Ice Sculptures

Here are some ice sculpture photos I took at the Festival of Angels in York at the weekend:

The sculptures were a complete surprise, and so even more of a delight to discover.

They made the first batch for Saturday lunchtime, but their features had melted by the end of the day, so they brought out new ones on Sunday.

Gala Day pics

Though I took my camera to the NCBF Gala Day, I forgot to get it out, so I've had to wait for other people's pictures.

This is a nice one of Julia Jarman and I, signing after our event. Love the face painting, especially that cute tiger!

"D'ya know what it is yet..?"

Here is Julia, leading the pirate singing, during our Class Three all at Sea storytelling:

While she was doing that, I was unfortunately looking like this:

Big Draw in Corby

Here are some of the brilliant drawings done by families in Corby, celebrating the Big Draw:

We had a great time, decorating the floor of the big hall at the Kingswood Children's Centre, which we covered in huge sheets of card:

Everyone mucked in together on some pictures:

Families worked together on others:

Or groups of friends, or siblings:

Some children worked on their own:

And so did some adults:

I'm not sure what this is, but it looked really interesting:

Working on the floor, we had some problems with footprints, as you can see, so after a while we put away the charcoal sticks!

A great time was had by all - you can read more about the day on my main blog.

Drawing Train Portraits Again:

I'm sure you will have read my tales of woe, regarding my last batch of school visits, done under the influence of a lingering cold, and finally ending in laryngital-imposed silence!

Well, the good news is that I at least didn't get a runny nose til later, so I still managed to get quite a few sketches under my belt.

These are a few of the ones that I couldn't fit onto the regular blog. Mmmm - I just realised that they are all men. I must admit, I like the craggy, hairy, boney nature of men's faces. We girls can be a bit fresh and gorgeous!

If you want some hot tips on drawing people in public, check out this post.

Edinburgh Festival with Julia Jarman

If you read my blog on the festival, you will remember that my camera died almost immediately, so I got very few pics. Fortunately, Tom Breslin, husband of author Theresa Breslin and a friend of Julia Jarman, took photos.

This is us on stage, as the audience are let into the theatre. Doesn't Julia make a dashing pirate?

When the event finishes, you are taken to the festival bookshop, where you do your signing. This is also a lovely opportunity to chat to people who enjoyed the show enough to buy a book.

You only hope you're not unlucky enough to be signing on the next table to someone like Julia Donaldson: every author/illustrator will at some time suffer the humiliation of sitting like a lemon, trying to look busy, while their more famous neighbour slogs through a queue stretching 3 times round the block!

As you can see though, Julia and I had a great time, as we always do when we perform together. We are both as giddy as each other.

Thanks Tom!

Wicked, Eh? That's Brill!

I just got a lovely parcel of feedback forms from Stockport Art Gallery, where I did a day of workshops recently, based on Dragon's Dinner.

I'd like to share some with you, as well as these great photos taken on the day by local amateur photographer Ian Benson. Thanks Ian - they're smashing!

"Wicked. I really enjoyed drawing the dragon and I have learnt how to draw character, and that you can express their emotions through the picture, not the use of speech bubbles. Very interesting art lesson."

"It was brill because I learnt a lot. It was the best!"

"I thought it was really good. The bit I enjoyed most was when Lynne gave away her pictures she drew. I also enjoyed when she let us try it ourselves. The whole if it was really good!!! Thank you."

"Utterly amazing!"

"I think it was really fun. I have always wondered how to draw a dragon, a SCARY dragon."

"Very very very very great. The best in the world."

Isn't that just lovely? Makes me feel all warm and squishy. Thank you to everyone who came and worked so hard. I'm so pleased you had fun.

A Sunny Weekend at Last!

At last, some sun! It was so nice to be able to potter about and just sit with my feet up in the garden late Saturday afternoon:

Feet Up!

Then on Sunday we went for a lovely, long walk along Stanage Edge in Derbyshire.

John on Stanage Edge

John celebrated the good weather in his usual fashion, as you can see.

As we were resting thus, on the flat rock on the cliff edge, a head suddenly appeared just 12" from John's head: a climber coming up from the below!

Dancing the Night Away!

Regular visitors will know how much I like jiving. I did this pen & ink drawing of my favourite, 1950s dancing dress a few weeks ago, and have been waiting for an opportunity to add the colour.

Jiving dress

It was hanging on the wardrobe door, because I was just about to get dressed up to go to a big ball in Stockport.

You can see what the dress looks like in action here.

Drawing Micheal

I did some lifedrawing last night. It's been a while - last time I went was back in April.


Luckily the group has moved from the cupboard-room, and is trying out a new space: my friend Tim's new studio in town, which sounds rather swish, but is actually very basic and still not exactly massive, but miles better.


Micheal is a great model who keeps very still, and is wonderfully long and bony, with a really dramatic profile.
We started with some 10 minute poses, like the two above, mashed some tea, then did an hour long pose: the drawing at the top.

Just Time to Whip Out the Sketchbook!

This is a sketch I did sitting on the grass in on the edge of the playground during my visit to Lound Infant School. If you are a regular visitor, you'll know I've got rather into playing with tinting my drawings, either in Photoshop or with watercolour, and this was no exception. You can see the tinted version on my main blog.

When I got home from the school, I had time to sit in the garden for a while and so did this sketch, looking back towards the house. I love these incredibly tall poplars and the way the sway in the breeze. Again, the tinted version is on the main blog.

Beg, Borrow and Steal

Well luckily I didn't have to steal, but I did beg and borrow. I thought you might like to see the miraculous outfit I cobbled together for my friends' Czech wedding.

I was a bit of a disaster zone... Not only did I very nearly set fire to myself during the groom's speech, but I managed to leave my dress hanging on my wardrobe door, back in England! I didn't discover it until the day before, and only had combat trousers and t-shirts.

Instead of being freaked out, I saw the funny side. Fortunately people rallied round, rummaged in their cases and gave me lots of bits and pieces to try on. Incredibly I managed to look fairly acceptable in the end. Phew!

I touched up the sketch I did of the bride and groom, with the aid of the wedding photos, and made it into a post-wedding congratulations card:

Red House Award Prize

Here are some more of the lovely drawings from my lovely Red House Children's Book Award presentation book for Lark in the Ark. Peter Bently and I got one each for being shortlisted this year.

You can read more about the book and our nomination for the award on the main blog, but in the meantime, here are some more of my voters' illustrations:

Good eh? Thanks to everyone who voted, and an especially big thanks to everyone who did me or Peter a drawing, or wrote a review for our book.

Such a shame I didn't get to meet those of you who were lucky enough to be at the ceremony. I'm sure you all had a good time!

Rainbow Class

As part of Birmingham's Young Reader's Festival recently, I got to meet some of the children from Blakenhale Infant School who, as you can see, love to paint and draw!

They had been reading some of my books and gave me a selection of lovely paintings, drawings and pieces of writing, based on When Your Not Looking! and Giddy Goat.

I thought I'd share a selection of them with you. Aren't they great?

So, a big THANK YOU to all the children at Blakenhale Infants, especially Rainbow Class - I had a lovely afternoon with you!

I will be writing about the visit on my main blog later today, where you can read a little more about the storytelling afternoon we shared.