Don't Call Me Grumpycorn: Fab Planet Competition Prizes!

For the launch of my Grumpycorn-sequel picture book Don't Call Me Grumpycorn, Scholastic UK and I set up a competition to see who could design the most Fablous Planet. The prize was a portrait with Grumpycorn in space, and Alec Anderson won the top prize! Here is is on Spaghetti Moon (which orbits around the planet he created), with his little sister and her favourite Piggy toy (by request). You can see Alec's entry here, plus a gallery of all the other great drawings.

But the quality of entries was so high that I made an exception, only for this competition, and said I'd make portraits for everyone who took part. That kept me busy for awhile!

But it seems to have been worth it; the pictures have been arriving and I've been getting lovely messages from the pleased recipient. Here's Callie's - I customised hers a bit more because she wrote and illustrated a WHOLE AMAZING BOOK after watching my Grumpycorn video: you can see the pages of her book Icecreamcorn here.

It really is great to see all these young artists I've been drawing!

If you missed the competition, there's still a Grumpycorn video about drawing a Fabulous Planet here, which could be simply done for fun, or used as a school project a teacher's looking for material.

Thanks again to everyone who took part and put so much work into their entries! And thanks to Scholastic for their support, and Page 45 bookshop for hosting book sales! If you want to find more free Grumpycorn or Don't Call Me Grumpycorn activities, check out my web pages here.

#DrawingWithSarah: Design a Mermaid Space Cruiser!

Join me for another Don't Call Me Grumpycorn-themed drawing challenge. This time it features Mermaid!

Let's give Mermaid and her underwater friends a fun way to cruise through space together.

I have a lot of fun with these videos, taking you outside of the pages of the book. Unicorn, Mermaid, Narwhal and Jellyfish go into space, but I love thinking about what else they might have got up to while there were there. For the book launch, I designed the International Unicorn Space station and interviewed the four main characters about the jobs they might have up there. It was a lot of fun imagining Mermaid's sea tanks. You can see all the #DrawingWithSarah here on YouTube!

First in, from New Zealand! Watch the whole #DrawWithRudra video here on YouTube.

#DrawingWithSarah: Draw Jellyfish with her Ukulele!

Today's #DrawingWithSarah video features Jellyfish, who I think has become my favourite character in Don't Call Me Grumpycorn. Jellyfish comes across as quite silly, but she's the one who understands that home isn't where everyone is the same as you, it's where you can be with the people who love you.

Jellyfish's stripes fade on his legs when he's doing animation work... it's just a little quirk of pigmentation. I had a lot of fun making this animation, deepest apologies to David Bowie.

You can read a review of Don't Call Me Grumpycorn over on Page 45's website, and I have lots more activities on the book's web page.

You can also watch Taron Egerton (the star of Rocketman, who plays Elton John) reading the first Grumpycorn book over on Save the Children UK's Instagram page, where they're raising money for children most impacted by the Covid pandemic.

Grumpycorn's Fabulous Planet Competition results!

And the final results are in... we had 19 absolutely fantastic artists submit their work. I was really impressed by their focus and use of colours, everyone did a brilliant job.

One entry stood out as the most original, with its creative details, and even some well-placed collage; it's a picture I can look at for quite some time and still find interesting things to pick out. And every area of the planet looks like it could inspire its own story... What would happen if I ventured into the Great Pine Woods and met the Snuff-trolls? Or crossed The Dunes, dodging the Sphinx, to enter The Sacred Pyramid of Queeor? And if I went to the Milkshake Lake, would those bendy-straw Loch Milkshake monsters be able to provide me with my favourite milkshake flavour (which happens to be lime)? And what time is it when Spaghetti Moon sets over the Ice-cream Ice-caps? What would happen if I got caught there after dark by warriors from the waffle-cone tribe?

First prize goes to Alec Anderson (@CFcomix on Twitter). Congratulations, Alec!

BUT... there was such a wide spread of ages and everyone did so well, that I'm going to change the prize a little bit. I'm going to draw a picture of Alec with Unicorn in space, but I'm also going to do the same for every single person who entered. (Family groups, if I could post yours together, that would save some postage!) I'll be in touch with you, and you'll need to:

* Choose who you would like in your picture with Unicorn (you or someone in your family) and e-mail me a photo of them (sarah at jabberworks dot co dot uk)
* Let me know a postal address to send your picture prize

I have four runners up I'd like to mention: Here's Caleb's, and I love the way he's set off his planet against a bold black background. It makes for a strong poster effect, and the details on the planet are a lot of fun - Grumpycorn island with its little bridge in the middle, a cosy Narwhal Sea Mound and a Mermaid Lake with a submarine just large enough to be visible.

Six-year-old Gabriela's planet is bold with bits sticking off it in wonderfully zany ways that makes it a lot of fun to look at. The colour-block shapes remind me a little bit of some of Vassily Kandinsky's early work. Love it!

Five-year-old Elliott's Jellyfish Planet looks like a wonderful bowl of sweets with its vivid shapes and colours. And the colourful bubble writing at the bottom is ace!

Finally, eight-year-old Leela has chosen strong colours and shapes for her planet, and the textured coloured pencil strokes give it some great energy.

Honestly, I wasn't planning to give prizes to everyone, but you did such a great job that you made this happen. Thank you for putting so much time and thought into your drawings!

See the full gallery of drawings in this earlier blog post. And find more Don't Call Me Grumpycorn activities over on my website!

Don't Call Me Grumpycorn: meet Callie's Icecreamcorn!

This project isn't part of the Fabulous Planet Competition, but I wanted to honour the amazing work done by 8-year-old writer-illustrator Callie in making this Icecreamcorn book!

Callie watched this video and followed along with the story challenge:

But she threw in lots of her own ideas, compositions, colour decisions and story elements!

Check out this little alien (love the Flake bar hat!) that you can spot throughout the story:

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Don't Call Me Grumpycorn: Fabulous Planet Competition!

The Don't Call Me Grumpycorn Fabulous Planet Competition is underway, deadline on Tuesday is finished! In the book Unicorn wants to find the most fabulous planet in the universe. Have a look at some of these fabulous planets! If you missed the competition, you can still watch my #DrawingWithSarah video, leading you through step-by-step how you could start off drawing a fabulous planet:

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#DrawingWithSarah: Design a Narwhal Space Cafe menu!

While I've been in lockdown, I've had a lot of fun playing around with animations of my characters from the new Don't Call Me Grumpycorn book. In the book itself, there are some peeks into the interior of Unicorn's spaceship, like this one:

But a lot of the emphasis is on the planets they visit (or don't visit, because Unicorn is very single-minded in finding his own ideal planet).

For the book's launch party, I thought it would be fun to set it in a space with a bit more room, a Unicorn Space Station, and then I amused myself by imagining all the different roles they could have on board.

Narwhal ended up as the chef, and I had fun designing his restaurant area, possibly because I really miss going to cafes! And a Narwhal Space Cafe is possibly the most fabulous cafe I could ever imagine.

Being in lockdown is a little bit like being in a spaceship; you're in a very confined area, with hostile conditions outside. But whereas people don't like lockdown, a lot of people would very, very much like to be astronauts! So it can be quite fun to see how far we can go in these limited spaces we have, and treat home like a spaceship. Let's start by creating a Narwhal Cafe on board! Or maybe you'll use the idea to spark off something a little different, perhaps a Unicorn Cafe or a Mermaid Cafe. (And Jellyfish would LOVE a Jellyfish Cafe where everything served is made out of jelly).

Drawing a menu is fun in itself, but you might want to set up a cafe and serve real food that you can make! Or you can draw two-dimensional food and prop it up in a photo to make it look real on the table. Or you could sculpt food out of play-dough or clay, take orders and serve it up! I'd love to see your pictures - do share them on the #DrawingWithSarah and #Grumpycorn hashtags!

Here's a little cafe that Studio Baby and I set up yesterday:

If you love the Grumpycorn books, be sure to check out their pages on my website: here's the new Don't Call Me Grumpycorn page.

Thatch the Moon - Part 5!

Here's the final installment of our Reeve & McIntyre story, Thatch the Moon!

We hope you enjoyed it! It's all here on the blog and on YouTube if you want to go back and have another listen. Huge thanks to Amy Sutton for the marvelous work she did reading it! If you're looking for a professional actor to do audio book work, she's very good.

Check out this wonderful drawing by Morgan Gleave!