It seems my first ever book is still being discovered and enjoyed by new readers. This makes me very happy indeed, as you can probably imagine.
This week I was sent a 'Book Report' by a chap called Dexter (aged 9 and 3/4) and was delighted to see that he had chosen to write about Ember Fury. Turns out Dexter is a pretty good author himself. The report was really well written and I was pleased to hear that all my favourite bits of Ember Fury are Dexter's too. Instead of focussing on Ember's attention-seeking fire-starting or the crazy desert car chase with Finn, Dexter chose the scene where Em gave the chauffeur the slip and ended up in the comic book store as his fave (which was, incidentally, the best scene to write).
His favourite character was Ned, whom I ADORE too, almost more than Ember (shhh, don't tell her!). Dexter also liked my drawings and said they were 'amazing' which made me jump up and down at my desk (Dangerous as I'd just made a hot mug…
I completed a two-year MA this week (Illustration and Book Arts at UCA, Farnham). It's been hard work studying part-time while keeping illustration commissions ticking over, but it's been worth the effort. I never truly went away, but now feel I'm 'returning' to my career reinvigorated.
MA Project exploring my grandmother's memoir and photographic archive
I've already re-focussed my brain on a new book, so thoroughly in fact that, when asked at the private view to talk about the my final MA pieces, I actually couldn't remember what I had done! Here is some of it...
From the final project, WHAT IS HIDDEN - a part work inspired by Hitchcock's' Rear Window'
The new book, a graphic novel, is currently just an outline and a sketchbook of ideas. It has a slightly older target audience than my previous work - YA and adult cross-over - and will develop visual themes I've been playing with for the last two years. I can't wait to show it to you. …
We were only 4, because of the snow, but Saturday's rubber stamping workshop was a huge success. I invited friends to be my guinea pigs so I could test timings and smooth out technical details. The results were great.
Peter made his own logo stamps and printed them on a book bag, while Lisa and Dorothy created wonderful designs which we printed on kraft paper greetings cards.
I'll be running the smoothed-out version of the same workshop during Surrey Artist's Open Studios in June, so check back here for details in a month or two. More workshops are planned for the summer, too, including Cyanotype Printing on Fabric and Making Your Own Folding Hardcover Sketchbook.
Thank you Lisa Boyce for the photographs.