Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Greetings

I'm in Australia, where it's already Christmas Eve. The snow is polystyrene, but the waves are rolling and the kookaburras are laughing and the mangoes are ripe. Wishing you all a happy Christmas, wherever you are in the world...
x Sophie

Drawing Game part 6

Here we go... with a nod to Heath Robinson. A few discerning viewers have questioned the inclusion of sausages in this drawing. I can only refer them to chapter four of George Bracegirdle's Great Art by Great Artists (sadly no longer in print) in which he suggests any composition is improved with sausages.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Drawing Game part 5

Mika has added a smoky elephant to the fray. It's a rather spooky pastiche, leaving me no other option but to... well, you'll see.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Please click on the picture above for a comical seasonal amusement.
(Thanks to my clever friend Catherine for the fiddly bits.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Googily Balloons

Thank you to everyone who came to the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday for the Children's Book Fair. There was an insatiable crowd of balloon hungry children, and in spite of rubbery lips and wheezy lungs and blistery fingers, I made all but three of them happy. As Dan Quayle once said, "Where there are balloons, there will be tears".

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brooklyn Museum Children's Book Fair

I'll be at The Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, November 15, from 1-5pm signing books, backs of hands, foreheads...
I have also planned an elaborate craft project involving balloons, which is guaranteed to make children cry.
Hope to see someone, anyone, there...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Soles of Shoes and Backs of Heads

There's something poetic about the soles of shoes, and something oddly expressive, and vulnerable, about the backs of heads. Incidentally, in China you can buy slips of paper printed with a generic drawing of a man or woman, upon which you write the name of your nemesis, stick it with spit to the sole of your shoe and spend the day happily stomping on them. I may have made up the bit about the spit.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Card Store

I have started building a collection of greeting cards at
If you click on the pictures above they'll take you there...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drawing Game part 4

Round four. There's certain pleasure to be had in setting fire to things in a controlled two-dimensional environment. Click on the images to enlarge...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Catalogue of Toupées

Still playing with mushrooms...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It Could Be Me...

An enigmatic fellow named Paul Paper has an online project called It Could Be Me But It's Actually Paul Paper. Paper describes it as "a project exploring the possibility of one artist occupying another's space. It is a visual adventure and an interpretation of the same sentence by different artists worldwide ." So far there are 82 contributing artists. It makes me happy that there are people out there doing things like this. Here is the website.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Drawing Game part 3

Here is Mika's response to the girl with the box. He's built her an alphabet house, and the whole thing has taken on a narrative quality. We are being very polite with each other so far; leaving lots of white space. That might all be about to change... cue maniacal cackle.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Long Shadows

I am no Autumn lover. Oh, yes, I know all the arguments for clear days and crisp evenings and jewel-like leaves and tendrils of woodsmoke, but it's just too, altogether melancholy. Summer is your orgy of pleasure, and Spring is all delightful anticipation, and even Winter can be endured with advice from my 1950s Top Girl encyclopedia of poise, "Smile into a bitter wind; it will set you apart from the other girls!"... but Autumn is all about endings. Beautiful endings that you don't want to end.
On that cheery note, I just found my Summer sketchbook. A few drawings from glorious August.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mushroom Girls and Boys

I found an atlas of exotic mushrooms in an antique book shop on the weekend and am turning Lactarius turpis and the like into skirts and ruffs and hairdos.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ladies' Drawing Circle

A few years ago a group of artist friends living roughly in the same zip code expressed a common interest in gathering on a semi-regular basis to drink wine and draw each other. Initially I imagined we would be a bit like Virginia Woolf or Edna St Vincent Millay; sitting about in manly pants, smoking elongated cigarettes and talking disparagingly about our beaux. As you can see, we've lost the pants.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Drawing Game part 2

This is what I did with Mika's note. Our girl is now in LA wondering what is to become of her. (Well no, she's just a drawing, so incapable of wondering at all.) I gave her an empty box, thinking something might spring out of it, moths maybe, or bulging vapors... but I suspect Mika's too clever to do anything so obvious. We'll have to wait and see...

Winsome donkeys and endearing axolotls

I am determined to keep this blog specific; to rein in my natural desire to meander, to avoid politics, economics, my ongoing obsession with Mark Bittman's no knead bread, my growing collection of vintage porcelain false teeth or my current inability to finish a book. It's about drawing. Which is why I'm posting this picture of the most winsome crocheted donkey I've ever encountered. Have a look at his cohorts too, there's a very endearing baby Mexican axolotl.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pathetic Dogs (in the most adorable way)

Today I was working on a drawing of a dog and a custodian for a funny and bleak children's book – just right for Our Times – and needed a reference for a dog, because despite my best intentions the drawing was looking an awful lot like a cat. Without question the most adorable and pathetic dog to pop up was this one, which I'm sure by now has been made a National Treasure in Japan. That's my small, scruffy, cat-like version below it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Wedding Picture

A friend recently told me to say "yes" to everything, and being easily influenced, I agreed to do a painting for someone — let's call her Phoebe—'s sister's wedding present. All I knew about the betrothed couple was that they liked the country, horse riding and each other. I sent a sketch for Phoebe to approve, but she's in Australia and it's in a different time zone and there's always a public holiday and in any case she hasn't replied. So because I'm impatient (and actually have lots of other work I should be doing), I started tentatively painting, waiting for an email at each stage to say, "Oh, no! She HATES black horses", or "Didn't I tell you, the groom is philosophically opposed to hats". The result is a picture in stages.

Drawing Game part 1

Mika has made the first move.
This is going to be fun.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Ivy and Bean books

See? It's only been about five minutes since my last post and here I am again.
There is a new Ivy and Bean book out, book five, Bound to be Bad, and also a boxed set of books one to three. I do like a boxed set. This one has a secret compartment in it like the one my brother carved out of his school hymnal to hide cigarettes in at boarding school. In this case it holds a secret diary, because children don't smoke as much as they used to. Years ago I stole his idea for a column I used to write of handy household hints; a hollowed out coffee table tome could be used to store an aesthetically offensive remote control. See my website bio if you don't believe me.