White Horse walking

Last weekend I visited the Uffington White Horse area with my daughter. We were so excited to eventually reach our destination (by taxi as there are no buses from Swindon) we immediately walked a mile or so from our b&b and scrambled up the almost vertical escarpment of White Horse Hill. We later discovered there was a much easier route via a carpark.

The chalky Horse, at the moment cordoned off by the National Trust because of erosion, is almost impossible to see in its entirety, although apparently you can see it quite clearly from the air.  It has been dated to the Iron Age, but mystery still surrounds this ancient figure, as well as much of the surrounding land.  The black and white image above is from one made by William Plenderleath in the nineteenth century.

We could see the Horse’s eye and part of the curve of its neck stretching down below us on the flanks of the hill. The Horse is ‘scoured’ very year now, its strange and sinuous shape topped up with pounded fragments of chalk, otherwise it would disappear into the landscape. We explored and walked every day, sometimes along the Ridgeway track, staying at the White Horse (0f course) in Woolstone village.

A new addition to my Museum of Dust

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Work in progress – The Hand Book of hopes and dreams

Coming later this year – The Hand Book of hopes and dreams, a limited edition concertina format book published by Design For Today.  A few of its pages here, including a mind reader, a pantomime horse (the front half), a queen and a magician.  Meet a range of characters, be inspired by the images around them and invent all sorts of stories.  What are your hopes and dreams?

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Hair event

Join me on 16th June and draw your fantasy hairstyle at my workshop, part of an INFRINGE event.  It’s at a fantastic exhibition all about hair at The Library Space in south London.  This image from my HAIR book, published by Walker Books in 2003.  So long ago. But still so fascinating!

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Hair again

This piece was the result of some research for a book all about hair I wrote and illustrated for Walker Books some years ago. Fascinated by the subject, I probably did far too much research, but enjoyed every minute of it.  As well as going to an event at London’s Moustache Club, investigating baldness cures etc., I spent a morning drawing and chatting with a group of women who make legal wigs, in a rather Dickensian London basement.

Mothers and grandmothers of some of the women had been wig-makers too.  “Would you like to see something special?” I was asked.  They showed me a battered tin with a square of black silk inside it.  This would have been placed on top of a judge’s wig when sentencing someone to death for committing murder.  It hadn’t been used since 1964, when the last person was hanged.

I started being interested in hairstyles when I was a child – I hated having my hair brushed and combed.  As I warning, my grandmother – I was living with her at the time – showed me a picture of Struwwelpeter as a warning of how I’d end up, but I was inspired by his wild locks.  My hair is a bit calmer now, though I do have a blue streak in it.

Do you have a fantasy hairstyle?  On June 16th I’ll be running a workshop at The Library Space where you can draw yours, inspired by the most excellent exhibition Hair! Human Stories. And by my book of course.

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Asterix exhibition visit

Nothing like wearing an empowering winged helmet to cheer you up after a difficult week … Camden’s Jewish Museum is showing a wonderful exhibition devoted to comic strip hero Asterix‘s co-creator Rene Goscinny.    With a dressing-up box. Thanks to the American visitor who took this photo while I explore the exhibition.  “You should always wear that,” he said. “It suits you!”

The exhibition runs from 10th May until 30th September 2018.

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Back to work again …

Maybe my desk needs a little reorganisation … but always pleased to see old friends.

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Human horses – and The Hand Book (work in progress)

Yesterday saw this on someone’s doorstep,  investigated and discovered it belonged to a hobby horse man with a group of Morris Dancers who’d just finished performing outside a pub in Primrose Hill.  He kindly let me become a dancing horse for a brief moment.  Very a propos one of the characters in my work-in-progress, The Hand Book, which admittedly is a pantomime horse (the front half) not a hobby horse, but what a delight …

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Unreliable Memoir – work in progress

Some stories gallop along, leaping over obstacles – deadlines always help – and others are like very complicated igsaws you have to carefully fit together.  Unreliable Memoir (working title) is one of the latter, and even if I complete it, I know it will pose another puzzle.  But that’s the fun, even if it can be difficult at times.  Unreliable Memoir is in comic strip form mostly.  Some of its content has already taken other, shorter forms including Paper Theatre,  sound pieces and an earlier, very short comic strip made for SCBWI, about how it all started. Unreliable Memoir is about displacement, identity, talking birds – and dealing with challenges in a positive way.  Hopefully.

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The Hand Book of hopes and dreams – work in progress

At the moment I’m working on images for my Hand Book of hopes and dreams, a limited edition concertina book to be published later this year by Design For Today
As you unfold the book you’ll be able to share the hopes and dreams of different characters such as an Arctic explorer, a pantomime horse (the front half), an astronaut, a Queen, a detective, a conjuror and many more.  What are your hopes and dreams? Anything is possible … Continue reading

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Delightful small relatives, a sloth called Marilyn, and my Draw It! London book

Lovely young relatives came to visit me en route to London Zoo, carrying copies of my Draw It! London book, which amongst many other things has a drawing of my favourite sloth Marilyn who lives in the zoo. 

Very exciting news!  Marilyn has had a baby.  When we visited the zoo later, Marilyn and her baby very sensibly were avoiding the public by hiding in a log, but the children could just glimpse her holding her baby and peeping out. A delightful visit!

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