My very first video diary!

It seemed like a good thing to do! Long may these diary entries run.

Yeti Poo Biscuit Recipe and the launch of Alien Moon

Wow, what a night!

I took a step back from Death’s door, nearing Death’s conservatory, and ventured out to my Alien Moon book launch. What a great night, and I even got the chance to give my yeti suit an airing.

It was hot inside, I hasten to add, and it was a launch party, so a beer was the only option. I think I only managed to scare one child, but that was only a little and he was soon poking me to see that I wasn’t scary. I was, however, asked to manhandle a few guests for photo opportunities. This one taken by the lovely @deadlyknitshade and featuring the yeti-tastic @gnorthfield is one of the best.

Thank you to everyone who came, The Bookseller Crow for having us, and of course to @Talljamesnixon for spinning the gramophone wheels of ancient pop.

So now then, onto the Yeti Poo Biscuits, which I think were a hit, as they vanished without a trace. They are super easy to make, the only complicated bit is squirting them with a piping bag (but that’s easy after the third try – and ace fun with kids.) It’s basically a doctored version of this Viennese Whirl Recipe by the Hairy Bikers, and makes about 15/20 biscuits.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

125g very soft butter

23g icing sugar

2g/teaspoon of cocoa powder (This is just for colouring. USE NO MORE!)

125g plain flour

25g cornflour

½ tsp vanilla extract

Large bar of chocolate (and maybe some Weetabix dust for sprinkles)

 

RECIPE:

Very simply, put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl (except the chocolate and sprinkles), and mix it all thoroughly. I used an electric mixer thingy, as it can be quite firm otherwise. Then tip it into a piping bag (using a circular nozzle), and for each biscuit squirt it onto a greased baking tray in one spiral motion (from outside to in) allowing the final tip to rise into the air like a real poo. I aimed to make the biscuits about 4cm in width, but you can make them as big or little as you like.

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 5, and cook the little poos for about 13 mins in the middle of the oven. Keep an eye on them, as the tips may burn if you’re not careful. They should brown very lightly at the edges.

Once they’re done, let them cool, and while that’s happening melt your chocolate bar in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Oil up a piece of greaseproof paper, and once the chocolate’s melted, dollop half a teaspoon full per biscuit onto the paper, placing the biscuit firmly (but gently) on top. I like to turn the biscuit to ensure the chocolate fully covers the base.

If you want to be fancy, and have left over chocolate, you can drip some all over your biscuits and them sprinkle with Weetabix dust for a truly authentic poo look.

Once that’s done, stick them in a fridge for an hour to set the chocolate, and you’re done!

The Way of the Yeti Poo Biscuits is now with you.


Thanks @jabberworks for this pic!

How to make a Yeti mask

Yetis form a major part of my life. But until now I didn’t have my own suit. I was only half a man. So, with the launch of my 4th Mythical 9th Division book, the Alien Moon, just around the corner on 3 May, it was time to rectify the matter.

Now all the available suits out there are pretty nasty – both in their angry nature, and in their finish. But I had to start somewhere, so I bought this suit for the body, hands and feet. They’re actually pretty good, and the inflatable shoulders are a winner.

BUT, and this is a big but, the mask was quite horrible to wear. It was really claustrophobic and sweaty. It also wasn’t really suitable for use in school visits. I want the kids to think it’s smart (or to use the correct terminology, ‘sick’), not terrifying.

So, where to start. This is what I wanted the mask to look like – my yeti, Timonen.

The face is simple, for ease of drawing, and Timonen has a massive beard, which is perfect for hiding the costume joins. To sculpt the face I bought some Sculpey and, with a wire mesh support…

…I got cracking. From there I built up the clay until it looked right, and then baked it to set it hard. And here it is, the positive impression of a yeti face.

Now, to make a rubber version of the face, I’d need to turn that positive impression into a negative. I needed to make a mould. There are many options you could choose, but I wanted the easiest possible method. I picked Alginate. This stuff is used for taking casts of teeth, so it’s very friendly and quick setting. As the mask was just one side, I could create a sort of Alginate bath and push the yeti face into it until it set.

That’s exactly what I did, as you can see here.

[Read more…]

The Alien Moon arrives

Obviously, it’s a tremendously exciting day. I went to the Walker offices and picked up a copy of the brand new yeti book. It’s looking awesome, I’m so excited. And it has a black cover!

20120320-011906 PM.jpg

Something I’ve been working on…

I’ve been busy all week drawing pictures for a secret project. I’ve been desperate to put some of them online as they’ve turned out better than I’d hoped, but, you know, I’m trying to keep it secret.

So, I’ve decided to post this mysterious image, just to scratch an itch.

The Alien Moon book trailer

And here it is! What the world’s been waiting for…

Yetis on the moon.

The Terror of the Deep surfaces

I’ll be celebrating on 6 December as my fifth book will have been published. Five books seems like an extraordinary number to me. I’m no Barbara Cartland, knocking out ten books a year (or whatever), but it does mean that I’ve dealt with all the issues and complications that arise from making one book, five times over, since 2007. That’s a point worth celebrating right there!

The Terror of the Deep, the second of the Mythical 9th Division series is probably my favourite of all of the five, simply because it’s the one where the art is really starting to work with the text as I’d always hoped it would. Everything takes time to evolve and grow up, and I’m finally feeling more confident about my illustration. I’ll never be Tenniel, but I may just one day be Alex Milway.

And so enough about that.

This blog is now live, and the one where I’ll be posting from now on. It’ll take a while to look right, and I’ll twiddle a few setting till I’m happy, but I might even try to compete with Sarah McIntyre for frequency (NAH! Who am I trying to kid!?). And while I’m there I should say that her marvellous Morris The Mankiest Monster deserves to win every award going, not just the Sheffield Children’s Book Award that it won yesterday. Fabulous news!

And so, as a parting gift, here’s a hamster carrying a lunchbox.