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#SketchbookClubRobin – A Christmas treat from Jennie!


Are you all feeling festive?

I am SO excited to be sharing with you a little Christmas treat…

Here you will find everything you need to create a BEAUTIFUL Robin Christmas Card with lovely hand lettering.

As always, anyone ANYONE can do this, from 5 to 105…

You will need: good quality paper, a pencil and rubber, watercolours, two paintbrushes (size 1 and 6) and some coloured pencils. You may also like to add details with a white gel pen.

To make things easy, I have put together a little pack for you on my online shop.

You can watch my Youtube Tutorial showing you how to make your Robin cards here…


Now you have watched the tutorial, you are ready to start!

So… Fist of all, print out your reference sheets (you will need one per person):

Once you have printed out the reference sheet above, start to transfer your images…

Firstly draw over your chosen lettering in pencil. Then, turn the paper over & scribble firmly on the back transferring the lettering onto your paper. Next, transfer your Robin!

Draw over the paler image of your chosen Robbin, using an HB pencil. Next, as with the lettering, turn the paper over and scribble firmly on the back.

Now it’s time to add colour! Use the brighter coloured Robbins as reference (as these are the ‘right way round’).

Try a watercolour base with pencil or pen detail when paint is dry. You could do what I did and add white gel pen details too.

Finally, looking carefully at the reference you can add little sprigs of holly and snowflakes in any gaps 🙂

Here are a couple I created:

But in the end I chose this one as my final Christmas card to print ott…

I scanned in the image using my home scanner at a DPI of 300.

I then positioned the image all squashed up on the right, onto A4 paper using Photoshop – like this:

This way, you can fold the paper and cut them out into cards, minimising the paper use.

Three per A4 is quite small! But I liked them as dinky little cards, you may prefer to position then differently, or print them out same size and stick them onto Card.

I really can’t WAIT to see your creations!

Don’t forget to share them using the hashtag #SketchboookClubRobin and I will share my favourites on Instagram!


Lots of love from Jennie xxxx

Introducing Pop-Up Shakespeare!

One sunny day I was driving in my car, deep in thought. What pop-up book shall I create next? I was midway through Pop-Up New York and needed to start thinking about my next project.

It needs to be theatrical, splendid and entertaining, I thought. Then, it popped (no pun intended) into my head like a flash. A pop-up Shakespeare book! Immediately, I knew that The Reduced Shakespeare Company needed to write it.

Believe it or not, I remember seeing their show on what was my first proper date with my now husband! I remember laughing so hard my tummy hurt, I remember marvelling at the pure genius of the concept and how cleverly and hilariously it was executed. I’ve since taken my children to see their show and was amazed at how it worked on so many different levels, they too laughed until their tummies hurt!

So, on returning home from my drive, all excited, I sent The Reduced Shakespeare Company a tweet, it said “please can I email you an idea, I’m not a weirdo” (I was worried they might think I was, naturally, haha!)

Because of the time difference, by the time they replied saying “Sure!” I had written my pitch.

Happily, Austin Tichenor, one half behind the RSC, had many of my books and was aware of my work (phew!), so he was on board instantly.

We were soon Skyping away excitedly plotting and planning.

Reed Martin (the other half of the Reduced Shakespeare company) lives in California and Austin Tichenor in Chicago (and me in the middle of nowhere in Hampshire!) but it completely worked! Skype, email, phone, Twitter, Instagram and only ONE in-person meeting was all that was needed, geography didn’t make any difference at all. In fact, it has been one of the most stress-free, happiest books I have ever worked on.

Austin and Reed are true comedians, SO SO FUNNY! Just listen to one of their Podcasts if you want proof.

It was hugely important to me that the book made people laugh. Once, by coincidence, my husband and I both packed The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s ‘orange’ book on holiday. The two of us spent the whole holiday chuckling out loud and reading bits out to people, it was absolutely hilarious.

Austin and I are fresh back from what was a truly wonderful book launch, hosted by The Shakespeare’s Birth Trust, Austin has recorded a special Podcast about the event and The Birth Trust took some fabulous photos….

The book is now officially available EVERYWHERE, I am super proud of it and I really hope you all like it (and laugh a lot!) as much as we do!

Lots of love xxxx Jennie

A Sketchbook Club FREEBIE! A Nature Table Watercolour Tutorial just for you. xxx


This is something I have been thinking of doing for a while.

My passionate belief that EVERYONE can create masterpieces has made me want to share this with as many of you as possible. Plus, Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and I really could’t wait to show you these tips and tricks in order for you to create your own beautiful Autumnal artwork and in the process, begin to truly understand the magic of Watercolors…

So, let’s get started!

You will need the following materials…

  • Watercolour Set
  • Coloured Pencils
  • Tissues
  • Cotton Wool Buds
  • A Needle
  • Size 1 paint brush
  • Size 6 paint brush

Here is my little video talking you through the process (and even having a good old forage in my garden!)….

Either use the reference sheets with all the beautiful Autumnal images below (just print them out by selecting them and hitting print!), or have a good forage for some leaves etc. to draw in the actual great outdoors!

Here are some written instructions too….

  1. Start by either drawing around a real leaf or copying one from the reference.
  2. Fill the leaf drawing with a generous wash of clean water (using your bigger brush), then immediately add blobs of Autumnal colours, letting them run wild and merge together.
  3. When the paint isstill wet, gently scratch in all the little veins using a needle.
    The hardest bit is to now leave it alone to dry!
  4. Now start on your next drawing, follow some of my watercolour techniques in the film, remembering to leave things alone and revisit them when they are dry to work on them further.
    This is the nature of Watercolours. The more left to their own devices, the more they can work their wonderful watery magic!
  5. Treat your Sketchbook spread’s composition like a fabric repeat, each drawing should have the same amount of space around it and if there is a large empty space, depending on the gap, either draw in a little leaf or another painting.
  6. When your paint is dry, it might be a nice idea to add some more detail and colour using coloured pencils. This is great for the leaves of a carrot, or for the blush of an apple for example.
    If you have chosen to paint the toadstool, when your solid red watercolour base is dry, use your thin brush to paint in the little white dots with some thick white Gouache.
  7. You might like to add a few highlights wth the white paint too, it really brings berries to life and is lovely for a small shine on an apple or pumpkin.

And there you have it! I really hope I have shown you just how fabulous Watercolours can be.

One of the best things about them, is that they are totally portable, so hopefully you can use them out and about. You could even try drawing some leaves in situ in the winter sun! xxx


Sketchbook Club At The Good Life Experience festival 2017!

Wow! What an incredible weekend! Our third time at the wonderful Good Life Experience festival and our best yet.

This time we had our own big tent…

We were INSANELY busy from the very second we opened at 2pm on Friday (My Birthday, woohoo!) to 6pm on Sunday evening when it was finally time to drive home. My tent was always full of delightful, smiley and gorgeous children, parents and grandparents. Everyone had a go!

We loved every minute! There was some extraordinary talent, I couldn’t believe some of the stunning works of art produced at the festival.

Can you spot yourself in THE SKETCHBOOK CLUB HALL OF FAME???

I really hope you all keep on ‘Sketchbooking’ folks! Don’t forget to show me your creations! See you soon and lots of love from Jennie xxxxx

The problem with loving colour….

So, we are building a house. A whole new, completely from scratch, house.

We are insanely lucky to have a plot of land at the back of our house with lovely views, so we will be selling our house, renting for a year and then moving into the new house, simple, right? It’s going to be completely stress-free and completely enjoyable. Just like it always is on Grand Designs, haha.

We are at the stage where we are choosing kitchens and bathrooms, this is, I admit, completely thrilling. Having put up with a 1980’s kitchen for 10yrs, I can’t wait! So, we visit showroom after showroom, talk to kitchen designer after kitchen designer, but (and I know I am THE fussiest person on the planet) I just do not like anything. Nothing. It’s embarrassing. I pretend to like things, nod approvingly, but am I that different? Why does nothing make me excited?

I thought about it, I thought about it hard and it occurred to me that at no point in any of the showrooms or meetings did I see any colour. I mean actual proper colour, not terracotta, moss green or dark blue, I mean sunshine yellow, coral pink and vibrant teal. Where. Are. The. Colours?

I went onto a big flashy showroom and stood in the middle and honestly, if someone had told me it was a showroom for medical schools, mortuaries and science labs, I would have completely believed them. Everything has become so clinical. Why are we so afraid of colour?

So, after extensive research, I have stumbled upon a few pioneering companies who have dared to be different, dared to introduce small, da da daaaaaa….. splashes of colour!

I have decided, that the world needs to know about them, and as I like the idea of sharing, I am going to document my findings throughout the house build, here on this blog.

My first discovery were these fabulous sinks from Villeroy & Boch. The bathroom basins come in really nice shapes and have a collection of carefully chosen (and spot on, in my opinion) colours.

I’m thinking of this pink one, or perhaps the blue, imagine what fun you’d have choosing tiles to match (more on that later).

I was also shown (by a kind twitter friend) THIS:

I am waiting to hear back from Aston Mathews as to whether it is available still, I really really hope it is.

Bathroom cabinets are always white or wood, so I salute Duravite for these gorgeous coral pink units. Maybe paired up with a teal coloured sink? Now this, gets me excited, I can get very very excited about this…

So my friends, I will keep searching for colour, I will keep thinking of ways to inject life into our new build and I will keep you informed! More soon….  xxx Jennie

Thank you ‘Being a Mummy’ Blog!

I love following @zooarchaeologis on Twitter and her blog ‘Being a Mummy’ is beautifully written and really inspiring and also, a very useful recourse when choosing books for children.

Her review of The Times tables and Great Grammar Books is wonderful, you can read it in full here.

Just look at her two gorgeous boys playing with the Five Times Tables spread! How sweet!


Thank you so much for interviewing me and for the lovely review! xxx Jennie

Interview from Se7en Blog, all the way from South Africa!

A while ago, through the magic of Instagram, a lovely lady from Cape Town, who has SEVEN children, got in touch about doing a piece on her wonderful blog.

They are a wonderful family, who, happily, read lots of books and generally seem to live an idyllic and wonderful life.

Thank you so much for interviewing me! Here is the interview in full:


Se7en Interviews Illustrator Jennie Maizels…

We (really really) Love The Good Life Experience!

Oh my goodness, what an AMAZING weekend we had at The Good Life Experience.

This was our second time bringing Sketchbook Club to the festival. It was lovely to see how word had obviously spread since last year as the numbers had more than doubled! It was buzzing; a wonderful atmosphere, everyone was so cheerful and friendly and happily for me, so eager to learn more about Sketchbooks!


We were in Makers Row, but as you can see, we were very squashed and had to turn lots of people away (sorry sorry!), but fear not, lovely Charlie Gladstone has promised us a whole tent to ourselves next year!


This year we were lucky enough to have three extremely over qualified helpers, Suzy, Kirsty and Anna Houser (two twins and their mother, who looks about their age!). Kirsty is an illustrator, Anna, a textiles designer and Suzy runs an art gallery and is a set designer, they were AMAZING! I hope we can persuade them to come again next year.


As soon as we opened, we were full, full, full. Non stop and packed to the corners of our little tent space. Everyone was so incredibly focused, I was overwhelmed by their talent and their outstanding creative abilities, just look at those Helter-skelter paintings!


We painted, dogs, castles, flags, leaves and much more (look at some of the lovely leaves below), everyone was given instructions as to how to finish the sketchbooks around the festival over the weekend. On Sunday, it was really special because so many of you came and showed me your completed sketchbooks, it meant so much and I absolutely loved seeing them.



So, thank you. Thank you The good Life Experience; Charlie, Caroline, Vicky and Cerys, for having us and for making us feel so welcome, but above all, thank you to all those who came and worked on Sketchbooks with me. I met so many wonderful people and so many adorable and delightful children! It was so wonderful to meet you all, can you spot yourself in my Sketchbook Cub Hall of Fame…?


Thank you and I can’t wait see you all next year! xxx Jennie

Back To School!

I can’t believe the summer has flown by so quickly! Are you all sad that the children are going back to school? I certainly am. I will miss the lazy mornings and the just ‘hanging around’ with them and not having to nag about homework or bedrooms…

So to cheer us all up, here are some fun ideas to launch everyone back into the old routine…

Happy Back To School Folks! xxxxx