Happy World Book Day and St David's Day!

Dewi the mighty dragon loved books and wanted more than anything to have friends to swap his favourite books and talk about them with.  

He had just finished 'A Game of Crowns' by Martin RR George and was so thrilled that he had a new series to rave about. he had chortled out huge billowing smoke rings, cried big fat tears of sadness, and sighed scolding sparks of fire while reading the book. 

But when Dewi told the villagers this, it only seemed to make them run away! Try and try as he might, no one was willing to swap their beloved books with him.

So he huffed and puffed his way back up the mountain... 

Young Arthur saw Dewi's hunched back and drooping wings and followed him up the mountain. "Why so sad, Dewi?" he asked when he caught up to him.

“I’ve just read this really good book, Arthur, it was so good it made me blow smoke rings - you know a book is good if you can turn the chapter to ashes! The thing is, no matter what good books I have, no one will share and swap books with me,” he sighed and a firework shot from his nostrils setting the daffodils nearby alight. 

“That’s the eighteenth time this week, Dewi, and we’re only half way through the week!” exclaimed Arthur as he stamped the blaze out.

"Could it be that no one wants to share books because you leave the pages blackened with smoke and chapters incinerated, Dewi?"

The big red dragon scratched his chin, looked thoughtful and then laughed so hard he sent great big rings of smoke into the air. 

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Pygmy Puffs

Earlier in the month I made a needle-felted Pygmy Puff for a prize at a Harry Potter event in Waterstones and it went down a treat!

What the fluff is a Pygmy Puff you might ask and Harry Potter fans will already know that a Pygmy Puff is a miniature Puffskein, bred by Fred and George Weasley and sold at their shop Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.

So at a magical creatures themed event it was only fitting for a magical creature prize to be up for grabs. On the day I had some enquiries about getting one made if they didn't win Arnold the Pygmy Puff and after doing it a couple of times I am now opening it up for commission so if you're interested then do get in touch!

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Update

Sooooo... I've had a little reshuffle of the website and added a couple of new pages on the navigation bar.

The first being the "King With Dirty Feet" page dedicated to my first published picture book with some details on where to pre-order and sneak peaks etc (go look now!)  and I'll write up a proper blog post for publication day on the 8th of March.

The second being the "R.I.O.T" page -which sounds ominous but I've just had to acronym the title 'Roaming Isle of Tortuga' to fit the sidebar- it's a little introduction and sneak peek into a long term passion project of mine that I've privately been working on.

Let me know what you think!

(Ooh and I added a little GIF logo at the top there - you like?)

 

Bug Bingo

I've recently been working on developing a little game idea in between picture book work, it's all come together nicely and I'm quite proud of how it's turned out!

 

A little background to my love of bugs:

(skip to the end of the post for the game)

Ever since I was little I've had a fascination with bugs (though nowadays I read more about them than go searching for them!) I remember being out all day overturning rocks, climbing trees, and digging to collect them in old ice cream tubs I had labelled and organised neatly on the garden table. It became my personal pride and joy of a liberal "bug zoo" 

The all animal loving and empathetic liberal justice warrior of a child that I was never had the heart to put lids on the "bug zoo" tubs so, to my mother's delight, the various bugs I had collected each day were always left to their own devices to roam free again...

Despite that, I would still spend endless hours labouring over the perfect sticks, stones, and leaves for the different tubs. The allocated snail tub became my favourite as, unlike the other bugs, the few snails I had collected became very loyal to the tub and never ran way (slimed away?) with one of them even becoming the undefeated champion of snail race tournaments around the block. Until one fateful day when Speedy (yes, I called it Speedy the snail) was nowhere to be found, leaving behind a leaf full of snail eggs in the tub.

Even though my love for bugs leans more towards bumblebees and dragonflies nowadays, it's the fond memories I have of the snails and snail racing with my friends that breaks my heart a little every time I have accidentally stood on a snail and heard that inevitable crunch...

So yeah, I love all things bugs and the idea for a bug hunting bingo game to play with friends was something I'd had in mind for a long time, and now it's something I can share with all of you fellow bug nerds! What's that? I'm the only bug nerd here? Oh... Here it is anyway:

I'd love to produce these in a physical print form with beautiful packaging one day but for now they're here for you all for free!

Please comment or send me an email if you have any advice as to how I could go about making packaged sets of Bug Bingo or if you're interested on collaborating on it with me, I'd love to here from you! 

 

Click on the link below for a ready to print PDF to download ready for you to print and play:

 

Bug Bingo Download

 

Hope you enjoy and do please share any of your bug stories or Bug Bingo adventures with me!

 

 

Website update

I've updated the website and made some tweaks including a subscription box to my new illustrated monthly newsletter. You'll also see there's a now a "Freebies" page on the navigation bar on the left.

Here you can now find all the free downloadable activity sheets all in one place, there are only a handful of downloadable's there at the moment but I'll be updating with new sheets every month.

Starting with this 'Dino Match' activity sheet I've just added:

The activity sheets on that page are free, you just have to right click to save image and download ready to print. All the images are A4 size.

What activity sheets would you like to see in the future? Right now I'm working on some "Bug Bingo" cards for little ones to print off and play with their friends!

Hope you're having a good week! 

Rhi 

#mightygirl submissions

So I've emerged from tax self assessment and Run.Every.Day January exhaustion and want to change up how I go about the #mightygirl daily drawings. I'm thinking that I want to base the drawings on historic role models who identify as girls, but in between them I want to draw real young girls growing up in today's world who do amazing things. 

So, where do you come in? I want you (yes, you!) to submit a mighty girl in your life and they could be inspiration for one of my dailies!

They could be anything from a mighty karate champ determined to get their black belt, or a mighty little scientist in the making, or a mighty nurturing animal lover ...you just need to snap them in action and submit the photo with a few sentences on what makes them a #mightygirl 

I'm going to set up a page just for your submissions (as soon as I know how best to do that) and update this post and my social media with the link but you can send them to me at brs.illustration@gmail.com for now.

Here's a few of the made up mighty girls so far below and the link to them all: www.rhitown.com/mightygirl/

 

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I'm looking forward to meeting all you mighty girls making the world a better place!

Some recent sketchbook adventures...

Went out drawing last Sunday and this was the best outcome. Tried to keep it loose and carefree - cold hands didn't help!

Snap of the building before  I left. Was a shame I didn't take the photo before drawing as the sun went into hiding and the bright colours weren't so bright. Boooo.

Participated in the @StudioTeaBreak #PortraitChallenge over on Twitter to redraw Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun's self portrait a while back. Really am enjoying being a bit more free exploring colour with coloured pencils at the moment. Had some lovely comments and feedback, must make time to participate more!

The original Vigee Le Brun portrait posted by the Met Museum on Twitter.

 Got a really gorgeous vintage pocket bird book recently and have been using it a lot to draw pretty birdies from.

Got a really gorgeous vintage pocket bird book recently and have been using it a lot to draw pretty birdies from.

And a doodle in between projects yesterday after the lovely Seasalt raincoat I won a bidding war for on ebay arrived in perfect condition. The little mouse with a raincoat and leaf umbrella stole the show here. Very small drawing - the mouse alone is about the size of a 5 pence coin!

The Boy and the Bear

What came first, the illustration or the story? I always keep my sketchbook with me to keep note of any ideas, snippets of conversation, or visuals that I like and keep it as a resource of (often very bad) ideas, but this one came easy.

For this illustration, I had one of those very rare moments where a visual was floating around in some invisible stratosphere and suddenly hit me like lightning. I couldn't rest until I got it out of my system! So I got doodling with a loose narrative in mind of a lost boy and a bear peacefully enjoying a fire in the woods.

Once I had refined the doodle and finished the illustration, the narrative became clearer. I wrote it like an extract, giving enough but (hopefully) leaving enough to stir intrigue. I'm itching to do something more with this one day when I'm more skilled at writing.  

Find the finished illustration and story below. I'd love to hear what you do to generate ideas and how you develop them!

   The Boy and the Bear     The boy tried not to look up or move a muscle. He felt the heat of the fire that he had made to keep warm start to make his eyes water as he tried with all his might not to blink. He grew very conscious of every little movement his body made with every slow and calculated breath he took.      The shadowy figure was now close enough to make out some hairy facial features from the corner of his eyes. No, it couldn't be. Yet it was... a bear!  Much bigger and more rustic coloured than the illustrations depicted in his much loved animal encyclopaedia back at home. In his hasty exit he hadn't packed anything but the scout kit he always kept in his pocket. He made a mental note that the bear might just seem bigger because of his strained eyes and the flickering light of the fire that danced around and threw shadows around the small clearing.       Then the most wondrous thing happened.  With a THUMP the bear had sat himself in an angle perfectly symmetrical of his own distance to the fire. This pleased the boy. The bear must have known how particular he was about these things. Or perhaps he too had an unexplainable appreciation for symmetrically aligned things.  A few moments passed that felt like hours when the boy dared to look up and get a proper look at his perfectly placed fellow. And when he happened to meet the beady fire dancing eyes looking back, he could have sworn the bear was blushing.

 The Boy and the Bear

  The boy tried not to look up or move a muscle. He felt the heat of the fire that he had made to keep warm start to make his eyes water as he tried with all his might not to blink. He grew very conscious of every little movement his body made with every slow and calculated breath he took. 
    The shadowy figure was now close enough to make out some hairy facial features from the corner of his eyes. No, it couldn't be. Yet it was... a bear! 
Much bigger and more rustic coloured than the illustrations depicted in his much loved animal encyclopaedia back at home. In his hasty exit he hadn't packed anything but the scout kit he always kept in his pocket. He made a mental note that the bear might just seem bigger because of his strained eyes and the flickering light of the fire that danced around and threw shadows around the small clearing.
     Then the most wondrous thing happened.
With a THUMP the bear had sat himself in an angle perfectly symmetrical of his own distance to the fire. This pleased the boy. The bear must have known how particular he was about these things. Or perhaps he too had an unexplainable appreciation for symmetrically aligned things. 
A few moments passed that felt like hours when the boy dared to look up and get a proper look at his perfectly placed fellow.
And when he happened to meet the beady fire dancing eyes looking back, he could have sworn the bear was blushing.

I have an edition of signed prints on my Etsy shop up for grabs too. The colours came out lovely and bright! https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/291271979/the-boy-and-the-bear-illustration-art?ref=shop_home_active_1

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