Friday, 26 June 2015

Happy Halloween Witch's Cat Cover!

Last year I showed you the process I went through to create the cover for I Am a Witch's Cat. This year I am going to show you the process behind Happy Halloween Witch's Cat. (Out in the US 21st July by the way! And now going to be out in the UK as well 27th August!!!)

It all started with some VERY rough sketches.

This didn't quite cut it but did get used for the back cover in the end!

The one on the top left (below) was the chosen one:
Then I did a slightly more detailed sketch but still pretty rough


And then I decided to mock it up in 3d to check it was all going to work and fit in the frame:

It did, so I moved onto colour. 

This one is actually my favourite one. Personally I really like the darkness and the lighting in it, I think it looks cosy and I like more dramatic lighting. However I think the colours were too similar to the first book, or maybe the sky was too plain, I can't remember, but I was asked to do a different more evening-y sky rather than night time to make it look very different from the first book and also brighter.


I went a bit overboard to be honest, trying to make it different and ended up with this bright garish sunset sky. Which unsurprisingly did not make the final cover! Also you'll notice I was asked to put a witch's hat on the mum character.


So then I toned it down a bit. Made a less dramatic sky with a smaller setting sun, but this one looked like Witch's Cat had a halo and it still didn't quite have that punch. 

Here's what the whole set looked like zoomed out:

And a detail:

So THEN it was decided that maybe a big round moon would look good but in a different colour to the one on the first book which was white. This one was to be a big yellow moon. This is what the set looked like with the lighting switched off (Lighting adds so much!). I put a bright yellow sheet of paper behind the moon so that when the lamp behind it was turned on it shone a nice yellow colour.

 Here's what it looked like once the lights were turned on. I have to admit I really loved having the light shining through the front door and out of the hallway but I was asked to not light that bit up so as not to distract from the main character in the front and also to remove the mum character from the doorway. I was actually a bit sad to not have the hallway all lit up but oh well. It made sense why not. 

 And so there we have it. The final image for Happy Halloween Witch's Cat!







Sunday, 21 June 2015

Update



Sometimes Celestine likes to work alongside me in my studio, creating her jewellery designs. She does love her jewels!

I want to update because it's long overdue. However, I don't actually really have anything to show! The reason for that is that I have been working working working hard on books that I can't say anything about yet. I am dying to post all the stuff I've been doing on my blog right now. But I can't!! Yet. One day.  Hopefully soon. I will say though that I am absolutely LOVING the projects I am working on now. So so much. I am so excited about them and cannot wait to show them to the world.

So, apart from work... well to be honest I haven't been doing much else. But here are a few things. 

Today was Henry and mine first wedding anniversary. I wasn't going to post about it because I didn't think it was that big of a deal but it seems the first anniversary is! Because we've been sent cards and presents in the post from people. So unexpected. But really touching and nice.  I wouldn't have thought anyone would care about our first wedding anniversary but us. We got flowers sent to us by one of my best friends in the bridesmaid dress colours which was so sweet! And a framed piece of artwork from Henry's mum (which I haven't had a chance to photograph) but we LOVE it and are going to put it on our wall. We also got a magic roundabout print from my parents and a chocolate cake from my grandparents. 


Today we cycled about 17 miles which was fun in the sunshine. We are still just loving the place that we moved to so much. I know I harp on about it all the time but we are countryside people and we are just so happy to be living in the countryside.

Now that the weather is warmer and lighter we have been going for evening cycles and walks a lot more. 

We are still just in awe that we have this beautiful countryside on our doorstep. 




Another thing I wanted to mention that was a while ago now but so amazing - Kensington Dollshouse Festival!!! Oh my goodness it was AMAZING. I was bowled over by it. I've been to many miniatures fairs int he past and I always thought Miniature in Birmingham was the big one but Kensington Dollshouse Festival was a cut above the rest. The quality of everything there was incredible. They even had tiny tiny to-scale clothes pegs with real springs! So they actually worked. They were MINISCULE! And there were beautiful, tiny pop up books and stunning miniature perfume bottles that you could put real perfume in and the most detailed, incredible glass ornaments and tiny designer leather bags and just... everything. I was absolutely floored. Below is a tiny tortoise I bought because it was just so cute. I can't show you the rest of the stuff I got yet because it is for Celestine for Christmas. And, well, I don't want to risk her seeing it before hand! I know, that's kind of weird and premature but I just really enjoy collecting up tiny little things over the year for Christmas.

Oh and also, there's Celestine wearing her pearl necklace on a Sunday. Sorry for the bad quality pics, they're just ones from Henry's phone.



aaand that's about it really. I am really dredging the barrel now... haha.

I guess I should get back to work...

Have a great week! xxx

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Studio Tour and Interview


I did an interview and studio tour over on Andrea Skyberg's blog earlier this week. Link HERE.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Gold

Celestine loves to preen at her dressing table.


She also LOVES the color gold. It is her favourite. I spotted this gold glittery Dior ribbon in the ribbon box at craft club the other day. It screamed 'Celestine!' so I took it and will make her something suitably fashionable out of it when I have time. 

Also, these gold boots. ♥ Celestine was very jealous when I bought these. She wants me to make her an exact replica in miniature. I said I would try but I'm not quite sure how to make the stilletto heel...

Gold boots for Celestine. My next project after all my other projects!

Have a happy weekend! x

Friday, 22 May 2015

Flowers for Celestine

I mentioned before that my mums friend gave me a pack of Liberty print patchwork squares to make clothes for Celestine with. Well, here are the clothes I have made. Celestine is definitely going flowery this summer. 



Here she is standing on the front garden path, ready to model two of the dresses. She demanded an ice cream as payment. This was an outtake actually as her antennae are cut off but I like it anyway.



This dress I call her garden party/wedding guest outfit. I made her some pale pink tights and white boots to go with it.

When you're that tiny, even the smallest patch of flowers can seem like a fairy garden.




And that one above, I don't know what I call it but I like it and it goes perfectly with her purple necklace. She was trying out Victoria Stitch's shimmer pearls. Victoria Stitch came to visit last weekend and left all her make up behind. All over Celestine's dressing table too! She is very inconsiderate like that. 

Celestine is keeping it safe for next time Victoria Stitch visits. She has cleared it off her dressing table though. It's a bit gothic for her taste. 

It's so cute though!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Little Girl And The Tiny Doll

I was just browsing Pinterest the other day and came across a book called The Little Girl And The Tiny Doll. It was so pleasing to me because it was a story I read and loved as a child but up until now had forgotten about. Well, almost forgotton. Every now and then I would vaguely remember a story I had read about a tiny doll who lived in the freezer of a grocery store among the frozen peas and wished I could remember what it had been called.

And now I know! It's by Edward Ardizzone and Angela Ardizzone

If you read this blog or know me you will understand why this story appeals to me so much. And it's such a sweet story I wanted to post a few images from it. They aren't in any order by the way. I just picked the images I liked best.

(I took these images from this blog HERE because the ones in my version of the book are just in black and white. There's a lot more images of the book over there too.)

It's about an unwanted doll who gets thrown into the freezer in a shop. A nice girl comes along and feels sorry for the doll and makes her tiny parcels of clothes and a matchbox bed. 

Talking of books I got the first couple of copies of my next Witch's Cat books in the post the other day. It was exciting to see them. It's not out for another month or so but you can preorder it if you wish HERE! Or from most other places that sell books...

 As you might have noticed (or not!) I have changed my blog header in anticipation.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

an ice cream kind of day

I thought it would be fun for the kids at craft club to make some miniature ice creams. So I set about making some examples this morning. It ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. But I was pretty pleased with how this first batch came out. I don't think they're bad for a first try!

Here is Celestine modelling one- a Mr Whippy (without the flake) in the garden. I must admit she was quite disappointed that it wasn't real. I promised her some real ice cream afterwards!

X

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Spring


These past few weeks have been all warm golden sunshine. Celestine has been eating ice lollies in the garden (grape and raspberry flavoured) and we have been eating outside, putting up tents outside (to test them for camping later this year) lying outside, reading outside, walking outside. It's been especially nice because Henry has been on his Easter holiday- perks of being a teacher! Some days have just been actual summer springy perfection with lunch outside on the picnic rug with friends, playing in the park and walking round the hills. We have been up to Nottingham to see Henry's family and we took his Gran to a miniatures fair where I found THE perfect boat for Celestine. I know she already has a boat but this one is far FAR better. I need to varnish it before it can go in the water but I am so pleased because I have been looking for something exactly like it for an age! I often scour ebay for the perfect miniature boat but it has been hard to find. I think because miniature boats are either plasticky and for kids or they are model makers boats so not very suitable for going in the water, or not the right scale. I THINK I've found the holy grail of miniature boats now, finally! I seem to have done well for miniatures lately.

Do you like Celestine's hat in the picture above? I thought it was quite sweet but Henry thought it looked too 'perched' on top of her head. Perchy hat! Celestine and her funny little perchy hat. I think it's just quite shallow.

Now I am going to try this for fun. What have I been doing?

MAKING pictures. For books. In 2d (!!!) for a change.

WATCHING we just finished the first series of True Detective - SO good. Also for some reason we watched Jane Eyre last night which was also pretty good.

COOKING Over Easter Henry cooked me a special dinner from our middle eastern cookbook which was all aubergines and tabbouleh and hummus and stuff. It was delicious.

DRINKING gallons of sparkling water as always!

READING various different things. Book hopping! I am currently listening to The Night Circus on audiobook too.

LOOKING forward to being able to go to Turkey with Henry's mum when we can afford it (HOPEFULLY sometime this year). It's going to be so exciting when we do go! Celestine has started planning for the trip too, she has been looking up miniature sun loungers. We are crossing our fingers that we might be able to go sometime this summer... maybe. We will have to see.

These ones look good:
Lundby Stockholm Sunbeds and Parasol set
via amazon
BUYING not a lot but a few miniatures. The day before yesterday, the last day of Henrys Easter holidays, we walked to this mini shopping village place near our village. It has an old fashioned style sweetshop and a wedding dress shop and a bear shop etc, all fun shops. And and antique shop where I found a tiny little bureau for Celestine's castle. I've been looking for the perfect desk for her 'study/office' room in the castle for ages. So that was a great find. It does need painting and touching up though. I am thinking either silver of black with silver stars.

PLAYING  with my castle! haha. I have been sorting out all my miniatures and organising them into boxes and arranging a few things in the actual castle. You can see Celestine's dining room is coming along nicely. I got the little silver plates at the weekend when we visited Henry's family. 


WISHING  I could multitask more rather that always having to be so focused on just one thing. I can't seem to work any other way though.

BAKING  my ideal chocolate cake with buttery buttercream and crackly chocolate on the top and m&ms. All gone now.

ENJOYING  the sunshine and the way the light shines into our house all the time. Also I am enjoying the challenge of creating books in 2d (flat art) rather than building 3d sets all the time. It's a lot less messy.

WALKING  round the hills nearly every day. We found a rope swing there the other day when we were walking with a friend and we all had a go on it, swinging out over a very very steep hill.

NEEDING more time!! I feel like my life is slipping by way too fast at the moment. It seemed like only yesterday it was Christmas. I just can't believe how fast time is flying. Stop!!

SMELLING my FAVOURITE perfume, the one by Hotel Chocolat. It smells of sun and holdiays and Dubai for some reason. I love it.

EATING well Celestine has been wading through her Easter egg. She got a pink spotty one this year.



I think that's enough now - I'm running out of things!

I hope you are having a nice sunny springy spring!

Until next time! X

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Miniatura 2015 and other things

Let's start with a selfie! A Celestine selfie!


This was taken on Saturday at a train station in Birmingham. We went to visit Henrys mum in Derby  for the weekend and I took a train across to Birmingham on the Saturday so I could go to Miniatura as Birmingham is not too far from Derby. It was a fun little trip. Of course Celestine came too. She wouldn't miss out on a trip to Miniatura!

The other picture is a little pack of patchwork fabric that my mums friend brought back for me from Liberty in London. That's the exact kind of little present I love to receive! I am going to make some summer clothes for Celestine with the fabric when I have time. She's going to go all flowery!

Back to Miniatura. It was nice to go there on my own actually, not having to worry that Henry is bored outside when I take an absolute age to look at everything. Also it was nice that I had birthday money so didn't feel too bad buying quite a few things. 

I bought the most beautiful little string of miniature colour changing multicoloured fairy lights! Celestine's tree is going to be a stunner this Christmas. That was my favourite thing I bought. I don't have a good picture of them though. 

Here we are on the train on the way to Miniatura. We had to change at Birmingham New Street station to get a train to the NEC. I have to say, Birmingham train station is horrible. Really! So gloomy! I have never seen such a gloomy train station. I felt like i was in Jacobs Ladder or underground. It was all dark and covered and massive.

Celestine wasn't that impressed either. Look how dark it is!




Anyway. So that was fun. Miniatura. 

On the subject of miniatures here are a few of Celestine's castle since she has been home. She is very pleased to be home back in her castle with all her favourite things and all her jewels.


What else? Craft club! recently in craft club I have been introducing the idea of 'mascots' and miniatures. Some of the kids have really taken to it. I think it's one of those things you just get or your just not bothered about. 

Here's one of the 'mascots' with its growing wardrobe of clothes:

On the last session before Easter we had an easter teaparty using mini chairs and tables that the children had made in previous weeks (from lolly sticks). there was a treasure hunt and real tiny cake. I always like the miniature food to be real if possible. The eggs on the cake are mini eggs but mini mini ones! I found them in Sainsburys.


The children made tiny sandwiches for the mascots and also their own miniature Easter cakes. There they are sitting round the table with their sandwiches!


So that was fun.

Let's finish with a very serious selfie (to go full circle!) because it's not all about Celestine.. and some other pictures... just of life and stuff and stuff...

We are still LOVING being in our own house. Loving the evening sunlight coming through the windows. I am working and practicing my 2d, flat illustration for a book I am illustrating. Going to London, walking on the hills, eating the cherry choc slices that Henry made for me (they are the most delicious things ever invented I swear, I'll have to share them here one day) dreaming of all the tiny sunshiny yellow, red, orange, flower crown, summery things I want to make for Celestine, eating berries for breakfast every day, I love berries, wanting platinum blonde scarecrow hair- what am I thinking? watching lots of films and series, seeing friends, trying to keep to my new years resolutions, trying to focus, reorganising my studio into a much better configuration... sleeping a lot. Henry goes on Easter holidays tomorrow which is nice.


And that is all!

X