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a bit overwhelming

Yesterday I went to the Random House Christmas party, and it was amazing to see so many of the illustrators and writers I admire so much. But it was almost too much of a good thing seeing them all at once and it made my head spin a little, not to mention the free-flowing drink. It was great to talk with my publisher, David Fickling, and my picture book editor, Hannah Featherstone, and our book's designer, Ness Wood. The highlight of the afternoon was finding Satoshi Kitamura, one of the first people I ever contacted, years ago, because I liked his work so much. I'd met up with him and his wife and seen him a few times since, so he felt more like a real friend. We hunkered down in the corner, joined a bit later by Joel Stewart, and had a good chat and it made me feel better about the whole event. It was great to see Chris Wormell, too, the other person with whom I had a real sort of conversation, even though I'd only met him once before. And a bit of a nice chat with Posy Simmonds, and Anthony Browne and Jane Ray told me a bit about the exciting-sounding projects they're working on at the moment.

I got to see Shirley Hughes, as well as Ian Beck, Joyce Dunbar, Nicholas Allan, Peter & Sian Bailey, Ted Dewan, Joanna Harris, Klaus Flugge, Steve Augarde, Aidan Potts, and overheard Chris Riddell and Dave McKean in the corner having a very intense business conversation. I only took a few photos in the pub afterward, which turned out very badly, but this one of John Vernon Lord and Mini Grey looked slightly better. I was very glad to meet Mini Grey, as I've admired her work for so long, and my tutor at college had referred me several times to John Vernon Lord's work, so it was great to put a face to the name and even better, to spend a little while browsing the small but marvellous sketchbook he produced from his pocket.

Since I was in town, I lined up two more meetings with people, including a new illustrator at United Agents, Rachel Bright, who was in town for another party. We'd both signed on about the same time with our agent, along with Sally Nicholls, so we felt a bit of happy camaraderie and had fun catching up about what we both have been doing for the last few years, although I was starting to flag at that point.

Then I met up with Simone Lia, whom I really like and whose work I hugely admire (including her work in the DFC). But by that time I was a jibbering wreck, and poor Simone had to put up with me not being able to string together a sentence and eventually having to give up and go home. I'd stopped drinking after the Random House party, but meeting so many people just turned my brain to fudge. An exciting day, but all a bit much. Back to work now.

Oh, and my DFC editor, Ben Sharpe, wants me to clarify that he actually said 'parky' means 'chilly', not 'soggy', so I was reading my e-mails too fast and thus I've hugely maligned him in my last post. Sorry, Ben!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 5th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)
Aww, bless!
I sent you an LJ-message yesterday afternoon about something else that I thought you might be interested to go to (David Lloyd's exhibition opening in Hampstead) but looks like you already had great and cool plans for that night! I love your drawing of yourself at the party - I've felt like that sometimes.

What's Aidan Potts doing nowadays? Assuming it's who I think it is, I remember he used to edit (and draw for) a very upscale little self-published comic anthology.
Dec. 5th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC)
Re: Aww, bless!
Hey, thanks for the invite! How did it go?

It was the first time I've met Aidan, but it sounds like he's done a lot of cartooning work for things like Private Eye, and he's also recently done another book on dinosaurs and has one coming out soon that sounds like it will have very interesting packaging. I think he was going home to work on a political cartoon and trying to psych himself up for it.
Dec. 5th, 2008 10:42 am (UTC)
I was really pleased I went
...more to come on my journal later, but it was very nice - and I met Brendan McCarthy, which was cool.

I looked up Aidan and Private Eye - thanks - and yes, it's definitely the guy I was thinking off. That dinosaur book looks great! I might well buy it if I come across it, though I've already got my nephew a couple of other books for christmas and one more might be too many.
Dec. 5th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)
How do you keep up with such a busy life? i feel tired just reading about it :)
Dec. 5th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
I still feel tired... ;-)
Dec. 5th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
I aim to be more active in SCWBI circles next year. Right now I have so much going on, both workwise and mentally!
Dec. 5th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, do when you're able, and SCBWI can always use people planning more local stuff!
Dec. 5th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
Love that picture ! I've felt like that, sometimes...
Dec. 5th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, I feel like that a lot... I love seeing people, but I do better when its a group of, say, five or less, not three hundred.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 6th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC)
We shall pledge to keep a brave front! ;-)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 6th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC)
True, his stuff's amazing! I love the way he draws such wonky perspectives and his flat use of colour.
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC)
John Vernon Lord is a wonderful and funny and wise man (not just ordinarily wise, also clever, canny, here's how best to negotiate a better price for an illustration job type of wise). He taught on the MA in Sequential Illustration that I did in Brighton a good few years back. I once endured an exceedingly dull meeting (I was briefly some kind of students' rep) watching in wonder as a sheet of notepaper in front of JVL filled with astonishing doodly wonders. Mini Grey was the year below me on the same course and was also lovely and also ludicrously industrious (and still seems to be so).
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:35 am (UTC)
Hey Dave, thanks for that! When I was a kid, there was a boy down the street (named Quentin) who had 'The Giant Jam Sandwich' and I used to go to his house so I could read it over and over.

Janet Woolley mentioned him several times in tutorials, and since he doesn't have a detailed website, I've only seen his work in little bits at a time. But I really love what I've seen. He had some gorgeous pages decorative lettering in his sketchbook, I'd love to see more of them! And Mini Grey, I'm very much taken with her use of texture, her work's amazing.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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