Wednesday 6 April 2011

Hip Hip Hooray it's a Holly Holly-Day!

One has spent much of the day gadding about with the delightful ladies and gents at Bounce - however I made sure I made it back to Book Sniffer Towers in time to iintroduce you to a brand new rising star and paint brush master...(and the creator of the immensely popular "How to Draw a Pug" feature) the delightful "sweet as a french fancy" Holly Surplice
What'o Holly What are you working on at the moment and is it keeping you out of mischief?

Right now I am working on such exciting projects, if I had a tail it would surely have wagged itself right off with the excitement of it all!

My head is full of Bottom-scratching Bears, Spotty dogs and Partying Guinea Pigs at the moment (no wonder I don't sleep that well at night) and it is all very exciting!

My first book with the wonderful Harper Collins is called “About a Bear” and is due out in September. It is a delicious riot of colour and texture and a simple celebration of the wonderfulness of a Bear. I have loved working on this project so much! Harper have been utterly fantastic, and we have worked at the hair-splitting pace that I love – lots of midnight oil burned on this one but it has been so worth it - I cannot wait for Bear to sit his grand bottom on the bookshelves!

Bear Bum! *blush*

It took a moment or two to catch my breath back after completing About a Bear, but all the while I had a spotty dog running riot in my head trying to dig up little gems that I could piece together to make a totally doggylicious new book which is what I am working on now. Inspired by Marbles, my partner-in-crime for the past seven years, this is a book that has been brewing for quite some time now. I have written many versions of different story concepts for this book so the one we are working on is still in it's infancy and I don't want to give too much away (in case it all changes again!) but I promise it is going to be absolutely dogtastic!

Finally, I have a conga-line of guinea pigs parading about upstairs too, it really is just one non-stop, ridiculous party in my head sometimes! My very recent collaboration with the super-lovely Nosy Crow sees me having a hilarious time drawing guinea pigs of all shapes and sizes, getting up to all sorts of mischief. It's always great when you are working on a project that makes you chuckle while you draw! This is going to be a fiesta of fun, in the form of a counting book so something totally different to get my teeth into.

This is great – writing down all the things I am working on reminds me what a fun job I have (sometimes that gets forgotten amidst the piles of corrections and deadlines)!

You obviously work very closely with your canine companion Marbles but are there any other human authors/illustrators you would like to collaborate with?

Ooh, this is a tricky one! There are so many talented folk out there that I admire, but I think, if I could collaborate with anyone, it would have to be the totally awesome and supremely lovely Polly Dunbar. She has such a fantastically effortless style of writing and illustrating that is so full of wit and charisma – I am such a big fan of her work, and very lucky to be able to call her my friend too!

Polly and the sniffer...

 My ipad case arrived in the post today ..alas still no sign of the ipad itself! What do you think of eBooks and Apps?

 Well this seems to be such a area of great debate! I know that many view Apps and eBooks with an air of scepticism, but I think that there is always room for new ways to bring stories to little people.
At the end of the day, I think that anything that encourages children to absorb words and pictures and feed their imagination is a good thing. Of course I think that nothing can ever replace the wonderfulness of holding a book in your hands and physically turning the pages to reveal the excitement overleaf.

I love being able to get totally up close to illustrations in a book book and being able to lift flaps, pull tabs and chew hard-covers is what babies and children love about real books, that will ever change. But, there is no use in trying to deny the presence of advancing technology, and I think we should just embrace the fact that there are new ways developing all the time to help excite the imagination of our children.

I have seen some great book Apps at work on the ipad and it is amazing what is being produced! Children can really interact with the stories and use their own creativity to enhance the story-telling experience which I think is great. Nosy Crow seem to be trail-blazing their way into the App market which is something that I found so interesting and exciting when I first heard about them. I would love to work on something digital, I think it would be amazing to see illustrations come to life in an interactive format (secretly would love my guinea pigs to dance across a digital page!) - ALL books are great, I don't really think it matters what they are made of!

As everyone knows as a pup my fave books to sniff was "My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes" (closely followed by The Giant Jam Sandwich",

 I loved books like “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” by Pam Adams and “Each Peach Pear Plum”. I can remember being totally fascinated by the concept of this woman eating all these creatures and then the awfulness that she dies in the end! Totally simple and brilliant at the same time, and what child doesn't like a book with holes in it! I adore writing and reading in rhyme and Each Peach is such a great example of this, combined with that classic game of hide and seek, it's not hard to see why it is still such a popular little book (my little girl loves it!).

Of course the queen of modern rhyme as we all know, is Julia Donaldson, my favourite is A Squash and a Squeeze.
 My daughter Honey has impeccable literary taste and is genuinely an even bigger Polly Dunbar fan than me! She cannot get enough of the Tilly and Friends books and her babbling conversations often include the phrase “No more Bitey Bitey!” (from Doodle Bites), Penguin is also a favourite, and in my mind, a modern classic!

(c) Polly Dunbar

Tell us about three things that inspire you...

 Animals, children and illustrations inspire me! I love the actual characters present in all creatures when you take the time to observe them which is something that I have always enjoyed doing. Marbles & Honey together are a constant source of hilarity, and produce a variety of visual comedy for me to draw from on a daily basis – I am very lucky.

 I am always inspired by watching children reading and responding to books, it is always fascinating learning what children actually want to look at!
I adore looking at and get huge inspiration from looking at the work of other artists, especially when I look at their work and think, “How on earth did they do, or have the patience to do that!” (I think this when I look at the recent pic you featured by
Levi Pinfold (such a great name!) of the Black Dog).
It doesn't make me aspire to try to produce work like them (I couldn't!), but pushes me to try to find the next best thing that I can create myself - I get bored very easily so am constantly looking at new ways to develop my work and keep it interesting for me to produce, and others to look at.

 Sniffed anything good lately?

 I have to say if you haven't looked at Penguin by Miss Dunbar, then you MUST!
Penguin Perfection...

But also, I absolutely adore Slow Loris by Alexis Deacon it is such a celebration of drawing, and superb animal observation, he is an amazing talent.

This title is one NOT TO MISS!

And....The Bear's Winter House by John Yeoman & Quentin Blake, first published in 1969 this book looks as fresh as if it had just been released, scrummily effortless Blake illustrations bring to life a gorgeous story.

Thanks for popping by for tea lovely Holly Surplice, we would like to wish you the best of luck with your new book and can't wait to see a finished copy!! Next time you're passing bring Marbles!

Check out Holly's blog here and her website here!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to pop by Book Sniffer! It's been great fun talking books and Marbles is all set to share a Bonio or two next time. xx


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