Not last weekend, but the weekend before I spent a couple of days up in Edinburgh for the book festival! I should really have updated the blog before now, but I didn't seem to find the time.
Here is what I did up in Edinburgh:
* stopped in a lovely hotel and people watched from the enormous Georgian windows.
*Winced when i saw one of the decorators on the top floor of the building opposite reaching out whilst wobbling about on a rusty old ladder.
* Trotted up and down Princes St dong a bit of shopping and spending far too long in all the Waterstones.
* Did my very first event for my new book ( out today!) The Baddie, which went very well, but being an idiot I forgot to bring my camera so you'll just have to take my word for it that the 3D rockets we made were sparkle-tastic and coloured in marvelously . A lovely group of children and some very nice and helpful grown ups as well.
* We then zipped across town to watch the hilarious Idiots of Ants at the Pleasance Courtyard.
*Then we wandered back to the New Town and settled in to Guille Dhu for a little pre- bedtime drink. There was traditional Scottish music being played and then an old actress from Corrie wandered about in a ball gown before bustling up stairs for her cabaret show. We went back to our hotels then...
* The next morning I trouped down Princes St in the drizzle to see the Impressionist Gardens Exhibition which was wonderful. I really enjoyed it and lost myself for a couple of hours amongst the beautiful gardens of France and Italy. There were also some from America which I was surprised by and liked very much. What I didn't like was the number of people wearing waterproof trousers when there was only a light shower going on outside, but that's probably my issue that I need to work through. I did some sketching of the other gallery wanderers (2nd and 3rd pictures above)
* I went for a hot chocolate and a cupcake as I was feeling a bit cold, then I set off for my MY MUM HAS X-RAY VISION event.
* The event went well. Lots of very funny, and very sweet little children who kept me on my toes and didn't mind that I kept forgetting that I was wearing a radio mic and kept wandering to close to the speakers and creating and unholy racket! The children just carried on colouring and drawing and telling me fun facts about all sorts of things. Mainly about monsters.
* I was then reminded by a 3 year old ( 2nd picture) to tell everyone that they could take the pictures they had drawn home with them but if they took the clipboards I would be told off. Thank you helpful girl!
* Then I signed some books and dashed off to meet the amazing Sarah McIntyre and her husband, who I think I might have scared a little bit by being *very* excited when he told me he works at one of the Harry potter filming locations...
* Sarah was lovely, and although I was a bit star struck ( to the extent that I forgot to get her to sign a copy of her brilliant book) we had a lovely chat over a cup of tea and some cookies. If we'd have had more time we would have swiped everything off the table like when Arthur in Eastenders went mad and got out our pens and paper and drawn like lunatics. Next time Sarah!
Then I got the train home and tried to catch up with myself!
Thank you to all the people at Meadowside Children's Books and Scholastic Children's Books for all your help and for making my events up in Edinburgh go smoothly. Special thanks must go to Queen of Organisation at Scholastic, Alex Richardson, who provided me with The Typed TimeTable of Amazingness which kept me informed of exactly what I should be doing and when. Brilliant! And to Ellie and Phil who kept me company and entertained for my time up there.
The top picture above is a page from my sketchbook of suspects from the MARPLE on tv last night. I am a MASSIVE fan of Miss Marple, and am now wondering if I can get someone to write a mystery novel set in the 1950s for me to illustrate!
Well last week ( 2nd August if you want to put it in your diaries!:-)) it was my birthday and I had a lovely weekend being whisked a way for an overnight surprise by my fiancee. She took me to Alton Towers for two days of rollercoasters and log flumes and being flung upside down and around and around on terrifying rides. We stopped in the hotel there which was so much fun as it's full of quirky features and little oddities (such as a magic mirror in the bathroom which tells you how lovely you look when you stand on a special tile on the floor). I got very over excited by it all and we were in the park at 8.30 am on the second day waiting to ride the rollercoaster called RITA (my favourite!)
I came home and pretty much everyday for a week the postman bought me parcels full of exciting things - proofs of front covers for books I'm working on, advance copies of books I've illustrated and all sorts of other things besides. But most exciting of all was my very own toy CLAUDE!
Claude is my new series of fiction for 5-7 year olds and the first title publishes in Jan 2011. I had heard about this toy that the publishers Hodder have had made and I had seen little photos of him but I thought I would have to wait until I went in for my next meeting with them to have a squeeze of the real thing. I think my editor and art director there got the idea that I was VERY OVEREXCITED about this and decided to send me my very own version. Apparently he is just a prototype at the moment and there a few design tweaks to be made, but to me he is P.E.R.F.E.C.T and I love him!
In the second pic he is making friends with one of my dogs - Bella Boo. She liked him but was a little miffed that he had come to sit on her special pillow. ( needless to say the other two dogs were interested in him and he has now had to be moved well out of the way to a HIGH SECURITY shelf in my studio.
I can't tell you how pleased I am with him and how brilliantly odd it is to see one of your illustrations be transformed into something 3D and cuddleable!
The second exciting Claude thing I received was from the lovely Emma in the Hodder Marketing department who sent me the adorable photo of some sample pages of Claude all tucked up in a giant Sir Bobblysock ready to go to reviewers and booksellers so they can get a sneaky peak of Claude before he hits the shops.
I hope people liked him and, more importantly, I hope he behaved himself!