Friday, 27 September 2013

Beyond Words...

I'm launching my new book, GRAPHIC, in the middle of Dyslexia Awareness Week (14th - 18th October) which is perfect. It's a dyslexia friendly book AND a really exciting story.

AND it's a book full of illustrations (of course), which is even more perfect (if that's possible) because the theme of Dyslexia Awareness Week this year is BEYOND WORDS. Dyslexia can mean that it's not just words that put your brain in a spin, it's also numbers and coordination and remembering and keeping focused and all sorts of other things.

I've struggled with all of these so I know exactly what it's like!!!

Sometimes pictures and patterns, drawing and doodling can help and I know all about that too.

To launch GRAPHIC, I'm visiting schools and chatting to pupils who, like me, get that spinning brain feeling quite a lot. We'll be looking at my book (and others by publisher, Barrington Stoke), telling stories, drawing pictures, using or imaginations and having loads of fun.

If I'm coming to your school, see ya soon!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Rain, Train and Insane Weirdness!

I went on a trip yesterday, all the way to rainy Oxford.
Monday was sunny.
Today is sunny.
But yesterday? Yesterday was wet.
Did it ruin my day? Not one bit!

The main purpose of the trip was to brainstorm with Jo (an author friend and fellow blogger - girlsheartbooks.com) about a joint project we are planning. Neither of us has collaborated on a book before, though we know several authors and illustrators who have. So, it could all have gone horribly wrong right at the start line if, say, we'd hated each other on sight and disagreed about everything!

I'm very pleased to say that didn't happen. How could it? Jo is lovely. She met me with a broad smile (and a fab yellow car) at the station, cooked lunch for me and drove me around all over the place in her adorable car. And her book idea is genius - a potential bestseller/TV series/Hollywood movie!

We had loads of ideas over a delicious lunch and, as we live a little far apart to meet regularly, we devised a way of working that sort of resembles an online game of author tennis, batting our contributions back and forth to each other when inspiration strikes.

Wish us luck.

After lunch Jo dropped me at a place I've always wanted to visit, The Pitt Rivers Museum. If you have a weak stomach, I'd stop reading about now. And definitely don't scroll down the page! Because the Pitt Rivers is not like any other museum. It's very... odd. And a little bit creepy. But a-maze-ing!
You're still reading? OK. You have been warned.

The first thing you notice about the museum is how small it is, just one tall room really, with narrow balcony-style galleries up the sides. But crammed into the space is enough weird stuff to fill a normal sized museum. There's big weird stuff like the totem pole above. Then there's really tiny weird stuff like these gorgeous carved bone figures. The dogs are the size of a finger.
The glass cabinets are full of the most fascinating objects but I seemed to be drawn to anything that had a face - stuffed animals, carved heads...
...with or without brilliant hair dos, and masks...
...depicting every possible expression.

Warning! Here comes the gross bit!

Then I found a cabinet full of skulls and (eek!) shrunken heads!
I named him Cecil to make him less scary but I'm not sure it worked (I made the picture black and white for the same reason but I'm not sure that worked either).

In the end, Creepy Cecil was one of the highlights of my Oxford trip. I came home with sketchbooks and notebooks (and my camera) full of new inspiration and I really didn't notice the rain. Well, not much anyway.




Sunday, 15 September 2013

Books Are My Bag


Did you go to a BOOKS ARE MY BAG party yesterday at your local bookshop? If you did, then wooooo, fun wasn't it?! If you didn't, you might have noticed a few buildings completely covered with orange balloons and bunting and wondered what all the bloomin' fuss was about. Well, the fuss is about bookshops, which, despite ebooks and online sales, are still very cool places to visit. Especially when you pop in on a wet Saturday and meet amazing people like these...
A 'bag' of lovely authors (and poets) who were all at Barton's Bookshop, Leatherhead, yesterday - Antonia Cridland, John Griffin, Liam McCann, Roz Morris, Geoff Saunders and Harriet Steel (Prue). Oh, and Peter (with the very funky matching orange watch strap) who invited us to his BOOKS ARE MY BAG party! I forgot to draw Cameron. Sorry Cameron.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Back to School!

Calling all librarians and teachers!
I'm coming back to school!



After a short break (to write and draw a lot) I'm launching two new books and two new workshops. Click on the SCHOOLS button above for more details.