New post at Picture Book Den

About how my illustration technique has evolved etc. Including a dodgy video. . .



I’m a Denizen

I did a guest blog post for a site called ‘Picture Book Den’ a couple of weeks ago. You remember. . . hah, course you don’t 😉

Anyway, the post went down well, and I have been asked to join the select band of eminent and widely published Children’s Book writers that make up the site’s admins and regular posters. I have graciously accepted the offer of course.

So now, and henceforward, if you visit the site you will see my name on the important list just under the banner at the top, and if you click on said name you will be spirited straight to the ‘about’ page where you can marvel at the wonders there revealed concerning who I am and what I do. That is, if you weren’t fully clued up on my wonders already.

It will be nice to feel like part of a community of writers. Writing and illustrating is an isolated profession, we all beaver away in our own little bubble.  (which makes me want to draw beavers in bubbles but I shall restrain myself) This relative isolation does have it’s advantages of course, like not having to commute anywhere, and not being required to deal in or with office politics etc, so it can be a perfectly pleasant way to exist, but not all the time. It can be isolat-ing as well as isolat-ed. 

So being able to connect with people who know what I am talking about because they do the same thing as me will be a refreshing and valuable thing too. I’m pleased 😉

That being said, as I will be posting there four or five times a year at least I had better start working out what to post about. . . hmmm. .

Oh well, if all else fails, draw rabbits. . . in shades. . . that’s what I say.


Picture Book Den

The Picture Book author website that I wrote a guest post for a few weeks ago, called Picture Book Den has an interesting post from author Pippa Goodhart, featuring a character I invented.

In my post I mentioned how sometimes I come up with a drawing of a character that arrives with no story attached. Usually the concept and the character arrive in my head together, as a kind of package, or the drawing of the character suggests the story. I gave an example, a cute character called Small Bear, who I just couldn’t get a suitable story idea for.

Pippa, with my blessing,  based her blog post on the thought process she would go through to create a story based on that character. The post is a very interesting insight into how a writer’s mind works, and into the creative process involved in producing a story for a children’s picture book.

Here’s the direct link – The ‘Small Bear’ Challenge


Small Bear


I put a design into the Spoonflower monthly fabric design contest last week. The theme was Baby Animals, which I thought was just up my street. I repurposed an existing drawing as a simple repeat and sent it in.

Kind of like this mock up.


Anyway, I came 111th 😉 Out of about 500 though.

I should have made it more of a design I think, it’s just a drawing set to repeat, which isn’t much of a cleverly worked out surface pattern at all really. I thought it was fun though.

Just started up a Tumblr

Which sounds odd. .  ‘A tumblr’ as if a tumblr was a specific thing rather than a type of blog or blogging platform. Still, it has it’s own sort of feel, something a bit more throwaway and loose than a ‘proper’ blog. Somewhere between a flickr page and a pinterest board (which I haven’t explored yet. . . do I need to? I dunno)

Any road up, here it is –

I’m going to put an old illustration, a digital pattern/artwork and a photograph up every day and see if I get any likes or follows or whatever. It does seem quite a hassle free process so I’m enjoying it in a quiet way. There does seem to be quite a lot of good stuff on Tumblr. It’s easier to find it than on WordPress or Blogger I reckon.

Here’s a pic from my tumblr, which, by the way is called ‘lessisless’ which isn’t necessarily true but I had to call it something.



Jon x

Fat Cat book went down well. .

Feedback from the Bologna book fair re the large moggy pictured below was good. My publisher now has to firm up arrangements etc, and seeing as it’s the London Book Fair at the end of the month as well I don’t expect any sensible conversation about it until after that. But it looks like it will go ahead, which is good news.

Hoorah! and Pip Pip! etc. . .


Cambridge Drawing Society

Well, it’s that time of year again, and my partner, Gill is getting her pictures ready to submit to the Cambridge Drawing Society open exhibition. She paints lovely watercolours, and gets voted the favourite in the show quite often. This sort of thing. . .


A portrait of my daughter Isobel

Good huh?

For my part, I have never indulged, mainly because I draw directly onto my computer for work purposes these days and computer prints are not allowed. Also, I have never been that sure if my stuff would fit in with the ethos of the show seeing as it’s work from my imagination and is humorous in style and content. But there is nothing in the guidelines that says that submitted work has to be drawn from life or be deadly serious, so this year I thought,’Well, why not?’ and sent in my entry form just in time. Which left me about five days to come up with four actual physically-drawn-on-paper type pictures that I had hurriedly called on the entry form, ‘Cat 1’, ‘Cat 2’, ‘Cat 3’, and ‘Cat 4’.

Well, I’ve managed that, for better or worse, and found that I actually enjoyed the process. What the ‘art loving public’ will make of these daft fat cats I don’t know. They may not even get accepted in the first place. Still, Ronald Searle was the honorary president, so daft fat cats may resonate 😉

Here they are.

cat1 cat2 cat3

cat4I think I may have priced myself out of the market at £120 a go, but I had to think of a figure off the top of my head and subtract the CDS’s 40% not to mention framing costs. . .

The exhibition is at Cambridge Guild Hall and is on from Saturday 13th to Saturday the 20th April. Pop in and have a look if you are in the area.