Sunday, 22 February 2015


I was pleased to kick off 2015 with the release of the Glitterbelle books which are illustrated by me. Three of them are activity books and one of them is a picture book. Above you can see a video of me talking about the books in a interview. This was filmed over a year ago now, just before Christmas in 2013! It was filmed when I went to visit Parragon Publishing in Bath to help direct the photography for the sets because there's a lot of fiddly little things in the sets that only I would know what to do with. I was there for two nights and three full working days. It was really interesting to see how a professional photographer photographed all my sets. I couldn't believe how much equipment was involved!

Anyway, I thought now that the books are out I would share some behind the scenes stuff.

Here are my very first character sketches of Glitterbelle. This was back when I still drew ALL kid characters with dot eyes.

She changed quite a bit from those original sketches as you can see. She also made it to 3d - originally the plan was for the books to be drawn flat.

Here's a flat image I painted that never got used in the end. It was meant to be the back cover for the picture book. This was painted quite large so I had to scan it in in bits and patch it together in photoshop which is why it looks a bit wonky here. I quite liked this image though. I especially like how the glitter scans in- still sparkly!

Once it was decided that the Glitterbelle books were going to be in 3d I did this image for the sales pitch. This was back when I was still going to photograph all the images myself.

Welcome to Glitterbelle's glittery bedroom! She also had a purple streak in her hair at that point too.

Here are character designs for Glitterbelle's friends Angel and Dazzlina and also her little sister (middle)  who didn't end up making it into the books.

All three girls have their own pets. Glitterbelle has a dog, Dazzlina has a cat and Angel has a gold dust gecko called George. Here are the character designs for Angels gold dust gecko. I am quite fond of him actually. I think he is my favourite of all the pets- and he the easiest to draw haha!

Here are various different versions for the front cover of the picture book. It went through quite a few changes as you can see! None of these made it.

Back cover:

Here are some more covers for the activity books that didn't quite make the cut but I still like anyway:

The creativity cover (minus character, this is the background)... I loved making all those tiny little art things.

Snapshots of an earlier creativity cover idea:

This was the original cover for the dress up title. I actually really like this cover but it sadly got scrapped. It took me absolutely ages to set up all those paper clothes in exactly the right position so that they looked right in the photograph. That was a real challenge. There were supposed to be badges and all sorts of things in the wardrobe door spaces that's why they look a bit bare here.

This (below left) is pretty much the image they used for the final cover in the end.

   I like all the bottles of perfume on the dressing table.

My absolute favourite of all the covers is the 'Me and You' cover. I just really love it.

This is what it started out looking like, back and front cover. It was looking a bit plain so I added stars and fairylights and other various things and I think the final result is much better.

Final cover- this version photographed by me but it did get photographed by a professional for the published cover.

Couple more back covers:

And an internal scene from one of the activity books. Again this one is photographed by me but for the final version it was photographed by a professional and various tiny details were changed- like getting rid of the purple stripe in Glitterbelle's hair.

Lots of the rooms have wallpaper in them so I had to design lots of fancy wallpaper patterns suitable for a palace. These I printed off in sheets and stuck on the walls.

At one point I was asked to design a crest but I'm not sure that ever made it into the books. Here are the sketches for it anyway.
Chandelier! This was a regular dolls house chandelier but I covered it in silver glitter and added gems hanging down.

Here is an early internal scene, photographed by me.

By the time it made it into the picture book it had gone through quite a few changes and additions! (It's quite a large book so this scan doesn't show the entire picture)

Here are a few more pictures from the actual book- again not full scans as my scanner is not big enough.

The garden was the trickiest scene to make as I had never made an outdoor scene in 3d before. I am quite fond of the glittery flamingo fountain. I'd like a full size one in my garden!

That tree took me ages to make. I cut out every single leaf from glitter paper and stuck them all onto the branches. 

Here are some tree work in progress shots. I made it from wire, newspaper and masking tape.

Oh look it's my favourite- the bathroom!

Bob the dog sitting on a very gemmed up chair:

 The Queen placing a pea under Glitterbelle's mattress:

Another scene I was especially fond of was the final scene where the three princesses were all behind a table of cakes.

Those cakes were fun to make!

Another fun one to do was the jewel cabinet. Here it is all laid out before glittering.

You can see it finished in the background in this picture, sort of. It was actually extremely difficult to photograph because of the mirrored back I had put in it. For some reason this made the jewel cabinet look less sparkly than it is in real life.

Along with the Glitterbelle picture book there are three activity books. It was interesting for me to see how all my illustrations were photographed and put together for the activity books. 

Here's a better photo of the finished jewel cabinet from the Doodle, Dazzle, Create! activity book:

And another part of a page from the Doodle, Dazzle, Create! book featuring the 3d kitchen:

I follow Parragon books on twitter so it was exciting to see Glitterbelle kitchen cakes popping up on my twitter feed. I guess Parragon must have commissioned them to be made and given to certain people/companies? I am not sure but whatever the reason it was really cool to see my 3d illustrations being made into 3d cake form!

Here's a picture I spotted on twitter uploaded by House PR (@House_PR)

and another uploaded by Ben Pulsford (@BenFirstNews)

And here's another picture of the actual kitchen uploaded by Parragon (@parragonbooks)

So yeah, Glitterbelle cake kitchens, that was pretty cool to see.

Among the activity books there is a dress up sticker book. I have to admit I did spend quite a bit of time actually doing the sticker book when it arrived in the post. 

A scene from the royal sitting room:

And my favourite, the golden ballroom with glittery piano. As you can see I have put the stickers on the princesses in this one.

Can't resist having a go at a sticker book. It was actually the fist night we spent in our new house that I received the sticker book in the post. We didn't have internet, tv or anything that night so it was nice to have the sticker book to occupy me haha.

Well, I think it's about time to finish up this post now. 

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some behind the scenes stuff from 'Glitterbelle!' 

Saturday, 7 February 2015


It's been a while but there's a reason for it. We finally moved house!! And then we didn't have internet for ages and also I have been very busy working on a book for a deadline this month. So there has not been much time for blogging. 

But I thought I's just write a quick post, trying to be quick anyway, writing blog posts always seems to take me longer than I plan it to!

So yes, we MOVED HOUSE!!! It is so so so so so nice to be in our own space finally. We especially enjoyed being able to put our wedding presents to use finally, like putting up the special mirror we got and the tiffany style lamp (though we still need to get a bulb for the base bit because that lights up too) and I got to put all my multicoloured lanterns out on the fireplace and I light them with scented candles and it is just nice nice NICE. All the kind of things you don't bother doing when you're still living with parents.

You can see I have already got Victoria Stitch up on the wall! (below) I plan to put up a lot more pictures. I just want to cover our walls in pictures. 

We really like the place we live too, it seems to suit us very well so far. What I especially love (and one of the main reasons we moved here) is that we are right next to the beautiful hills. It is just so soul lifting to go up the hills for a walk, even on your own. I have been on my own a few times during the working week and I thought I would find it lonely but it is so beautiful up there that it just felt exhilarating. And I also love that it is proper excersise because the hills are steep. It's got the puff factor! Maybe that's why I don't mind having to go on my own, maybe the excersise endorphins make you feel good whatever. I don't know. I never felt good going for a walk on my own when I was living back at 'home' but there it was mostly flat and more suburban. Hmm. 

The other night when Henry got home for work, after dinner, we decided to got for a moonlit walk up the hills. This was at about 8 or 9 o clock at night. It had been snowing lightly too. I'm writing about it because it was a really magical (for want of a better word) experience. It felt awe inspiring to be right up there on the glowy snowy tops under the bright bright moon and stars, looking down on the village below with all it's tiny lights twinkling.  Because of the snow we didn't really need torches but when we did turn them on the snow glittered like crazy. We got a slight shock when the wild horses came looming up in front of us in the dark but they seem to be harmless. I wish I had brought my camera with me.

So that's some 'life' stuff for January. Quite big life stuff really. I am definitely still adjusting to living here and we are still settling obviously but so far things seem to have gone well and we are really pleased with our house and where we moved to. 

Also the Glitterbelle books came out in January and I will do a post about them when I have time. 

Work wise I am still deep in Christmas. Haha! I am in the middle of illustrating Night Before Christmas for Parragon. Which is actually something I've always wanted to do. It's done in my 3d style. Here's just a couple of rough work in progress shots:

And now Celestine. Celestine has not been around lately, she conveniently went off on holiday during the move. I think it was so she didn't have to pack up all the things in her castle herself. Her castle now has it's own special place in our new house under the stairs. It's all ready and waiting for her when she comes back from her little holiday. Hopefully she'll be back soon because miss her. She sent us a nice (tiny) postcard though.

And that's all I've got to show right now...

Hope you've had a good start to the year!