Good meeting.

Since I wrote my last blog, I’ve received an email from Manor Green School  with a better picture of the hanging mural. So here it is once again, so everybody can see what we did together. Penguins on parade!

image copyThis week I had a meeting with editors and with Nicola Davies. We were discussing our new book “The First Book of Animals”.

I was quite nervous, because it was the first time I was presenting my sketches for the book and was worried about what everybody would say.

I really enjoyed sketching the book. Nicola’s text is great and it’s full of interesting facts. Very inspirational, so doing the research and painting the animals was real fun.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 17.30.48 Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 17.37.47 Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 17.34.15I was quite surprised, that at the end I counted almost seventy pictures! It’s quite a lot I think, since I started sketching only before Christmas.

The meeting was great. We all worked very hard, trying to choose the best pictures and make the best selection of  animals (not every picture and animal will fit in to the book unfortunately).

At the end we had almost finished the lay outs for the book. It was going much better than anybody thought it will. Yes, there is still lots to do, but there are already some pages on which I can start working.

Painting small colour sketches is relatively easy, but now I will have to do a good pencil study of each animal, because Nicola wouldn’t let me get away with any mistakes. She’s already noticed that I can’t draw whales properly and I don’t know how an anemone looks. I even did a terrible mistake of calling an anemone a plant! It’s something you should never do in front of a biologist. Anemone is an animal of course. I tried to correct myself quickly, but I still got a stare.

This is actually what I’m looking forward to as well. To learn more about the animals. Nicola knows practically everything and it’s interesting to listen to her.


I was also sketching some ideas for board books. I got a bit stuck, so I decided to do a bit of painting instead. Here is painting of a big puffin. This picture is inspired by a drawing done by a little girl called Flo. I’ve already painted it once, but this painting is going to be even bigger. IMG_0597 It’s not finished!


There is a penguin in the school

056I went on my first school visit this year. Manor Green School in Maidenhead is a new and modern school. The staff and teachers I met on the day were very nice and very friendly and the children were excited and enthusiastic, ready to hear some of my stories and ready to do some art later on that day.

I did two talks in the morning. One for the children in the junior school and one for the secondary school. It went pretty well and some of  the children attended two of my workshops in the afternoon.

The school had previously asked if I can include some penguins in my workshop, so with the children, we created a big picture full of penguins.unnamedThere were penguins flying, skating, wearing jumpers and funny hats…. Sixty children were involved in making the mural! We all had great fun and I loved the drawings the children did. I got some of  the drawings to take home.ScanThis is a penguin going to a fancy dress party.Scan 2 A picture full of sunshine.Scan 1 A penguin from Ryan.Scan 4A happy picture with two butterflies.

Scan 3 Another picture with the sun shining from Lee.

Scan 6 Soroush gave me this drawing and as I remember he also painted a very colourful penguin flying in the air using three balloons! 048

That day we also opened a new school library and guess what 052
inside was a penguin, reading a book about Puffin Peter.

It was nice to see the children being so excited about their new library.

049 This is me being also excited and trying to fit into one of the seats between the bookshelves.

It was a busy and very nice day at Manor Green. Thank you for inviting me!

Last week I also continued working on the sketches for Nicola Davis’s book.

GorilaHere is a sketch of a gorilla with a baby,Kangarooa kangaroo with joey,

SeahorseseahorsesSnailand a snail. The book is going to have lots and lots of pictures of animals.

One more thing to mention. “Draw In” exhibition which takes place in Port of Tyne GalleryThe Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields, Tyne and Wear NE33 1ES

Artists and writers were asked to nominate one of their friends and to do a portrait of themselves and a portrait of their nominated friend. It should be done from memory.  The nominated friend then will do the same. I drew Tony de Saulles

Tony De Saullesand Tony drew me. photo1Here is the list of the other people who are taking part:

Emma Holliday / Sav Scatola

Valerie Laws /  Malcolm Gerrie

Petr Horacek / Tony De Saulles

Ethen Byrne / Faye Leydon.

Lou Sumray / Jason Sumray

Sudeshna Chattopadhyay / Kriti Chattopadhyay

Charlotte Johannes / Tom Adams

Nick Holmes / Esme Patey-Ford

Suzy Varty / plus name to be confirmed

Carol McGuigan /  Topsy Qur’et

Suzy Varty & Bridget Woodhall

It should be a good exhibition. The private view is 23 Jan 6pm – 8pm  and the exhibition will last until 1st March 2015.  Go and have a look if you can!

Cards and Animals

Personally I don’t ‘get’ Christmas cards. That means I don’t understand what is the point of handing a Christmas card to somebody I speak to almost every day, or what is the point of buying a card and just write your name in it and send it. Still, my wife and I send tons of Christmas cards every year and as a result we get tons of Christmas cards back. Over Christmas the cards are everywhere – on the mantelpiece, on the doors, over the picture frames … Well, they are nice – I must admit.

When Christmas is over I finally have a chance to look at them properly. I find it difficult to identify who is who just from the signature and I’m pretty sure that some of the people I don’t actually know, but I like to read the personal messages and most of all, I like the pictures.

My favourite are of course handmade cards and those which are designed by children. Here is this year’s top list.

Scan 3A card from my clever niece Edith Harrison.



This card is designed by talented Sophia Burleigh.

Scan 2This one is painted by Markus Simojoki.


Scan 1This card came from “Speaking of Books” and is designed by Ellie’s 7 year old daughter Suzie.

I love them all, but my favourite card of Christmas is a picture done by Lucien Coole. Lucian I love the picture and it had its proud place in the middle of our mantlepiece (it’s now moved to my studio).

Apart from admiring other people’s work I did some pictures myself this week.

I’m having a great time sketching a new book called “My First Book of Animals” written by the amazing Nicola Davies.

Jelly FishIn the book should be pictures of jellyfish,Scan 19Monarch butterflies,Blue Morpho ButterflyBlue Morpho butterfly,Wasps wasps,Koala

koala,Ostritch and honeybirdostrich and honeybird ….and even sailfish!


I love doing the research and sketching the animals.

Next week I’m going to visit Manor Green Special School in Maidenhead. It’s my first school visit in 2015, so I’m looking forward to it.

Happy New year and two paintings

IMG_0292Christmas was great! Alright, maybe too much eating and drinking, but I can handle it. I’m a man! In between all the socialising I also found time for the occasional walk.IMG_0450I love walking through the frozen countryside.IMG_0439Look at the frozen leaves of beetIMG_0446or this frozen ground.IMG_0448I decided not to work on books over the Christmas holiday, but I still did some painting.interier - zidlickaThis picture was inspired by one of my recent sketches.
IMG_0225 This sketch of an old lady was inspiration for the next picture.114

interier-japonkaIt’s nice just to paint for fun.

And one more art installation I made just before the end of 2014 . What you need is six Lindt Lindor Truffles (keep the wrappings) and one Ferrero Rocher for the star. Yes, ….I know.


Christmas Shopping and Zebras



Sometime ago I mentioned, that I’m looking forward to my collaboration with Nicola Davies. Last week I delivered the final illustrations for my latest book to my publisher and at the same time I collected Nicola’s finished manuscript of our book.

I thought I won’t start anything new before before Christmas. All I wanted to do was just write Father Christmas a letter and send Christmas cards to friends. Then I looked at Nicola’s text and poems. IT’S BRILLIANT!

The book is going to be called “My First Book of Animals” and it will have as many as 100 pages – fifty double spread pictures.

I’m so excited, I can’t wait to start working on it. First I thought I will make just pencil notes…IMG_0249


but then I started to read all about animals of different sizes, IMG_0250and colours…IMG_0256


Scan 6I couldn’t help it and I started to paint.

Scan 5Orangutan with its baby in the tree nest.

Scan 4Tiger in the night.Scan 9300 000 different beetles!

Scan 13Spider in the bath.

This is one of my favourite poems in the book.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 17.12.25Scan 8Did you know that the Tsetse fly doesn’t like stripes? I did this sketch and then I remembered that I must have somewhere spare drawings of Zebras. I opened a draw and this is what I found – lots of zebras.

IMG_0260I’m really looking forward to reading more about all the wonderful animals and do more sketching.

I also thought that I should get properly ready for next year and stock-up on materials – paint and papers.

I’m lucky. I have a nice neighbour Alison, who has a nice brother Alexander and Alexander has a nice Art shop – Alexander Paper Supplies.

I went to do the shopping with all my family and was very impressed by how we were welcomed! Look, there was even a welcoming sign with coffee and biscuits ready!


On the picture is Alexander, my daughters and my wife Claire (she is the smallest one) and me.

Alexander, with help of his sons Alexander, Oliver and a couple of employees, has been successfully running his business for 20 years. He is so enthusiastic about his job. He took us to his warehouse full of amazing machines and showed us everything and he also took as for lunch! What a day.

If you decide to stock-up on materials in Alexander Paper Supplies  I can’t promise you a free lunch, but I can guarantee, that you wan’t be disappointed. You will be treated well and you will get any advice you may need from Alexander or from his nice dad Bill who, as Alexander said, is giving advice to anybody no mater if he wants it or not.

Well and that is it for now. Time to celebrate Christmas!

Happy Christmas


Finished Book

IMG_0202I finished and delivered “Blue Penguin”, my latest book! It’s always a strange feeling when the book is finished. You wake up the next day and realise, that there is nothing to do. It’s a bit of a relief, a bit sad and a bit of panic about what next.

At that moment I started tiding up my studio. In the last couple of weeks the floor in my studio was covered with paper, prints and cut out images of penguins. It’s quite therapeutic tiding up, throwing away all the notes you don’t need anymore and bad sketches. It gives you time to think about what to do next.

So “Blue Penguin” is finished and ready to be published next November, ready for Christmas 2015 I guess.

IMG_0225I had some time, so I did a couple of drawings in my sketch book.

Tiding up I also rediscovered a drawing done by a little boy in one of the schools I visited recently.IMG_1170I absolutely love it, so I did my version of the drawing.IMG_0220

And later on I did a bigger picture.

IMG_0219I had also time to catch up with things I promised to do and haven’t done yet. One of them was to do two portraits.

Some time ago I was asked if I would like to contribute to the exhibition called “Drawn In”. Artists and writers were asked to nominate one of their friends and to do a portrait of themselves and a portrait of their friend. It should be done from memory.  The nominated friend then will do the same.

I liked the idea and I choose to draw my friend and fellow illustrator “Tony De Saulles“. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I’ve known Tony for some time. He has a great sense of humour and a nice smile. The smile suits him, but as much as I tried I couldn’t make Tony smile, so in the end I drew him rather miserable. It made me smile and I hope he will like it.

I also couldn’t draw him without his bag hung over his shoulder and some of his characters he draws so well.

Tony De SaullesHere is Tony.



And here is me.

The exhibition is open on 24th January until 1st March 2015 and will be at The Customs House, South Shields.

As I was finishing this blog Tony sent me his drawings.photoI think the bike suits me!