Tag Archives: Guildford Book Festival

And…. Saying goodbye to the class of ’09…

Ahhhh the class of ’09. Sometimes a good year, sometimes not so much. I look back on these guys with mixed feelings but a huge amount of happiness and joy.

I’ve been thinking about ex-students and the Book Draw a lot over the past couple of weeks. I’m coming up to the final months of, possibly, the last classes at my workplace and a number of students have been asking if I’ll miss them. Spoiler warning: (I will) and who knows what will happen in the future. I do know that some of the guys and gals I have worked with this have have been entertaining an fun to be with.

Which leads me to these guys: the class of ’09 Big Book Draw version. It was a wonderful day (click on the Guildford Book Draw tab to the right for more details) but a project that often nearly broke me. For a start I had huge dreams – as with any project – and I really must learn to stop doing that. One of the dreams was to have a launch party with a difference. I made forty copies of the book (and since each copy took at least an hour to make that’s a fair chunk of time when times always a pressing). The idea was to have a night out where people who had helped on the day could be given their copy of the book at random. The next step on this project is to wrap each book in brown paper and post them to recipients and give them to those more local. It was a lovely plan. Added to that I wanted to have a storyteller there on the night to read out the story of the Dragon and his Princess and the Fish’s Library (a story I’m quite pleased with 🙂 ) and it would all be lovely.

Of course it wasn’t to be. I tried but hey ho, some dreams fly too high and the reach of my net feels very limited. But I do still intend to send the books off to people, at random, and with a bit of luck the people who receive them will photograph themselves and their book and email that back to me. Then, and only then, will I know who got what.

It’s been a funny old road but one that’s kept me amused through some dips last year. Now I’m onto the semi-sequel (Wombat and Wambot) which, again, is a youth work venture and, again, will be drawn by teenagers who I’ve yet to meet and can’t wait to do so, and hopefully I’ll look back on the project in the Summer as I wrap it up and smile as much as I do with the mini-books above. We’ll see. I’ve yet to learn to stop dreaming but, since the dreams help me with the ideas in the first place I can hardly complain when the rough goes with the smooth I suppose.

In other news the final, FINAL copy of Sylver went of to the publisher today for print and release in early May. More on that when I have the time to type but youth work calls for tonight so it’s time to plod onwards on a different path…

Glutton for punishment…

OK yes, I know, I should have gone to sleep the moment I had the chance but this project…. This project… It sort of takes over my brain in strange ways.

So, been a while since I’ve done anything Big Book Draw related. For some reason I picked up the files the other day to have a look through and doodled about with a little bit of colour.


Which leads me to this. Another night gone but three books – colour throughout – made. One I’ll keep, one will be for someone I’m fond of and truly hope can be a part of the final action of the Book Draw and one will probably end up as a competition prize in some way.

So, 43 books. Should do something with them. What I’d like to do, what I’ve always wanted to do, is have an exhibition/book launch day where the people who helped come to recieve a mini-book each to say thank you. That’s what I’d love to do but whether I can we’ll see. It’ll take a smidge of organising and sometimes I have the energy and sometimes I don’t. The icing on the cake would be if we can get a story teller to tell the story with asides and jokes and comments as he/she reads the story aloud. That would give the media students the chance to film it as a Jackanory type story and would be a wonderful post script to a project that took over so much.

That said I am happy with the three coloured in versions. They look pretty sweet. We’ll see if they go anywhere.

This old chestnut again…


Sorry to bore but… well…

Tapestry’s troubled upbringing continues apace with cover problems causing issues all over again. This is the newly redone one which astounded me by having a very small gamut issue (the difference between an rgb monitor and a cmyk printer) when I thought it would have a million problems.

Still going to be the very beginning of next year although we’re hoping to have a limited number ready for Christmas. By all means get in touch if you want to buy a copy. The bizarre thing is that if you had a copy from the Guildford Book Fest and a copy from this printing (and one from the final shelf version) you’d have something oddly rare and unusual which doesn’t make the issues and roadbumps any smoother for me, just makes me smile that, in more than one way at least, my mums going to be one in a million 🙂

Artwork all done in Pixelmator which I retain a huge love and affection for, even though it struggled badly doing the cover at the print res it had to be outputted at. Lots of frustrated waitings about and teeth clenching but, for what it is and what it delivered, still like it loads.

Similarly, well, with less issues to be frank, the Brushes 2.1 update is due to hit the apple store anytime now. It’s a corker and no mistaking well worth a look-see. I’ve become wedded to the app and my iPod touch and it is my favourite art application of all.

In other news: birthday yesterday and, apart from the fact I was working on this cover for 12 hours straight, it was  a lovely one filled with friends, family, food and facebook comments 🙂 Onwards, although slightly blearily….

1-39 all done…



And now, in on the sofa (which is not the best place to present them but I’m very impatient) vision, here are 39 of the 40 mini-books for the fifth Guildford Big Book Draw (also known as the project that tried to kill me).

Got home from work dog tired but too close to leave these uncooked and unfinished. Number 40 eludes me and, tbh I don’t think I should be the one to do the fortieth book covers and I have a young person in mind to do them so that ones for a later date. Apart from that? Done, dusted and in need of sleep. Night all.

((Incidentally ‘The Book of Droor’ is by far and away my favourite cover. Love it loads)).

Also: mini books status report…


Getting there. Strange to think this has been a 5 month plus project that fits into a small sandwich box. Then, when they are all set out, it seems like a much larger project.

Some things yet to do and it looks like the sending off party which’ll split all forty to different parts of the planet never to be reunited will have to be delayed until January which I’m a little disappointed about. But hey ho. Patience and all that.

After that, loads of stuff to do, but just finished a long teaching day to have a brief break before doing youth group in an hours time. Onwards (wearily).

Just to prove that I am getting somewhere….



Books 1 – 14 of 40 with coolio shrink plastic covers. They do look tres groovy indeed. I’ve made up another 10 books, all of the front and backs and HOPEFULLY will have it all done and dusted by Sunday. Woop.

Only one slight downer, and it’s been the best day I’ve had for a long, long time, is that the person who I really wanted to be with us for the reading day is too busy and said no. So if anyone knows an excellent (and ideally well known and loved) book reader I’d be delighted for the heads up. Apart from that feeling very chipper. May even get to sleep before midnight (just) for the first time in yonks.

Life’s a doozy, no mistaking.

So where we at? Previously on Planet Kercal: chaos all ways round, tired most of the time. College none too pleasant, Sylver… arduous, Book Draw…. loads of work, loads of fun, loads of work still to come.

I’ve just had a meeting and, during it I described my year as not really much fun. That’s true and fair, although not 100% correct. Some parts have been fun, meetings with friends, new friends made, new classes of students, each with their own unique character and so on. It’s just the bigger things, work, health of those around me etc, that’s been the harder sea to sail. And of course the next book, Dr Sylver and the Tapestry of Time, has had a troubled culmination. It’s a corker of a story, just wish I could share it with you quicker than I will have the chance to. Speaking as a complete and utter raging egotist I do think Tapestry is the best thing I’ve written so far but it’s the project which has had the most challenging final process for a variety of reasons, no-ones fault per se, just…. well, stuff, really.

Anyhow, meeting today was about book… 8? 9? Who knows. A: I have one project in mind which is mostly done and I hope makes it to the shelf sooner rather than later and B: do I count the Big Book Draw mini-book? There’s only forty of them but it’s a story and a book and I like it loads. Do I count it? I think I will 🙂

So, book 9? It’s been on the cards for a while, and mentioned at a couple of book shows type things. Apparently it’s generating some American interest at the mo’ which is why its come to the fore now. We’ll see where it goes but today is the day it possibly got greenlit so here’s a preview image.


I hope it works out because, as much as anything else, it may allow me the chance to collaborate with someone who I am a total fan of which will be a very cool thing for me to be involved in.

Apart from that? Started work on, of all things, a sitcom with another good friend and collaborator. We’ll see where that goes but the chat sessions which are there for testing out material leave us both giggling so, if nothing else, it’s good therapy.

Apart from that? Making up the mini-books which will be sent to a variety of people (sponsors, friends, fish doodlers and the like) and a couple may well make it to places as competition prizes which will be cool if they do so; would like to see them in a variety of hands. They take a good 30 mins or so each to make (I’ve managed to streamline the process a little. The first ones took an hour each) and I hope I finish them soon to pass them onto those who deserve to receive them, ideally before Christmas.

From a creative standpoint then life is OK, bobbling along nicely. I just wish there were more sleep involved along the line somewhere 🙂

((no idea why the formatting of this post is broken, sorry, and I’ve tried to update it four or five times now with no luck, even taking out the paragraph breaks and readding them… Sorry…))

Big Book Draw: Epilogue 1.

(May or may not be the final epilogue). (In fact you should see the amount of artwork-x-FINAL-2c.jpg type files I hav on my machine).

(But: onwards).

Big Book Draw was lovely in so many places, not least of which going through the kids artwork to pull it together into a story. It was a doozy of a day – although as soon as it’s finished I’m always so tired I fail to see the lovely parts because of all of the problem fixing on the day… But it was ace and a little distance softens the smudges.

This is one fortieth of the result. Sadly WAY too many people to do a book each – they’re a little fiddly to do and take about an hour and a half each to pull together. But they look LOVELY so I want to do some sort of showing of them later. In the meantime one will go to each of the sponsors, helpers and fish doodlers and that’s probably – time wise – going to be as many as I can manage. I can’t wait to take a photo of all of them lined up before posting though 🙂 I think that’ll look fantata.

Already got the story for the next Book Draw bouncing around my head as well as an interim project aimed more at teens. We’ll see how each progress (and I’ve passed the ideas onto someone else to see what they think… We’ll see would be lovely to get some sort of distribution in a way but all bridges to be vaulted).

So: here’s the Big Book in some of its finery. The story is a few posts down if you want to see the journey of it from start to finish. If time allows I’ll do a website of the whole thing but that won’t be for a while I think.







((the last one is a size comparision. I do have a smaller copy – about 3/4s of the size but this ones fiddly enough to make I think…))

(((Also: obvious joke ahoy. At 40 copies this now becomes one of my highest print run books! Badoom TISH))).

The big book draw mini-book in mini size preview linking to bigger version.


OK this took a LOAD more time than I’d intended (and I could have given up a couple of times but hey ho, I’m stubborn like that) but here is the Big Book Draw story (minus 12 panels which only the people who I send printed mini-books to will get). I’m really happy with how it turned out. Some bits could have been a little better but, for the most part, I think it captures some of the fun and joy of the day.

(It’s a small preview, if you click on the picture you’ll get a larger sized version).

And then it was quiet…

So, Big Book Draw weekend last week and it was a corker. Slightly lower numbers than last year, the first year we’ve not grown by exactly 20% in fact, but a number of people said to us that they’d been surprised by it not being in half term week (again a first for us). Still, the 120+ people we had join us enjoyed it massively and it was a complete success. We had a huge piece in the Surrey Ad too which was glowingly positive and a nice read.




And then, almost directly after the Book Draw I went down with a cold which then turned into laryngitis and aches and pains. Fun. Went into college on the friday (didn’t want to but had an email to say there was no sick cover) and lasted as long as I could. Then headed home and been in bed ever since.


Which allowed me to, at least, finished off this picture in Brushes on the iPod touch. Time wise I didn’t manage to do the iPod exhibition, which was one of a couple of small disappointments on an otherwise lovely day (we were out of canvas at work hence no chance to print it out), but I did do one pic to prove that at least the pictures do print out well at A1 size. Hopefully an exhibition soon, depends on budgets going through at work.

So, maybe not so soon… 🙁


And, lastly for this update, installed Windows 7 on my mac which means I can get back to using Expression. I’m trying to focus on fewer projects post Book Draw and have some time off, if that’s possible. We’ll see. I’ve got two freelance projects on the go to finish off then I’m hoping to say ‘no’ to everything that I can for the rest of the year. Doodled this in Expression Design last night, was fun to start using it again.

Also, news to come about Sylver… But that’s for another post. Let’s just say that this has been the hardest project to work on and the most under attack one. I suppose I should see that as a positive thing, if its worth attacking it’s worth something, but it can get a bit wearying, especially when it feels like I have a coal fired frog in my throat and sound like I’ve been smoking 20 an hour. Ah well, onwards as ever.