Sunday, 22 November 2015

Friday, 20 November 2015


Alex and I visited two wonderful primary schools this week to run several (a magic 7) workshops as part of the South Ken Kids festival. As usual, the kids were fantastic and did all the best work (ah, sorry Alex - your quick-draw skills were as awesome as ever and had the kids in stitches!) 

On Monday we went to Parson Green to visit Ecole Marie d'Orliac, in a grand old Victorian building full of sunshine (yes, it really was on Monday). It felt a little strange after of the events from the previous Friday in Paris, and they were hyper-alert. But the early years children, too young at 4 and 5 to be told what had happened, were full of beans and joy, as children are. Despite their age, it had been agreed that they would observe the 1 minute silence at 11am. The teachers had explained it as being part of anti-bullying week and that we were taking a moment to think of all the boys and girls that had been hurt by bullying or unkindness. And when the class teacher gently put up her hand to indicate it was time to be quiet, they all sat in absolute silence and stillness.

For various reasons, we've only got pictures from the second school. This is a rather wonderful state primary in Battersea that went bi-lingual three years ago. One of the teachers explained to me how well it was working; even if there's just one French-speaking child in the class, all the other pick it up - just like little sponges. You don't have to be French or speak French, just be supportive of your child learning the language. There are even adult French classes for parents. (How I wish there had been a school like this for my kids) Not only can these children speak beauitful French, but they were terrific drawers, too. Take a look at the Shaftsbury Park Primary Magic Buses...
Check out Sponge Bob Squarepants on this bus...along with a dinosaur in a garden, loads of friends (including 2 sets of twins)and a lion.

This bus has a hairy monster on the roof and a crocodile AND the London Eye in the top bit, as well as a ghost, tomato, carrot, several superheros, a skeleton and lots of friends!

This bus was dubbed the "Princess Express" because there were so many beautiful princesses on board. The pipe-smoking caterpillar was drawn by their most excellent teacher - and check out the sun, clouds and small floating person above the bus!

This was a super class - they were so clever - knew ALL the answers! They didn't have time to finish drawing in all the passengers during the session but did manage to include a trés chic dress and tall robot - and if you look carefully at the first top left row, there's a tiny, magic, everlasting ice-cream cone...


Thank you very much to our lovely schools this year - hope to visit you again soon with some new books!


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Paris, Friday 13th November 2015

Very hard to find any sort of comprehension about these events; being as they are, so fuelled by hate, stupidity, hopelessness and anger. 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realising that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” (Fred Rogers)

Here's to a new day.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Institute Francais guest post

Getting very excited about the upcoming South Ken Kids Festival!

I was asked to contribute a guest post to the Institute Français blog as part of the festival and writing it made me think a lot about my childhood and how books had influenced me.

Here it is...just click on the pic!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Countdown to the South Ken Kids Festival!

Alex and I will be at the South Ken Kids Festival at 3pm on Sunday 22nd November running a London-themed workshop. 

Book your tickets - we'll see you there! 
There is SO much to do, so much to Quentin Blake and Axel Sheffler draw magic, listen to Michael Rosen make pictures with words, delight in the detailed, witty artwork of Emily Hughes and the delightful Delphine Perret, there will be the witty Tony Ross and much much more! 

Check out their website HERE.

There will even be some episodes of Messy Goes to Okido showing!


Changing seasons/wallpaper designs

Acorn, feather, sloes

Playing with wallpaper designs.

Jay feather
Sloes & leaves
Green acorn

BACKGROUND information...

My first picture book - called A Possum's Tail - is a collaboration with brilliant illustrator Alex Barrow and came out 6th February 2014. A second book called London Calls! is a whistle-stop tour of London, led by a Pearly grandma and her granddaughter. London Calls! came out on 4th September 2014 and is my second book with Alex Barrow. A Possum's Tail was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.
Both books are by Tate Publishing.

Please see my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE or CURRICULUM VITAE for more details & updates.

As well as writing children's books, for children's television and two award-winning children's magazines, I do both private and commercial art commissions, a selection of which you can see here.

The children's shoes are part of an ongoing series of "first shoes", including several cards commissioned by the Almanac Gallery.

Hand-drawn, bespoke invitations, announcements, portraits and menus, such as the examples here are also available upon request..

Any enquiries please email:


I've been a regular contributor to children's art and science magazine OKIDO since 2007. HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY (WOW) beautiful Okido!

An Okido animated kids tv show, based on characters from the magazine is currently in production with Doodle/Squintopera The original adaptation of the show (co-created/adapted by myself, producer Ceri Barnes and Doodle Productions) was acquired by CBeebies. 52 x 11 minute episodes will be coming to a screen near you soon in 2015.......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................
N E W S F L A S H! MESSY GOES TO OKIDO Series TWO has now finished production, and will be coming to your screens S O O N ...! (Autumn 2018, to be exact)



Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet

Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet
Okido Cartoon Forum 2011

Happy Birthday OKIDO!

Happy Birthday OKIDO!
Okido was 5 years old this issue...the wonderful art and science magazine for kids I've been lucky enough to have worked on for the past - 8 - years now