4 November 2011

Back to the brush

I've been hankering after doing some 'proper' slapdash painting with watery inks and pencils. Don't get me wrong, I love my mac but there's nothing like the splash of paint on paper, especially if you haven't quite worked out what you are doing. I've been looking at the old covers from the Madeline books which are just a great mixture of loose ink drawing, bold colour and great drawing.
Despite all this, I couldn't help scanning in and playing with the colour digitally over the top of the painting. Maybe there's no hope for me?

31 October 2011


Happy Halloween everyone. Its one of my favourite times of the year. I feel more at home in a jumper and thick socks, making stews, carving pumpkins and drawing spooky pictures. It confuses me slightly that the media these days seem to think that celebrating Halloween over here is a new thing. I remember lots of Halloween parties when I was younger in the early 80's. My mum even made me a fantastic costume of Evil Edna the TV witch from 'Willo the Wisp' (anyone remember that?) out of a massive cardboard box. I don't understand this idea that it's all come from America in the last few years. Anyway, I love it.

 Here's my celebration Halloween sketch, our pumpkins immortalised and also some favourite spooky illustrations from favourite illustrators. You lucky people.....

                                              I just have such a thing about birds and bats.....

 The incredibly talented David Roberts (left, bottom left and bottom right) is the most wonderful illustrator at evoking a spooky and sinister mood. His black and white work is second to none in my opinion. Look at that snowfall....

 This is a favourite book cover of mine from the ever talented Tony Ross. I've often tried to replicate fluid lines like this (without too much success!). Genius.

A perfect example of an Edward Gorey - the most sinister, disturbing yet beautiful book. An A-Z of unfortunate deaths of tiny children. Interestingly, both my children think its wonderful. So much for wanting happy endings.

10 October 2011

Big Draw Brillustration at Blackwells

What a great day. The Brillustration group http://brillustrationbristol.blogspot.com/ (myself included) had a wonderful day on Saturday 8th of October, drawing live in the window of Blackwells bookshop Bristol - creating a 'free form' window display with no pre-sketches and no real plan! We had a window and a bookshop crammed with local illustrators and authors. There was badge making inside and lots of great badges were made (it was highly addictive!) and many of our books for sale inside the shop. There was a great buzz both inside and outside the shop. Lets hope we do lots more. We're hoping for a Christmas window which would be amazing.

                                                Blank paper of the most terrifying kind.

                      Beginnings. Illustrator Lauren Tobia's lettering kick starting us all into action.

                                                 Me and Lauren Tobia stuck in a window.

                               Lauren Tobia's great sketch of Anna Hibicus beside her book.

 My dragon from 'Sir Laughalot' making an appearance underneath Hannah Cumming's 'Lost Stars'.

                                                                 Finished window.

My favourite sketch of mine of the day. I was mortified it wasn't in my sketchbook so had to take a photo to remember it.
Well done us. From left to right - June Goulding, Lauren Tobia, Donough O Malley, Hannah Cumming, Sarah Warburton, Paula Bowles, Mark Sperring, Louise Cunningham and Rob(!). Essential contributors who had to leave before this pic - Sam Church and Lilly Allen.

5 October 2011

Portugese children re-illustrate Rumblewick and the Dinner Dragons (Rumblewick e o jantar com os dragões - Curiosos à Vista)

I stumbled across this video on youtube and it made my day. I never thought in a million years that a whole class of Portugese school children would re-draw/re-design the front cover of Dinner Dragons. The results are just lovely. Some fantastic Rumblewick facial expressions there. Thank you to whoever posted this into the cosmos. Just beautiful.

21 September 2011

A very Nosy Crow

It's been really exciting and fun to have been working on a book with everyone at Nosy Crow these past few months. They've just released their Cinderella app which is wonderful and keeps my two kids quiet. The artwork is just gorgeous and there's lots to play with. You can change the colour of Cinderella's ballgown and magic up your own coach!

When I went to Nosy Crow's office I saw lots of different crow pictures that various illustrators had done. Never to be left out I though I'd try my hand at my own. I love the idea of a Crow super sleuth - if I ever get around to putting pen to paper.

12 September 2011

Oh No it isn't! Oh yes it is! It's Panto time.

It's my 4th year producing the marketing and poster artwork for The Theatre Royal Winchester. It's great fun working for these guys as they are committed to using artwork instead of photography and they're really creative and fun in their approach. The panto is consistently a huge success for them every year and I'm glad to be a small part of that. They generally give me a pretty open ended brief - fun, family panto, eye catching. I always relish the challenge. This year its Cinderella, the BIG one. Here's a selection of very rough roughs, thought about roughs and artwork. For more info on this gorgeous old theatre, please visit www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk


even sketchier sketches

colour sketch for poster

final poster

extra flyer concept.

Pencil sketch for Baroness

final colour.

9 June 2011


Dogs are great aren't they? When I was young we had a mongrel (who was mainly Basset Hound) and he was a great character as he would literally sigh at me sometimes when I offered him a walk and would reluctantly get out off his cushion. He would also 'beg' people out of their armchairs by sitting in front of them and staring at them without blinking for an age until the pressure got too much and they moved.

My daughter now is desperate for a dog. It got me thinking about how things would be if she got a dog but he didn't do what dogs normally do.....

6 April 2011


While ordering some fruity T-shirts for my daughter, my son expressed disappointment that there were no 'boy' T-shirts for him (i.e. throwing himself on the floor in hysterics screaming APPLE WITH A FAAAAAACE). What could any doting mother do except design some of our own.

I really enjoyed it. I could have gone on forever. Vegetables with eyes seems to be my calling at the moment. Watch this space.

30 March 2011

Hello teabreakers and procrastinators

At last (with a lot of help and friends speaking to me very s  l  o  w  l  y) I have the beginnings of a blog. How very exciting. So grab your biscuits and tea and lets have a natter.

It feels like we've gone back to winter this week, although it hasn't snowed at least. So I thought I'd share my little winter wonderland of a studio. Even in a damp and dreary March its a cosy little bubble of illustration and ramblings.

December 2010
March 2011 - yes the fires are still burning.

29 March 2011

Sarah Warburton goes to Hollywood

Well not exactly myself, that's bending the truth an awful lot! Exciting news is that Dreamworks have unveiled the news that they will make an animated film based on the Rumblewick books by Hiawyn Oram and myself. It's exciting but slightly strange as their idea is to turn Rumblewick from a Cat to a Rabbit, which is very different from the books of course. So far I have had no input into this visually either - but what from I've read and heard I think the idea they have is a good one and could be great fun. If I hear more I'll let you know.