Humphrey the Hippo

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One trait that everyone always notices about me is that I am very imaginative. I always have a habit of envisioning bizarre humourous scenarios in my head and then when telling a story, I laugh much harder than anyone else in the group …followed by several minutes trying to explain why it’s so funny, followed by quizzical looks and an awkward silence and sparse hesitant chuckles.

You just had to be there.
In my head.

This is why the art of storytelling appeals to me so much. I can finally put my imagination to good USE.

I’ve always had a soft corner for children’s books – particularly the offbeat zainier ones by Roald Dahl or Dr Suess.

With Roald Dahl, I just loved how some of the stories were so tragic YET so hilarious – for example a kid being orphaned because his parents got eaten by a killer tiger at the zoo (sure…because that happens all the time?!)

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Don’t even get me started on the illustrations of Quentin Blake! His illustrations seem so impulsive with such a unique sense of character ..I just adored them! The Twits was my personal favorite! It was genius, random, mad and wonderful!

I always wanted to get into children’s books and my dream came true when I teamed up with American author Kelly Sheehy Degroot to create the Princess Charleston and the Isle or Palms series. It was such fun to do those books because Kelly gave me such freedom to explore and interpret her characters and scenery so I had a grand time experimenting!

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I’m proud to announce that I am finally releasing my very OWN children’s book, “Humphrey the Hippo.” This is very exciting for me as it’s the first time I have written a book as well as illustrating it so it is a very personal project.

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The story is a very simple and relatable one – it’s about a shy hippo who has a tendency to worry and over-analyse every situation. One day his classmate throws a party and, Humphrey being Humphrey, imagines all the possible terrible embarrassing potential situations that could arise. In the end of the book … you’ll just have to wait and see what happens! I’ll leave you in suspense! Tonight the e-book version of the book releases precisely at the stroke of midnight (how very cinderella!!!) It is being published by American publishing house Tuxedo and Beans. Here is a sneak peek of some of the pages and illustrations.

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Enjoy!

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My London Fashion Week Project

As an artist, it’s very tempting to become anti-social. You know what I mean – you lock yourself up in your studio and furiously paint for days, virtually going into “hermit mode.” I’ve done this myself, but besides lending a little bit of a stuffy air and added eccentricity to your reputation, the truth of the matter is being anti-social does nothing for you.

It is my opinion that it is far more enriching to go out there and get to know other artists/designers, collaborate and share your experiences. The best part about uploading your work and blogging about it for the world to see is you end up really engaging with your readers,forming great relationships and meeting/ working with some truly fabulous people along the way!

I’ve worked with London-based blogger Natalie Theodosi about a year ago on an illustrated project for her blog. We had an awesome time putting our heads together to do some serious brainstorming and came up with an end result that was both fashionable and artistic. About 3 weeks ago, the lovely Natalie approached me to collaborate with her on a great little project she has been planning. She explained that she is in the process of creating her very own publication based on her very succesful blog, “Le Bon Chic.” This 30 page print magazine will be distributed at London Fashion Week during all the main shows. I don’t want to spoil the surprise buuuut to give a brief overview, it will include some great features including interviews from the top fashion industry leaders, buyers , fashion shoots and OFCOURSE…. illustration!!!! (Which is where I come in, incase you haven’t guessed!!)

Natalie had some very specific ideas she explained to me. She envisioned the back cover illustration to include certain key characteristics of London. I was to create one full-page illustration incorporating elements such as the London Eye, the tents outside Somerset House and a myriad of street style outfits. In addition to this, we agreed it would be great to include some real portraits of iconic women currently in the London fashion scene to make it appear more personal, specific to London and unique. I loved the fact that Natalie was so articulate about her ideas, yet she had trusted me with my own interpretation and given me a certain degree of carte blanche to experiment. In the end, I decided to do a double spread of stylised fashion illustrations from last year’s shows and a more detailed back cover. This is how it turned out. I’m quite pleased with the end result, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how these will look at London Fashion Week!!

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