Friday 10 August 2012


Hey everyone!

Boy oh boy do I have some adventures to tell you about!  As you may or may not have heard, last week I spent some time in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. 

I think it's completely fair to say I was in desperate need of a break. There'd been a few months there without a single day off working on those books, and yes, it does slowly drain your soul after a while (not that I don't love working intensely on lots of children's book commissions!).
So, I needed a re-charge.  For my screen-weary eyes, graphics-tablet-crippled hand, harvested imagination and general body and soul.  What better place than exploring a gorgeous European city full of bicycles and canals!  Plus, the flights were cheap.

Okay, okay, I know - don't worry, I won't bore you with hundreds of touristy snapshots of me and the Mister (well, maybe just the one of us on the pannenkoekenboot!) and every canal view in the city. This is a blog about illustration 
after all, but some of them are just too memory-capturing and lovely to resist. 

Ace warehouse on the North side of the river-right next to the MTV Euro HQ

One thing I think you'll definitely be interested in seeing is these snapshots 
taken from the amazing and humongous Library.  It was definitely near the top of 
places we wanted to visit in Amsterdam, apart from us both being bibliophiles we'd 
been recommended the gorgeous and free view from the top!  I have to say, it was a 
really impressive library.  Not so much in terms of sheer volume of books, but just how 
comfortable and intinuitive it was.  Lovely lighting, seats everywhere, relaxed atmosphere..

Also! We stumbled upon this exhibition of the Dutch editions of 'Little Golden Books'.  

Gorgeous retro illustration, characters and giant books galore!

Yes, that's me; a children's book illustrator, reading a children's book, in a window, in a giant children's book.

We hired some old bicycles to explore the city and ended up getting completely lost (I love being lost) and finding THIS sign!  We'd obviously cycled a lot further north than we anticipated... 

Over that bridge were mile upon mile of gorgeous, flat wetlands.  We navigated through the marshy pathways amidst the rainfall, cycling through tiny, rustic villages with gorgeous houses like these:

and, er, buffalo statues!

We did finally make it back to central Amsterdam that evening - it was a good 30 mile or so bicycle ride though! Adventures are the best.

We spent a lot of time in the gorgeous parks and sitting at the sides of canals - 
watching people go by and snoozing in the sunshine.  
Such perfect places to fill my sketchbook up!

Okay, I'll leave the tales at that for now, come and have a chat if you want to hear more (think jumping on canal boats with an old Clint Eastwood-alike called Hubert, or me getting hit off my bicycle by a crazy cyclist and having to barge into a Dutch bar covered in blood and bruises!).  

You should definitely go to Amsterdam sometime, I think you'll
really like it.  Go and have some adventures, I'll speak to you soon x

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