Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Off to Iran

I am super excited about the trip to Iran. Hopefully the sketchbooks will fill up with travel sketches and notes, which I will post here as soon as I return.
And because a brand new glossy blank sketchbook can be intimidating, the dragon is helping to solve this problem. He is excited about the trip too!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

children chasing various animals

Two illustrations I made a while ago and never posted here. I knew I had a thing with the idea of a favourite toy (a favourite duck in particular) but it turns out I also have a thing with drawing children chasing animals.
Maybe one day I will make a picture book that will be all about children chasing different types of animals!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Le immagini della fantasia 32

A sneaky peek of my illustration for 32nd edition of Le immagini della fantasia. This years theme is inspired by the Scottish culture. The awesome Vivian French wrote a beautiful poem '12 Months of Scotland' and then 12 different Scotland-based illustrators was invited to illustrate it. My month was August so it involved capturing the Edinburgh festival atmosphere with all the music, colour, movement and crowds of people on the streets. Here is a sneaky peek:

And more details about the project and Le immagini della fantasia.

Friday, June 20, 2014

trouble with crafts

Here is a short wordless story I made as a side personal project to keep myself sane while working on a big project. This is also when I realised that for some reasons I have to smuggle a dragon, a monster or a dinosaur into almost every illustration I make. I have no idea why is that but I guess I will have to illustrate a picture book with a dragon as a main character soon.

Monday, June 09, 2014

watching children play

Apart from illustrating I also lead creative workshops for children. One of the places I work in is the North Edinburgh Arts centre where together with a lovely team we organise creative sessions for under 5's and their families. No matter what the session is about (making the sea creature from recycled plastic bottles, building a huge cardboard tram...) it is always lots of fun. And a lot of mess!
It is also very inspirating for my illustration practice. I love watching the children play and engage with the activities I'd prepared for them.
The sketch above is inspired by one of these sessions. The theme was the age of discovery and we were making boats from recyced materials. And these two decided to develop the activity further and attach a string to each of their boats and then they were wandering through the room, dragging the boats and engaging in the most exciting conversation (at least this is what it looked like from the outside as they didn't really pay attention to anything around them; just walking with their boats and talking). There was so much in there - the beauty, friendship,  love, magic, imagination, adventure...
Moments like that are one of the many reasons I so much love my job!

Oh...and check out my newly updeted website!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

rabbit and pig

It looks like I haven't blogged for ages. So just to show that I am alive and all is going well, here is an illustration I made recently. I very much enjoyed working on this one, painting with sticks, twigs and other random tools that I find laying around.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

sketching children

I went for a coffee this morning nad the plan was to sip my long black, read newspapers and then spend an hour looking blankly into distance and thinking about nothing (it has been a long week). Unfortunately a girl came in with her parents and have been walking round and looking adorable in her oversized brace trousers. So I spend the rest of the morning pretending that I am looking blankly into distance (so as not to alarm the parents) but in fact sketching the little girl.
Here she is. I am still not sure towards what exactly she is walking on this illustration.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Sketchbook from Ghana (finally)

I finally managed to scan in my sketches from Ghana, almost 5 months after we came back. For various reasons (mostly being creatively drained after the intense mornings with the kids) I didn't feel like sketching while I was there so there is only a few sketches and they are rather random.
Like for example this one.

We flew to Accra through Istanbul and spent half a day there.

Our first day in Accra. This is were we stayed. The hostel was called the Diamond Palace and the person who came up with that name had a good sense of humour.

Here is our team, all excited about the wifi connection.

Quick sketches of Kayla and Elliot. Kayla had the most awesome way of pronouncing "yeah, right?'. She actually had a few ways of pronouncing it and in each case it meant something else.

More sketches, trying out gouache this time. This is double outside my comfort zone - painting instead of drawing and people instead of animals.

Sketching on a tro tro on the way to the Street Academy. And Kate writing her daily report.

More gouache sketches - Elliot and Lauren.

Kyekyeku in his famous trousers and Harry. I think this one was taken just after another day of teaching.

This lady painted our nails and was tring hard to convert Kate to christianity. 

View from the fooftop at our hostel and I think one of my favourite places in Accra.

The sketch above is from our trip to the beach. A very lazy sketch and a very lazy day.
And below is the only sketch I made in the Street Academy. It was a day when a local charity came to do a workshop with the kids soit wasn't as hectic as asual and I had a few minutes to take out my sketchbook.

A trip to the National Museum in Accra.

For my birthday Kate treated me to the best thing ever - a weekend at the Elmina Bay Resort. A very much needed break half way through the project. It was lovely to escape noisy Accra and spend a whole day lying under the palm trees, reading, sketching and swimming in the best swimming pool ever. One of the most exciting things was a shower with hot water.

On the way back we visited Emina and Cape Coast. I believe it was the most surreal day I've ever experienced.

Another swimming pool sketch.

And my last sketch from Ghana, a day after we said goodbye to the kids (lots of tears) and a day before we got on the plane.

The kids taught us how to say things in their language Ga. Here is my first lesson and a map of Africa I drew on the flight back to Edinburgh.

All in all, a month in Ghana teaching the kids how to make movies was one of the strongest and most amazing experiences and I don't think any sketchbook (or photos) can really express what it was really like to be there.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013


I love when I make an illustration and it completely surprises me. Here is one of them. I think it is also the first time I am posting a child character on this blog. No tail, no whiskers!


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Picture Hooks Exhibition

The Picture Hooks exhibition at the National Gallery in Edinburgh is open!

Over the past year five of us - Laura Clark, Lesley Barnes, Naomi Howarth, Stuart Simpson and me - have been mentored by more established children's book illustrators - Sue Heap, Natalie Russell, Catherine Rayner, Ross Collins and Alison Murray. It has been a very busy year for all of us, especially the final month when we all had to finish four final pieces for the exhibition.

It was lovely to finally see all the artwork up and enjoy a very much awaited drink at the private view last Friday. The exhibition id open until 16th February 2014 so there is plenty of time to come over and visit if you are around. The gallery also organised illustration masterclasses for those who are interested in the process of creating picture book illustrations. I will be doing one with amazing Viv French on the 7th December. Here is more details.

And some photos from the exhibition.
Amazing artwork by Laura Clark who was laso chosen The Best Scottish Picture Hooks Illustrator 2013. Congartulations Laura!
Picture Hooks exhibition
Illustrations by Stuart Simpson who will have his book published by the Orchard Books. Well done Stuart!
Picture Hooks exhibition
Here is the most awesome walrus Magnus by Naomi Howarth. And the flying rabbits!
Picture Hooks exhibition
Lovely artwork by Lesley Barnes. The story is about a girl whose name is Jill and a dragon whose name is Dragon.
Picture Hooks exhibition
And my illustrations. There is a crocodile, a wolf, a teddy bear and a cat.
Picture Hooks exhibition
As a part of the exhibition the organisers asked us to submit our work in progress, sketches, dummy books, notes etc. Below are sketches by Laura and Naomi.
Picture Hooks exhibition
And my work in progress. I realised I forgot to remove some silly notes from the margins. Too late now.
Picture Hooks exhibition

Here is more details about the show.

Picture Hooks 
Scottish National Gallery
The Mound (entrance from Princes Gardens)
1st November 2013 - 16th February 2014

Monday, October 14, 2013


There has been quite a lot exciting things happening recently. I will blog about them soon but first, a very much delayed post about Ghana.

For some reasons I seem to be unable to write about the project at the moment. I guess the experience was so amazing that it is really diffucult to sum it up in a few paragraphs. I will try to come back to it later and write a few things about the awesome kids we were working with, the volunteers, the films children made and about the experience of living in Ghana for a month.

For the moment here are some pictures:

And also Kate have been blogging a lot while out there on our fundraising blog.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


A few sketches from our recent trip to Georgia. It was my second trip to Georgia and I must say that Georgia is still my absolutely favourite country.

Konrad reading Milan Kundera, waiting for a flight in Istanbul.

2013-06-27 ataturk airport-s
Some sketches from Tbilisi.
2013-06-28 tbilisi-s
2013-06-29 tbilisi museum-s
Random stuff really.
2013-06-29 tbilisi-park-s
Travelling on a marshrutka (minibus). It takes a while to get used to crazy suicidal driving but it is an experience not to be missed while in Georgia. This one was from Tbilisi to Signagi.
2013-06-30 tbilisi-signagi-s
Signagi is a pretty town set on a hill with some spectacular views to the Caucasus mountains.
2013-06-30 signagi-s
2013-06-30 signagi-st george-s
At Bodbe convent near Signagi.
2013-07-01 bodbe convent 01-s
St Nino's Holy Spring.
2013-07-01 bodbe convent 02-s 
More Signagi.
2013-07-02 signagi2-s
2013-07-02 signagi-s
Ok this is rather random. I have no idea where this bird comes from.
2013-07-03 signagi-s
On the marshrutka to Tsnori. Have I mentioned that each marshrutka we took had a suggestive crack in the windscreen?
2013-07-03 signagi-tsnori-s
Waiting for a marshrutka to Telavi.
2013-07-03 tsnori-s
Chilling out on a hammock in Telavi.
2013-07-03 telavi-s
On the market in Telavi.
2013-07-04 telavi bazar-s
 Tusheti is a remote region in the Caucasus (close to the border with Dagestan and Chechenya). Getting there was quite an experience (a 4 hours drive through a mountaing pass, mostly looking down the cliff and thinking about the trajectory of a falling 4WD while the drivier is happily listening to The Best of Boney M...). 
2013-07-04 omalo-s
Zemo Omalo with amazing medival architecture. I was also trying to learn the Georgian alphabet.
2013-07-04 zemo omalo-s
We went horseriding!
2013-07-05 horseriding in tusheti-s
More sketches from Keselo Hotel in Omalo, a lovely guesthouse we were staying in.
2013-07-07 kselo garden-s

2013-07-07 kselo mountains-s

Back to Telavi.
2013-07-08 telavi-s
On a marshrutka to Borjomi. This one was actually really fun. There was a priest with us, he started a prayer at the beginning of the journey and the whole marshrutka was praying. It actually made me feel better about the whole journey as the driver was particularly crazy. There should be a priest on every minibus in Georgia. Just in case.
2013-07-10 borjomi-s
We spent last few days of our Georgian holidays in resort town Borjomi. Again, I am not sure what's with this bird.
2013-07-11 borjomi-spa-s
 Drinking salty mineral waters, swimming, chilling out, doing normal holiday stuff.
2013-07-11 borjomi-pool-s

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Last week

We had a successful opening of our In Residence exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art. It was lovely to see everyone and catch with people I've not seen for a while. Thank you all for coming! It was a beautiful evening. The exhibition is open until Friday 28th June. Come and see if you are in Edinburgh. We are on 1st floor in the Evolution House on West Port, 10am-5pm.

Here are some pictures with my new drawings and prints:

 And fellow Illustrators in Residence, drawings and prints by Cat O'Neil...
Lasercut illustrations by Astrid Jaekel...
 and linocuts by James Albon:

 From other news,  Zoe from Playing by the Book hosted an online aution with one of my prints. The auction was the last in a series of events we organised to fundraise for our volunteering trip to Ghana.
Big thanks to everyone who took part in the auction and to Zoe for organising it. If you are interested in children's literature, check out her blog as it is pretty amazing.

We are off to Georgia in a few days, a trip I really look forward to. It has been an exhausting few weeks (actually it has been an exhausting 10 months...) and I really feel like I need a break. Also Georgia is in my top 3 favourite places I've visited and I am happy I am returning there this year.