crazy sunbeams, rainbows an’ stuff on the moor

So many of my trips for work the past couple years have started with this bear. Whenever I visit him at Paddington station, he asks if I’ve brought him marmalade, and sometimes I remember. This time I brought him Nutella, which he thought wasn’t too bad, although we made the jar look like it hadn’t been opened so I could give it to the Reeve family, with whom I was going to stay.

I was going out to Dartmoor to visit the writer and illustrator Philip Reeve to work on a couple secret projects we have tucked up our sleeves. I brought all this work to do on the train, but by the time I got to about Bath, I just wanted the train to arrive. My new phone lets me send text messages – with photos(!) – so I started texting pictures of a very bored cat.

One of the best parts of the journey is when the train goes right by the sea in Dawlish. I took this using an app called Instagram and thought it looked very artsy-fartsy.

And hurrah, the train finally arrived. The rain was tipping down on the moor, so I didn’t do any landscape sketches right away, but I did it the warm kitchen and make drawings of everyone in the family. Here’s Sarah, who’s a great photographer, surrounded by gadgetry.

One of the first things I saw outdoors was a very wet and muddy alpaca named Alfie (or is it Iggie? I get them mixed up). He looks like he only has one ear in this photo.

Sam and I drew a comics jam and called it Ferrari Spider.

Even though it was technically a work visit, we did go out the next day for a lovely walk on the moor.

The clouds around the tors were very dramatic.

Playing around with my camera phone again. Here’s a big, snotty highland coo. I love how this photo looks like it could’ve been taken anytime in the last 50 years. I tweeted it and Hayley Campbell at Gosh! Comics tweeted back: HIGHLAND COO! My Dad’s favourite poem goes like this: “I saw a coo upon the hill, it’s no there noo — it’s shifted.”

We got well rained on, but we all had good jackets and boots, so it just made everything look more dramatic. I love the way this photo captures the light on the wet tussocks.

Okay, by this point the light display was just getting a little surreal…

Some lovely old standing stones. My studio mate Gary just saw them and got excited. Gary: Cool! How old are those stones? Me: Very old! Gary: Thanks for that.

This old stone bridge looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. That’s Frodo the poodle sniffing around.

While we were having lunch, Sam had a bit of time to plough a few furrows. You can see a drawing Philip made over on his Dartmoor sketch blog.

Thanks for a lovely visit, Sarah, Philip and Sam!

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