Puzzlebook Poem #3: Flawless

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Another super-short Puzzlebook Poem (see 1 and 2) using clues from an Arroword book, this time featuring one of my creatures rather than a person. Once again the positioning of the clues caught my eye and this lovely image came into being:

Flawless Wildebeest
Sat for a Photograph

…because surely a Tudor-style ruff teamed with a harlequin jacket is the essence of flawlessness? You can’t see it too well in these photos, but this snazzy guy is also posing in front of one of those weird cloud-like backgrounds they sometimes put you in front of for school pictures. I think he looks more comfortable in front of it than I ever was though! Once again I wanted to make the coloured pencils the main feature, and I had a lot of fun doing the jacket. Take a look at some (slightly blurry – sorry) close-up photos below.

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Marine Vampires and Crop-Circles at the Bottom of the Sea


Another creature inspired by David Attenborough. Well, inspired by another of his documentaries, this time the latest episode of the incredible Life Story. I wanted to share this episode in particular because it features some rather creative creatures – a number of dancing birds (including a flame bowerbird with some very fetching eyebrows and an avian duo with an impressive synchronised routine), a dancing spider and a little Japanese puffer fish with a huge talent for creating beautiful, intricate crop circles at the bottom of the sea. If you don’t have time to watch the whole episode, this section is worth it – it starts at about 9 mins in and I dare you not to gape at the screen when the final masterpiece is revealed.
So, to the seal. The dominant male seals in the programme were, to put it mildly, viciously, violently competitive, thwacking against each other and tearing shreds of flesh from necks like rabid marine-vampires. I think it’s fair to say my guy is a bit more subdued than that. I think he’s more of an onlooker, maybe even a bit of a pacifist. Either way, he sure isn’t using those teeth to rip anyone to shreds.

If you want to see more creatures like this, along with some creepy, odd little people, you can find them on the Goozeberry Jar facebook page here.

Puzzlebook Poem #2: Self-Esteem


Following on from the first ‘poem’, here is number two in the series! As soon as my eye landed on these clues I was intrigued by the strange image they made and I knew I had to use them. Really the idea behind this one was right there in the Arroword puzzle itself: these two clues were next to each other making this strange sentence; the ‘story’ had been written, all I had to do was illustrate it. Two extremes of self-esteem are represented on the odd little fan-shaped thing (the self-esteem I suppose!) in this lady’s hand: a sense of worth at the positive end and anxiety at the negative. I wonder whether the person who compiled the puzzle (if it isn’t automated) was having some kind of existential crisis when they positioned those clues beside each other?

I had a lot of fun using coloured pencils on this, as lately I have mainly been using paint with the pencils just there to add little bolder highlights or certain details (eye colour, cheeks & lips etc.). In this and the first Poem though I just used paint for the pale skin and the base colour of the hair (and the jeans in this one), going all out with proper colouring-in for the rest. Partly for that reason I couldn’t resist some more funky knitwear! If I see a jumper like this I might just have to buy one for myself…


Close-up of the clues


Puzzlebook Poem #1


I love wordplay. I love puzzles. So I thought: why not combine the two? Actually, the creation of what I am calling ‘Puzzlebook Poems’ was more accidental than that. After finishing an Arroword puzzle, a couple of the clues caught my eye and I noticed that they could be strung together and a little narrative fashioned. I had so much fun doing the Nonsense Newspaper Narratives and this was like a quicker version of that. I liked the idea that each individual puzzle contained its own hidden story, so I gathered all of the clues from one page rather than flipping through the whole book and snipping out what I wanted, as I did by going through a newspaper. Unfortunately my scanner doesn’t share my love of words and you can’t really see the ‘poem’ here, but this is how it goes (with / to indicate a new clue on that line):

That girl/Turned up
Found a chair/Ill-fitting

Cheroots/Went in procession/Ethereal glow

Reminiscent (of)/Grandmother

…What do you mean it doesn’t make sense?! More on the way!


Blurry close-up of some of the clues

The Goozeberry Queen of Hearts


Practice your curtseys and your bows, you are in the presence of (goofy) royalty. I really enjoyed doing this, partly because drawing elaborate dresses are fun to do, but mainly because I got to use my letter stamps – I love a letter stamp! It’s so hard to stop when you have a nice blank patch of paper in front of you…but I think I managed to restrain myself in time.

There is also something about the playing card image/style that I really like. I’d love to create a set of my own Goozeberry playing cards, and it’s an idea I’ve been mulling over for a while.Watch this space…but wait until the Queen has left, it’s rude not to pay her attention when she is standing right there. Where are your manners?!