Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Beastly Business: Battle of the Zombies!'
One of my first book jobs was a cover and fifteen black-and-white illustrations for the first 'Beastly Business' book, 'Werewolf vs. Dragon'. That was published a couple of years ago, and now we're on number five!
'Battle of the Zombies' was published at the end of last week, so here's the cover, which has a lenticular in the centre that changes the normal Ulf in to the werewolf Ulf. The lenticulars are fun to look at, but make the cover a little bit complicated to design, because anything that flips within the lenticular (in this case, Ulf on his dirtbike and the two grabbing zombies) has to be contained in a circle in the centre of the image, and I also have to allow an area for 'bleed'.

Each book has fifteen illustrations inside which I draw in Photoshop on my Wacom Cintiq, with a brush tip that gives a traditional 'pen and ink' feel. Here's one, showing the ghostly Headless Harold looking for his undead army, who are buried in the woods. He's followed by the regular baddie, Baron Marackai, and his incompetent henchmen, Blud and Bone, aboard their wobbly tractor.
I've also been working on some new covers for the paperback versions. Books one and two are done, and I'm working on books three and four this month. They don't have the lenticulars, and that makes them much more straightforward to design and 'paint'. Phew.
The 'Read it Again!' Award goes to....

....Amy Husband! For her wonderful book, 'Dear Miss...'

I had a great day out last week at Cambridgeshire Libraries' 'Read it Again!' award ceremony. I was shortlisted, along with eight other debut author-illustrators, most of whom were at the event in Buckden. Here's some info:
As a virtual hermit, shackled to my desk in the hills of Wales, it was lovely to get out into the daylight and meet all the other illustrators, chat about colouring-in and be swamped by excited kids. We signed lots of pieces of paper, a few books and the odd poster. We stood on stage and babbled on about our books for a few minutes (I showed a few photos of when I was a pirate), and then we all escaped to a nearby pub, where I enjoyed a couple of pints of Guinness. All in all, a super day out.

It was a four hour train journey to Cambridgeshire, and a four hour train journey home. On the way there, I managed to scribble a few sketchy layouts for a possible new picture book, but on the way back I was lured into a deep snooze by the aforementioned Guinness. I woke up with a start as the train pulled into Crewe station, pulled my sandals on, stuffed my things into my bag and dashed off the train in a panic, as people were trying to get on. I breathed a sigh of relief on the platform until I suddenly remembered my train went direct to Chester, and I didn't need to change at Crewe at all. I just got back on as the buzzer was sounding and the doors slammed shut behind me. I felt such a buffoon, I went to sit in a different carriage. And fell asleep again. Zzzzzzzzzz.

So, a big 'Congratulations!' to Amy, whose book about a boy writing more and more fantastical letters in an attempt to avoid a return to school, is hilarious! If she had a website, I'd link to it. But she hasn't. So I told her to make one. Or start a blog. She said she would. So maybe she will. And then I'll link to it. Hooray!