Monday, 29 September 2008

The Card Collector

This is a 3-D piece I've just finished, commissioned by Caprice Holdings. It's quite hard to see what's going on in this picture without getting up close, so here are a couple of details. (Click to enlarge.)

Any the wiser now?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Shoreditch Town Hall

I'm giving a talk about The Wizard of Oz at Shoreditch Town Hall on Saturday 27th September at 4.00pm as part of the Gold 08, 'new boutique arts and music event for London'. Lots of interesting things going on. Author Susie Boyt will also be talking about her new book, My Judy Garland Life. Our Oz-themed section is billed as Tea with Dorothy, but I don't know if there will be any tea.  For booking details go to 

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Leitch Book Jacket

I've just done this book jacket for a collection of short stories by Maurice Leitch. He's a terrific writer. It's published by Lagan Press... er ... don't know when. I'll find out.

Foyles Q & A

There's a Q&A thing on the Foyles website where I talk about The Wizard of Oz and various other projects.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Wizard of Oz test clip - Tornado

Two seconds of upheaval.

New Scientist

This eager chap is from an illustration I did for a piece on self-control in this week's New Scientist.

Frequently Asked Questions No. 19

A journalist's follow-up question after an interview about the process of creating Woman's World.

Q: When you said you coded the scrapbooks, could you clarify that again for me? You were collecting the text at the same time as writing a straightforward narrative, if I understood, but then how did you keep track of which phrases and clippings were in which book, etc? And were they organized by theme or subject?

A: Yes, I never manage to explain this very well. Each piece of text is stuck lightly (like stamps) into scrapbooks. The pages are numbered. Each piece of text e.g. "She danced a paso doble." is then typed into the computer with the page number (667) after it so I'll know where to find it later. Once all the pieces are typed up they get sorted into categories: the weather; shopping; light conversation; confrontational conversation; driving; police; medical. etc etc. "She danced a paso doble" (667) would go under 'dancing' obviously. It also goes into an unsorted file that contains everything, all 1.2 million words I transposed which allows me to do a word search. 
Let's say that I want to describe someone smiling. If I can't find exactly the right kind of smile in the 'Facial Expressions' category, I have to think more abstractly. It might be a light, dancing smile so I do a word search for 'dance' instead and find the paso doble piece. I find a bit about lips from the 'Cosmetics' category and once it's all joined together, I end up with "A teasing smile danced a paso doble across her sweet and fulsome lips." – which in my manuscript would look like: A teasing smile (198) danced a paso doble (667) across her (4002) sweet and fulsome lips (234). Little by little all my original writing is replaced by found scraps like these. Only when the transformation is complete (and a final edited draft is agreed upon with my publishers) can I start pasting up those bits of text as artwork. I go to page 198 of my scrapbooks for the first bit, cut that out and stick it down, then go to page 667 for the next, and so on until the whole thing – 437 pages of artwork – is stuck down. Simple.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wizard of Oz Test Clip

Dorothy and Toto on the Kansas Prairie. Here is a tiny excerpt from the forthcoming animated Wizard of Oz promo. I love the sense of depth. This is all done by manipulating my flat image. Pete Mellor is a genius. More coming soon.

Illustrated talk at Foyles

On Wednesday 24th September I will be giving an illustrated talk at Foyles about The Wizard of Oz, taking you on my own yellow brick road journey to creating the pictures for my new book. It starts at 6.30pm. Tickets are free and you can reserve them by emailing

Foyles Gallery, Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB

The Writing Life Playground

There's a great review of Woman's World here...
It was written a while ago but has only just been brought to my attention.

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Wizard of Oz at Foyles

The Wizard of Oz is published on 1st October and can be pre-ordered from the Graham Rawle Bookstore. For those of you who can't wait that long, Foyles have a limited number of signed copies on sale now, specially flown in from China, to meet your hungry needs.

New website goes live.

Well, here we are. My new website is finally up and running. Huge thanks to Miles at Peepshow for putting it all together for me. The old one has been hopelessly out of date for far too long, but I've always busy working on some project or other and never seemed to have time to get round to it. This one's much simpler and easier for me to update, plus there's this blog where I can post any news and forthcoming events. (There are some; I'll add them later.)
There are still a few 'coming soon' pages on the new site. I'm working on an animated trailer for The Wizard of Oz with my good friend Peter Mellor at Peepshow and that should be finished soon. I'm also setting up a shop where you can buy Wizard of Oz prints, as well as prints and artwork from my Lost Consonants series. Exciting, isn't it?