Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Nearly Time

Thought I'd just remind you of The Blue Peter Book Award again. Not long now until we'll know who the children voted for (please be us... please be us!). You can find out on Blue Peter, Thursday 5th at 5.30-6pm on CBBC.

Anyway regardless of who eventually wins they're all great books that kids should go and read. Books themselves are the real winners here and anything that can encourage our children to read and enjoy books should be applauded!

Here are the three books from the Booktrust website:


Jenny Broom
Illustrated by Katie Scott

Shortlisted, Blue Peter Book Awards

Take a leisurely wander through a marvellous museum of animals with this book endorsed by the Natural History Museum. There are more than 160 different animal specimens to discover in its pages, which are laid out in the style of carefully curated museum exhibits.
Publisher: Big Picture Press

Corpse Talk: Season 1

Adam Murphy

Shortlisted, Blue Peter Book Awards

Corpse Talk, the 'show that brings the dead famous to life' is a comic style history book that introduces the reader to historical figures. Acting as the interviewer, artist and writer Adam Murphy digs up the bodies of famous people from the past, and interviews them in a talk show style. He asks both about what they are famous for and also how they died. The comic illustrations show Adam interviewing the dead as well as snippets from when they were alive, showcasing the moments that they are known for.
Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff

Andy Seed
Illustrated by Scott Garrett

Shortlisted, Blue Peter Book Awards

Ever wanted to know what kind of animal an aye-aye is? Or how much gravy the boot of a Mini Cooper Convertible can hold? What about which country's residents dine on maggot cheese? You can find out all the silly things you could ever want to know in The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff.
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Monday, 2 March 2015

We Won!!!!!

Amazing! The Silly Book of Side Splitting Stuff, won the Blue Peter Book Awards best book with facts!!!

Congratulations to Andy and all involved at Bloomsbury. Also I'd really like to mention the designer Claire Jones again, i think the design and her fantastic cover design had a big part to play. I think it was a very child friendly book.

Haha, we won!!

I even get to go on Blue Peter later today, wish me luck!!

Oh, and a little interview...

This interview is on the Booktrust website along with others from the Blue Peter Book Awards shortlist.

Scott Garrett on The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff and being nominated for a Blue Peter Book Award

29 January 2015
First of all, congratulations on making the Blue Peter Book Awards shortlist! What's it like being nominated for a Blue Peter Book Award?
Great! … I only wish I'd written it!! ... and I hope I get a badge.

Can you tell us something no one knows about The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff?
The jester on page 43 was inspired by Mr Claypole, who used to be on an old children's TV show called Rentaghost. He used to really annoy me!

Do you think you would have enjoyed judging a book award when you were in school?
Yes! Although I was never very good at reading at school, books took me ages to read.

The Blue Peter Book Awards turn 15 this year - which books were you reading when you were 15?
It's hard to remember exactly, but i guess whatever we were reading at school, so probably Romeo and Juliet, alsoJude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy.

In fact I remember drawing the little boy Jude sitting in a train carriage. I had a brilliant English teacher called Mr Strange (that really was his name!), who always set projects that had a drawing option. An English project where I didn't have to write!

I loved drawing  and thought I was getting away without having to do any real work, but he was much smarter than me and realised this was the way to get me involved in the books. He was right and I'm reminded of him every time a publisher sends me a manuscript to illustrate. Mr Strange was a smart man and a great teacher (I read lots of books now). This book is for Mr Strange (Peter).

If children enjoyed reading your book, what would you recommend they read next?
Hmmm…they could read the other one, The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do. That has awesome pictures in it too!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

One Week To Go!

The winner of this years Blue Peter Book Award will be announced on the show next Thurs 5th March, World Book Day. Our book, The Silly Book Of Side Splitting Stuff, written by Andy Seed, is one of three books in the Best Book With Facts category (there are only two categories). The other two books in our category are great looking books though, so we'll have our work cut out!! Fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.


Every time this song pops up randomly on my itunes it makes me sit up and take notice, so i'm sharing it here. You'll need a little bit of volume though, don't let it just tick along silently in the background... it's music!

and following the theme..

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Small Victories

I was notified last week by Sara, the lovely designer on the Here's Hank books, that the series had made it onto The New York Times Best Seller list for children's series! It doesn't make me any richer, but it's nice to know the books are doing well and my illustrations didn't sink them! (I don't ask for much do i ;-)

(It seems it's now dropped back off! but hopefully it get's back on soon! I should have written this last week when it happened, but i was away for a few days, hey ho.)

Illustrators don't always get the credit they deserve, it's mostly the authors, but I've been made to feel like an integral part of this series from the very beginning. It's very much appreciated.

Thank you Grosset & Dunlap!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Creatives Clutter

Perfect blog post over at Root Simple ! It's all about the creative person's clutter and the curse of dabbling in many interests! I'm definitely a "...just in case" kinda guy! crap.

Here's a small extract, but i strongly suggest a read of the full post.

Creative people seem to have two kinds of production. There’s the work they actually do, the kind with tangible results, and then there’s the work they think they might do sometime in the future. Imaginary work. Theoretical work. They have tools and materials they actually use regularly, and then they have other tools they keep around...just in case.

Just in Case

Three dangerous little words, Just in Case. Dangerous because they are slippery. Just in case of what? Just in case when?

Just in case is a clause which stretches to the end of time, or more realistically, to the end of you.  At which point your heirs will heave all your just in caseinto the nearest dumpster while muttering about what a pack rat you were.

Just in case can be apocalyptic thinking (“This will be valuable when the oil runs out.”).  It is also that tiny persistent voice in any creative person’s head which says, “I could make something with that..someday.” It’s also the nagging voice is the frugal person’s head which says, “Better hold on to that. If I don’t need it, someone will.”

Just in case is not a useful category in which to place any belonging. Get rid of this category as an excuse for keeping junk around. We can be producers without being hoarders.

It’s real, useful and secure only when it is in your hand or under your eye

The problem with accumulating materials and supplies which we are not using immediately is that we lose track of these things. We forget where they are. We forget we have them at all. How useful are these things at that point?
The truth is, if you don’t know where it is, can’t get to it because it’s buried somewhere, or have forgotten it altogether, it functionally doesn’t exist anymore. You’ve lost it. You lost it long ago. All you’re holding onto is a spacial and psychic burden.

... and another little clip, because i know how hard it can be to click a link sometimes :_)

#2 Let go of old interests

Creative people are curious people. We go through a lot of creative phases. And in each phase, we accumulate equipment and supplies specific to that phase. Once we go onto a new thing, we often don’t return to our old thing.

Sometimes a phase doesn’t even get off the ground. You end up holding onto a tool or an instrument or supplies or a kit that you bought because of an impulse that never took root.
Either way, we accumulate a lot of stuff which we are not using and most likely will never use again. We like to keep these things because we think we might want to go back to them someday, but we should remember that there will always be some new craft or skill or activity to intrigue us. That is our nature.

It’s rather like books. We keep books because we think we might want to re-read them some day, but in truth there are very few books we love enough to re-read. The others just weight down the shelf–mostly because we are distracted by all the new books. (Shiny new books! Shiny new crafts!)
If you look back on your creative history, I’ll bet you’ll find that you’ve rarely returned to an older interest–or conversely, you have a steady core interest which takes up most of your creative energy.
I believe there are two basic types of creative people. There are those who commit to a skill and practice it the rest of their lives. I call those people the Masters. And then there’s the rest of us, those of us who love learning new things and who are always changing interests. I call us the Dabblers. (Fondly)

Masters might accumulate too much stuff around their center of interest, and need to prune a bit, but Dabblers have it much worse. The strata of our former interests fill our closets and garages. It’s hard to let go of these old materials, but it’s vital to do so, to make room for new ones to come in.
The more room you have for your current passion, the more room you have to spread out and really express yourself. Imagine clean cupboards. Imagine organized, easily accessed tools. Image open workspace  for the taking. It doesn’t have to be a dream. You just have to let go of the past.