Bouncing towards the deadline…

Work on the new title Happy Birthday Hugless Douglas is going well…

HD Bouncing

…as the big ol’ bear bounces across the page.


Painting Douglas is like trying to control and manipulate a puddle of paint. The trick is to guide the various colours into position by understanding how they behave as they begin to dry…and then knowing when to ‘fix it’ with the hairdryer.

And, away from my drawing board, here are a couple of pictures following a recent visit by Douglas to my two local bookshops. More here .

 HD Abingdon3


 Douglas the ventriloquist.


HDstudio Right, back to work…




Under the watchful nose…

I’ve been been away from my desk quite a bit in recent weeks trying to honour as many of my event commitments as possible. I sincerely apologise to those people (schools and librarians), whose events I’ve been unable to attend and have therefore reluctantly had to cancel. A combination of overwork and the (unforeseeable), ongoing problems with my knee has limited what I have been able to do.

Douglas' nose

And now, I’m back at my desk. I have a book to finish in only a few short weeks;        Happy Birthday Hugless Douglas. The painting will start any day now, under the watchful eyes (or should that be nose) of a certain bear. Look out here for sneaky peaks of work-in-progress in the coming weeks.

The Secret Art of Sun Goblins

Ok, so Spring is just not happening at the moment. Time to bring out the heavy guns; tapping into The Secret Art of Sun Goblins. Nothing wrong with a bit of hankie waving…

MorrisDancing Goblin

Morris-Dancing Ghost Goblin

And if that doesn’t work (hard to believe but I guess it’s possible), then we might need to draw upon the dark gifts of…

Black Goblin


He is of the firm opinion that pushing a finger up your neighbour’s nose is an excellent way to encourage a spot of sunshine.

Fighting Goblins

Failing that, it’s a barrel of live fish down the front of your pants.

FishPants Goblin

Works every time. Apparently.






Bat Cat Returns

Not long after I started this blog I posted a piece about Fantasy Sketches. A drawing exercise I picked up reading about Maurice Sendak. You can read about that post here. Which, in a way, explains what this is…basically, a short sequence in my sketchbook with no real meaning other than a fun way to warm up potential story ideas…

Hugless Douglas is on the move…

Yes, I’ll be joining Hugless Douglas out and about over the next few weeks and you have the chance to meet us. We’ll both be appearing at the following festivals so why not come along and join in the fun!

Cheltenham Festival Saturday 6th October, 2.30pm – 3.15pm

Bath Festival – Sunday, 7th October 10.30am – 11.15am

Wimbledon BookFest – Friday, 12th October  11.00am & 1.00pm  (2 events)

Wessex Festival – Wednesday, 31st October  10.30am – 11.30am

Leicester Festival – Saturday, 10th November  2.15pm – 3.15pm

Big Hugs guaranteed!

To celebrate the publication of HUGLESS DOUGLAS AND THE BIG SLEEP in paperback this week (official date: 3th October) you can visit a fantastic website called Child-Led Chaos. Everyday this week there are reviews of the Hugless Douglas books as well as great craft activities for children and much, much more!

Four animation directors and a book illustrator

I had the incredible good fortune to be invited for lunch by Geoff Dunbar to some animator friends of his. We gathered at the house of Oscar Grillo along with Peter Lord and Neil Boyle. This was such a treat. In the 80’s I worked in a string of London based animation studios when hand drawn and painted animation cels were the norm. I worked as a renderer for four years, hopping from studio to studio. The work was mainly for TV adverts but also a few TV film adaptions of picture books; Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs, Prince Cinders by Babette Cole and Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I learned so much about storytelling with pictures, about movement, posture and timing. It’s had a tremendous influence on my work which I think is quite evident.

I didn’t know Geoff at the time but I did work in his studio Grand Slam. We have since become good friends so I was thrilled to get a chance to meet such animation royalty. And I mean it. These guys can draw.

Above from left to right: Neil Boyle, Geoff Dunbar, Oscar Grillo, Peter Lord

Don’t know why I’m holding my nose here but a huge dragonfly had just buzzed in through the window.

It was a great day. Thank you to Oscar for his hospitality, to Geoff for inviting me and to Neil and Peter for tolerating a book illustrator among such company.

Morning thoughts

Time permitting, I like to drop into a local cafe on the way home from the morning school run. A nice way to start the day and a chance to doodle something. You’ll notice some familiar themes. Very therapeutic.

Those of you who follow me on twitter @DavidMelling1 will recognise some of these…working out the drawing for the front page of this blog.


I’ve been meaning to start a blog for ages. It’s just something I’ve wanted to do. But Time…always Time. Anyway, it’s here at last!

The idea is to post a couple of times a week. Sketches mainly, with the odd commentary about my drawings and ideas, such as they are.

I hope you enjoy what you see and feel you want to come back and visit again.

Let me know!