I've just completed this job for a Dubai-based children's theatre company. She's called Suzy Sunshine and will be used in a series of educational shows.
The client supplied me with a drawing they'd done themselves that they had created for the tailor who was making the costume, but by their own admission it wasn't suitable in any way for marketing purposes.
What they were after was a friendly, vibrant cartoon character with lots of energy and appeal, so I knocked up a rough pencil sketch, got approval, and then created this finished piece.
Despite being in Dubai, the entire job was reasonably fast to turn round because the client knew exactly what she wanted and between the modern wonders of email and PayPal the information exchange and payment were swift and effortless.
The plan is to produce more Suzy Sunshines illustrations as the shows progress.
Today was spent with the children of Bartley Junior School who were celebrating the tenth anniversary of the opening of their school library by author Michael Morpurgo. To mark the date the children would be creating their own stories throughout the week, so I was asked to go in and give some cartooning and illustration tips on character creation. It was undoubtedly a packed day, starting with a presentation in assembly and then visiting each class in turn to show how to give their characters a bit of personality plus a few tips on improving the children's drawing skills. Plenty of bubbly enthusiasm from staff and pupils alike, and I was well looked after too - thank you, Bartley.
On The Banks Of Hatchet Pond, the children's book written by Val Anne Lee and illustrated by me, has been doing very well, so we've decided to give it its own Facebook page. We're also planning a website too so it can be purchased direct online. The feedback on the book, from retailers, parents and children, has been wonderfully positive, so Val and I have decided we really ought to build upon its success. You can follow Podge and Dizzy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PodgeAndDizzy
The new Longdown Activity Farm leaflet has been printed and distributed ready to be discovered by families in and around Hampshire and the New Forest.
I've been designing and illustrating the leaflet for several years now, so we decided to give the cover layout a tweak to build on what had gone before. This meant some new cartoons and a slightly different approach to the photography, and the end result is rather pleasing.
Despite being a ten-page fold-out leaflet, there never seems to be enough room to fit all of the information in as the farm offers so much to see and do throughout the year, and it's always changing, so it's a challenge to keep everything readable and accessible. The end result is always pleasing, and whenever I visit the farm I always get a kick out of seeing families using the hand-drawn map I created to find their way around.
If you've never visited Longdown Activity Farm before then take the opportunity this year - great fun.
Splash Display have created an ingenius piece of kit to help businesses join online advertising, social networking and measurable results. The Splash Point is a social sharing hub that helps your business build its database, increase footfall, improve feedback, heighten your exposure and increase your social presence. You can find out a lot more by visiting the Splash Display website.
Ceratopia were asked to get involved to create the Splash Point logo, storyboard a promotional video and provide a series of cartoons to be animated. The finished animation, built by Focal Strategy, can be seen here.
When work allows it a group of us attend a local pub quiz at The Bold Forester as Mrs Miggins' Pie Shop. It's so packed that you have to book in advance, and booking means you have to find your table when you arrive by the laminated signs put out by the organisers. Our sign has been a bit lame (our name written at the bottom of the rule sheet) so last time we were offered a charming multi-coloured wavy text thing created in Word. One of our team members (hello Dave) declined and said we'd sort out our own, by which he meant I'd do it. So here it is.
Using cartoon strips to sell your products and services can be a hit and miss affair (you've got super-powers, so what do you do with them? Flog carpet as Captain Underlay, of course) but as long as some thought is put into it they can work out very well.
The advantage of a cartoon strip is that you can use humour and friendly, colourful illustrations to get across your message, and because it's all drawn you don't have to worry about expensive sets and props or location shoots.
This is the second strip Carbon 2018 have asked me to create, but the brief put to me was nothing more than the strip's title plus the addition that they, as a business, were like a golf caddy. Everything else was down to me.
This meant I needed to educate myself on this aspect of their business in order to write a suitable script, so I spent some time familiarising myself with this before putting pencil to paper. I tend to plan a strip like this on scrap paper as a scribble so I can plan the visual gags alongside the words.
I then drew up a pencil rough of the strip so the client could get a good understanding of what I was suggesting and ensure I was saying the right things about their services. With just a few minor tweaks I was able to move to inking and colouring, and a finished strip.
You can find out more about Carbon 2018 at www.carbon2018.co.uk and if you'd like to find out more about how you can use cartoons and cartoon strips to promote your business get in touch with me here.
Yesterday morning was spent with twelve gifted and talented children from Orchard Infant School, Manor Infant School and Waterside Primary School as we got stuck in to a writing workshop.
The session started with a brief introduction to me and my books, with me reading The New Forest Friends & The Litterbugs. I then explained how I went about writing them and my inspiration for the stories.
Then, using some large sheets of paper, I invited the children to help me create a couple of cartoon animal characters that they could then use in their stories. Some brilliant suggestions followed, with us settling on a hamster that could swim underwater called Libby and a life-guard Octopus called Harry.
We then constructed a bubble map of possible directions the stories could take, additional characters, various settings, and different story genres to encourage the children to come up with their own unique perspectives. They then went off to construct a story hill ("story path" or "story mountain" I heard used too) where the children map the outline of the tale by identifying the beginning, middle and end.
We then managed a quick break for squash and biscuits before sharing our ideas with the group and then plunging properly into the writing. The children all had their own pace, so some managed to complete a story within an hour whereas others had something of a much grander scale in mind so needed to take theirs away to complete. We had cave fires, magic whirlpools, mean sharks, volcanic danger, snow and much more, so it was encouraging to see the diversity of their ideas. Bearing in mind these were infant-aged children, reminders to include good description and use similes cropped up several times, but where they did use them it was great to see their adventures become more vibrant.
It was great fun, not least because the children were enthusiastic and eager to take part, and I'm looking forward to receiving all the completed stories via the adult representatives from the three schools in the coming days.
Currencies.co.uk recently commissioned me to produce the next Currency Hound cartoon for their new ad campaign. A few years ago they made some predictions in a press ad that have since come to pass, albeit they're not the cheery sort. What it does show, however, is a bit of financial savvy on their part, and that is certainly worth acknowledging.
The blank page Currency Hound is holding will end up being the original advert, but to see the finished new one you'll need to keep your eyes peeled in the press.