...we've got a trampoline.

Drawing Dartmoor

My Tumblr account turns out to have been A Good Thing.  It provides me with a reason to do a drawing per day.  This is something I've been meaning to do for ages, but somehow I never get round to it - pathetic, really, as it only takes a minute or two to draw something.  Anyway, my online sketchbook has provided the impetus I needed, and so far I haven't skipped a day.  It's many years since I actually sat down and seriously tried to draw things - to draw what I see rather than what I think I know - so of course I'm terribly rusty, and I wouldn't claim that any of these have any value as drawings, but the process of making them has been interesting, and hopefully if I keep it up I might be able to do something decent in a year or two.

Meanwhile, work continues on the fantasy story which I'm reading to Sam in installments.  I've never read anybody anything while I'm working on it before, and it feels rather strange, but interesting.   It's going to end up simpler than my other books and perhaps sweeter, more suitable for Sam's age group (he's eight), though hopefully there will be enough Reeviness about the world-building to interest fans of Mortal Engines too. It's also the first story I've done with your actual magic in it, as opposed to Vague Science.  It's early days yet, so plot and characters are still all up in the air, but I'm hoping to land it somewhere in Lloyd Alexander territory: lighter than Tolkien but without going completely Terry Pratchett.

Fever in Pickle Rye

Sam really has no idea how fortunate he is.   1: He's just had the first two chapters of my new epic fantasy read as his bedtime story (it's all right so far, apparently), and 2: he e-mailed Sarah McIntyre the other day to tell her how much he'd enjoyed Vern and Lettuce, and today a huge parcel arrived, full of drawings, comics, badges and a beautiful, hand-written, illustrated letter, including this Vern & Lettuce/Fever Crumb mash-up.  My own e-mail conversation with the excellent Sarah has just gone up on The Solitary Bee, and she has much that is interesting and witty to say: don't miss it!

In other news, I'm now the proud proprietor of a  'tumblr' account, and why?  Because Heropress has just set one up and I went to look at his and it seemed easier than doing any actual work, that's why.   Still, it may come in useful, (unlike the futile, time-eating Twitter) as I'm planning to use it for posting drawings and paintings, which might compel me to actually do some.  Huzzah!

Now all I need to do is knock out another chapter or two so Sam has a bedtime story on Thursday.

More WoME Art

Here's a nice thing:  Sarah McIntyre, last seen buying a copy of Fever Crumb at the Edinburgh Book Festival the other week, has done an illustration of Fever in her own inimitable style, and I think it's rather lovely...  also, apart from the circular head, a very accurate representation of what I wrote.  You can even see the scar on the back of her head!  Look out for an interview with Sarah on The Solitary Bee soon.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to do some WoMeArt of my own, since I've agreed to produce some illustrations to go with the World Book Day book that comes out next year (It was going to be called Traction City Blues, but apparently the word 'Blues' isn't 'child-friendly', so it's just going to be published as Traction City now.  Grumble.)

The pictures will be black and white, of course, but I've tried working one or two up in colour just to see if I can still paint (I can't really.)  Anyway, here's the black and white portrait of a sinister Engineer and his sinister friend (only I don't quite like the way that flex meets the line of his head, so it will have to be changed or done again) and a coloured-in picture of a young and grumpy Anna Fang who's got herself arrested by the London police.  When I first wrote about her in Mortal Engines and mentioned streaks of white in her hair I assumed they were there because she was getting old, but when David Wyatt drew Young Anna for our ill-fated Mortal Engines Comic project he left one in, and I think he was right to do so, so I've followed his lead.

Heeeeeere's Shrike!

...or maybe it's just one of his friends, stomping towards us out of David Wyatt's lovely new cover artwork for the fancy hardback edition of Scrivener's Moon.  Why is he carrying that dirty big sword when Stalkers have perfectly good claws, you might ask?  Well, the Movement's armies in the north have a commander who's a bit of a traditionalist; his elite troops have always carried blades forged from the wreckage of enemy landships, and he doesn't see any point in changing that custom, even though they're now cyborgs with their own built-in weaponry...

There's more of David's artwork on display at his own blog, here.