stories and illustration

Children and Bears

October 26, 2019 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Midnight Hare page 27


Instead of putting the text on to pictures in illustrations which are quite specific as to their edges, I have decided to put the text against the background colour, so that it is quite separate.  To make the images fit thus on to the size of paper I have chosen, I widened the illustrations and then reduced them, so they are a slightly different shape than before, and there is enough space left to put in the text. It is much easier to do such alterations when using gouache, neocolor crayons and ordinary coloured pencils rather than watercolour with pen and ink, which is such an unforgiving medium.  I started to repaint the illustrations, but I like the feeling of these two, so decided to alter them.  Milo has been given a few more possessions – I liked the bareness of his room aesthetically, but thought he looked a tad deprived.

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment



“JUMP!” said the Midnight Hare.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Centre for the Children’s Book,, Newcastle: The Little Boat

Newcastle 3

Renovations of a magical place, the Centre for the Children’s Book, opening again in July. The Centre is set in Ouseburn, a very individual  part of Newcastle upon Tyne – spent a wonderful day there with a friend of long-standing. Every time I go there is something new to see – an inexhaustible area of the city.

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Centre for the Children’s Book Newcastle: Renovations 2

Newcastle 2

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Centre for the Children’s Book, Newcastle: Renovations 1

Newcastle 1


June 22, 2015 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boat on the Other Bank

Fishing BoatI am in England, that boat over there is in Scotland.  These days I am fascinated by the shapes of trees, I think I am gearing myself up to paint a boy in a wood, a boy who is following the cry of a captured hare. Trouble is, the story is set in June, and the trees I am enamoured of are in their February colours. What will change, the colours or the season? I saw some historical Japanese armour and horse armour last Sunday, and I fell for those colours too – dark red, metal grey, buff. sienna, dark brown, gold, silver, black. Charismatic, strange, beautiful. Coming back home today I came across a tree full of bullfinches – well, four or five of them, and some of their colours are in the same range.  My favourite birds, I haven’t seen any for more than ten years.  “Fairy birds” I believe is one of their folk names.  I couldn’t take proper pictures of them, as I only had my small camera today, as I wasn’t intending to take many photographs; and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see bullfinches. I’ll go on the qui vive over the weekend with the camera that magnifies more, and see if they are still haunting the place,tearing the buds off the tree with little jerks of their heads.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trees Across the River 2

Trees Across the River 2This is the feeling that I want for the woods in my picture book.  The part that is set in woodland talkes place at nightime, but maybe I will just put some stars in a lilac sky to signify the dark, and keep these delicate colours.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Painting, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wintering Swans on The Lees


The bridge in the background of this photograph is a remnat of the Borders Railway, a ghost railway that is now rising Lazarus-like between Tweedbank and Edinburgh, rendering parts of Galashiels temporarily chaotic.

We are being threatened with snow, which may ravage the flowers already shooting up in the garden and in the woods.  However, the frost on the ground this morning has disappeared, so I shall take a brisk walk up to the farm on the top of the hill, with its union jack flying from the top of the silo, and then walk down the lane between the russet beech hedges. It is dark this morning, which feeds melancholy, but I shall soon feel happy ensconced in the Tardis, with new songs to listen to, the blower heating up the place, the birds feeding outside the window to provide endless distraction, and the mounting pile of roughs to work on.  It is a good feeling to find new ideas moving into a story that I wrote in a couple of hours more than a year ago. If an idea still interests after a year, that is a good sign. Soon I shall sharpen some crayons on my miraculous Mitsubishi hand-cranked pencil sharpener (which came all the way from Japan with instructions in Japanese, so I have only just worked out how to use it properly) and get out my array of new gouache paints, and really get to work.


January 28, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

River Tweed, Late Afternoon, Nearly Dark, Freezing

River TweedAfter blue skies for days, at last a touch of winter, snow on the hills, ice in the air, mudtracks frozen.  I go walking past the fishing hut, where one is requested not to walk as it disturbs those fishing, but today no-one is there, not even the keeper with his black dogs, only some guinea fowl. Taking a few pictures my hands are freezing, so  I put them on the back of my neck for a few minutes to warm them up before putting my gloves back on. Is all this displacement activity because I should be in The Tardis working? There is one illustration that I am trying to plan out, but it is the big quandary, the design of this drawing: however, I shall go on thinking and experimenting until I have something I am satisfied with.  I want to do something new, really – new to me, anyway.  I find myself looking at trees and wondering how to draw them so that they have individuality, and are not just  standard “tree”.  Treetrunks aren’t really brown at all, for instance. I suppose that having a digital camera has made me look at things with more attention.  So the dance between the observed, the media  and the imagination begins. At least I have a studio full of lush paint and crayons just waiting to be used. Meanwhile I scrat out one more rough.  We’re getting there, I think… anyway, it was good to be out in the open air, freezing my mitts in this winter come at last.

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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