Friday, November 11, 2011

The King of Space!

I've recently started work on my next picture book, 'The King of Space'. This has been a long time waiting in the wings...

(a quarter size dummy book that I took along to show Templar this summer)

In October 2004, I entered CGtalk's 'Grand Space Opera' challenge, and came up with the idea of a little kid, who wanted to take over the whole universe and become 'King of Space'. I loved the idea of a small and grumpy boy, wrapping a sheet around himself, making a crown, and wreaking havoc whilst becoming master of the known universe. I did a series of sketches, but never finished the challenge due to moving jobs and trying to renovate a house in time for an impending baby.

But I kept on with doodles of the boy, Rex, and wrote a few short strips, that never actually got drawn. I did use 'The King of SPace' for some Q&A answers (issue 12) in Imagine FX magazine, and a poster workshop (issue 18) too.

In 2007, I visited Templar Publishing with my lovely new agents, Arena Illustration, and amongst other ideas, I took a bunch of drawings for 'The King of Space'. Having originally envisaged the whole thing as a comic strip, I wasn't sure it would work as a picture book, but Templar's Art Director, Mike Jolley, really liked the concept. But first, Templar were really keen on me developing a portfolio piece I'd done called 'Ye Pirate Muncher', and that became my first published book in September 2009.

I was back at Templar in 2010 to talk about a second book, and took along some (very rough) roughs for a 'King of Space' picture book. But 'The Pirate Cruncher' had sold quite well, and Templar were keen for me to write another pirate book, so I wrote a story called 'The Jolley-Rogers', that later became 'The Pirates Next Door'.

But this summer, for my third book, I've been working on ideas for 'The King of Space' and that's what will be coming next, in autumn 2012!

I started a blog in early 2007 which was originally going to feature strips and drawings and general musings, but I'm going to resurrect it to show the picture book process from start to finish (whilst still trying to keep much of the story secret). Click here, or on the 'King of Space' link on the right in my links menu. there'll be some new (and old) stuff there over the weekend!

I also used 'The King of Space' for a concept tutorial for Computer Arts magazine in early 2009. Here's the finished art for that...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wallace and Gromit's Animated Art Auction!

Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal is running an online auction between the 1st and 10th November. The auction will raise funds towards the Echocardiogram Appeal to support the Cardiac Ward at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

After doodling away as a character designer on Aardman's upcoming 'Pirates!' movie, I was delighted to be asked to join in with a sketch of one of my favourite characters from the film, the Pirate with Gout. Here it is:

The sketch is in graphite on acid-free 200gsm cartridge paper, and was sketched on a sunny day in a back garden in Bristol. Aardman have framed the drawing too.

The auction is running on ebay for ten days, there are some amazing drawings, paintings and prints for sale and all the money is raised is for such a good cause!

And for a bit more information, the Telegraph and Guardian online are both running articles about the auction...