Sunday, 24 January 2016

How to draw Squirrel & Mole by Ciara Flood

To celebrate the publication of Ciara Flood's fabulously delicious second picture book with Templar Publishing 'The Perfect Picnic'  we have an amazing step by step guide to drawing your very own Mole and Squirrel! 
We'd love toy see your doodles so do tweet us @maybeswabey @TinyFlood! - Have fun! Happy sketching. 

Buy a copy of the book here! 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

National Hug Day with David Melling and Hugless Douglas

it's National Hug Day! 

What better way to celebrate such a special day than to welcome dear friend of the Sniffer and creator of none other than Hugless Douglas himself Mr David Melling! 

David popped up to Sniffer Towers to give us a sneak peek at some of the development work from his latest fabulous Hugless Douglas adventure 
'Hugless Douglas and the Great Bake Off' 
published by Hodder Children's Books in March. 

Take a look: David Melling talks about Hugless Douglas 

DAVID:  I usually start building ideas by doodling random scenarios of the main characters, then hopefully picking up threads that could lead to a story idea. I can often draw most of a story before I get to the writing.

David: Douglas licking finger 'Whose been walking on MY bed?'

DAVID:  Honey glazed sheep hanging from tree, Douglas finds his missing honey - 'Why are you wearing my honey?' asked Douglas

DAVID: The afterglow effect of consuming many honey cakes.

DAVID: Watching paint dry...(masking out honey foot prints)

DAVID: Last spread showing detail of the sheep as they demonstrate how to decorate honey cakes; rolling out chocolate icing

Follow These guys on Twitter

Visit David Melling's website here 

Find some fantastic Hugless Douglas downloadable activity sheets HERE! 

You could #WIN this bumper pack of Hugless Douglas books by David Melling, including copies of Hugless Douglas, How to Hug with Hugless Douglas, Happy Birthday Hugless Douglas AND Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School! 

HOW DO YOU ENTER? It couldn't be easier, send me a picture of a cake that you have baked! it can be a drawing OR a photo, you can tweet it to me on Twitter @maybeswabey or post it on my Facebook page or even email it to me 

A winner will be picked at 5pm on the 28th Jan - 
SORRY UK only 

A HUGE HUG and a big THANK YOU to David Melling 
and Hodder Children's Books

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Perfect Picnic by Ciara Flood!

Almost exactly this time last year I was thrililled to have Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood in my greedy book sniffing paws, It was a triumph of a picture book and the last I had the pleasure of working with Libby Hamilton at Templar Publishing on. To celebrate Ciara designed a FABULOUS 'How to Draw a Pesky Rabbit' guide for us, you can see that here! ! We had some fantastic entries in our competition, and I was beyond thrilled to see so many Pesky Rabbits popping up on my Twitter feed. 

Well it's time to celebrate and get the bunting out once again as this February sees the publication of Ciara's second book 'The Perfect Picnic' 

Pre Order NOW  £6.99 PB - Published by Templar Publishing 

Squirrel and Mole make the most delightful pairing, chalk and cheese they muddle along together best of friends and planning the perfect picnic together is just the ticket for a grand day out. Alas best laid plans result in near disaster as one by one the delicious picnic treats get lost along the way and they can't agree on the perfect picnic spot. Will the animals they meet along the way be able to save the day? and will Squirrel and Mole ever agree on whether to put butter in the sandwiches or not? You'll have to read to find out.  

Illustrated with unimaginable skill, the creatures in this book are simply brimming with life, each expression created with such thought and insight you will be completely charmed. The delicious textural pencil lines give you the feeling of having a sneak peek inside a magical hand drawn sketch book and the warm buttery colour pallet casts my mind back to basking under a tree on a balmy summers day.  

Ciara has created a book written with such a wonderful subtle humour children will be pleading to hear this story over and over again, not least to catch another delicious glimpse at that most magnificent  strawberry cake I have seen in a picture book for many years! 

Bravo Ciara, let's see what next year brings! 


Psssst - You might like to make a delicious Honey Cake for your picnic, here's how! 

FOLLOW Ciara on Twitter 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Emily MacKenzie's TOP 10 TIPS for creating a Picture Book

This week we are celebrating Emily MacKenzie's fabulous ever so crafty feline creation 'Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat' 

Stanley is an extraordinary chap with an unquenchable passion for craft, carefully creating gifts for his chums with heaps of love and care things take a dramatic turn when Stanley runs out of wool just before the Wooly Wonders Competition. Will disaster be averted? Will Stanley finish his creation in time for the grand prize giving? will the bunnies ever get their balaclavas back?  You'll have to grab a copy to find out! 
This story is a beautifully bright celebration of friendship, creativity and the unrivalled comfort of cosy knitwear. 

Top Ten Tips for Creating Picture Books

(c) Diana Pappas

1. Read lots and lots and lots of Children's books for research. This is great for lots of reasons. I find looking at picture books really inspiring. It helps me be more aware of what sort of layout compositions, colours, drawing techniques and typefaces I like but it also helps me to see what has been done already and help me move my story ideas forward in different ways if I feel something I'm working on is too similar to a book that already exists.

2. Draw LOTS! I often come up with my character ideas long before I write the text, so practising your characters in lots of different positions, doing different activities, engaging with other characters conveying different emotions and expressions can help you decide what personality your character has and help you to build up a picture of what sort of story would would suit them.

3. Treat yourself. I often find if I'm in a bit of a rut or having a 'bad drawing day' that a new pen or crayon, a fresh bottle of ink or a crisp new notepad can work wonders for starting afresh and getting me back on track.

4. Always have a pen in your pocket! I often get ideas for prints, stories and characters when I least expect them, often when I'm walking around town or when I'm on a bus or in the bath! Scribble down your ideas as soon as you can to refer back to later and if you don't have a pad to hand, jot them down on bus tickets or supermarket receipts in the meantime!

5. Keep a selection of tasty snacks hidden around your desk. If I'm riding a creative wave, I might get lost in the detail of a drawing for hours without realising and suddenly feel very very hungry. Raiding the studio biscuit tin or bags of nuts and raisins help see me through!

6. Don't worry too much if you feel uninspired for a day or two. Ideas will come back and having periods where things just aren't working out is completely normal. When I get writer's block or drawing block I go for a walk to clear my head or meet up with a friend for a slice of cake. It's good to have a distraction and can help to re-energise you for when you're ready to get back to work on your project.

7. Refer back to the books you loved as a child. When I'm writing and drawing I draw with my 5 year old self in mind so looking at my favourite childhood books helps me to remember what I found funny at that age or what subjects/animals I liked to read about the most.

8. Make stuff! Ralfy Rabbit first appeared as a rabbit shaped bookmark I made for a craft fair and Stanley started off life on the cover of a notebook I made. Making things can often lead to unexpected ideas for new books and it can be really fun trying out new crafts too. Experiment and have fun!

9. Keep your own voice. Although I've said it's great to look at other books to see what is out there, I think it's important that when you write and illustrate you do it in a way that's true to yourself and not emulating how other people work.

10. Be brave! When creating my first book I hadn't really thought about what comes next. I've had to conquer my fear of public speaking for reading events but now really enjoy them and showing my sketchbooks to publishers was quite terrifying at first but has been great for building up my confidence and sparking fresh ideas.

W: / T: @emilymackenzie_ / F: Emily Mackenzie illustration 

Publication Date (all editions): 14th January 2016 Paperback (£6.99) / Hardback (£10.99) / EBook (£6.99) 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Gentleman Jim!

In 2011 a dazzling new talent smashed head long into the Book Sniffer gang of best-loved illustrators, it was Mr Jim Field and I'd just watched him receive the much coveted (Hugely
missed) Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize, along with one of my very most favourite authors Peter Bentley for their collaboration on Cat's Ahoy!

5 years have since passed and I have happily observed Jim bounce joyously from success to success creating a cornucopia of brilliant, award-winning books with a  myriad of exceptionally talented authors to huge critical acclaim. 

There's no denying this chap is talented but boy-o-boy is he hard working. 2016 will be what can only be described as an annus mirabilis for Jim, as we see no less that 5 new publications coming from Hachette Children's Books alone. Beautifully designed collaborations with the likes of Kes Grey, Michelle Robinson and Rachel Bright have previously become instant household hits and their eagerly anticipated sequels are set to become firm family favourites.   

This week, after an excruciatingly long wait I was overjoyed to finally witness Jim and Julian Gough's first collaboration emerge from hibernation...presenting
Rabbit & Bear 'Rabbit's Bad Habits'

A deliciously produced, lavishly illustrated new series for emerging readers. Carefree Bear and omnipotent Rabbit make a most delightfully pairing providing the perfect canvas on which to unfurl a simple yet pant wittingly funny woodland tale of kleptomania, culinary mishaps, daring escapes, potential avalanches and the endurance of true friendship. 

Julian and Jim make a heavenly pairing and the exquisite balance of text and full page, spot colour illustrations make this the perfect book for devouring in one sitting. Barely in my hands for more than a few hours and I can hardly wait another moment for the next instalment. No bookshelf should be without a copy. 

Three cheers for illustrated fiction, limp carrots and occasionally eating one's own poo!  

FOLLOW Jim on TWITTER @_JimField 

Dearest Jim took some time out of his immensely busy doodling schedule to rummage through his plan chest and find us some fantastic character development sketches. It's always such a treat to see how characters evolve, and these two are set to steal the hearts (and winter food supplies) of many many readers not least ours! 

Keep an eye out for a very special step-by-step guide to 'How to Draw Rabbit' and some never before seen sketch book sneak peeks in the next issues of WRD Magazine

I would strongly advise you pre-order these gems at your soonest convenience...

to Jim Field, Rebecca Logan &
Hachette Children's Books 
for spending the time to help us with this feature!