opening time is Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm.

p.h. Exhibition





p.h. ExhibitionWe are having an exhibition! As the poster says it will run for two weekends 6-7th and 13-14th June.

Mark de la Torre is a great potter.satin-stainlesslgClare de la Torre makes beautiful jewellery. netsukelg

Adrienne Craddock is a brilliant printer and painter.


Claire Harrison is a painter. I love her work and not just because Claire is my wife!


Some time ago, when we were discussing the possibility of having an exhibition, I was thinking: “Shall I show my illustrations, or shall I exhibit my paintings?”  Then I looked at my work and realised that these two are getting closer together these days.In the CloudsI have less time for painting big pictures and I spend lots of time traveling around schools and book festivals talking to children. I do get inspired by children’s work and drawings. Sometimes their sketches make it in to my paintings.

PUFFIN - paintingI also get inspired by some of my illustrations and take them a bit further. Kitten (Kocicka)

Bird on ScooterI call this series of ten paintings “Interiors”.

Birds on ChairRecently I was also painting on pieces of vellum. The small paintings are inspired by notes and sketches from my small sketchbooks. They are silly ideas and dreams.

Here is “Mammoth hunters”.Mamuth hunters“A Falling Giraffe”falling giraffe..and “Something else”.

RunI framed these small drawings in deep frames.p. horacek

It was good fun to get ready for the exhibition and Mark and I made ceramics together as well. Well, Mark did the hard bit – the pots – and I just drew on them. They are not completely finished yet. We still have a couple of days!

I think that’s all about the exhibition. I hope you can make it.

Oh, yes I did an interview for KINDERLIT.  There is also a nice little introduction to Czechoslovakian illustration.