Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Book Sniffing With Dad


Steven Lenton interviews Director of "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" Robin Shaw about his brand new picture book Me and My Dad published by Hodder Children's Books 

Here is a list of some of my favourite reads for very little book sniffers which might just be perfect for sharing on Fathers Day (or any other day)! #BookSniffingWithDad 

“A is for Adventure” in this supremely stylish nautical themed introduction to the alphabet. The bright, humour-filled illustrations will be the perfect trigger to inspire a love of learning.

If you like this you will also like A Sea Voyage! published by Thames and Hudson 

Confusion ensues as a little girl realises her beloved Grandad has been replaced by a rather mischievous Penguin. A delightful tale of mistaken identity and the importance of grandparents.

If you like this you will also LOVE Colin and Lee Carrot and Pea also by Morgan Hood! Published by Two Hoots 

Perfect for pre-school palaeontologists! This little girl has her sights set on a pet that is slightly larger and considerably scalier than the norm. A joy to share anytime.

If you like this you will also like WHY? by Tracey Corderoy illustrated by Tim Warnes 

With familiar animals, shapes and scenes to spot, and plenty of detail to enjoy. This fun exploration of before and after consequences is perfect for exploring over and over.

If you like this you will also love This is Not a Book by Jean Jullien 

Follow the cut-out hole and lead the reader on an intergalactic adventure into outer space and beyond. Encounter aliens and help steer the spacecraft on its mission.

If you like this you will also like That's Not My Plane published y Usborne 

A brilliantly anarchic feud between a triangle and a square evolves using stark black and white illustrations and a clever simple text. A fantastically funny read.

If you like this you will also like Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley - Published by Flying Eye Books 

Chopping down trees means Big Jim Hickory needs to find a new home for his woodland friends. Perhaps his beard would make the perfect temporary residence?

If you like this you will also like The Bear Who Stared also by Duncan Beadie (on of my faves book ever) 

A visual feast, this introduction to trucks will have little ones entranced for hours on end, with characters to seek and find on each page. Bright, bold and brilliantly bizarre.

If you like this you will love Mr Tweed's Busy Day by Jim Stoten Published by Flying Eye Books 

What Ted lacks in stature he certainly makes up for with his big imagination in this delightful new pre-school series. Familiar themes are explored with charm and delicate humour.

If you like this you'll love Pom Pom is Super also by Soppy Henn 

A joyful observation of the special relationship between parent and child. The perfect gift and a lovely reminder that children cherish the little moments as much as us adults do.

If you like this you'll LOVE Me and My Dad by Robin Shaw 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

I have long been a fan of Helen Hancock's deliciously vibrant painterly illustrations so when Ella Arrived in all her suave and sophisticated beauty I was, as you can imagine Agog.

"Ella Fitzgerald sang the blues and she sang them good. Ella and her fellas were on the way up! It seemed like nothing could stop her, until the biggest club in town refused to let her play… and all because of her colour. But when all hope seemed lost, little did Ella imagine that a Hollywood star would step in to help.
The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born – and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity."

Instantly transported back to a golden age of glamour and smooth ear melting Jazz I was drawn in to what I had assumed was a straight forward biographical story, this was more so much more. At times It's an at times desperate tale of a struggling Ella yet to reach the dizzying success she was destined to reach. Denied access to perform at numerous clubs and bars due to her ethnicity things were't looking hopeful for Ella and her band. 

Enter Marilyn Monroe perhaps the most iconic movie star of all time who as a friend and fan steps in to support Ella and in times of segregation and struggle and together helped bring Ella's music to the masses elevating her to her rightful position as The First Lady of Song. Winning many many awards along the way and treasuring the friendship that never wavered Ella and Marilyn proved you can achieve anything with good fiends there to support you. 

Ella Queen of Jazz published by Francis Lincoln takes centre stage in book shops across the country next week (Or now if you are reading this next week, there's a buy-it link on the right if you would like to grab a copy!) 


We were incredibly privileged to be able to welcome Helen and her stunning sketch books to the London branch of Book Sniffer Towers yesterday so here for your delectation and delight are a few tantalising photos from the time we spent ruffling through original artwork, sketches and pallet sheets from Ella Queen of Jazz...

Helen creates all her artwork in single pieces painted using rich gauche paints, these are then scanned or photographed, as you can see Helens passion and talent pours out on to the page in bucket loads and this is clear to see when you turn the pages of this lavish picture book.   

Follow Helen on Twitter @helenhancocks 
You can also visit her website and shop here 


You can watch our interview with Helen here... Ignore my double chin and focus of Helens gorgeous little face and all the cakes! 

Cakes Cakes Cakes Cakes.... 

And there's more... 
Helen recently spent 3 months in America where she sampled over 100 different cakes! she is now fastidiously illustrating each one! 

You'll find out which is her favourite in the Vlog... In celebration of Helen's passion for patisserie we treated ourselves to a huge plate of cupcakes and vanilla filled doughnuts... You're welcome. 

AS ALWAYS a HUGE Thank you to my side kick and partner in crime Mr Steven Lenton... Who happens to have a new website! 

Monday, 27 February 2017

LOT'S - A day in the life of illustrator Marc Martin

By Marc Martin
Published by Big Picture Press

We absolutely adore this unique whistle-stop exploration of the world! Hours were spent uncovering some of our wonderful worlds most magnificent and mind-boggling secrets. An inspiring read for the young and curious. An essential addition to every bookshelf be it home, school or library. An illustrative masterpiece created with unbridled passion and enthusiasm. 

to Book Sniffer Towers

A day in the life... 

A typical day for me involves a mix of computer work and hands-on illustration. I’ll spare you all my pre-morning coffee photos and get straight to the good stuff. The majority of the time I’ll ride to the studio (about 30 minutes away), but if it’s raining or if I’m feeling lazy, I might catch the train in. 
I find riding to and from work is a great way for me de-stress and enjoy the outdoors. Here’s a picture of the bridge I ride across most days. Don’t look down:

I share a studio space with about 15 other people. There’s a mix of photographers, designers, artists and writers all working from the space at various times. Our studio above a tyre shop:

This is my desk… you can tell I’ve been at my current studio about for about 7 years because, yes, there’s a lot of junk. It’s funny because at home I’m very neat and minimalist, but in the studio I’m pretty messy. 

Having a studio so close to the city means there’s plenty of food and drink options close by. I’ll usually grab a coffee (and try to resist getting a chocolate brownie) from our local cafe across the road before getting stuck into work:

While I’m sipping a coffee I’ll usually sit down and go through my emails. I like to try and get all my admin and emails sorted as early as possible so I’ve got the rest of the day to focus on illustration. Because I spend a lot of time at my desk, I’ve built myself a standing desk with a high stool so my back gets a bit of relief from being hunched over all day (commonly known as 'illustrators back’ amongst illustrators!) - this also gives me the option of sitting (often when I’m typing emails), or standing. I use the smaller desk on the right for computer work, and the larger desk on the left for illustration.

Some of the tools I use for illustrating - pencils, gouache, watercolours, hair dryer (for drying paint fast)!

One the best things about having a studio is being around people and feeling like you’re actually ‘at work'. During lunch I’ll usually sit down at the communal table and chat with other studio members. Looks like no one wants to talk to me today

One of the worst things about the studio - the communal fridge. BEWARE! A place where leftovers and bananas go to die

Back at my desk, if I ever need a little bit of inspiration, I might consult my poorly ordered library. Note, I definitely don’t use the Dewey decimal system

Most days are mix of illustration for larger projects or books, and maybe some smaller jobs on the side

The thing I love about being an illustrator is having the freedom to explore my ideas. It’s a rewarding profession that challenges me to keep progressing and find new ways to tell stories

With HUGE thanks to Marc for taking the time to help us with this post and to the kind folk at Big Picture Press (especially Antonia). 

Don't forget to pop over to Book Lover Jo for the next stop on the LOT'S blog tour : )