‘Tales from the farm’

Somewhat belatedly, here is a post from an event I did at Millets Farm, part of a festival called ‘Tales from the Farm’.

Here I am about to start with all my cut outs actually standing up (for about 5 mins!!)

There were some splendid Mr Toads being drawn

and we made some great finger puppets. Here’s my finger puppets being expertly modelled (to make them, go to the activities section of this website).

Thanks to everyone who came along and to Aleida and the Blackwells team for top organising!

‘Toad in Troubled Waters’

Yes you’ve guessed it, it’s the third book in the series ‘The New adventures of Mr Toad‘ by Tom Moorhouse. This book sees Mr Toad take to the water and it’s no surprise to learn that he causes no end of damage to everyone else who lives on and uses the water! This was quite a challenge for me, never having painted water before, but I enjoyed trying out many different ways of using the water around the page.

Once I had done some research into the many different types of boats in the story, looked at what a bank vole was, drew trucks, cranes, otters and a rubber chicken, let alone the usual characters, I was ready to begin looking at compositions.

I struggled at first with imagining Toads boat from many different angles and so I bought a model boat to use as reference.

I tried out many ways of drawing waves..

I was also able to add in a few jokes here and there, like a ‘Titanic’ moment, with Chief Weasel and Mr Ripton.

Making a book is very much a team effort and so I grabbed the opportunity to add in Tom, the author,( in a boat), Sarah Darby, brilliant designer and photographer, (sitting on a jetty with her camera) and fantastic editor Helen Mortimer, (sitting under a tree with a book).  Thank you to everyone at OUP for everything you have done and are doing!

Heres a couple more of my favourite spreads..

I hope you enjoy this third instalment, I had a lot of fun working on it!


The New adventures of Mr Toad. Toad Hall in Lockdown.

I’m not sure where the time has gone, but already book two is out and there was so much I meant to do about book 1! But I have been working flat out on this series, so I shall just get on with telling you all about it.

To begin with I start very roughly, putting something down for every illustration in the book. It then becomes clear which areas need more research- in this case, how to draw a bike, lorries, safes, grilles, various gadgets and an egg throwing machine, to name a few.

I then redraw, still in small rough sketches something for each illustration. I look more at the composition and once I am happy with these, I work them up into a bigger rough, checking there is room for the type.

My roughs are normally fairly detailed, working the way I do, its hard to change things once it’s painted, so I try to work as much out as I can in the drawing. They’re usually just a line drawing, with the occasional shadows included. From initial sketch to final rough, some illustrations stay the same whilst others change completely.

With my limited palette of green and black, my extra colour was purple and I was allowed a bit of yellow for the eggs..


Book 2 was much easier to work on, in that I knew all the characters and their world. I had great fun drawing all the weasels and enjoyed drawing not so many cars!



‘The New Adventures of Mr Toad’

I am so happy to finally be able to tell you about a book I have just finished illustrating called ‘The New Adventures of Mr Toad. A Race for Toad Hall’ , written by the very clever and amusing Tom Moorhouse. It’s the first in a series of four books and it’s my first young chapter book.

I’ve worked on the book with the lovely team at OUP of Helen Mortimer and super designer Sarah Darby. They’ve let me show a couple of pictures, this one shows the ‘kids’-Teejay, Mo and Ratty.

And here’s Mr Toad himself.

And last but not least, a scene from the race track..

It’s got 75 illustrations and was great fun to work on. It will be published¬†in March 2017.





It’s Christmas Fair time…

Yes Folks, its that time of year again. The fairy lights are dusted off, my boxes of products are packed up and I will have a stall at the wonderful Artists and Makers Fair in Lewes, this Saturday.

I’ll be selling lots of the products that are in my shop, but also some extras that you can’t get online, such as special Christmas Tattoos and a small number of Badger cushions.

Do come and say Hi!


And the winner is…

Bear Competition Box Full

Thank you to all who entered my design a bear a jumper competition. I had some great entries

All Bear Entries

and loved the details that had gone into them. Some of my favourites were..

Top Bear Entries

Even More Bear Entries

and the runners up were..

Runners Up

Drum roll for the winner…

Winning Bear Entry

I loved this one for all its bright colours and the lovely heart. Top drawing Holly Stewart, age 5. Your bear will be on its way soon..