The Blog

Montessori School in Redlands California

MontessoriRedlands

I was very pleased to be asked recently to contribute a signed book for the annual fund raising gala for the Montessori School in Redlands California. I also sent a print and the toddler class did a great job decorating a frame and helping with the quilt. Here they are showing some of the items that were auctioned at the event which I hear went very well.

Love is a Magical Feeling

Loveis a MagFeelLove is a Magical Feeling

I’m very pleased to say a book I have illustrated, LOVE IS A MAGICAL FEELING, written by the hugely talented David Bedford, was published on the 19th January 2016 in the US, and is to be published in the UK on the 4th February 2016. It’s a bit of a departure from my usual style of illustration. It’s published by Boxer Books in the UK and Sterling Children’s Books in the USA. This is the second book I have had published by Sterling in the USA. IF YOUR DREAMS TAKE OFF AND FLY was published by them in 2013. (Originally published by Orchard Books in the UK).

I’d like to thank David for his great writing and everyone at Boxer for their help in creating LOVE IS A MAGICAL FEELING.

Peace and Love in the New Year

P1040046

Last summer I went sailing with good friends to the Scilly Isles from our home port of Rye in the south of England. This photo is my favourite from a big selection of shots taken of seabirds, seals and dolphins. Families are peacefully crabbing off a jetty in the summer sun in a quiet inlet in Devon. With the threat and sadness of ebola in Sierra Leone and other countries in West Africa, war in the Middle East, and all the tragedies that occurred throughout the year it’s good to remember the quiet times of beauty. I hope you have your fair share of them in 2015.

New portrait

Portrait

In a previous post I showed a portrait I had painted in oils. I mentioned how much I love working in oils. (My illustration work is mainly in acrylics).

Here is a recent commission completed this month.

Encore un petit calin?

Encore un petit calin

I’m pleased to announce the publication earlier this year of my book ENCORE UN PETIT CALIN? published in France by Gautier Languereau. It is in a small paperback format which I think works perfectly. The book was originally published in the UK and USA as CAN YOU CUDDLE LIKE A KOALA? Not surprisingly it is also available (and popular) in Australia.

New Ravensburger puzzle

Ravensburger-farm3

Here is the new puzzle I illustrated for Ravensburger in Germany last year. This completes the puzzles I was commissioned to produce for Ravensburger in France, the USA (see previous posts) and now Germany.

My grandchildren love puzzles and watching them complete them makes me realise how simple toys like these play an important role in teaching them about shape, visual awareness and patience. And the look on their faces when they’ve succeeded in finishing one on their own is priceless.

If Your Dreams Take Off and Fly

IfYourDreams

On January 2nd my book IF YOUR DREAMS TAKE OFF AND FLY was published in paperback in the UK by Orchard Books. As a little boy drifts off to sleep one night, his dreams take him on an adventure around the world. He imagines vast oceans where dolphins leap through the waves; icy landscapes where penguins huddle for warmth and wild grasslands where hippos, giraffes and zebras roam free.

Little Chick

Little Chick

On January 21 2014 the above edition of the book Little Chick was published in the US along with  Little Lamb. I illustrated both of them for Simon and Schuster in New York and they are written by the excellent Lauren Thompson. They were originally published back in 2008.

Christmas Reindeer

larareindeer

Merry Christmas everyone from a special reindeer

Mandela’s Robben Island

robben-island Mandela

When the Dutch arrived on Robben Island off what is now Cape Town in 1652 the only large animals and birds living there were seals and penguins. It got it’s name from the Dutch for Seal Island. By 1800 the penguins had been wiped out and it took until 1983 for a colony to successfully re-establish itself, and there are now around 13,000 living there. In 1654 the settlers released rabbits as a source of food for passing ships. The inevitable happened and they are now a major problem, with estimates of up to 25,000 wreaking havoc with the vegetation. Robben Island is strikingly flat compared with Table Mountain that sits glowering behind the city of Cape Town on the nearby mainland.

As the world marks the passing of Nelson Mandela, this little island represents a symbol of all the greatness that can be achieved by a man as well as all the evil and destruction that humanity can cause. John Donne wrote in Devotions  1624, nearly 30 years before the Dutch first arrived on Robben Island: “No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” When I visited Robben Island some years ago as a tourist all the history and sadness of this featureless 1500 acres seemed to burn in every rock.