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July 15, 2019

Moon Man Valley

Managing my time better than before, making good use of my non-art skills – wait, who says cooking’s not art? – I’ve been focusing on my craft and business, delivering a follow up to Chilly Mr Penguin due out next winter.

At the tail end of January I was back at BFI for a preview screening of The Hidden World, the final How to Train Your Dragon movie. It’s still full of fire and heart after three movies and eight seasons. Beautifully rendered and animated, it brings Hiccup and Toothless’ story full circle, while it teaches us to be kinder to animals that share the planet with humans, as the now newly-appointed Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell stated during the Q&A. What was also neat was that David Tennant utters the first line in the opening sequence. Talking of which, I picked up a signed copy of Tom Baker’s Scratchman on Shaftesbury Avenue and met Catherine Tate at a stage door before heading home.

On March 12th a little card arrived, signed by the Twelfth Doctor – bear with me please – responding to a letter I gave him in December, with the words “Exploding galaxies all around and inside us” and splashes of acrylic.

This spurred me on to finish three portraits for the charity zine Moon Man. Ginger did an incredible job assembling all 41 pieces by 26 other talented fan artists, plus a story written by Kara Dennison, based on the actor’s filmography. Forever thankful to have taken part in aid of Glasgow School of Art, which was given £1,610.26 in funds raised from purchases of the zine and merchandise bundles.

Director (Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life)

This captures the Expressionist visual style of the film that won him the Oscar;

A Mighty Big If

The serene candlelit atmosphere of the House of St Barnabas frames a homage to the musical performance and career highlights mentioned in his interview with Richard Strange;

Mr Micawber

The mood was inspired by the moment in the video for his cousin Lewis’ Someone You Loved, when he presses his hand on the survivor’s chest, face torn between expressing “happy for you” and “I’m lost”… :'( I had to add pigeons so he wouldn’t be lonely.

Layout passes and and WIPs

I had to forego certain events and other endeavours to do them all justice.

In fact I almost didn’t bother attending but going to the Radio Times Festival was decided on a whim. Sunday afternoon at the IMAX gave me three times the joy:

-after giving her the best seat in the house during the Josh Widdecombe stand-up show in February, I surprised Emily with a recorded birthday message by the adorable cast of Derry Girls. They also confirmed the 90s really do feel they were 10 years ago.

-Mark Gatiss, still keeping quiet about BBC/Netflix’s Dracula, went into much more detail about his love of television ghost stories…

-…though it was the Richard Ayoade Ghost in Moominvalley who made me cry with laughter and feels. Writer Mark Huckerby and the team at Gutsy Animations did a fabulous job with this update. (The 90s anime still has my heart). I’ll have to watch the rest of the episodes. Icing on the cake: winning the entire set of Tove Jansson’s Moomin novels in a giveaway!

-And I met David Walliams’ doggos Bert and Ernie! The youngest was all over me like a rash.

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