Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New work - Wine Spectator

I illustrated a map of Amador County in California for Wine Spectator magazine, November issue, out now.

Book Review - Mein Kleiner Wald

This week we were reading the German book Mein kleiner Wald by Katrin Wiehle, winner of the Best German Book Design award 2013! Published by Beltz+Gelberg, It's a '100% Naturbuch', printed with natural inks on recycled paper, and the actual paper colour is textured beige. It's a sturdy board book with rounded edges and when I first stumbled across it on Katrin Wiehle's website it reminded me instantly of the vintage picture books from the 50s or 60s, particularly the type face which is all in capital letters. The style is very beautiful and minimal, very clean and uses only muted earthy colours. This book is part of a 4 part series and focuses on animals who live in the woods and their little adventures. The text is minimal too and manages to be both educational and engaging with a sweet storyline.
Josie loves pointing out the trees, the leaves and makes her usual animal noises for these more unusual ones -  badger, fox and squirrel, but altogether this book probably works best from age 2-3 upwards. What I particularly love about it is that it's like a special little handbook of nature that young children can take along, and use as a reference book to compare notes with what they've seen and found in the woods themselves, like pine cones, leaves and berries. 

The three other books of this series explore garden, pond and jungle, each of them showing a cute gang of animals who tell the story. We need to get the jungle one next! 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

New work - Hedgehog & Squirrel Quiz

I illustrated the autumn themed quiz page for Leben & Erziehen magazine in Germany, out now. It features hedgehog and squirrel in a race to accompany a story (can you guess what it's about?), plus a spot the difference quiz and a labyrinth:

Monday, November 03, 2014

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Review - What Do People Do All Day

I always thought Richard Scarry's books were for slightly older kids who can understand the whacky humour in his crazy stories with all the funny details...BUT to my surprise Josie finds his drawings hilarious and picked this book out of my own collection recently, and now wants to 'read' (i.e. point and babble) in it almost daily!
That's nice because the stories in this one are actually entertaining for adults (for me anyway), and there's so much to discover on each page. I think the reason his style is suited for younger kids as well is because the characters and scenes are mostly brightly coloured and set against a white background, so kids are drawn in easily, plus the characters are easily recognizable - J makes animal noises to some of them. I particularly like the humour, look at the mum who's shouting 'My little Huckle is drowning!'! Things you might not know about Richard Scarry are - he was born in the US but lived in Switzerland, where he died in 1994, and he has a son who illustrates in his fathers style under the name Huck Scarry!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review - Mama Do You Love Me?

I think I bought this one because it was recommended in an article that was probably about attachment parenting. I remember reading that a psychologist keeps a copy of this book in her practice waiting room...I can see why! 
Written by Barbara Joosse and illustrated by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee, published by Chronicle Books. It's a sweet story in an unusual setting about the unconditional love a mum has for her daughter, even if such ran away and sang with the wolves or turned into the meanest polar bear you ever saw! 
A strong message for both parent and child, a bit on the melancholic side or maybe that's just the dark northern setting and folky style of the artwork. Text wise it's for slightly older toddlers but J pulls this one out of her book box surprisingly often. She loves listening to the story which consists of mum/daughter dialogue only and laughs at the Nordic animals featured. Extremely beautiful artwork, lovely detail, and a bit of an educational insight into Inuit living. J loves pointing out the patterns of the dresses and the curious things in the sky!

By the way there's a follow-up one for the dads: Papa Do You Love Me, featuring a boy and his father in an African Massai setting.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Give Away - A Halloween Special!

My favourite season has started, so I feel like giving you this Halloween treat for free!
Download and use as a desktop wallpaper if you like...
Happy spooky Halloween!
Please note that this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Nursery Rhymes

I illustrated (i.e. handlettered) a few of our favourite nursery rhymes, I'm thinking to maybe get them made into posters/prints or canvas for kids' rooms?

Handlettered Quotes

Inspiring quotes by famous people, illustrated / handlettered by me, as an ongoing series.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Out Now - The Totally Amazing Atlas Of The World

The Atlas I illustrated for Carlton Kids is now available to buy!
Some interior spot illustrations can be seen here.

Book Review - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This week it's a classic one that's probably everyone's favourite! Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or in this case the German title Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt. We have both versions and we mix and match both languages. We love Eric Carle of course, what an amazing timeless style, Josie has always been drawn to this book and his vibrant collages. The endpapers are great, she thinks it's similar to a keyboard and uses them like that sometimes, each dot as a different key. Also a fun way to learn naming colours, J mumbles as she points to each one, or I call out the colour of those she points at.
The actual story is very simple but such a lovely surprise at the end! Plus, it teaches counting, and the days of the week, and that too much yummy food can lead to a stomachache!
Of course the most special thing of this book and the reason why it is labeled as a Spielbilderbuch in Germany, are the holes which the caterpillar chews through each different foods. Just the right size for little grubby toddler fingers to explore and get excited about the whole page turning and book reading thing. It's the one book we take with us when there's no time to pack! 

We hope to read 'Slowly Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth' soon if we find it, although if it's paperback it might get destroyed...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Our Favourite Kids' Books - Bear Boar

We read loads of them, all the time, and this one - Bear Boar by Michelle Robinson and illustrated by David Sim, published by Bloomsbury - was almost impossible to get out of Josie's hands at the library desk when we finally returned it! So, this is the first one up in my kids' book review which I hope to do regularly as we discover more brilliant books together!
We read the other one of this series - Yak Yuk - first but I think this one really hits the spot! A very cute boar and an initially rude bear learn how to share and work together to get more pears. Just two rhyming words on each spread, which is great as we can either read it like that with just the text, or describe what we see and use more language (in our case 2 languages) and be more imaginative.
Both books have such a lovely vibrant style, very appealing colours and facial expressions, and a special favourite is the bear who ROOOOOARS! Simple but very engaging characters, J giggles every time she sees the cover!
I think David Sim might be an ongoing favourite of Josie's so we'll look forward to this one: Space Song Rocket Ride, published by Barefoot Books in October 2014!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Free Shipping - Society6 Store

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Monday, July 28, 2014

New Work - Surrey County Council

Thinking About Childcare and Early Education, another campaign and publications I illustrated for Surrey County Council. Can you spot the sensory room? They have those in some children's centres.

New Work - Surrey County Council

A great campaign for Surrey County Council that I illustrated, this time for a campaign about Free Early Education for Two Year Olds!

Atlas Preview

Some more spot illustration for the Atlas, soon coming out, published by Carlton Press.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Free Shipping + 5$ off New Biker Tanks at Society6

Promotion expires July 13, 2014 at Midnight Pacific Time. *Offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases, Throw Pillows with inserts and Rugs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Border Art for Atlas

These are the border patterns I created for each continent in the Atlas. From top to bottom: South America, North America, Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New work - Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator magazine asked me to create an illustrated map for a story about travelling in Provence, France, that features a few different towns and their wineries.

Coming soon - Kids' Atlas

I illustrated this children's atlas last year for Carlton Press, it has tons of little spot illustrations of mine that feature landmarks and wildlife, cultural facts and much more. Here's a preview of my spot art, and one of the actual book The Totally Amazing Atlas Of The World, with my illustrated maps.