Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hedge Hog

So yesterday my wife gets a call from her family sayin' they found a hedgehog and were advised by the vet to feed him, keep him over night and release him the following day somewhere safe. Well they live near a lot of traffic so thought releasing him at our house would be a safer option. Last night they brought the little guy up...we said our hellos and goodbyes and let 'em go. 

Well today my wife sent me one of the strangest messages I've ever received. The hedgehog was back. She found him in the garden...sitting down....eating a barbecued sausage. 

That's not all...Cowling over him was our three legged cat Hope. She was sitting behind him with one paw tentatively wrapped around his prickly side. Unable to catch him, but equally unwilling to let 'em go. 

You see Hope hasn't been much of a hunter since she lost her leg...she was obviously surprised, excited and bemused by this giant friendly prickly "mouse" whom she had managed to "catch"

At the moment, the hedgehog is in a box in our sitting room. He's well fed and as I type is  making a bed for himself out of grass and shredded paper.

To be honest we don't really know what to do with him. Neen called the vet to ask for advice. Based on our description of his behavior the vet thinks he may already be partially if not completely domesticated. His food preferences suggest he is already accustomed to domestic food.

She said we have two choices...keep him as a pet or bring him far into the country and release him...what do you think? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cinematic Classics

Neen and I re-watched 'My Fair Lady' the last day and it was as good if not better than ever. Audrey Hepburn at her cinematic best...It got me thinking...I know it's cliched to say - but they really don't make 'em like that anymore. I mean the vast majority of graphic-laden blockbustin' monsters released these days will look dated and quite unimpressive in a few short years...These old musicals are absolute classics and I trust will grace our screens for decades to come...

I've gotta admit I have a serious penchant old school effects and traditional animation. In my opinion one of the greatest examples of visual effects in a film is 'Mary Poppins' which the missus and I also watched this week. This film was a huge influence during my younger years. I must have watched it 100 times by the time I was 10. It's an absolute classic and still looks as visualy impressive as ever. The merging of traditional animation and live action is flawless - and in my opinion a far better example of this style than even 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' it's fellow Disney sibling.

An interesting link between the two aforementioned films is this: Julie Andrews played the lead role of Eliza Doolittle, in the original Broadway stage version of 'My Fair Lady'. When Warner Brothers acquired the film rights and announced a movie would be made - Andrews was quite vocal in her interest to play the screen version of the stage role she had made so famous. Alas due to her relatively unknown status and her non-existent screen experience the more well-known Hepburn was offered the role instead. I can imagine  that was  quite an upset to Andrews at the time. Luckily for all involved Walt Disney offered Andrews the role of Mary Poppins shortly after. Both films were released in 1964, and looking at what could have been both were cast perfectly...

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Books

It seems in the time it takes me to figure out want I want for lunch, Emily Gravett has managed to con-caught, write, illustrate, design, deliver, publish and publicize a new book! It seems every time I visit a bookstore, there's a new new Emily Gravett gem to break open and explore... If their's a harder working children's illustrator out there I'd like to meet them. These are three new books my wife bought me the last day as a surprise. I love 'em. I already have a lot of Emily Gravett books, so how she managed to find and pick the three I didnt' have is beyond impressive. Thanks hun - I love 'em!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


On Saturday after nearly 11 years together... Neen and I finally held our own barbecue. Granted it was just the two of us but that made it even more special. Well I had never cooked food on a BBQ before, and to be honest we don't even own one so instead we picked up one of those great little disposable BBQ kits which actually worked out great! 

Food-wise I cooked 4 fresh burgers and a pound of sausages. I marinated the burgers and sausages in chopped garlic and butter and seared them to seal in the juices. When the coals were ready I then barbecued them with some red pepper slices. We also had lettuce, potato salad and giant cous cous. It was really lovely and best of all it stayed dry! (Saturday wasn't really a traditional BBQ day, It was pretty overcast.)

We are definitely going to do another BBQ soon. Those disposable sets are so cheap and absolutely ideal for our needs. We are probably going to stick with just the burgers and red peppers next pork outdoors is always nerve-wreckin', No man wants his first attempt at outdoor cooking to end with a bout of food poisoning. To be honest as nice as the sausages were they weren't worth the stress. We practically burnt them to cinders before we were satisfied they were cooked....They were lovely though!

I drew and inked a quick illustration inspired by our day yesterday, Check it out on my art blog... LINK

Lego: Hagrid's Hut

Lego was a huge part of my childhood and I hope it will be an equally important influence on my eventual kids early years too. My wife often has to remind me that there's no guarantee our future kids will grow to have any interest whatsoever in the little plastic bricks. I can very much imagine a scenario were my 9 year old son has grown quite adept at feigning interest and surprise as either myself or Santa produces yet another glorious 1000 pc. construction set to be built...

Well back to the point of this blog, every so often I get the notion I want to build a lego set. I know what your thinking! I'm a grown man - that's a little strange right?! We'll sometimes I agree, and go a few years with out a dabble in the Lego pond. Then I watch an interview or behind the scenes featurette with one of my fellow artist/animator colleagues. More often than not sitting on their studio shelves you'll spot a lego set or to a limited edition bust of Batman, and a couple of Family Guy action figures...

That always reminds me I'm not alone in my refusal to grow old. If Neverland were real, I'm sure we artists would have time-shares...

I really think these Harry Potter lego sets are great - and for years have wanted to get one for prosperity sake. Well given the final chapter of the successive series is about to be's safe to assume certain items of merchandise will soon be retired. Now seemed an ideal time to finally pick one up before they are gone. 

It really is a great set. Cleverly conceived, full of little details and very accurate to it's screen counterpart. It's built and has been added to my small but growing collection of sets that will one day be placed on display behind glass  - when my studio is large enough that is.

I guess that's the great thing about being in a career that mostly revolves around creating art for kids...every so often it's perfectly healthy...correction...necessary to act like one.