Monday, 25 March 2013

What is this blog all about?

This blog is used to provide updates on (and insights into!) the development of 'Monica Egbert (Monster Expert) and the Dreaded Groggybog'.

In this story, Monica Egbert goes in search of a terrible beast. Has she bitten off more than she can chew this time?

The script is done. Finito-ed. Now the process of fleshing out the storyboard and illustrating in anger begins. I won't do it angrily mind.

I will simultaneously be pursuing options for publications. Self-publish? Let's hope it doesn't come to that but it's certainly an option.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

About Me

Who am I?

The nameless chameleon Rango, asked himself the very same question.

Little known fact:
Cows are terrified by ducks
Well I consider myself to be a man of many things. An artist, a musician (do guitar and piano still count?), a songwriter, an illustrator, an enthusiast of all things zombie, a poet, a gamer, a web lover, a photographer, someone who harbours a rather embarrassing penchant for sensational American TV dramas, a Learning Technologist by profession (we're an odd bunch) and most notably a father of 3 non-stop daughters!

I am in fact a middle-sized brother sandwiched between a bigger one and a smaller one although the smaller one eventually outgrew me. That never happened in the Billy Goats Gruff!

In amongst the daily chaos that is my life, I strive to fulfil a long-standing dream to get published. More specifically, I aim to write and illustrate my own children's picture book.

I happen to adore picture books. Always have, always will. I own many. Thankfully I can pretend to buy them for my kids when in actual fact (if I'm being honest) I probably buy them mainly for myself. I've purchased paperback editions of books we've loved reading, then secretly bought myself a nice hardback edition which will be shielded from bogeys, snot and porridge spatterings. Just for me :)

That's me on the right, the middle-sized goat
I have fond early memories of being read picture books as a child. From an early age I was exposed to classics such as Bears in the Night, The Bunyip of Berkeley Creek, Haunted House, Would you Rather?, Some Swell Pup, Where the Wild Things Are, 123 and ThingsA Winter BearFungus the Bogeyman and many, many more.

Of course I like the Gruffalo. I like practically everything that Julia and Axel have turned their hands and minds to. Which right-minded parent (oxymoron alert!!) doesn't? But, I'm also a fan of other (what I like to call) 'modern classics' such as:

I can't really explain the therapeutic and relaxing effect experienced by running a nice soft pencil over the pages of a high grammage sketch pad. It's just a little bit of heaven for me. People talk about being intimidated by a blank sheet of paper. Beware the white space of self-doubt! Not I. For this is my equivalent of taking the first few steps in a field of freshly fallen snow. Either that or just running and carelessly jumping in.

When I was about 11 years old (long after I'd outgrown picture books), the family relocated from Buxton to Matlock. Although this was a small move from one Derbyshire town to another, at the time it felt as though we were emigrating to Australia.

I left behind my old school behind where I'd been happy and content. I even won the school's art competition two years in a row. My prize the second year was a trip to the bookshop in Tideswell with the School's headmaster (in his car!). He offered to buy me a book of my own choosing. Naturally, I chose 'Citadel of Chaos' (choose your adventure was very 'now' back then).

Anxiously, I arrived for the first day at my new School in Matlock and was challenged at the very first playtime to compete against the class's fastest sprinter, Daniel Broatch. Everyone stood around, giddy with anticipation as me and Daniel lined up in the playground. I was no slouch back then, but Dan was fast and strong and he totally bested me. The shame was short-lived however, as that afternoon we 'had art'. It was then that my real talent was exposed. I remember drawing a reindeer. No biggie really. But the teacher was very complimentary and the other kids gathered around to gawk. Everyone wanted to claim  me for their new best friend all of a sudden. After careful consideration I went with Dan. After all, we both loved dinosaurs and football. It was a no-brainer.

A few years later, I moved up to secondary School. A similar thing happened. In our first Art and Design lesson we were all told to draw or paint whatever we liked. I did a sketch of some trees with intricate branches and leaves. I didn't use a reference, I just made it up. The teacher and fellow pupils were impressed. The sad thing about my art education from then on, was I was just left to my own devices. It was as if the art teachers just thought 'he knows what he'd doing. I don't need to spend time on him'. The PE teachers at that School seemed to have the reverse philosophy, pouncing on big kids with untapped rugby potential. And the rest of you, yeah you can just go and do some cross country running or whatever.

I began to dabble with computer-generated art sparked by a copy of 'Deluxe Paint' on my Amiga A500. Back then, using a mouse was the only method of creating something. How I am grateful for Adobe's software and Wacom's hardware.

Paddling along in 2012
Fast forward to now. Here I am. A 38 year old. 3 kids. A long-suffering cat who despises our decision to start a family. 2 Chinchillas, for crying out loud! A full-time career. A mortgage. A house (it does have a decent south-facing garden which is ideal for paddling pool parties).

But still pining for some artistic success but with precious little time with which to work.

Bring on the next chapter I say!