Monday, June 28, 2010

The Remarkable Rocket

If, like me, you find yourself despairing of the terrestrial radio available where you live, then you should investigate the BBC iPlayer. If you live in Britain you can even watch TV programmes on there.
I find myself listening to Radio 4 plays and factual programmes a lot. The Radio 7 section is brilliant for BBC productions from the past. Right now they are doing some of Oscar Wilde's Fairy stories such as the Remarkable Rocket.
Above is one of my illustrations for that story from "Oscar Wilde: Stories for Children".

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Life study of Fiona

Here's a recent life painting of Fiona.
I might do a little more work on this one.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"The Story of Britain" by Patrick Dillon

One of the books I was working on recently is The Story of Britain by Patrick Dillon.
It was a very enjoyable book for me to work on, and, as it had a nice tight deadline, it helped me to get myself out of the doldrums I had fallen into with other projects.
I met Patrick for the first time at Walker Books' big party last week, and I am pleased to say he turned out to be a really nice guy and a very interesting character.
His history is written in an accessible style but with a certain gentle authority that I think will give it a very wide appeal.
My own contribution to the book was to paint a lot of heads of kings, queens and other key figures and also a number of other scenes to decorate the book. It is very much all about Patrick's text, but being a Walker book it will of course be a beautiful production.
I'll let you know when I hear the publication date.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Walker Books' 30th Birthday Party

I was over in London at Walker Books' 30th Birthday Party last week.
Michael Thorn of the excellent Achuka website took a bunch of great photos of the occasion.
There are even a couple of me which luckily were taken while the night was still young.
It was great to catch up with a lot of old friends and also to meet some of the newer writers and artists working for Walker.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Walker Books

Walker Books are celebrating their 30th birthday, and I'm delighted to have been a Walker illustrator for most of that time.
I found a website where someone had helpfully uploaded some rarely seen work from my first Walker book about a little bald princess called "Melisande" , as well as pictures from "East of the Sun, and West of the Moon" and "The Candlewick Book of Fairy Tales". Thanks to the mystery scanner,
Here are a few of those illustrations from my early fairy tale books.

Seeing these makes me want to do another fairytale collection.
Happy Birthday Walker Books!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Artful Beer Mat

I think my most bizarre claim to fame was that I was once portrayed on a beer mat.
In fact I was one of several artists who modelled for our friend Jon Berkeley when he was commissioned to do a very large painting for a pub in Dublin's Temple Bar area called the Porterhouse.
I haven't got a shot of the painting itself, but here is the beer mat they made from the portion that had me and another illustrator, Angela Clarke, in it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Coincidence?

Do you remember I posted an item called A Freakish Coincidence?
It was about how an artist (in this case me) might unconsciously replicate another person's composition.
Here is a less close example of a painting I did for East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and a similar composition from The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.
Looking at them together, they aren't so alike, but it often occurred to me whilst reading The Runaway Bunny to my kids that maybe I had seen this picture years earlier, and had stored the design somewhere in the back of my mind. The more likely answer is probably to do with there only being so many ways to lay out the essential elements over a two page spread, so that similar designs will sometimes spring up independently.
I have to say I think The Runaway Bunny is an awful book, but the author and illustrator really got it right with their classic Goodnight Moon.

Check out different approaches to East of the Sun and West of the Moon on the excellent Sur La Lune website.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tail Feathers from Mother Goose

I was talking to some illustrator friends last night about the joy of working in black and white. Then I realised just how long it has been since I illustrated anything using ink line drawings.
Here's one I did back in the 1980s for a Walker anthology called "Tail Feathers from Mother Goose: The Opie Rhyme Book" .