Friday 1 November 2013

Terrifying Trio...(ish)

Colin the Spider...

Don't Lose Your Head...

Travel in Style...

Only a smidge late with these! Here are my three Halloween pictures for this year!

I'm currently working on a rather jolly picture book, so it was nice to take a break from that to go over to the dark side and get the blacks and greys out!

These images were all made traditionally, with no digital tinkering and are a mix of ink, gouache, pencil crayon and chalk pastel, on matte white card.

Sorry about the slightly cack-handed photos of them. I really should have scanned them.

Bad Alex!

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Arthur the Artist...

Today I got to hangout with my one and a half year old godson Arthur!

We had quite an adventure!

We walked his big sister (my fairy goddaughter) to school and we walked back home again. We waved at a lorry and investigated a gnome statue in a neighbouring front garden. But then it was time to knuckle down to some serious artistic work! 

Here are some pictures of our creative endeavours. 
As you can see, Arthur is rather nifty at colouring in. 
We created lots of pictures and even a portrait of his sister for her to find when she comes home from school! 

Then Arthur's mummy came home, so the wax crayons were quickly stashed under the seat of his toy scooter (obviously?!) for next time and it was time for Arthur to have a big mummy cuddle and a morning nap. Colouring in is VERY tiring work...

Well done Arthur! 

Friday 20 September 2013

Mr Rabbit's Wet Wednesday Walk...

Mixed media on hot pressed watercolour paper. 

Wednesday 21 August 2013

The Girl and the Goose

click to enlarge.

Original (non digital) painting.
Pencil, gouache and coloured pencil.

Thursday 15 August 2013

HECTOR and the BIG BAD KNIGHT - now available to preorder!


It gives me GREAT pleasure to be able to reveal the title and cover of my next picture book!

Hector and the BIG BAD KNIGHT 

Publishing 6th March 2014 (Scholastic Picture Books)

This is my ninth picture book and I am super excited about it!

Here's some details from the publishers:

"When Hector's granny has her magic wand stolen by The Big Bad Knight, Hector, the tiniest boy in the village, decides to go after him. 
And when The Big Bad Knight sends a dragon after Hector, our hero knows just what to do - with a little help from a bag of crisps! Soon it's time for The Big Bad Knight to learn a little lesson about knightly manners. 
A fun-filled new picture book about the power of good with quirky illustrations from award-winning Alex T. Smith."

Hector is available to pre-order now from 
Amazon, Waterstones and from your local independent book store.

Keep checking back here for more details and sneak peeks coming soon!

Oh! Go on then... if you insist...
Here's your first sneak peek!

Saturday 27 July 2013


About a week ago, I doodled the above picture not in my usual sketchbook, but on a big sketch pad I was using to plan out some pictures for a book project I'm currently working on. 
I'm not sure why I drew a picture of a rabbit running through a jungle/forest with a giant crystal, but sometimes I think you just have to go with what you brain tells you to do! 

Usually, in my little sketchbook, and my rough images for work, I make them very tidy and tight, but working on a bigger pad made my pencil work looser and I was desperate to colour it in. 

Usually, my work is a mixture of traditional artwork (mainly the linework) and digital colour and texture. However, recently I've found that I'm not able to get the feeling I want using the computer. 

No matter how much computer trickery I use, the image still doesn't quite do what I want. I've also found the amount of time I am staring at a screen  has become quite uncomfortable, so I'm trying to work away from the computer as much as possible to give my eyes a rest and look at something other than a flickering screen.

This image was an experiment ahead of my next two picture books to see if I could manage a large, fairly complicated scene with put having a nervous breakdown! And I LOVED it. I really liked how not having an undo function meant I had to think about more before tackling bits of the image, and I also really enjoyed how relaxed it made me just quietly colouring bits and working the image up in stages. 

I don't usually show my process because to be honest with you, even after 7 years of being an illustrator, I still have very little idea of what I'm doing and most of it is trial and error, but I did think you might like to see how I put this image together. 

ART GEEK BIT: It's pen, pencil crayon, watercolour, chalk pastel and gouache on medium texture, heavyish weight A3 paper. 

And the final finished image...


And one final picture of it on my messy desk! (Well, actually, my dining table- hence the kitten shaped salt and pepper shakers!) 

More non digital artwork here soon! 

FROM MY SKETCHBOOK: Bedtime Conversation about Love with my Little Nephew (aged 5)

Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Royal Baby...

click to enlarge

As everyone in the Entire World knows - the royal baby arrived this week!
Last night, whilst glued to the TV waiting for William and Katherine to appear with the little boy I wrote this silly poem.

Saturday 13 July 2013

In the Bear Cave...

This is a finished, non digital piece of work based in an old sketchbook image. It's mainly pencil crayon with gouache and pen here and there, on card. 

Wednesday 10 July 2013

The Swing...

I did this little piece this morning as a warm up to get my brain in 'colouring in' mode. 
It's pencil crayon, pencil and pen with the tiniest bit of gouache. 

Friday 14 June 2013

A Very Good Day...

                    click to enlarge 

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Grumble! Rumble!

                    click to enlarge.

And here's what the window looks like.

Thanks to the fantastic team in store for their help, well... for doing all the hard work!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

FROM MY SKETCHBOOK: A Poem About The Queen...

click to enlarge

The Queen celebrated the 60th anniversary of her coronation today.
I decided to mark the occasion with this poem...

Tuesday 28 May 2013

The One With The Green Lobster...

                    Click to enlarge.

FYI: my friend Sam returned the lobster to the shop and has no plans for ever buying or eating one again...


Sunday 26 May 2013

Caterpillars and Chrysanthemum Tea...

I had a busy day on Thursday with visits to two schools in Hackney, London to do some book events based on a couple of my books. Here's my sketchbook diary of the day...

click to enlarge

Tuesday 21 May 2013

FROM MY SKETCHBOOK: Beneath the Opera House...

click to enlarge.

I saw The Phantom of the Opera stage show for the first time a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I saw the film when it came out in 2004 and loved that, but to see the show performed in a real, old theatre was treat. I must say though that I actually spent the entire show marvelling at the amazing set which was just ingenious in the way it shifted and changed and became numerous different locations. Brilliant!

When my parents took me to the theatre as a child, I remember enjoying sitting in the darkness transfixed, not by the story being played out on the stage (although I did enjoy that), but by the design of the costumes and set. I would take in every little detail and draw everything I'd seen when I got home. Nothing has changed now that I'm grown up. I'm still fascinated by the details and dress in tv, film and theatre. It actually makes sitting down to watch something quite difficult as my fingers are constantly twitching for the pencil and sketchbook I keep in my pocket.

So, of course some snippet from the the Phantom of the Opera had to make its way into my sketchbook. I've just been putting the finishing touches to my next picture book which is full of colour and pattern, so it was nice to change track here and do something dark and moody and grown up.
Bit spooky too...


For more sketchbook images and information about my sketchbook process and what media I use to draw with, do visit this guest post I did for my agent's website.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Thursday 2 May 2013

Visitors to this time, this place...

click to enlarge

The above is a piece of hand lettering I created of one of my favourite pieces of text. It's an Australian Aboriginal proverb and I think it's just lovely.

I love creating lettering and find it really relaxing. More of this to be posted soon, I hope!

Wednesday 1 May 2013


My grandparents, Sid and Alice.

Friday 26 April 2013

Primping under the sea...

Here's a doodle I did in my sketchbook of a little mermaid primping under the sea...

click to enlarge

And I couldn't resist colouring her in...

click to enlarge

I've had a busy few weeks with various book projects all coming to completion. I'll hopefully be back to blogging more regularly soon, and will fill you in with lots of exciting things.

In the mean time, why not have a read of this article written by me about my sketchbook secrets

Also, I'd love you to follow me on Twitter. I regularly post pictures from my sketchbooks there. (Also photos of my dogs...)
I'm @Alex_T_Smith 

Friday 5 April 2013

What I Wore Today... (yesterday)

I wish my hair really did look just like this. It's sadly a bit shorter and always windswept. It caused my baby godson to stop the other day, point at it and then say 'oooh'... in a slightly alarmed fashion... :-(

Thursday 14 February 2013

Friday 8 February 2013

SNEAK PEAK: Primrose

I'm VERY excited to be able to share with you a few sneak peaks at my forthcoming picture book 'PRIMROSE'.

Primrose is a princess. She has the pretty pink tiara, the pretty pink palace and the two prancing pink ponies to prove it. 
But being a princess, she thinks, isn't that fun. Everyone at the palace is so serious ALL the time and it's boring, boring, BORING.

Primrose and her little pug Percy like doing not very princessy things like climbing trees in the Royal Orchard and jumping on her bed and dressing up in monkey suits, but none of these things are deemed Proper.

Her Mum and Dad - the King and Queen are very worried about her as they want her to behave properly like a Proper Princess...

The King explains that trees aren't for climbing, they are for sitting under ON A CHAIR and practising your Princess Homework ( How To Wave Properly When Travelling In The Royal Carriage)...

It's the same everywhere she turns in the palace. She's not allowed to play board games, or dig up vegetables in the royal garden or even make cupcakes in the Royal Kitchen ( as she might drop egg down her dress and that would be Awful!)

There's only one thing for it. 
Grandmama will have to be summoned. 
If anyone can make Primrose into a Proper Princess, it's her...

But Grandmama has her own take on the problem and she soon gets the King and Queen joining in, with some surprising results...

You see, it simply doesn't do to be serious ALL the time....

Even Kings and Queens and Royal Grandmamas need to have some fun sometimes...

Primrose will be published in the UK by Scholastic Children's Books in April 2013. It's available to pre order online, but don't forget to support your local high street and independent book sellers