Hello feathery friends!
It’s only October - the best month in the year (and I won’t be persuaded otherwise)! It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I last flew into your inbox, has it really been 4 months?
I am determined to get a tiny bit more consistent, and as you might have noticed I’ve moved my email newsletters to Substack. OG folk you don’t need to do anything, I’ve already moved your subscription across. The main reason is so that you can access the newsletter archives (all the ones from the beginning are on my substack page). A few IG pals - Charlotte and Anna - have also begun posting on Substack, and I like that the platform allows me to recommend other newsletters to subscribe to, I might also find some new friends too. And in the long-term, I plan on setting up a paid subscription option - don’t worry I won’t put any of this stuff behind a paywall (and I will have options for those on low incomes) but will offer little extras like sketchbook tours, process videos, material explorations, and digital downloads.
In perfect symmetry to my love of October (and astronomical autumn in general) is my utter disdain for summer.
I don’t know if it’s the heat or all the extra events and happenings but my natural summer state is aestivation. What I wouldn’t give to spend my summer in a wind battered cottage on an island in the Hebrides, alone of course.
Instead it was given over to end-of-term extra-ness, birthday parties, childcare, kittens (who are both very cute but utterly aloof and self-serving), childcare logistics (pretty sure my logistical planning is good enough to land planes now), two blasted heatwaves, and back-to-school extra-ness.
Not much drawing was done.
But, I did have a lovely zoom with Lucy Juckes and Vivian French of Picture Hooks, the outcome of which was a place on their Buddy Scheme. Rather excitingly myself and artist Bozena Klos are paired with the incredible illustrator Chris Mould who is based a short train ride away. We had our first in person meet up at Chris’s studio in September - we were all so excited and had so much to talk about that a planned 2 hour session turned into nearly 4! It’s such an amazing opportunity to be able to pick the brains and sketchbooks of such an established illustrator.
Come see all the shiny treasures I’ve found for you, a bumper bounty because it’s been so long (I might not always send a newsletter, but I’m forever collecting):
As an illustrator one of my goals (Top Secret: I’m working on a pitch) is to illustrate a biographical non-fiction picture book about a trailblazing woman - and top of my list is the mother of Yoda, Wendy Froud.
Continuing my fascination with the psychology of time, I promise this short article, Time Doesn’t Flow Like a River, is only slightly mind bending.
As an ‘elder millennial’ - although I prefer the more specific xennial, Catalano or Oregon Trail generation - I’m apparently entering my unhappiest age.
These Famous Women Artists Changed the World with their Self-Portraits.
Bluey is hands down the best kids TV show at the moment, it’s featured in the links before, and it’s spot on “portrait of parents at the end of a long day of parenting” is the kind of solidarity you need in the void between 3:30pm and bedtime.
Two more classic fictional icons I can’t love enough are Frog and Toad (created by author-illustrator Arnold Lobel), I’m a bit obsessed with their endearing friendship. So, this account on IG is like a great big, warm, frog and toad hug.
Talking of knitting, and as I embark on my autumn/winter crochet blanket project (I’m doing this one with a few adaptations), enjoy this illustrated perspective on domestic artistry.
Tiny Murder Scenes - need I say more, except perhaps CW: murder scenes. I’d totally do a biographical non-fiction picture book on Frances Glessner Lee too, if the subject matter wasn’t so gruesome.
“Only 20% of sounds onscreen are generated by the actual objects represented.” Enter the wonderfully onomatopoeic, analogue delights of foley sound effects.
An amazing long read on the biophony of the planet - it’s a love song to the world.
Greta Thunberg’s Davos speech transcribed into a painting by Jack Coulter.
It’s another long read, and it’s from 2020, but it’s very worth it. I mean what article wouldn’t be that contains the line “As a great poet from the colonies once wrote, it’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is for the sneering Eton thugs you inexplicably elected to stop stabbing you in the back.”
You may already know that I prefer an actual book to an e-reader, but I also prefer paperbacks to hardbacks. The main reason being my annoyance at dust covers (but you’re an illustrator!) and if I’m honest I usually throw them away. But a Victorian clothbound hardback, that’s a beautifully different story.
I’ve been fascinated with Japanese culture since I was a teenager, so the embracing of ‘childish’ things has never seemed much of an anomaly to me - says the 41 year old sitting in the cafe with a neon pick pencil case, star covered hi-tops and Oscar the Grouch backpack. Maybe it’s time we all embrace our inner child.
Look: The art of the picture book barcode; fascinating things found in used books; anxiety inspired stop-motion animation for ‘Feel Joy’; beg, borrow and steal to see Prima Facie at the cinema before it stops showing; a daily cloud; behind the scenes with Oliver Jeffers; Isabel Reitemeyer’s uncanny collages.
Play: What Came First; write an email to your Future Me; go to Google and type Double Asteroid Redirection Test in the search bar.
Wowsers! That was a lot! Take your time with them, who knows when the next newsletter will be! 😜
Please be a dear and leave me a comment, it sometimes gets quiet at this end of the internet. Is October truly the best month (that might be a trick question)? Are you paperback or hardback, or (gasp!) an e- reader? Do you come for the links or the illustration stuff? Did you just subscribe to be polite (thank you btw)? What are you reading at the moment?
Until next time,
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Love your black and white header drawings! Huge congratulations on Picture Hooks. I can't wait to see more of your work.
Thank you my lovely 😊