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Greek Myth Writing Competition


Year 5 from Orchard Junior School had me in a couple of months ago as a springboard for their Greek Mythology project, where I spent a morning showing the children how to draw monsters and create new ones of their own devising. They were then tasked to write a new chapter of Homer's epic story The Odyssey, where Odysseus and his crew meet the creature they've created. Having already visualised their horrific beast the idea was that it would better inform their descriptive writing and enhance their creative storytelling, and I in turn would illustrate the monster from the story that most impressed me. 

Today I got to deliver the illustration I'd done to the Year 5 winner, Ted Lawless, who wrote a fantastically captivating tale that was both witty and inventive, particularly in the respect that it was almost the only story not to feature Odysseus slaying the monster but attempting to let it live. Ted's monstrous creation wasn't a wildly fantastic beast with multiple heads and tentacles, but a half-man, half-wolf, akin to the minotaur. In fairness, some of the other children dreamed up far more elaborate and ingenious creatures, but this was a competition about putting that monster into a narrative that gripped the reader, and Ted did this best.

Posted in Schools by Simon on 12/05/2017

Dinosaur Logo


Here's a cartoon logo I did recently for a clinical physiologist who helps people with sleep apnoea. As is often the case with me, any excuse to draw some dinosaurs...

Posted in Cartoons by Simon on 04/05/2017

Cartooning For Cub Scouts



I got to do a series of cartoons for a cub pack recently who had been thinking of ideas using play-on-words. They supplied the suggestions and all I had to do was draw them. For example, the pack was called First Hawkwell, so they wanted a group of orcs queuing up at a hospital with the first of them coming out cured, or, first orc's well. There were lots of good ideas for me to draw, including the pack leaders' titles. You may not know that the leaders are named after characters in the Jungle Book, so with that in mind, can you work out which character the sheep cartoon refers to? Apparently these shall be adorning clothing right about now.

Posted in Cartoons by Simon on 15/03/2017

Drawing Workshop at Morgan Vale & Woodfalls CE Primary


On 28th February I spent a great morning with the children of Morgan Vale & Woodfalls CE Primary School. The day began with a pop-up shop in the playground where parents and children got to see my books and say hello - fortunately the sun shone on us all. Next I moved into the hall where I joined the lower school for a reading of New Forest Friends & The Litterbugs, a quick made up animal drawing, and then a step-by-step drawing of Beaulieu the Hedgehog. The children were brilliantly attentive and full of smiles throughout. The step-by-step drawing is something I've only ever done with Year 1 and upwards, but one reception boy was hanging on my every word so his teacher suggested he join in too and his resulting drawing was magnificent. Then, after a quick coffee, it was time to do it all again with the upper school, although here I swapped the reading of the story for a more in-depth chat about what I do and how I do it.

A really lovely school and a great bunch of children. Thank you for having me!

Posted in Schools by Simon on 03/03/2017

Drawing Workshop With The Rainbows


Simon was at Totton Rainbows yesterday sharing his children's books and leading a drawing workshop. Using just simple lines, shapes, numbers and letters, Simon builds one of the characters from his books in a simple, easy-to-follow step-by-step method that leaves all the children (and a few adults) with a drawing they can be proud of.

The Rainbows only meet for an hour, so rather than be paid for this time it was agreed that the group would buy each of their Rainbows one of Simon's books, which he duly signed and dedicated for each girl.

Ann Barlow, who runs the Rainbows group said: "Thank you for being so brilliant with the Rainbows yesterday. They loved it and they were so engaged with what they were doing. You really spoke their language!"

If you'd like Simon to come and talk to your group, be they children or adults, do get in touch via our contact page.

Posted in News by Admin on 09/02/2017

Photo Opportunity Board For Hampshire Fare


Hampshire Fare, the not-for-profit group promoting local food and drink, asked us to create a photo opportunity board. They champion over 350 producers, venues and shops, so they had a very specific brief that required the illustration to incorporate as many elements as possible, allow for three face holes, and be suitable for easy construction/collapsing and transportation. 

Working together with Splash Display, a bespoke unit was designed that made the building and moving of it possible, so all that was left was to create an illustration that featured branding, social media messages and logos, a producer and a chef, examples of produce and livestock, a sponsorship logo and relevant cottage, and a cartoon realisation of Hampshire Fare’s hog. Fortunately, this sort of detailed drawing is something we enjoy getting involved with!

The result was revealed at a recent Hampshire Fare networking event at the White Star Tavern in Southampton, where plenty of Hampshire Fare members took full advantage of the new board. Look out for it around Hampshire at events in the coming year.

Theme Park Sign Design: Viking Boats


Paultons Park asked me to redesign their signage for their Viking Boats ride. They've been steadily recreating all their attractions' signs to appear layered or sculpted, giving them a much more interesting 3D feel. To this end, any artwork I create has to bear this in mind so the sign manufacture can select elements to extrude and enhance.

The original sign used a generic viking boat image but I was keen to represent the design of the boats on the actual ride. It's all created as vector artwork using Adobe Illustrator, which has the benefit of allowing it to be scaled to any size without any loss of quality of fuzziness, such as you'd get with a pixel-based illustration. The sign should be in place for when the park reopens in February 2017.

Totton College Library Opening


Today I had the enormous pleasure of officially opening the brand new Totton College library, or more correctly, the Learning Resource Centre. 

I attended Totton College as an A-level student between '89 and '91 so as an ex-student who now writes and illustrates books they thought me a good fit as the man to hand the ceremonial scissors to. 

I was told to bring some books along in case people were interested and ended up almost selling out, which was a great bonus. Whether or not the magnificent attendance was down to me or the promise of a lavish spread of food and drink I couldn't say, although I'd be tempted to go with the former.

Posted in News by Simon on 01/12/2016

Quincey Quokka's Quest Is Now An App



We're pleased to announce that Quincey Quokka's Quest is now available as an interactive ebook.

Through this book children help Quincey through a series of activities that require them to remember, control their actions and exert control over their thinking. In doing so, children gain valuable experience in support of their cognitive development. This app is an interactive ebook version of Quincey Quokka's Quest, which allows children to continue interacting with the book even if an adult reader is not available to share it with them. Complete with character voices and animations, Quincey's world is now as immersive as ever.

Quincey Quokka's Quest was first developed as a picture book to support children's cognitive development. The abilities it aims to foster have been shown to play an essential role in setting the stage for a broad range of outcomes in later life (e.g., school readiness, academic achievement, social and emotional competence). Quincey Quokka's Quest aims to promote the development of these abilities, giving children the best possible start to life. 

Quincey Quokka's Quest has been featured by numerous media outlets (e.g., ABC News, WIN News in Australia). It is also the subject of peer-reviewed research published in Educational Psychology Review, as well as ongoing research, which outlines its benefits. 

To download the app please visit Apple’s App Store.

For further information, visit www.quinceyquokka.com 

Posted in Books by Admin on 27/10/2016

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