Monday, March 01, 2010

Pirates and Monsters! Ooo-Arr!!

I thought maybe a brief introduction might be worthwhile.

I'm a freelance illustrator and concept artist living and working in Buxton, arguably the highest town in England and almost in the UK's very lovely Peak District.

I worked for eight years in the computer games industry, at Codemasters, Warthog and Eurocom, before going freelance in 2006. Stuff's been a bit mad since then, and I've worked for some fantastic clients in games, film and children's publishing. As a kid my two big goals in life were to write and illustrate my own book and to design stuff for a movie.

With those two big goals in mind, I've been working on and off for the last two years on a major movie project with Aardman Features (sooooo exciting!!), although I can't show even the teeniest morsel of work, because it's all hush hush. What isn't hush-hush is that the project is a stop-motion movie adaptation of Gideon Defoe's "Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists!" For anyone who's not read the book, try and grab a first edition while you still can! I've got three, and one of them is signed by Gideon! Woohoo!

Gideon's pirates are a daft bunch of hopeless ham-lovers who stumble across a young Charles Darwin and astound the scientific community of Victorian London with a funny looking parrot. Gideon wrote the book to impress a girl, so he deserves everybody's support.

And just to complete my life's ambition, my first picture book, 'The Pirate Cruncher' was published by Templar in September 2009. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

I was sailing one day and what did I see?
And Island of Gold in the Scurvy Sea!
With a fiddle-de-dee,
There'll be treasure for me!
Fiddle-de-dee, across the Sea!

But there's one small thing I forgot to share-
There's also a MONSTER waiting there...

And that about sums it up. It's not a long book, it has a moral and some grown-ups might find it scary.

The launch of the book coincided with Arena's 'Pirate Party' at the Discover centre in Stratford, East London. The event was part of the Big Draw, and the place was swarming with mini-pirates drawing on every wall and floor, which were thankfully covered in paper. Some other Arena artists did some amazing work and demonstrations, including Matt Buckingham, Alex T.Smith and Adam Stower. Here's a picture I liked from the day.... I'm the funny looking fella with the pirate hat and something in my eye, and the little girl is called Siwan and is a particularly fearsome pirate of London Town. Oooo-Arrr!

So life's been pretty pirate-y for me in the last few years (you can throw in fourteen months at Eurocom working on a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' video game too), but then I used to be a pirate once, so I've got a decent excuse. One day I might even post some pictures.

But after all the pirates, it's sci-fi next! Picture book number two is in the works and it's going to be full to the brim of laser guns, aliens, robots and spaceships! Yeh!

And maybe the odd space-pirate...


Leon SIdwell Illustration & Design said...

sounds really good!!

PixelCreatures said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PixelCreatures said...

I came back from Barnes & Noble, where I saw "The Pirate Cruncher" for the first time about an hour ago and I thought I'd look for your website & Blog as soon as I got home. I finally did.

I just wanted to tell you that your style is not only inspiring but extremely well done. I don't have kids yet but I had to get your book because it's just that good. Kudos to you, my friend!

Unknown said...

Your book is a BIG favourite in our house... thought I would look to see if you had written any more... Googled you and lo and behold I used to work with you on a fruit and veg stall on Mold market.

Great book, my children love the monster and like to look for the skeletons at the bottom of the sea.


Best wishes,

Nerys (Hughes)

jonny duddle said...

Hi Nerys!!

You hid this comment well... Way back in time in an old post...

Thanks for buying the book, and I'm so glad your children enjoy it!

I hope you're well, I drove past your old house in Pantymwyn a while back and remembered a very drunken party there when we were young and silly!

Olaf said...

Great story, Johannes loves it - esp. when Daddy sings that scary song with sailors dialect ....