Book five ✨TITLE REVEAL✨

My fifth picture book with Harper Kids UK will be published at the end of July and it will be called ...(drum roll)... "KEVIN".

This story means a lot to me as it was one of the first that I wrote. Also, the idea came from the imagination of my daughter Kitty. I definitely think it's my favourite book so far and I really hope you like it when you get to see it.

The Sunk! Spring Tour

Well, that was a LOT of fun. I've just got back from nine days on the road visiting book festivals, schools, libraries and bookshops up and down the country, reading stories, drawing pictures and generally having a nice time. Massive thanks to everyone who came along to see me, to all of my very generous hosts, to the amazing booksellers I met along the way and to HarperCollins and Annie Everall at Authors Aloud UK who organised the tour.

Here are some of the highlights... (click an image for a closer look and a caption)

A closer look at my adventure in Waterstones Nottingham's window...

Revealing the line art.

Colouring in Penguin Blue.

My knees hurt quite a lot by this point.

No wonder it took such a long time.


AHOY THERE SHIPMATES! I am very proud to say that last Thursday my fourth picture book Sunk! was published by HarperCollins. It's now an actual thing that you can buy in the actual shops. Look!

It's such an exciting moment when a project you've worked on for a year, often in quite an isolated fashion, is finally out there in the world for everyone to see. I really hope you enjoy it. Here's a little look inside (click on an image to enlarge)... 

Waterstones Piccadilly were kind enough to host a launch event yesterday in the children's department. It was a busy, noisy, fun-packed session featuring lots of small pirates who sat and listened beautifully while I drew and read stories. Big thanks to everyone who came along. It was lovely to see you all. 

Now, I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few thank yous. Firstly to the AMAZING team at HarperCollins Children's Books, led by Ann-Janine Murtagh. My editors Rachel Denwood, Alice Blacker and Lydia Barram are total geniuses who know exactly what works and what doesn't. Their ideas, their prompting, their prodding, their cajoling, their patience, their faith and, above all, their encouragement are all things that I have come to totally rely on. It is a FACT this book would be nowhere near as good as it is without their help. I say it every time but I really do feel incredibly lucky to be working with them. 

The same can be said for Nia Roberts and Manda Scott who were in the art department when this book was made (they have both now moved on to pastures new). It must be difficult having to deal with a former magazine art director who thinks he knows best all the time. The reality is that he doesn't and that he appreciates all of your guidance. Thank you.

My publicity and marketing team, headed up by Geraldine Stroud and Jo Hardacre, are awesome. Jo, you make my events such fun to do. Thanks so much for all of your hard work sorting everything out for me over the last nine months or so. I really appreciate it. Also thanks for the posh lunch the other day - let's do it again soon! Massive shout-outs also to Siân Robertson (cut-outable pirate hat creator extraordinaire and my number one source for #PackedLunchPostIt ideas), Jess Dean (powerpoint slides wrangler and fellow working-from-home-and-the-procrastination-problems-that-exist-therein empathiser) and Sarah MacMillan (who was very calming when I was about to go on stage in Glasgow in front of 2500 kids AND whose great, great, great, great grandfather invented the bicycle). Thanks for everything that all of you do. I know what hard work it is and I really appreciate it.

My agent Jodie Hodges at United is always the first one to see the finished book (as well as several draft versions along the way). This whole me-writing-books thang is totally down to her and as such her good opinion is one that matters so much to me. It's great to have you in my corner Jodie. Thanks also to Emily Talbot, Jodie's assistant, who is patience personified and the most organised person in the entire universe.

Finally, I want to thank my wife Ally and children Ella, Kitty and Poppy for their support and their patience (I seem to be using that word a lot!), particularly as I got closer to deadline. There were a lot of ballet runs that I didn't do because of this book. Thanks, as ever, team. I love you all xxx

Right, I think that's about it. I'll leave you with this little trailer that I made for the book. In the meantime I'd better get on with getting the next one finished. Deadlines are a-looming...

Sunk! launch event

For the launch of my fourth book Sunk! I will be doing a free event at Waterstones Piccadilly branch in central London, and YOU'RE ALL INVITED! Please come along (bring the kids) on Sunday 12 March at 12.30pm for some stories, some drawing, some pirate hat-making and some signing. It'll be lovely to see you if you can make it.

Odd Dog Out co-editions

This week HarperCollins sent me copies of some of the Odd Dog Out international editions - always an exciting moment. Here are a few pics of the Greek, Spanish, French, Chinese, Catalan, Russian and Korean editions... 

Observer Food Monthly magazine

As you may know I worked at the Observer newspaper in London for nine years before becoming a full-time children's author, so I was thrilled to be asked to illustrate the cover for Food Monthly’s annual OFM-50 issue. It was lovely working with the team again and I'd like to pass on my thanks to Allan Jenkins, Gareth Grundy and Paul Reed for the commission. It was a lot of fun to draw and nice to work in a slightly different style to usual. Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's a White Park cow. 



Mammoth Sunk! signing session tonight. Luckily I had my two helpers by my side (still wearing their dance festival make-up). My signature started looking a bit ropey by the end though...

One month to go...

It is exactly one month till Sunk! hits the shelves, so I made a little teaser GIF thing...


Odd Dog Out wins the Bishop’s Stortford Festival of Literature Picture Book Award

Yesterday I went to the awards ceremony for the Bishop’s Stortford Festival of Literature Picture Book Award because Odd Dog Out was one of the nominated books. This is a really nice prize because it is entirely voted for by kids so I was hugely flattered to be included.

The shortlist was incredibly strong. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson and David Roberts
A Child of Books by Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers
A Dog Called Bear by Diane and Christyan Fox
The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright and Jim Field
Max and Bird by Ed Vere
Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph
Oi Dog! by Jim Field and Kes and Claire Gray
This Book is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne
Tidy by Emily Gravett

See? Anyway, guess what. We won!

Exciting, huh? It was SUCH a proud moment for me when the great Korky Paul read my name out as the winner. 

I was at the ceremony with my brilliant editor Alice Blacker and my equally brilliant publicist Jo Hardacre, which was a lot of fun. Here we are straight after the result was announced...


I'd really like to thank Alice, Jo and the entire crew at HarperCollins. Making a picture book is a real team effort and, even though it's a cliché I'm still going to say it: this award is just as much theirs as it is mine. I love working with these guys.

It was great to meet some of the other shortlisted authors and illustrators too. Here I am with Richard Byrne, Emily Gravett, Diane Fox, Christyan Fox and Ed Vere. 

Such a talented bunch and really nice people too. It was a privilege to be shortlisted alongside them. 

So Odd Dog Out is now an award-winning book. That is a nice sentence to be able to type. Now then, just got to get the next one finished...


The Biggest Book Show On Earth 2017

I am very excited to be part of World Book Day's Biggest Book Show on Earth for the second year in a row. This time I'm off to Glasgow on February 27 to speak to over 2000 kids in the Royal Concert Hall. The author line-up is: Cressida Cowell, Sir Chris Hoy, Lydia Monks, Frank Cottrell Boyce and, er, me. Gulp. Anyway, if it's anything like last year it should be a lot of fun. And quite noisy.

Two new books

Hi. Today I have TWO (count them) books publishing with HarperCollins.  
Firstly the paperback version of Odd Dog Out...


and secondly Christian O'Connell's brilliant Radio Boy, which I have illustrated...


Thats' right, I'm only doing yellow covers from now on. Click the links (or the covers) for more details. Hope you enjoy them.

In the meantime here are some Odd Dog Outtakes (dachshunds that didn't make it into the book for legal reasons!)...

and here are some early cover tries for Radio Boy...

Advent #PackedLunchPostIt notes

It's Christmas tomorrow and that means that I don't have to draw any more #PackedLunchPostIt notes for Poppy for a week or two. HURRAH! Oh, and it also means that you get to spend quality time with your family, eat turkey and open presents and stuff. Yes. That too.

Anyway, here are all of this year's advent post-its. Merry Christmas!

Facebook Live event with HarperCollins

Earlier this week I headed over to HarperCollins HQ to be interviewed by my brilliant editor Alice Blacker as part of a series of Facebook Live events. I love chatting to Alice so we had a lot of fun. I even taught her how to draw a hula-hooping dachshund.

See it in it's entirety below...

Bid for my "⚡️Doggy Stardust⚡️" painting

Look! I've done a painting, an actual painting using paint and everything, of a sausage dog dressed as David Bowie! It's called 'Doggy Stardust' (well, of course it is*) and you, YES YOU, can own it. 

It's part of the Stars On Canvas 2016 auction which is raising money for Willow Foundation, which is a great charity providing special days to seriously ill young adults. The ten-day auction started yesterday and runs until 27 November. Click here to bid now. GOOD LUCK!

*I also considered "David Bow-wow-ie"

Odd Dog Out Cards etc

The brand new range of Odd Dog Out cards, gift wrap, notebooks, bags (and lots more cool stuff) is out now. I've made these in conjunction with my friends at Roger la Borde and they are available at all good boutique card shops, museums, posh shops like Liberty & nice garden centres. So, y'know, places like that. Keep an eye out for them. If you prefer to buy from the comfort of home, you can browse all the products on my site (click here) and order online. 


Want to win a signed and personally dedicated copy of Odd Dog Out (I'll even draw a sausage dog in the outfit of your choice!)? Enter my twitter competition by Friday 11 November to be in with a chance...


My old website broke a month or two ago so I've built a new one. It features all of my book stuff (including some previously unseen bits and pieces), my cards and gift wrap, #PackedLunchPostIt, my limited edition print shop (included a special website-launch 20% discount), lots of free downloads for the kids, event info, FAQs, press cuttings and all of my latest news. And probably more stuff that I've forgotten to mention too. Have a browse at Hope you like it

The Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition

I had a great time this afternoon at the award ceremony for The Book People's Bedtime Story Competition this afternoon. It's a nationwide competition for 5-11 year-olds which aims to find the best young writer in the country. I was  honoured to be asked to read 8 year-old Mae Osbourn's prize-winning story Harley Asks a Favour. It's astonishingly good. It's about a little dog who wants some help getting his frisbee down from a tree. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of young Mae in the future.

The ceremony was hosted by Kate Silverton and head judge Fearne Cotton was also there to present the prizes. I also got to meet fellow authors/illustrators Cressida Cowell, David Roberts, Neal Layton and Mark Walden. So, all in all, an inspiring and fun afternoon. Thanks very much to everyone at The Book People for putting on such a great event and to Jo Hardacre at HarperCollins for accompanying me.