Wednesday 28 December 2011

Local scenes

Chorlton Green (with and without xmas tree) and Beech Road park, Chorlton, Manchester, just finished.

Some of my limited edition colour prints of Lychgate, Chorlton Green, are for sale at Everyman Art Gallery on Beech Road

Jungle Book b&w

And some more of my black and white! Jungle Book images, including Mowgli as a toddler (being hunted by Shere Khan and found by Father Wolf), Shere Khan challenging the lone wolf (Akele), and Mowgli aged 12, fighting Shere Khan.

Alice In Wonderland b&w

Here are some of my b&w Alice in Wonderland images.

Alice in Wonderland exhibition

Have just been to see a fascinating exhibition at Tate Liverpool on Alice in Wonderland.

Lots of surrealist  stuff by Dali (including his short film collaboration with Walt Disney, called 'Destino'), Max Ernst, Paul Nash and John Armstrong. The British Surrealist Group in 1936 was also dubbed 'The Children of Alice'. A series of screenprints by Peter Blake (1970) had some jazzy touches of colour. There was a great selection of Alice in Wonderland publications, including illustrated versions by Tove Jansson (1960), Ralph Steadman (1972), Andrei Martynov (1993), Lisbeth Zwerger (1999) and Deloss McGraw (2001). My favourite images were 2 large  and slightly unsettling intaglio prints by Kiki Smith, 'Pool of Tears' (2000) and 'Come Away from Her' (2003). These are based on Lewis Carroll/Frank Dobson's own sketches. Plenty of inspiration!

Chutney labels

Happy Christmas & New Year

Monday 19 December 2011


This is what the booth looked like at the Cornerhouse. Some very fast sketching going on, too at 5 mins/go and up to 3 people sitting in the booth together for a portrait... the portraits were variable! The one-way glass took a bit of getting used to - I could see the sitter close up, but they couldn't see me. Then, when I saw people I'd sketched later on in the gallery, I felt I knew them, but they didn't know me. Very strange, but great fun, too!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Cornerhouse Sketch-O-Matic

I am really excited to be taking part in the Cornerhouse  sketch-o-matic event starting later this week.
I'll be hidden in a booth doing  5 min portraits for an hour on Sat 25th Nov and an hour on Mon 28th Nov, taking turns with other artists. Come and get your portrait if you dare!

Sketch-O-Matic photobooth



Café / Bar
Thu 24 Nov 2011 – Sun 4 Dec 2011
Open daily, including evenings - see booth for timings
£1 donation per sitter to artist
In an age of buy to invest instead of buy what you like, the making of art has been torn from human hands as mass-multiple prints flood the high street, while the buying of art is seen as rarefied and reserved for a wealthy few. Sketch-O-Matic is a full size photo booth situated in our busy café-bar, but where the machinery should be is a tiny, fully equipped artist’s studio. You, the public, are invited to sit inside as if for a photograph and make a donation to the artist through a slot for a self- portrait. Wait five minutes (give or take) and the image will appear. It may be a pencil drawing, doodle, cartoon, collage or even word-poem. Take it, frame it, consider it. Now you are both patron and muse!
Image: Nick Hamilton
Sketch-O-Matic will feature micro residencies with the following artists and poets: Paul Mayers, Simon Misra, Mary Naylor, Lauren Lucie, Anne Wilkins, James Clayton, John Allison, Mandi Caine, eight bit, Kate Dunstone, Amy Marsh, Jimmy Lee, John Powell-Jones, Tasha Whittle, Lyndsey Winnington, Nick Hamilton, Jilly Cooper, Mark Aspin, David Bailey, Bethan Hamilton, Gemma Parker, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Ross Phillips, Leanne Bridgewater, Kay Williamson, Steph Pike, Jonathan Edwards, James Condon, Radu Andriuta, Len Horsey, Pascal Little, Paul Loudon, Sue Shaw and Anna Violet.

scbwi conference badges

I was runner up in a badges competition and was pleased to see them being bought and worn by loads of delegates last weekend. Here they are!
The conference was great, with inspirational speakers including Chris Riddell and Karin Littlewood. Will post some notes up when I get the chance.

Monday 24 October 2011

Manchester & Salford Illustrated

I'm really chuffed that my work has been selected to be part of an exhibition in Manchester starting this week.
This is the first Manchester and Salford Illustrated exhibition (#MASI)  at 52 Princess Street, Manchester 27th October – 10th November
30 local illustrators will be showing their work under the banner of "What Manchester means to Me." Prints will be available for sale to raise money for the Manchester-based charity, the Wood Street Mission.
Here's a peek of my submission! 

This is the thinking behind it:-

What Does Manchester Mean to Me?
I am awestruck by Castlefield's viaducts and bridges. Castlefield was the heart of Manchester's industrial revolution and remains an iconic symbol of the making of Manchester to me. Here we have the terminus of the world's first industrial canal and also the world's first passenger railway. The Bridgewater and Rochdale canals join at this canal basin, which is crossed by four enormous Victorian viaducts and an elegant modern footbridge, Merchants Bridge. Two of the viaducts are still used by trains and metrolink uses another.
Castlefield is also the site of the Roman fort, Mamucium. This is the origin of the name of Manchester. The fort appears to have inspired some of the amazing castellations and towers on one of the viaducts, too. I often wonder what the soldiers based at Mamucium would make of this area today. 
My image illustrates this part of Castlefield with the viaducts, canal basin, leisure boats, trains and metrolink. The soldiers at the fort, Mamucium, look over the scene.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

How Anansi Got His Stories now published!

I'm so excited seeing the book in print at last. I finished the illustrations in early spring, and they have reproduced really well, with all the colours just as I'd hoped. Oxford University Press have chosen and arranged the type, including the cut-out typeface on the cover, which I think looks great. Here is a selection from the 32 page book.

My children used to bring the Oxford Reading Tree books back from primary school to read at home, as part of their homework. So I felt really chuffed to be involved in illustrating one of them - my homework this time! The story is a great one, too, about a trickster spider, which has been retold in a fun way by Trish Cooke.

Thursday 4 August 2011

How Anansi Got His Stories

How Anansi Got His Stories will be published next month by Oxford University Press, and I'm very excited because I did the illustrations for it.

Here are some links from Oxford University Press:-
Some of my illustrations are up too on this leaflet - the leopard and Anansi the spider.

It's now listed on Amazon and Pickabook has this information up on:-

The Oxford Reading Tree Traditional Tales series is a collection of some of the best known stories from around the world carefully adapted for children to read themselves. Anansi is a character who appears in many African and Caribbean tales, and will do anything to become King of Stories.
Synopsis:How Anansi Got His Stories is a tale of a familiar character from many African and Caribbean tales. Anansi the trickster wants everyone to listen to his stories, but he will have to complete three challenges before he is proved worthy of the title King of Stories...This humorous story written by Trish Cooke and vividly illustrated by Anna Violet will capture your child's imagination! It has been sensitively rewritten to enable your child to read it with confidence whilst capturing the magic of the original tale. There are useful tips for parents and an engaging story map inside the book to help you and your child retell the story together. The Oxford Reading Tree Traditional Tales series includes 40 of the best known stories from all over the world, which have been passed down for generations. They are a perfect introduction to different cultures, traditions and morals. All the stories are carefully levelled to Oxford Reading Tree stages and matched to the phonic progression in Letters and Sounds enabling your children to read the stories independently...

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Amy Winehouse tribute

I am sad about the death of Amy Winehouse. Her songs were amazing. Here is my tribute portrait of her.

Friday 22 July 2011

Portrait in newsprint

Rebekah Brooks portrait, constructed from torn up newsprint apologies from News International. I think the black & white version is the most dramatic.

Thursday 7 July 2011


Guess who they are!