Friday, 26 September 2014


My question to you all is where does that inspiration come from? That light bulb moment that pings in the depths of the night when you are trying to sleep. The muse that tickles at the grey matter of your brain.

As an artist and attempting writer, those moments are magical, if not sometimes frustrating as they do so often happen at night. I keep a notebook by the bed, crazy mixed up night time thoughts get noted down, sometimes without putting the light on, then the time to decipher comes in the morning. Or it could be a walk on the beach, rain or shine, the soft breeze or a howling wind. I'm always tuned into using all my senses and likewise there is usually a notebook and pencil in my pocket, along with a hand full of shells or sea glass. Things that trigger memories, long forgotten emotions, things that are meaningless to others but are precious to me.

Picture books from childhood, the smells of cooking, how the light falls through a window, or even a piece of music. It's a wonderful feeling at the moment for me, I have so many ideas brewing, ideas for a series of illustrations that I'm calling 'A play on Words' I have lists and doodlings all over the place and will gradually get them done around other projects. This is the latest, that I'm really pleased with, this is 'There's not mush-room under here!'

I loved doing this one, as a child I was rather obsessed with toadstools, having one autumn found hundreds of all colours and sizes in our garden, from then I was hooked on drawing them. There is something very magical about them for me and drawing this one took me back to my childhood memories, the kicking through damp golden leaves, the peppery smell of decay in the dew drenched grass and woodland.

Then I am retuning my brain for the writing, at the moment its tuned into city life. I grew up in London such a contrast to where I am now, open skies, fields, trees. But my vivid memories are helping in my writing, I think I must have always been in tune with the world, the recollection of the smells, the tube, people, the way I felt as a child waiting for that tube train to thunder into the station, the wind in my hair, that electric smell. It all gets taken in and used.

I'd love to hear from you about the things that inspire you as artists and writers, the places you go to ease that creative block, is it in a good novel, a walk in the park, night life of a city or a teacher who was the one person that believed in you and pushed you to go for it?

Ok that's enough of my musings, I need a walk in the woods.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Darkness and light

Hi everyone, I love how you drop by for a read, would love to read your thoughts and comments on my blog, so drop me something below if you fancy.

Anyway back to the point in hand... Darkness and light, well that's where I seem to be at the moment, in a good way, don't worry.

Well work is leading me in interesting directions at the moment. The book cover illustrations continue, working on another one in a series by Pauline Chandler at the moment, the first being Warrior Girl, a great read, will be available later this year I hope, but no spoilers from me. Viking Girl is next and both are beautifully written, so no trouble getting inspired with these. But the images I'm doing are very different from my normal style, but I'm loving their boldness. 

The light side is the continued creations of designs really aimed at the greeting card market, that are a 'Play on Words'. The range so far can be viewed at , but there are so many ideas building up in my head, frantically trying to note them down to come back to and steadily work on. Well here is the latest, which seems to be a big hit over on my Facebook page. This is 'Mice-ion Impossible'...

On slightly darker side I'm back to writing. OK I just couldn't keep away. The first novel, written, edited, corrected, sits here waiting for me to be brave enough to try showing it to publishers. However the next one is just bursting to be written. But it's much darker than the last, more sinister, but there's a strange part of me that's loving it and the research is fascinating once again. To be honest I'm only writing for myself (I've probably said that before) but that's how it is. However if others read and enjoy then that's great too.

And now for the darkest part (Sorry Kevin in advance, you probably don't see them as such). Recently I picked up a great book, didn't know so at the time of reading the blurb, but it had me interested. First chapter and I was hooked. Wonderful descriptions of a place I know well, with a disturbing twist, vividly written, gripping and has pushed me to order all the rest of his books from the library. The book? you ask... Lucas by Kevin Brooks, a must read, as is the next of his I'm reading Black Rabbit Summer. OK so it was very late for me turning in last night, gripped again. Again dark but curiously enthralling, part of me wants to shy away, but there's just that bit of me edging me on saying 'Oh I need to know'. Kevin has won this years Carnegie medal (Well done Kevin!) for The Bunker Diary. I have read the reviews the comments, the criticism of the subject matter and horror, but know I will have to read it. I'm like a fly ensnared in the web that his words weave. But it does raise the question how dark is too dark and menacing for children and young adults? It has made me question my own writing, maybe I'm too soft. Although a friend that I have know for over half my life read my first novel and was shocked that I had it in me for murder (well writing it). I'm hoping my next novel will be more edgy but its just getting it so it works technically at the moment. But the re-workings will bring out the juiciness from the bare bones I'm writing now.

Creating stories for children will always be controversial, after all the Big Bad Wolf was scary when we were young wasn't he? Read more about The Bunker Diary here...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

a bit of a Peter Pan?

Well I have just returned from a few days away at my favourite place. Near the sea, pretty beaches, endless sky, beautiful food, (fresh fish of course), paddling, swimming in the sea, kite flying, sand castles, crabbing with the help of a friendly seal and the usual pocket full of shells after every walk.

It was lovely to be free of wifi, no connection except the mobile phone, (which was on silent.) The lovely company of friends and my daughter. We hired a pretty little beach hut and relished in the beautiful September golden sun on a peaceful beach, watching the tide ebb and flow and the grown ups having childish fun all day. Cups of tea and picnic, just about sand free, but that's all part of it isn't it?

I did some sketching, a lot of reading and idea collecting for writing. The clues, people, places and plots are all around us as writers and artists, anything from a simple beautiful shell quickly sketched to the soaked up atmosphere and the characterful locals in the pub, it's all there noted for use at some time.

Sometimes it's just good to get away from it all and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, to appreciate our beautiful planet, the white gulls soaring overhead in an azure sky, warm sand between the toes, the smell of the sea on an evening breeze. It's good to clear the mind of the things that weigh us down, to take time to just stop to watch the sunset, the moon rise, the the turning of the tides. To switch off the technology that clogs our lives and to listen to the breeze, the gentle lapping of the waves the distant call of the curlew. I just wish I could live like it all the time, a sea view to wake to, a studio looking out over the water. Maybe one day. Until then my paradise where I can feel free and act like the child that lurks within is only an hour from me, so I will be back, soon.

Fancy a day like that? Drop by the Little Beach Hut Company and take a look, its worth treating yourself!