26 Aug 2015

How to Hide a Lion Mini Tour Memories

Well, the mini tour is over, although I'll be off to Cheltenham to launch Gracie Grabbit on 7th October, I'll tell you more about that nearer the time.

First I visited the Bowes Museum where we made pop-up lions, we had a rouring good time (sorry).

I have a suitcase of props that I take with me whenever I do events. It has all sorts of useful things in it, such as a felt fish, tiny keys, a swag bag, a lion's hat and a snake's egg.

After my visit to The Bowes Museum I drove home, and I realised I'd left my essential, 'can't live without it' suitcase behind. I would need it for an event in London 2 days later, and was reluctant to drive back (5 hours round trip) to collect it. But luckily, the museum stepped in and arranged a courier, phew. Panic over, I promised myself I wouldn't be doing anything as silly as THAT again soon.

My next event was in London at the Foyles Summer of Fun. I set off early Monday morning, trusty suitcase in the luggage rack...

And remembered to pick it up when I got off the train (a well done sticker for me!)

Alex T. Smith and I did our workshop/event/drawing thingy to lots of children, signed some books, had a generally good time, then I was back on the train, past my home town (a quick wave at my house), and up to the Edinburgh Book Festival.

I put my suitcase safely in the luggage rack, and found my seat on the 1. Ancient, 2. Empty train to Edinburgh. Strangely unnerving, I felt as if I was on a ghost train! But nice and quiet to read my book (Kafka on the Shore by Murakami- amazing book!)

Eventually I arrived in Edinburgh, and guess what...

I LEFT MY SUITCASE ON THE TRAIN!!! I ran as fast as I could back to the platform and there was a very nice guard carrying it to lost property. (I almost wish I'd lost it, just to read lost property's inventory of contents!)
Anyway, phew...

The next day I woke up to beautiful sunshine at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

I had a lovely time doing my event, lots of happy faces and a nice signing queue afterwards. But the highlight for me was when I went to see Nick Sharratt do his event. He asked me if I would mind taking part, and my roll was to throw a shark at his head, and act the part of a baby in a pram. My acting debut! (I'm hoping there won't be any pics of that floating around.)

I DIDN'T leave my suitcase at the EdBookFest, it's here by my feet as I type.

18 Aug 2015

How to Hide a Lion on Tour

How to Hide a Lion is doing a mini tour! On Thursday 20th August I will be at The Bowes Museum doing a reading, some drawing and a pop-up lion workshop.

Then on Monday 24th August I will be at Foyles Summer of Fun with the world famous Alex T. Smith doing a one off special Lion show. Alex has a new book out, Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, and I'll be reading How to Hide a Lion from Grandma. I've heard rumours that there will be face painting too.

Next is How to Hide a Lion from Grandma at the Edinburgh Festival. The event is called How to Hide a Lion from Grannies, and I'll be drawing and teaching children and grown-ups how to draw lions.

Disclaimer: (No actual lions will be harmed during the making of said shows.)

11 Aug 2015

Things you should NEVER say to someone you see drawing

This happened the other day while I was out drawing.

Man: 'Can I watch?'
Me: 'Yes, of course.' He stands behind me and watches in silence for a while.
Man 'Are you self taught then?'
Me: 'No. I studied at Glasgow School of Art and make my living as an illustrator.'
Man: 'Oh! Erm, no... it's just the way you are drawing.'
Me: Silence.
Man: 'What you need to do is get yourself a camera like mine.' Shows me a digital camera.
Me: 'I have one, but the batteries are down and I fancied doing some drawn research. I find it more useful'
Man: 'You should get yourself a spare battery.'
Me: Silence.
Man: He looks at the scene, then at my drawing, 'It's hard to get the perspective right on a scene like that.'
Me: I Laugh at all the abuse I am suffering!
Man: 'Oh, no, but you are getting it right. It's very nice.'
Man: 'What are you drawing with?'
Me: 'Caran D'ache crayons and ink.'
Man: 'Yes, they all use mixed media these days.'
Man wanders off.... then he comes back.
Man: 'One more thing then I won't bother you any more.'
Me: 'OK.'
Man: 'You should draw that weather vane over there, it would make a nice composition.'

Oh dear!

2 Aug 2015

Gerry the Bear Man

My partner, Gerry Turley, is an illustrator too. He loves to draw bears.

He's just finished artwork for a book called 'A Bear's Year' due to be published in the U.S. by Schwartz & Wade.

We are hoping a british publisher will snap up the rights, and publish it here too.

He also made this bear screenprint, which you can buy as a postcard on our etsy shop.

30 Jul 2015


Look what arrived in the post today! It's from fellow illustrator, Mique Moriuchi

Pie and I entered a competition to guess the names of Minty Bob and his pals, and we won! We could choose any of Minty Bob's pals, and we liked the look of Shnorbo best of all.

He's going to live on Pie's bed with Nana.

The Grove Special School

I had the pleasure of visiting The Grove School, a special needs school near my home. It has to be one of the loveliest schools I've ever visited, so much understanding that we are all different.

I visited 3 classes, and the last class I visited were the sixth formers. They are called 'Design and Enterprise' because they run a small business raising money to buy themselves treats for the school, such as an amazing drum kit!

I increasingly find myself talking about my dog Peggy during school visits. I have found that drawing Peggy when I first arrive in a class relaxes everyone and causes lots of laughter and interaction. All the children want to tell me about their own pets, and the ice is broken.

After my visit to The Grove they made me some wonderful thank you cards that I will treasure. Look, it's Peggy!

28 Jul 2015

Perfume Sellers

Pie and her friend like to sell perfume on our doorstep. Les Dawson eat your heart out!

They are a pair of northern warriors scaring the neighbours into making a purchase!

Instagram 2000 followers

It's not long since I discovered the pleasures of instagram, and now I am addicted! I reached 2000 followers today! Hoorah!!

This is today's post. Can you spot the dog on the shag pile rug? Winner gets a big wet lick.

9 Jul 2015

Print Workshop

Yesterday Gerry and I visited Felton First School to do a printmaking workshop. It's a tiny school, just 60 children all together. So we managed to do a 2 layer print with every child in the school, and a few teachers too. We was a great day. Hectic, noisy, funny, messy, and so inspiring.

We had a school dinner of roast beef (or as my 7yr old calls it roaf beast!) and it was delicious. I am becoming a connoisseur of school dinners and this was a good one. We all had plates and not one of those bright blue plastic trays where the your gravy is beside your apple crumble.

Minions were popular, and lent them selves well to printmaking. The yellow dog here was done by a 5 year old! Such freedom!

Another dog printed by a 5 year old, oh to be 5!

Teenage mutant hero turtle.

 A good attemt at backwards writing on the bike print.

 I love this yellow cat with purple background.

Looking at these pics, you'd think there were no children there, but I promise there were! I just can't publish those pics online.

Thanks Felton First School for a great day!

5 Jul 2015

Peggy's Boyfriend

This is Peggy with her true love Monty.

Monty belongs to me_and_orla and he recently went missing on a trip to London. But thankfully he was found by some builders at Canary Wharf the next day.

We ask him what he was up to for those 24 hours, but he just wags his tail and drops a ball at our feet hoping it's time to play. We like to think that maybe he's told Peggy.

10 Jun 2015


I found I had taken a few photos of lovely colours, and I thought they'd make a good set here. Do I need more reason than that to make a blog post?

28 May 2015

Hartlepool Festival of Illustration

My How to Hide a Lion artwork is ready to go to The Hartlepool Festival of Illustration.

It promises to be a great mix of events: guest talks, workshops, stalls, symposium, storytelling, booksigning and the exhibition!

20 May 2015

How to Hide a Lion Gift Set

Here is a sneaky peek at some of the samples made of my new Lion soft toy. It will be part of a How to Hide a Lion gift set. I've always wanted to see a soft toy of one of my characters, I can hardly contain my excitement!

22 Apr 2015

Fleabag gets a new cover

Fleabag got a shiny new cover. I love the old one, but the new one is more like the cover of How to Hide a Lion, and helps people find my books together in the shop. That makes sense, and the new one is good too.

Old cover on the left, shiny new one on the right.

8 Apr 2015

Lost Hat

I lost my hat.

But Brita did me this drawing and I feel much better about it.