I joined the Darkside

I said I wasn't going to do it. I said  blogging and facebook was enough. And then, suddenly, in between morning toast and the long dark hours till elevenses, I broke down and joined Twitter. Why? Why? I think I was being tweeted subconsciously. So now here is another thing to add to the more-things-to-use-to-procrastinate-with list. And I don't even understand it. I don't even have a mobile phone (really!!) or an i-anything.

OH ... tweet me at 'thewackybrit'.

But still, there are lots of scrumdidally illustrators and writers out there tweeting and the Twitterness kindly suggests I follow them so I do. I even have, to date, 27 followers, and I feel guilty as I have not tweeted anything in the least interesting as yet. But I am sure I will learn something, meet some interesting people and perhaps figure what it all means. I have to say I am mildly attracted by the fact that tweeting sounds a bit rude. But then the British are the masters of innuendo.

If you hadn't noticed (or maybe you  live in New Zealand) it's FALL. Or Autumn (let's not go too Americaspeak). How did it get to be October so flipping fast???

I looked out of my window (a treat this week as I've been glued to the pencil layouts for the BOOK, which I am delivering Monday morning ... sigh of relief, as the deadline moved) and took a photo or two. You have to remind yourself there is a world beyond the studio at times. Here they are ...

There is a lovely little river beyond the trees. (In England we would have called it a major water source). You never know maybe next week I will open the front door and go outside and take some shots. But can't over do it, or I will be in therapy.

No drawings to show you this week ... can't post any of the pencils I have been working on as under wraps still. How exciting!!

I did escape from the drawing board today though. I went over to my friend Russ Cox's house for the day. And guess what we did? Hired a life model and did some drawing! It was a lot of fun, even though I didn't think I'd feel like drawing squat. However when you get going you forget you've been drawing 10 hours a day all week and  just want the capture what's in front of you. We had a great model. Wish I could post some on the blog ... but keeping it child friendly, just in case. Also had a lovely lunch ... nice to have cookery friends!

Blimey guv, it is only 4 DAYS until I hop over to Nevada and Virginia City for the SCBWI mentor programme meet up and conference .... it's going to be a HOOT! Looking forward to spending time with like minded crazy folks of course, meeting some experienced illustrators and getting lots of  information. My mentor is Priscilla Burris, and she is such a fun person. I know we are going to have a great time.

Still to do ... layout the other 2 picture books in the math series, I really would like to take them with me, but time is running out. And I haven't touched my portfolio ... groan ... I fear the midnight oil will be a burning.

Trying not to worry about the fact that on Nov 1 I have a photography exhibition opening in Bangor, ME for a month. GULP. I have decided to hang the pieces dry mounted and raised from the wall. The reason for this, let's not beat about the bush, is money. I took the first 5 to the framers and they dry mounted and laminated them. Went to look at them today ... not good. The lamination had bubbled and they looked bloody awful! PANIC!! So decided just to dry mount the others, so hopefully will be ok. But still have to get the spoiled one's printed again and running out of time. No pressure right?? All will be well .... (repeat and believe).

I was really happy to see that the Children's Corner I've started on the Wacky Brit's Blog is going well. I have had more people visit the pages on Mondays than any other day since I started blogging and lots of good feedback from folks using them in schools, libraries and just to give to their own children and grand-children. Hope you will make use of the pages every week! Please let me know if there is something special you would like.

Things I have to do:
1. Finish set up of the Illustration GLOG ... had no time last week.
2. Register for the New York SCBWI Conference in January 2011 ... (note to self: earn some money first)
3. Do illustration for Tomie dePaola award and maybe that might pay for conference cancelling out point 2.
4.  Do some mail outs!!!!!

YAWN. Sorry to be rude and do that in your face ... going to have a bit of down time with 'im indoors and then an early night. No rest on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday - I will be working hard to get all I need done, done. (Note to self sleep on the 3 planes that will get you to Reno. Hopefully)

Thanks for reading ... next week join me for the blog from the WILD WEST in which I will tote a Winchester and down several whiskeys as they slide down the bar. Well the second part might happen!

OH! I am on Blog radio again ... tune in Monday 11th at 4pm EST  You know you want to.

See ya later, y'all!
aka The Wacky Brit.

PS I went to the library this week and this is what I am reading:
HEADS - Matthew Van Fleet (so so cute!! Can't imagine how they put it together.)
THE ODIOUS OGRE - Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer ... ( Didn't do much for me really)
CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS - Peter Brown ... (very engaging ... love Mr Brown's work)
IT'S A BOOK - Lane Smith - (Very funny and apt. Unusual illustration style and colours).
WHEREVER YOU ARE MY LOVE WILL FIND YOU - Nancy Tillman (very poignant ... one for the parents I thought and a gift book, but beautifully illustrated.)

Boats and Shows


riday already? Oh man. And I haven't finished the rough of the last in the problem series 'Share the Bear'. OK, I didn't even start it. It was that kind of week.

Tuesday was a fun day, nipped down to Rockland on the coast of Maine to try and get some publicity shots of moi with the

Isaac H Evans Schooner

, for the drawing cruise (got to do a press release). The ship was up out of the water in her cradle getting her bottom painted. 'im Indoors came along and did the photography bit.

1. I HATE having photos taken (yeah right you say, because 2 weeks running pics of me on the blog).

2. 'im indoors has not got the best eyesight so it is always a bit of a crap shoot. I make him stand on the spot and then I set up the shot and hope for the best. Given that he is a good 8" taller than me it doesn't always work out. This is what I got ..

Well not too bad I suppose. The ship looks good! Can't wait to be on the water again. Here's one of the crew with Capt Brenda.

Ooooohh (how DO you spell that?), the really fun news of the week is that I will be putting on a solo show of my Ice and Fire photographs at the John Rohman Gallery at EMCC in Bangor in Nov/Dec this year! I am excited as this is my first solo photography show. Yikes! Now I have to frame things.

But mostly it has been work work work. I am not complaining. I just wish I could get to finishing one of my projects now and again, but ya gotta eat right?

Here's another of the Owl illustrations just to prove I haven't been out rollicking around on ships all week ...

BTW, these are drawn by hand and then coloured in Photoshop.

While down on the coast we popped in to see a friend at a

fine art auction house

in Thomaston. In the May auction they have a previously unseen Andrew Wyeth up for sale. Our friend said he expected it to make 2 to 3, maybe even as high as 5. '$5,000?' asked 'im indoors. And then turned bright red when he realised it was $500,000. Bless him. As he says it is just paint and canvas. Right?

I did carelessly lose a day this week.I was meant to go down to the meeting of the Maine Illustrator's Collective in Portland with

Russ Cox

, (an illustrator from the next town over from me). I was working happily away when 'ting ting' and there's Russ on the phone wondering where the hell I am. I was convinced it was the following day .... so needless to say we didn't make the meeting. Lumme! And my online calendar even sent me a reminder that I happily deleted! Now - I am a mega organized person and in the quiet of the night I lay looking at the ceiling and wondering if this was the beginning of the decline into the pit?

On the bed side cabinet at the moment ..

LMNO - PEAS by Keith Baker (Fun!)

Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

Speeches, Essays and Conversations - Virginia Hamilton

Dear Dumb Diary 2&3 - Jim Benton

Time is running out on me in the build up to the New England SCBWI conference on 14-16th May in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. I have homework to do for Illustrators Intensive (luckily I can utilize Minusaur I think). I want to work on a piece for an illustration exhibition in Boston ... the theme of the exhibition is 'North' and I want to do the whole thing in oil for a change. And I have to have it done by 13th .... ARGHH!

Then there's ... well, never mind, you get the picture.

So next week it's nose to the drawing board/screen/whatever and no slacking!!

Oh - hang on - I am off to Boston to see Mark Knopfler on Tuesday ....



The Wacky Brit. (or Brat as some people might say.)

Jack and Jill

The weather is beautiful here in Maine ... spring is early! And I have been painting a stormy sky for my latest promotional postcard which I send to art directors and editors every 3 months.

So I thought I would show how I created this piece ... the subject is self explanatory (I hope!)

First of all a rough thumbnail sketch ...

 Then a more detailed drawing of the main figures ...
Final drawing of the figures with 8b pencil
Coloured in photoshop ...
Same thing with the Well ....

Now here is the background. I wanted to have a complete contrast to the figures, so this is painted in acrylic and watercolour on card, with graphite detail afterwards.

And then I put all the elements together in photoshop! Now to get it printed and mailed out ... that's the hard work!

The caption for the postcard (on reverse) will be 'When Jill grew up she vowed she would have indoor plumbing'.

I had a lot of fun doing it, and I hope you like seeing the process of how I work.

Talking of fun, me and him indoors went to see Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' at the Imax in 3D. Yes the story was changed, yes it wasn't traditional, but it was amazing, the effects stunning and worth driving 2 hours to the IMAX. The only thing I hated was Johnny Depp's horrible and totally out of place dance at the end .... I do so hope that TB hated it too .... leave me a comment Tim, if you happen upon this blog ;-). Oh and the puppies ... guess that had to be Disney for sure. What did everyone else think of Mr Burton's masterpiece? Let's hope he get's back to original stories soon ...

Talking of stories I have been working on a set of educational stories about MATH. Yuk! Not my favorite subject ... but more of those in another post ...

The dogs are going crazy (probably the skunk again), so more soon and thanks for reading!

The Wacky Brit