Tag Archives: colour

Colouring for poetry

One of the things about illustration work, is that the spark of inspiration tends to come from somewhere else. When I’ve got my colouring hat on, I’m several stages down the chain of inspiration. Writing inspires a black and white drawing, which Tom then passes to me, and I do my best to make colour-sense of. What I do is very much led by what’s already been done. On the plus side, this means I can often work on colouring when I’m feeling short of personal inspiration.


This is one of our more recent pieces – a cover for a poetry collection by Adam Horovitz.

Working on the convolvulus had me thinking that I could perhaps go back to drawing plants in detail – something I’ve not done since my late teens.

The sun returns

In my memory at least, aside from one week in February and another in April, last year was grey. It rained a shocking amount, and there was nothing even slightly resembling a summer. Well, we have a bit of sun now, and I can only hope that’s not last year’s pattern playing out again.

I didn’t used to be much of a sun worshipper, but have come to appreciate it, in its absence. The good weather for drying washing, the option of having a window open, the not wading through mud or flood on a regular basis. Rural life is not easy in bad weather, especially if you don’t have a car, but in the sun, it’s pure joy. We did quite a long cycle ride today, needing to sort things further afield, and the pleasure of pedalling along (on the downhill bits) was considerable. Being outside on a day like today is a delight, and I feel much more cheerful and alive for the experience.

Come rain, hail or snow I go out most days – unless I’m really ill. There are things to do that cannot be done on the boat – the school run in particular. I can’t claim I always like encountering nature in the raw. Nature can be cold and wet, and not especially forgiving. But when there’s a beautiful sunrise over the misty canal (today) or I’m greeted by a succession of wildlife – yesterday we had a buzzard, heron and kingfisher – that’s inspiring and cheering.

There’s something about colour. I may wear a lot of dark and subtle hues, but I love having colour in my environment. I struggle in the winter with the lack of colour at least as much as with the shortage of light. Today the sky is the most vivid shade of blue, and this makes me happy. The sunsets have been rich and brilliant this week, also wonderful. Soon there will be leaves on the trees again and even in the rain, the world will not be quite so grey. If there’s enough light to show up the fabulous blue iridescence of the kingfisher, so much the better.

I’m hoping for a good sort of year. One with plenty of blue skies in it. One full of opportunity and reasons to smile. We’ve got some fairly epic challenges ahead, as a family, some major upheavals in the offing. The small one changes school and we’ll be moving, and who knows what else? Hopefully these things will be more like adventures and less like stress-fests. But today the sky is blue, and I feel optimistic.