Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday, 23 October 2009

Words and Gorillas

It's busy around here! The studio is a tip and the dogs have gone doolally and are being incredibly naughty (again) ...
Today I've been doing some hand-lettering for a nice fiction job I'm doing - chapter headings for a very exciting story. Hopefully I can tell you a bit more about it soon. In the meantime: 

Things I've been excited about this week:

  • creating my own font (above) using this amazing site - It's brilliant and I'm planning on making a whole range of exciting fonts to use on everything! YES PLEASE!
  • I've also been obsessed with Gorillas. They are just lovely aren't they . I remember spending my 20th birthday at Edinburgh Zoo and I just loved watching the big gorilla there lounging about in his den - picking his teeth and scratching his head. I'd just quite like to hug one I think...
  • I've been chair-dancing to the Flight of the Conchords album. My main love on it is the song Robots.
  • tonight I am going to make some cupcakes iced with orange icing and dotted with white chocolate drops. Yum!
P.s The final image above is a little, silly present for my girlfriend Jem. She really is quite lovely. Especially when I accidently make some soup too spicy for her and she has to sit fanning her mouth as she eats it. :-)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Baguette problems...

In other non- fashion related news, I have a very traumatic cycle home from town today. First of all a butterfly flew straight into my forehead, then half of the baguette I'd just bought broke off and flew across the road. 

I am not happy.


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

What's Hot + What's Not...

Click to enlarge ( got that problem sorted now!)

Well it's Wednesday which means, according to the brilliant Loobylu,  it's time for a post about What's Hot and What's Not with me today. 

Here goes:

What's Hot:

* Autumn!
I'll be honest with you, this was almost resigned very firmly into the NOT category. Yesterday was revolting here - wet and rainy from morning until night, thick grey clouds everywhere and our heating decided not to work, then suddenly kicked in and the boiler made a horrendous clanking, shuddering noise. I thought a Borrowers reenactment of the First World war was going on in the airing cupboard. 
Today, however, Autumn has redeemed itself - beautiful sunny skies, a brisk chill in the air and a great big fat orange pumpkin is sitting on my kitchen unit waiting to be whipped up into a spicy soup! YES. PLEASE! 

*Finding the 3 Moleskin Sketchbooks I bought Ages Ago Then Promptly Lost.

Horray! I've found them! 
I'm new to the world of Moleskins and I'm really enjoying working in them. ( see image above) That soft yellow colour of the pages is a beautiful surface to work on and for some reason a lot less scary than a bright white page. Usually when I start a sketchbook I shyly start scribbling on the back pages, but not with my new/newly found Moleskin - I've jumped straight in at the beginning and am loving it!

*Radio Four.
Something else which I'm new too. In the past I've been a bit of a flitterer - diving about here and there to different radio stations during the day whilst getting increasingly irritated either by the presenters or by hearing exactly the same collection of songs  pretty much in the same order, every hour ( I'm looking at you Radio one...). Either that or I gave up and either popped on Spotify or worked like a hermit in silence. 
Now, I've discovered Radio Four. The  Home-Workers Companion. The Deliverer of Knowledge, Culture and Opinion into my Very Own Ears from morning until night (well until Jemma arrives home). It's just brilliant - a variety of different programmes covering a multitude of subjects and no music to either get bored with or distract me in terms of having to chair dance whilst I'm grappling with a difficult picture or a problematic paragraph. JOYFUL!

*Properly Waisted Trousers.
Low Riders - BE GONE! 'Sits low on the Waist' - you no longer seduce me! I am no longer your friend or slave! I will live a life of hoiking up my waistband as I walk or worrying about my botty being exposed when I sit down no more.  I am now (and I pray this isn't a sign of age or an on coming quarter life crisis) a fan of the properly waisted trouser (I hear a ripple of applause from Jemma, my mum and my grandmother who have been nagging me for ages to get some proper slacks and put my botty away) I am now converted to the charms of vintage styled trousers proudly worn on my wait. The comfort is delightful and the slightly rakish look of a 1940's spiv it gives me is an added bonus!

What's NOT:

*Worrying abut the Owl in our Street.
 The other evening whilst strolling down the street whilst walking the dogs we noticed an owl swopping from the rooftops. It's moved in somewhere down the road we think and we are now very concerned that it might mistake our Chihuahua for a mouse when the poor little thing is outside doing - well - you know what. Unfortunately, I don't think Mr. Owl will be swayed by The Chihuahua's winning smile, big googly eyes or  his likeness  to a certain easy listening legend and leave him alone.  I am now forced to stand out side of an evening like a minder for the dogs, glaring at the rooftops  whilst armed with something to throw incase of an Owl attack.

*Cold Mornings.
These are not fun. Anything which makes me leap out of bed and slam the windows shut like Nanny in the Eloise books is absolutely NOT HOT in my book.

* Glade Plug -In CHRISTMAS Air Freshener Adverts Being on TV in OCTOBER

Not hot, Glade... Not. HOT.

Friday, 2 October 2009


Above is the image I've created for niecey's birthday party invitation this year. 
This seems to be becoming a bit of a annual commission having started last year with a High School Musical themed invitation for a sleepover/HSM party.This year there's an outing to the cinema to see FAME in costume I believe. 
I'm planning on adding some glitter to the picture above when it's printed because, to be honest you can never have enough glitter at a party.

Seems to be a bit of a dancing theme this week as Jem and I started our Rock and Roll dance classes - was fun if  a little like stepping into a Victoria Wood sketch. Roll on next week!

Friday, 25 September 2009

My Mum has X-Ray Vision!

My next book is now available to pre-order from Amazon both in Hardback and paperback!
It's an exciting story written by Angela McAllister with illustrations by me. Publishing in January.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Today is my niece's 12th birthday!

I'm heading down to my parent's house today to spend the weekend eating cake and soaking in the fun of someone else's birthday.
It's strange to think that Georgia is now half my age. I can remember holding her as a baby and marveling not only at how beautiful and sweet she was ( and still is) but also at the fact that when she was my age I would be twenty-four! Now that moment is here and I'm just surprised by how quickly it's gone!
The day she was born was probably the most exciting day of my life. I had been jittery with excitement from the moment that I knew I was going to be an uncle and when her mum went into hospital I could barely keep still. 
It was a crisp, sunny, orangey autumn day when she was born and I was school. This was before I had a mobile phone so I didn't know she had arrived until the end of the day. I remember running like mad from my classroom down the path in front of the school field, racing out of school gates and hurtling down to the small car park nearby where my parents were picking me up. 

As I neared I squinted towards their car and my mum mimed holding a baby and I felt like jumping for joy! (I didn't btw- I was a twelve year old boy and although I was never particularly cool there were limits...). I dived into the car and zoomed off to buy my new baby niece a present. (And I've been conned into buying presents and 'essential' things ever since...)

I went up to the hospital later that night and it was really dark outside. I can remember holding this tiny little baby who looked like a sleeping doll and the glow from the bed lamp turned everything orange and Georgia squeezed my little finger.

Now Georgia is getting tall and beautiful and is giving me a run for my money in the artistic stakes.and sends me flying when I have a go on her trampoline (you know- when I'm 'forced' to play on there with her and her brothers...)

So, happy birthday Georgie, my quirky, funny, lovely little friend (and ear twin)!
See you soon for some cake, some bouncing about on the trampoline and some lolling about in front of the tv covered in dogs!
Love you lots!

Some of my favourite things Georgia has said:

Aged 8: ( whilst 20,000 ft up in the air in a plane to my mum who is a nervous air traveller) So how DO plane crash then?!

Aged 10: ( About someone in her class) we don't really talk to her because she licks worms...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Friday, 18 September 2009

Tunisia Blues...

We've just got back from a week away in Tunisia. 
A week of hot sun, sea breezes and swimming until sunset. It was a great break and a real treat for my eyes - lush pink flowers, fiery evening sun, pink ice cream! And blues! Wow! I think I must have seen every sort of blue imaginable!

Now, of course, I'm back in the UK and I'm having to face the other sort of blue - the post holiday blues. Not helped at all by grey and drizzly weather!

Here are some pics from my Tunisian sketchbook:

P.s. What to own your little piece of Alex T Smith handmade niceness? Some small toys and badges 
I've made are on sale now in my agent's shop!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Penguin isn't sure...

Sometimes it's nice to do something which doesn't involve using the computer. 
I'm a little obsessed with penguins recently, but more about that soon!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

AOI Images

My work is on the left.

Last night I rattled down on the train to London to attend the private view for the AOI Images 32 exhibition. Three pieces of my work had made it into the book and the show and it was great to see the spreads from 'Bella and Monty: A Hairy, Scary Night' framed and up on the walls. I was in good company too as both Oliver Jeffers and Mei Matsuoka had pieces hanging in the children's book section. It was great to have the chance to look at their work close up as I've been a fan of their work for a while now.
Going to the exhibition was also a great chance to catch up with my agents - the lovely ladies from Arena. GROUP SHOT!
Tamlyn, Justine and Caroline.
(Alison was somewhere else at this point!)
I had to dash before it was all over as I had to catch my train home! I've never run so far in my life and was thoroughly exhausted by the time I eventually shlumped into my seat for the journey home. Only to have to endure two and a quarter hours of screaming children, the trials and tribulations of the woman sitting in front of me and a carriage full of dubious smells... yuck.

I'm still tired from the 6 hour round trip but it's ok... I have this to soothe me. Aah... fish... just the sort of place for a mermaid or two...


Sunday, 26 July 2009

Salad. Heaven.

101 Simple Salad ideas from the New York Times.
Being a BIG salad fan this excites me probably more than it does other people...

Friday, 24 July 2009


Am busy, busy, busy at the moment and unfortunately most of it is at the TOP SECRET stage so I can really show you much of it ... so as  special treat I though I'd show you what my studio looks like! (Try to contain yourselves please.) 

Now I'm not joking when I say my studio is just a smidge bigger than a stamp - you could probably fit it in your lunch box if you tried. Saying that however, it might be small but my goodness have I managed to pack some stuff into it...
Above: Here's my inspiration wall. ( that's a posh way of way a couple of bits of string nailed to the wall with all sorts of bits hanging from it so I don't lose them...) The lady in the photograph is one of my Grandmothers - Alice, looking rather stylish in a wool coat.
Above: The Desk.
This is actually quite tidy. The penguin toy is one I'm in the middle of making. The open sketch book is one from a holiday in France last summer - I got it out to look for a man's face I'd doodled which I thought would be just right for something I'm working on. Note the bookshelves- absolute disgrace.

Above: This is the corner with the inspiration pin boards - another place for me to put nice things to look at/things I must not lose.

Above: Vintage suitcases.
These contain  a massive collection of trinkets and treasures. Fabric for scanning, buttons, ribbons and mini pom-poms. All waiting to be used one day in a book or to be made into a toy or something.
The middle one was, I think, the suitcase my grandmother used to come over from Ireland in the 1930s. It still has her name written on the inside. 

Well I hoped you enjoyed that little tour! Now I've found/bought a new thingy for uploading my pics to the internet I'll try and post pictures more often. Right... back to work and that means absolutely not making a detour via the packet of Party Ring biscuits in the kitchen...


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

HOME on cbeebies

For anyone who missed it, you can watch Home being read here for the next seven days!


My book 'HOME' is going to be read by Warwick Davis this evening on the cbeebies channel as part of their bedtime hour from 6pm until 7pm!

Tune in!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Sometimes when I upload a picture does it spring up big when you click it, and then other times it stays small?
Anyone who can answer me this will be rewarded with a winning smile.


I did this picture today whilst ignoring a spread from my next book in the hope it might sort itself out and not involve me.

In other (non-work related) news, please buy me everything available here.
Thank you!

Thursday, 18 June 2009



That was a longtime between posts! Sorry about that! Will try harder in the future!
In my defense I have been very busy. Here is a list of things I have been up to:

* I went to New York and ate cheesecake and got sunburnt. (p.s. I ♥ NY.)

* I got presented with an award for my work on ELIOT JONES, MIDNIGHT SUPERHERO. 
  (I also ate a mini quiche at the reception before hand with was de.lish.)

* My third book was published- Bella and Monty: A Hairy, Scary Night.
   (Shameless Plug: it's available here...)

* Met and drew for some lovely, if slightly mad, children at some schools I visited - Hello if you    are reading this!)

* Started knitting a ninja...

* Judged some picture books for a Best Books review. ( So much fun and also- excellent      biscuits.)

All between fitting in actual drawing and actual writing! I've just finished book 5 and am onto book 6! 6 books in 3 years. WOWZERS!

Anyway... a post wouldn't be a post without at least one picture so here you go. Just a little something I'm working on.

I'm slightly obsessed with the above colours at the moment. Love minty green with bright pink.

Oh and before I go... if you are in need of a little break from work and a quick story why not look at this? It's Jonas Armstrong ( aka Robin Hood!) reading Eliot Jones, Midnight Suerhero and showing off my illustrations.

Whoop and Hooray!


I think the man next door is keeping pigeons in his attic and I am slightly scared that they might managed to break into my attic and through the boarded up trapdoor and run riot in my house. I just wanted you all to now. That is all.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

What's it all about...


Whilst Photoshop chugs along...

When I'm waiting for files to save I tend to doodle on a huge piece of paper that I keep in front of me. Here's a doodle from the other day - Sometimes it's nice to try different ways of colouring in an illustration.

I think her name might be Joyce. She probably singing in a choir.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

All Ears


Well it's been a while but I've been extremely busy!
I've been asked to cover for another illustrator, Steve May, whilst he is on holiday, and illustrate The Guardian's All Ears column. I'm doing it for a month and the first illustration was published on Saturday.
Here's the article (with my picture at the bottom) :
A copy of the text can be read here

And here is a better version of the picture:

It's a fun job to do with a tight turn around. Keep your peepers peeled for this week's image!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Here's my birthday card for my old Pa.
P.S. I love penguins.
(click to enlarge but be warned! It is massive for some reason...)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Felicity and Frederick

Here's a little character who wandered into my sketchbook the other day. Her name is Felicity:

I started to think about her and before I knew it she had sprouted a (non-identical) twin and lots of adventures were bubbling up in my mind for them to go on...

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Pirate Holly

I spotted this little girl stomping through town last week during the half term holiday.
There are many days when I feel a homemade pirate hat might help me get through the day...
(Click image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009