Wednesday, 14 September 2016


For me the best way to start a new character and discover his or her story is to sketch them and see what they end up doing, what environment sits comfortably with the character and what friends appear? What adventures will the pencil take them on? 

And then there are those naughty characters, like little piglet Kay, that impatiently just pop up whenever they want. Even when it isn't her turn yet!

It looks like little Momo has a big bear friend. And I think it is cold where they are, but somehow I think that they would much prefer a warm place with soft grass and flowers. But it isn't anywhere near them. Hmmm. Maybe a little journey might be in order? We'll see. 

I love sketch books and sketching, doodling,  playing, thinking, drawing. And there is of course enormous joy in viewing others' sketch books. I recently bought "The Bird King" by Shaun Tan, and what a joy to view page after page of delicious sketches. And then there is the wonderful Sara Midda's sketchbook "The South of France, a sketchbook". And if you really want to get me drooling there is Oliver Jeffer's Sketchbook. These are some of my favourite sketchbooks. I would love to find out what yours are. It will be such a delight to find more artists' sketchbooks to enjoy and get inspired by!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

New picture book?

A few months ago I put a little doodle I made on Facebook and for some reason he made a lot of people comment, despite being just a little doodle. Here he is, the little fellow.

You see, there isn't much of him, but somehow people liked him and he also kept haunting my mind. So it's probably best that he gets a story. His name is Momo. That much is clear. But rather than just making up a story for him, I would like to discover first who he is and from there see what is happening in his life.

If you'd like to follow an adventure in picture book making, I thought I'd use this blog to record the progress of discovering Momo.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

New look blog and a new approach

In the past I used to use the blog mainly to update those who are interested, what I was working on and what was happening with the bits and pieces I created. With this new style blog, I'd like to write about techniques for illustration and design and share interesting illustration and design pieces that might be inspiring, or useful in other ways. 

I would also like to invite other illustrators, artists and designers to write guest blogs to share their work, their inspirations and techniques. If you are interested, leave a comment in the comment section and I'll get in touch.

Today I'm going to leave you with a link to a site that I often refer to when I need a bit of inspiration. It is called "The Letters" and contains all the letters Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, translated in English.

So now for a cup of tea, a piece of cake and read The Letters !

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” 
― Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Horace and Nim

It's been a while since you've heard from me, but our first Horace and Nim story, "The Rainbow's End" is currently out in "Fun to learn Friends" magazine (issue 294, 26 June 2014), published by Redan. If you would like to read it, you can find the magazine in most major supermarkets and news agents and any other shops that sell children's magazines here in the UK. "Friends" magazine is one of the UK's largest pre-school age children's magazines with almost 70,000 copies sold of each issue.

Our next 2 adventures, "The Yo-Yo bug and "The Lucky, Lucky Leaf" will be published in issues 296 and 298, out respectively the 24th of July and the 21st of August. If you'd like a little preview of the stories (all written by David Hoskins) and the illustrations, have a look at the "stories" page of our brand new Horace and Nim website.

Licensing Biz Daily wrote a little article about us, you can read it here.

Hope you enjoy Horace and Nim's adventures and am curious to find out what you make of them!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Hurrah for the Mud Monster! And some thoughts on picture book apps

In my last blog post I wrote about my latest children's picture book app, "The Mud Monster". To my great delight it was recently listed in Kirkus' best book apps of 2013 ('A story that is as happy as a clam at high tide'). I am tickled pink and still blushing with pride!

what will our 3 friends find in this giant sea shell?

Looking back at The Mud Monster, it makes me think about picture book apps in general. I was recently interviewed for BBC Wiltshire regarding picture book apps and one question that keeps on following me, is whether book apps are good for children and would it give them the same experience as a printed book?

I think there will always be a place for printed picture books. They are beautiful, a real joy and I am an avid collector. They make lovely gifts and are a treasure to have. But I also think there is a valid place for picture book apps. Most of all because it is about the story. Whether this story is on an iPad or other tablet or on paper, does not matter so much. What matters that it is a good story. 

Then there are the illustrations, how do they enhance the story, what delights do they bring? I think the same thing applies there, it does not matter whether they are on a printed page, or whether they are on a tablet, what matters is that they are good, enjoyable illustrations that can be explored by the children and parents together. What is important about a picture book or app is that it engages children and that parents and children can interact with it and enjoy it.

In all my picture book apps (and I think in most book apps) there is the option to switch of the reading voice so that parent can read the story to their children, or so the children can read the stories themselves. The same way they can from a printed book.
Any music and sounds can be switched off (or on) through a touch on the screen. You can go backward and forward or jump around in the story as much as you wish. All the same as in a printed book.

But the nice thing about a picture book app is that you can do more! You can touch the illustrations and things will happen! How exciting is that! You can blow in your tablet to create storms (as in Finn's Paper Hat), you can shake your iPad and a mouse will swing from a tree (as in Fierce Grey Mouse), and you can make plenty of bubbles when 3 animal friends are having a bath in "The Mud Monster". And to help early readers learn reading, there is word highlighting, where the words enlarge and highlight along with the reading voice. Again a function that can be switched off and on as you please.
will you make some more bubbles for our 3 friends?

Last, but not least, there is also the matter of price. Often a picture book app is less than a quarter (or even a tenth) of the price of a printed book. An opportunity to get many, many stories and hours of fun reading or being read to!

our 3 friends from The Mud Monster on their way to buy a book? Or will they find a boat and roam the sea and go fishing instead?

Now of course I am biased in my views, as 3 of my children's picture books have been published by Tizio BV as interactive picture book apps. What do you think about this topic? I'm really curious what your thoughts are around picture books and picture book apps.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Picture Book Apps and Mud Monsters

I am delighted to tell you that this week my new picture book app, "The Mud Monster", published by Tizio Publishing BV, has come out in iTunes

I'm really proud of this new app and the first reviews that have come in have made me very happy:

 "I just love your books, they really touch my heart." and 
"Wow - what a beautiful app. - Chantal's artwork and stories are so lovely." and 
"I just don’t know what to say, other than, they have done it again.  The Mud Monsters is beautiful.  I love this complete package, including the narration, illustrations and the music."

For the first full review you can click here.

As always it was great fun working with the wizards at Tizio. They take my picture books and with their magic make them come alive. It is such a pleasure to see every page become more fun every time I receive test versions. And now with the full app ready, I am as pleased as punch.

The Mud Monster is a circular story, about 3 animal friends who go on a little fishing expedition after their daily bath. They fish up a giant shell and are curious what is inside, so they rap, tap and knock on the shell. They pull it open and then....! Well, for that you need to read the story yourself. 
And to make that easier, I have a few promo-codes to give away. If you would like a chance to win a promo code for a free Mud Monster Picture Book App, just leave a comment on this blog before Tuesday the 27th of August 2013. I will then put all the names in a hat and draw 3 winners that I will notify through this blog on the same day.

For more information about "The Mud Monster" click here.

Looking forward to seeing your comments and in the mean time... Keep clean!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Last Saturday the 14th of April, I had the pleasure of attending the national conference of the Federation for Children's Book Groups. I presented 2 seminars on the topic of Children's book apps at the conference, but also had the opportunity to attend other speakers' sessions and visit all the publishers' stands. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day!

The first treat of the day was a session with Axel Scheffler in conversation with Eileen Browne. It was very interesting to hear him talk about his work and it was great to see him in action, drawing us a giant Gruffalo! He made it look so easy! After Axel Scheffler, Nick Lake spoke to us about his latest teen novel, "In Darkness" an interesting talk, touching on how our mind can mix reality with dreams and how this was used in his novel.

The break came along with coffee, tea and the most delicious hand baked cookies. And whilst the next talk was on, I set up the seminar room for my own talk. I thoroughly enjoyed delivering the talk, especially as the audience was truly interested in the topic and had lots of interesting questions. I started the talk with explaining how we made the Fierce Grey Mouse app which you can also read in my blog post from a few months back

I then moved on to talk about the difficulties and opportunities there are with marketing an app book or buying an app book if you are a customer. There are thousands of book apps about, how do you know what is a good book and how do you as a publisher get people to notice your book apps?
I finished the talk by letting people play with the available iPhones and Ipads to give them a sense of how much fun children's book apps can be!

For me the most inspiring talk of the day was by Matt Dickinson about his expedition leading a film crew up Everest and the books he wrote as a result. His latest book is "Mortal Chaos" and is the first in a new trilogy.

Next I decided to visit all the publishers' stands, which was a great idea. So many wonderful new and old books to see! From beautifully illustrated picture books to exciting new YA books, the whole range was presented. And best of all, they happily gave proof copies away for free for us to take home. Their generosity was overwhelming. I came home with 3 bags full of the most fantastic books and am enjoying reading them all and sharing them with friends and family.

Receiving the proof copies gave me an interesting insight in what publishers use to advertise new books to book sellers and what as an aspiring author you might want to be aware of. On the backs of the proofs it listed things like: author available for talks, extensive social media marketing (twitter, blogs, FB), 1st in a series of books, author has previously sold x amount of books and comparisons of the book with well known classics.

More coffee, tea and cookies was had and after a thoroughly enjoyable day it was time to go home again and go back full of inspiration to writing and illustrating my own books and cartoons!