Friday 13 August 2010
Update: I've just received the official final cover (which has a few minor tweaks) from the lovely folks in Andersen Press as well as the final version of the back cover which is very exciting.
Huge apologies for the lack of posts here on the blog if you check in regularly, I've been all over the place moving into our new little house (which I'll post about here soon) dealing with builders, sanding floors, erecting a shed, creating a garden, screaming at Ikea instructions and being generally busy in between with some really fun illustration projects.
But besides all of that, over the last year I've been working slowly on a BIG personal project that I spent years dwelling on and only recently went hell for leather completing. I finally finished a picture book based on the Beasts character that I've been playing around with for the last seven years or so with.
The Beast character actually dates back to some drawings that I used to do based on this strange tiny character that used to appear in the old MAD magazine digest books from the 60's that my Dad would buy us as kids and I LOVED them. He only appeared a few times and I must try and find some images of him to post here. There's also a hint of the Yeti from Tintin in Tibet below that I was completely obsessed with as a child in there. This simple binoculars image completely blew my mind at this point in the story and is a big influence for the design of the Beast. I was a little disappointing we saw what the Yeti actually looked like on the following pages. However, I drew him religiously when I got the book from my Uncle sometime around 1985 for Christmas. Herge is probably one of my biggest influences in my illustration.
I also can't forget about Sweetums from the Muppet show that was a huge part of my childhood as a big inluence. I will admit that Animal was my main guy but Sweetums always had this special scary thing going on that I loved and I used to draw him constantly. In fact this photo had a big inluence on one of the pictures in the book.
Anyway, as my own drawings developed I started to drop these characters into photos I'd been taking over the years not really knowing what to do with them. He appeared on some gig posters over the years but mostly I drew him for pleasure after taking a photo I liked, generally with trees or the sea involved.
In May 2009 I decided I wanted to tell his story so I started thinking about a story that would bring him to life and began thinking about who this character and who is, what is his place in the world? Any of the drawings and scenes I dropped him into always seemed poignant so it made sense that he would be a solitary character but really seeked the companionship of other.
So over time a story developed that I was happy with but the main problem was finding the right tone of illustration that suited him as I had been using photographs as backgrounds. After many false starts I arrived at a style that I think suited him and began story boarding the whole thing.
After a year of late night drawing and re-drawing (the trees were a huge problem!) I finished the book.
I sent a dummy printed copy to Andersen Press in London off the bat on advice from PJ Lynch (amazing, wonderful illustrator and massively helpful individual) in May and heard back a few days later that they want to publish the book!
Over the last two months I have been working with the lovely people in Andersen Press redesigning the cover (which you can see above) and tweaking various elemnts until today when I got sign off. The book will be publish in the UK and Ireland on 3rd of February 2011. As you can imagine I am very excited!
It is now available for pre-order on Amazon here and WH Smith here.
I've just registered the site with a holding page but will be adding lots of stuff to it over the next few months including a wonderful trailer I'll be making with some very talented friends of mine.
I will be adding lots of stuff about the making of the book here also, as well as details about the launch in Dublin and other places.
Hooray The Beast!
PS I promise to get back on track with posting here I have loads of stuff to put up.