The Christmas Rabbit, a story about the Easter Rabbit who helps Father Christmas out, and becomes the Christmas Rabbit for a day. Published by Cadeau, Germany.
Elisabeth, Elspeth, Betty and Bess, All went together to seek a bird's nest. They found a bird's nest with five eggs in. They all took one and left four in.
Once upon a time the Easter Bunny stubbed his big toe on a chair (very painful) and was unable to deliver all the Easter eggs. He was in a real tizz about it until his family (rather a large one) gathered around to help him out. But with out the Easter Bunnies magical abilities how would they be able to deliver all the Easter Eggs? - their solution was to create the first Rabbit Air Force ( the R.A.F. for short).
So this Easter if you see choccy eggs falling from the sky you know why - and you know that the Easter Bunny has stubbed his big toe again.
In the first of an occasional series featuring FMI illustrators, Rachel Boulton blogs about why, where and how she works.
Q: What made you want to be an illustrator?
A: I never really wanted to be anything else.
When I was quite young my dad worked shifts in London and therefore slept during the day. My mum gave me colouring pencils and other crafty things to keep me quiet! And I’ve never really stopped drawing and creating since.
Q: How did you get to where you are today?
A: Well it started off with me having a great Art Teacher at school and wanting to take my first picture book in to show him. I then progressed through to the Illustration BA at the University College Falmouth. I found myself really enjoying the work and that’s when I knew drawing for children was something I was actually good at. But I must say that most of the hard work started after I graduated. I carried on improving and refining my work, even after signing with Frances McKay, I don’t think I’ve ever stopped pushing myself forward to get better and better.
Q: How do you work?
A: I love the challenge of a deadline and trying to beat that deadline. I love to achieve the best product possible. I work in pencil and watercolour and if it suits, dip pen and ink, and have often edited these artworks digitally for tweaks and changes, but who doesn't tidy up a misplaced ink splodge or pencil smudge?!
Q: What have you been up to in the last year?
A: Well most of it was taken up with moving into a new house and organising our Wedding! I made everything I could think of for our wedding day apart from the cake! I made everything from the invitations and RSVP’s to badges for the place settings and even the cake toppers. I felt I could really show off what I could do, and it was great fun.
Since then it’s really been about focusing on what I want to achieve professionally, as well as keeping everything running smoothly. My husband is training to be an ECA (much more than just an Ambulance Driver) so for the time being, he’s left me to look after our aged Springer’s Holly & Clover and our mischievous bunnies Maple & Teasel. They make up a great deal of my inspiration, but still leaving me enough time to get work done, despite the Buns sitting by the fridge demanding food every minute!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Well I’ve actually been lucky enough to work with Cico Books doing ‘My First’ Books for them: Crafty How-To books for seven to 11 yr olds. I started with subjects like Origami and Sewing and now we’ve moved on to books like ‘My First Nature Book’ and ‘My First Bicycle Book’. It mostly consists of digital work, drawing hands showing step-by-step illustrations on how to achieve each project, and has now moved on to more realistic drawings of adults and children. I’m about to start my 17th book for them and am very excited.
Q: What are your aims for this year?
A: To push forward with a picture book, or board book, or even some young fiction, something I can really get my pencil scribbling for. I have a few ideas I’m working through, to do with the life of rabbits, and maybe a book about making friends. Anything that involves drawing children or animals is good enough for me! And of course, I’d love to have a book with my name on it on the shelf.
Festive jollity to everyone from Jane and her cat, Celeste.
Have a jolly Festive Season, and a fabulous happy New Year!!!
The two characters that have made it onto my Christmas card this year are from a picture book story I am currently developing about possessive friendships.
Algy Craig Hall
"That looks painful!" said Penguin.
A piece of concept art for a picture book about the magic of Christmas.
http://www.fidgetandco.com/ Latest poster to download for free, in time for the holidays... The Adventures of Dr Fillie Fidget and Hamish the Dog.
Happy Christmas all!
The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will the robin do then? Poor thing!
He’ll sit in a barn, And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing!
This is a little booklet I made in the style of a medieval woodcut chap book, illustrating the Christmas story of Babushka, for those not familiar with it....
I recall this story being read on Jackanory one December long long ago on the TV, and it had such an impact on me a child, and it has stayed with me ever since.
Often mistakenly thought of as a traditional Russian tale, this is really an Italian tradition, alive and well, with the children there receiving gifts and sweets down the chimney on January 5th from La Befana - a kindly old woman with a broomstick - they are threatened with getting lumps of coal if they misbehave.
After much digging around researching the origins of the 'Russian' tale, I read that it was actually an English woman visiting Russia in the early 1900s, who coming across a published version of the story and was not aware it was a translation from the Italian to Russian, as she subsequently translated it to English thereby becoming responsible for creating the myth in the west of the Russian Babushka story! The basic story was not however lost in translation!
I hope you enjoy the little tale as much as I did all those years ago: along with the notion that a kindly hardworking woman is responsible for the mysterious gifts in your stocking on Christmas morning and not an old man with a big beard and muddy boots!!
Season's Greetings, Happy Christmas and all good wishes for the New Year from everyone at Frances McKay Illustration.
Spirit bears or Kermode bears are a variant on the North American black bear, they live in Canada, near to the Great Bear Rainforest. A mutation in the black bear's genes, called Kermodism means that 4/10 black bears are born white.
It has also been proved that the spirit bear is more successful than the normal black bear at catching fish in the daytime; salmon are more wary around darker objects coming towards them!
Spirit bears have long been an inspiration of mine, so my bear Finn seemed like a good character for the blog.
Bee Willey’s illustration for Macbeth opens our celebration of all things All Hallows’ Eve.
Check out my Pumpkin fairy and others, part of a growing family!
May your Halloween bee full of wintry sparkles!
Monsters are hiding everywhere, as the little hamsters Mini, Paul and Max find out in their adventure "Hamster Monster", just published by North/South in Zürich, Switzerland. Three little hamsters are tired of being called cute and sweet - so they decide to be scary, but they get a reaction, which they don't expect...
"The Conference of Scary Ghosts" a cover for a Young Fiction title, published by Arena, Würzburg, Germany, written by Amina Paul. A child is sent to spend the holidays at his uncle's house, a castle, where not everything is what it seems.
Here's a raven I drew for the RSPB's 'Wingbeat' Magazine, which illustrated an article concerning why we associate certain human characteristics with particular animals and birds.
And here are two spooky characters I drew for a book pitch a few years ago, or is it three characters I can spot?
This is an illustration of The Black Skull from a young fiction story I am currently developing - 'The Mysteries of the Magic Map'.
Algy Craig Hall
A while ago I had an idea for a story about a group of witches that gather together every fortnight to exchange spells and broth recipes, learn new witch-crafts and have topical conversations about all things related to being a witch. The group was going to be called the Witch's Institute or W.I. for short.
One of the Witch's laws was going to be that if you did too much dark magic, bits would start to drop off. So if you ever see a witch with a carrot for a nose - be wary!
This is literally hot off the drawing board, work in progress for Little Tiger Press, an extension to the Gift Book range that I illustrated for them a few years ago, this will be book number 7 in the range, "Thank You Teacher."
I love drawing kids all dressed up for any occasion, especially Halloween, and no matter witch sort of Halloween you have I hope it's FANGTASTIC!
Here in Germany Halloween has become more and more popular. I drew these pictures for myself and my son, Anton. When Anton was small the pictures had to be mostly funny because he was afraid if they were too dark and mean.
I did the last illustration a few weeks ago; I read quite a scary story but I kept in mind that although the children were afraid they were also fascinated by what they would see when they walked further on.
The next night came: Hallowe'en. Most people stayed safe inside their houses with their doors tightly locked. But not Janna.
When all her household was fast asleep, out she crept again, into the darkness. She followed the path the cold moon showed her, a silver path that led straight back into the enchanted forest.
From 'The Enchanted Forest' by Rosalind Kerven
Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ is about three orphans who are placed in the custody of their distant cousin, Count Olaf, who will stop at nothing to steal their inheritance. This was a personal project.
The Milo Adventure cover is about an Angry Druid who rises from the grave! This cover was commissioned by O’Brien Press.
Hansel and Gretel at Halloween!
This is one of two images I made to accompany the chapter entitled 'Abandoned Children', in 'The Golden Age of Fairy Tales', by Jack Zipes published in 2013. The numerous old stories on this theme are truly gruesome but at least in this one the children triumph! Although the other image was published, I think Gretel despatching the witch to cook in her own oven has more of a Halloween feel to it!
Illustrator James de la Rue has a friend who wants to join in the fun!
And Jane Eccles is, well... a bit batty!
Wishing you a fun and spooky Halloween, and more than a few treats, from everyone at Frances McKay Illustration.
Ben’s Box’ is a book I have been working on with Frances. It focuses on a little bear named Ben who just wants to play. He spends his day trying to catch Florence, a bird who is hiding in his box. She flies out and he tries to follow her. Its text consists of mostly onamaterpiac words which are simply joyous. There’s not much else to be said about this lovely little story really. All I need do now is make sure all the drawings are as strong as they can be!