Friday, 22 June 2012

A London day, rich as a fruit cake

sketch for Tiz & Ott project 

I've had to lay aside my Tiz and Ott stories for the umpteenth time this year, to finish the cover for the Belles Histoires wolf story mentioned earlier.

Still, yesterday I got distracted by a  London day as rich as a fruit cake.
First I took time off in Clerkenwell Green, to draw 2 lunchtime sketches for the artist and writers Summer Solstice Scrawl Crawl.

Inspired by this man in the rain, though without that umbrella, I too had a glass of wine, before cycling back to the studio and then home to Brick Lane to work on the computer for a bit.

Two hours later, back to Clerkenwell, this time to meet my Storybox editor Simona Sideri.  Alongside books and other commissions, I've had a small regular job since 2005, illustrating her riddles on the back of each monthly Storybox magazine. Occasionally my illustrations to a full length picture book are republished there too.   Simona has worked as an editor on both sides of the Channel for various big publishing houses and we had a great time nattering about English and French publishing, and the mixed origins that lie behind our English education.

Leaving Moritos we walked past my favourite bookshop Clerkenwell Tales and saw a talk going on inside by artist and author Rachel Lichtenstein, whose fascinating book On Brick Lane  taught me a lot about where I now live.  She was launching her new book about the diamond street of London, Hatton Garden alongside none other than the great biographer of London, Iain Sinclair.

We were too late for their talk.  However we ran into Victor Keegan there. Victor is,  among other things, author of the  app, Gems of London.  I can really recommend it as a  delightful way to wander off the classic paths through London, and dig up some surprising discoveries.  We had previously met  in same shop, enthusing over the amazingly rich and stimulating blog Spitalfields Life.

Spitalfields life is so packed with goodies, people, pictures, stories. Although I follow it regularly, I've barely scraped the surface. It's like London itself. But how to work when there are such wonderful distractions all around?

Time is all I need right now.
This weekend I drive off to France for a lightening trip.  I'm giving students an day intensive on colour mixing at Parsons Paris School of Desin, and I'll catch up briefly with my former life in Senlis.
Back to the wolf cover first!