For the next few months this blog will become something quite different. No more illustrations, school visits or book launches, just my next project, the biggest project I've ever undertaken. Building a house!
2015 will be life changing for me for two reasons. The first being that I'm planning to go back to art college in September to do a part-time MA in Illustration. I'll be more than twice the age of most of my fellow student but the prospect of spending two years studying and experimenting in a community of artists is utterly thrilling.
The second life changing event is the Black Barn Studio.
Many of us dream of building a home but few of us will have the opportunity. I have bought the mags and watched the TV shows and suffered the crippling jealousy of wondering what it would be like to be one of those lucky self builders. I was resigned to the fact that as a freelance author and illustrator I'd never have the dosh to be one of them.
But all that changed last year when my parents offered the bottom of their garden as a building plot and I began to look at the feasibility of actually owning that dream studio.
It's taken a while to get the project off the ground - finding a builder, designing for the plot, getting planning permission - but now my cottage is sold (nearly) to raise the finance and the final engineering drawings are being prepared - so I'm allowing myself to get excited about really really being one of those lucky self builders!
Over the next few months I will document every stage of the build from groundwork to studio-warming party and today I'm clearing the plot and planting a hedge. Not glamorous, I know, but it's the very first real job I've done on site. I also spoke to my solicitor today and it looks like I might complete the sale of my cottage by the end of May (that's the plan) so we could be breaking ground at the beginning of June! Hurrah!
I shall keep you posted.