It's always good to celebrate when something nice happens. Heaven knows there is enough rejection in the world to deal with. So I am happy to tell you that 'Why Am I Here?' won the children's section 1st place in the Eric Hoffer Independent Book Award 2011. . Well done to Matthew Kelly and all at Beacon Publishing.

I took 'im indoors out for a slap-up meal and had a glass of bubbly. And then I got back to work on 'Hidden New Jersey'.

I have a lovely librarian (Holly) and I made up a 'Max Pack' from 'Why Am I Here' and gave it to her son, Briar. Here he is with Max ... apparently he won't even let Mom cut off the hang tag ... how sweet is that! Thanks for letting me post this photo Holly :-).

I am THREE spreads away from finishing the New Jersey book, and I have them printed out and on my wall so I can see the progression. On the whole I am pleased with them. Like most artists and illustrators I get disatisfied with the finished article, as it never matches what I set out to do. But I think these are fun, and educational and can't wait to see the finished book.
Here's another taster ....

That's it from my corner of the illustration world... more soon!
aka The Wacky Brit

Sneezles and Wheezles ...

Yikes! It's been pretty flippin' cold here in the Northern reaches of New England. -17F or thereabouts a couple of nights ago. And to accompany the arctic blast I succumbed to flu-ish sneezing and coughing and spent a good deal of time feeling miserable in bed this weekend. And to cap it all 'im indoors had gone off on a jaunt (tsk tsk) to New Hampshire so I had to fend for myself, crawling from my sweaty sheets to venture out and feed the horses snow falling, overcoat wrapped round my dressing gown, tartan wellies and furry hunting hat. Am I getting any sympathy? No? Worth a try.

Feeling more human again today and back to the drawing board.

Here's another piece I have been working on for my portfolio to take to NY SCWBI Winter Conference, which is THIS WEEKEND!! YIPEE!

The portfolio is ready, the art showcase piece framed, postcards printed. Can it really be a year since my first SCBWI conference? It seems like much longer. What a lot I have learned. I am traveling down with fellow illustrator Russ Cox and rooming with Toby Speed. I think there will be MUCH partying!!

I have begun work on 'Hidden New Jersey' the book I am illustrating for Charlesbridge, with Anne Lewis from It's a fun joruney around the state, with 'Search and Seek' items on each page. It's going to prove to be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to lay out, but I am looking forward to it.

Also fresh in the works are illustrations for a chapter book with a San Diego publishing house ... these will be black and white. So hopefully I will be able to give you more news on that soon.

The New Year is shaping up nicely. It was so quiet before and after Christmas I was getting a tad nervous ... but hey ho!

That's it from the Wacky Brit this week. Got some work to finish before I jet off, and packing to do.

More news after the conference!




The Wacky Brit.

On the Bedside Table ... nothing new this week.