Tuesday 30 July 2013

the shape game - advanced level: BATTLE BEASTS!!

I thought I would share this drawing game because it's really fun.  I played it with my students in Reykjavik earlier this year (see my first ever post) and they totally rocked it...

Divide everyone up into teams... if you don't play in teams it's just BEASTS!! not BATTLE BEASTS!! - acceptable but lacking a certain frisson...  The aim is for each team to design a giant creature in silhouette and then divide that silhouette up into sections.  Each individual in the team gets to draw at least one of the sections.  Here are my sections from that workshop:

You can theme the sections, work within a fixed palette, anything you like really, so long as when you join them together the beast can be seen.

When all the work is done - and it's best to have a strict time limit here - the beasts are assembled and scored on top trumps style categories like size, complexity and cohesion (you can make up whatever criteria you like so long as people know in advance)

Here are some pictures from our battle:

Team A worked alone, although I think we did have a limited choice of colours...

Team B decided to mix up a huge vat of purple paint and paint out the whole shape of the beast first...

Team C worked round one communal table, helping each other out with every section -  like that story about heaven and hell and the really long chopsticks...

All three teams worked in separate rooms so the moment of the unveiling would have maximum impact!

Of course it is important that someone knows how they are all meant to fit together!

Here are the finished beasts:

And some highlights from Team B's winning beast!

Next time I run this workshop I think we can make them EVEN BIGGER ^-^

Sunday 28 July 2013

an operating theatre

This is what they look like isn't it?  ...well it's what Jim thinks they look like anyway!

Saturday 27 July 2013

Memory Palace preliminaries

I haven't posted these before.  They are my initial drawings for the Memory Palace book itself.  Only two of them were used in the end I think.  I made my brain hurt trying to work out what the tones would be for various lighting conditions.  When it is believable it seems to make a big difference.  I really like the feeling of depth that is possible if the lighting is right!  ...Now if only I could work out how to do that in colour ^-^!

Thursday 25 July 2013

treasure trove

More Bell X1 goodies arrived today...

The album on vinyl:

And this t-shirt!!!

last lion lap

I finished the penultimate dream sequence for Jim's Lion this week.  There will be five illustrated dreams in the book... now I've done four of them!

roar !

Tuesday 23 July 2013

perspective boost

A little while ago I blogged that I was trying to improve my grasp of perspective in drawing.  Since then I have been working at it a fair bit and I can feel it starting to sink in.  I had never realised in the past how useful it could be to to make you believe that everything in an image is in the same physical space.  I have been trying to practise in my free time on journeys and such like.   I can seldom draw with a steady line as the bus or train will be jiggling away like a good 'un.  The joy of it is that doesn't seem to matter.  I think these pictures, whether composed solely of figures or figures in a landscape, feel like they are happening somewhere.  That is a really exciting development for me because for the longest time I have wanted to be able to make stories full of all kinds of places... I just had no clue how to draw them.


Hot on the heels of The Selfish Giant the limited edition Bell X1 Chopping Board Edition arrived today...

I'll have to remember to take the cd out before I put it in the washing up ^-^

The disc itself looks really nice!  I must make a mental note that brush drawings seem to survive reproduction much better than pencil ones!

And then the new Loaf arrived on the same day:

They have done a brilliant job with the printing.  It is totally possible to read every word in mine, which was a worry because the writing was always going to be tiny...

Here are some glimpses of other stories in this issue: By Becky Palmer...

 Viviane Schwarz:

And Robert Bidder:

Saturday 20 July 2013


I did some illustrations for the Awfully Bad Guide to Monster Housekeeping to raise money for the Ministry of Stories... The idea was that children would come up with the text for the book in story workshops at the Ministry and what they made would be professionally printed, edited, designed and illustrated.  Neat for them... I would have LOVED that when I was small.  Anyway it made for some mighty strange monsters.   The ones I had to draw were described in great detail.  'Twas a hard job to fit all the monster features in!

those red blobs are the monster's thoughts floating loose around his head