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  • four letter words

    May 6, 2016

    I sent my first attempt at a children’s fantasy novel to a publisher when I was 21. It came straight back, and I didn’t feel brave enough to repeat the experiment, and I spent my twenties concentrating on drawing, where

  • neighbour's garden

    my neighbour’s garden

    November 21, 2015

      This is the front garden of my neighbour’s house, in Leytonstone, London. Her choice of decoration is full of historical – and mythological – resonances. She is an Irish Catholic grandmother (the Virgin Mary is, of course, a bit

  • stunt bike

    the Real Live Game

    November 6, 2015

    My older brother, Peter (now a philosophy professor) has had a life-long love of motorbikes. I drew this picture, of a stunt rider leaping through a wall of flame, when I was about 7, and it would have been in

  • ExploreSTORYBOARD 2015

    a simple story pattern

    October 9, 2015

      All stories begin with a problem, a dilemma, a conflict. Something is wrong, and out of balance – a storm is brewing… As William Faulkner said, stories are about ‘the heart in conflict with itself.” The usual picture book

  • oldwoman&pigSMALL

    The Old Woman and the Pig

    June 26, 2015

    So much is said about the importance of books and reading, but language and stories begin with talking and singing, not reading. Nursery rhymes are stories: Humpty Dumpty, the Grand Old Duke of York, Jack and Jill. When I was tiny

  • My life as a river

    June 4, 2015

    This is an article I wrote a few years ago for the Children’s Writer’s & Artist’s Yearbook. It’s being reprinted again this year. An illustrator’s life It helps me to think of my life as a river: water is a

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