Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Epic Hamsters...

A Place to Call Home is an epic picture book about a brave band of brothers, lost and looking for a new home. Will they find it, across the sea, the mountains, the desert, through endless labyrinths and beyond the edge of the world where strange beasts are lurking?

And will they stay together?

And how will they know where they are going if they are all wearing protective helmets?

Find out in this book, which made illustrator Viviane Schwarz laugh like nothing else she has ever illustrated (hence the wobbly lines in places), and which Alexis Deacon wrote because he knows just how much Viviane likes to draw epic hamsters.

Check out this wonderful video of Viviane drawing said epic hamsters and visit her website for lots of fun videos, stories and news!

Drawing Hamsters from John Peacock on Vimeo.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Let's Celebrate

We were absolutely delighted to receive the news that 'A Bit Lost' by the lovely Chris Haughton was presented with the CBI Bisto Award and the Eilis Dillon award this week! This is the first time in the history of the awards that both the overall and EilĂ­s Dillon Awards have been presented to the same person. The announcement was made by Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD at a ceremony held at the National Library in Dublin.

A Bit Lost tells the story of an accidentally orphaned owl, who, after falling from his nest while sleeping, sets out with the help of new friends to find his way home to his mummy. The judges, said that "the work’s brilliantly simple verbal text, complemented by a quirkily psychedelic and surreal visual text, captures both the anxiety and thrill of being lost." 

In addition to this Chris spent a fun filled day at Waterstones Piccadilly in London this week drawing on the blackboards in the Children's department. These will remain up for a month and showcase some of the fantastic art from 'A Bit Lost'.

 Chris mid creation on one of the chalkboards
As the little owl falls....
Chris with one of the finished boards in the store

Monday, 16 May 2011

A Bit Lost....The Making Of Finale

The third and final part of Chris Haughton's fascinating insight into the making of his gorgeous picture book 'A Bit Lost'!

I did the typeface for the book with help from the brilliant typographer Andreas Pohancenik

A test for the endpapers

I quite like squirrel playing peek-a-boo in this early version of the cover.

I designed half of the book in Korea was published first by the amazing Borim Press.

...and the other half in Mexico I could concentrate fully on it. I had to stop working on other jobs!

I had some reference images spread out on the hotel floor and was worried they were going to get tidied up.

The final spread of the owl falling

In the finished pages you can see the mother hidden in the top left as her child is running around looking for her. The silhouettes of the running animals were inspired by the earlier work with the running birds.

The panoramic final scene is also based on the imagery from the earlier story

The final cover as it is now in English

Thank you to Chris for this fascinating insight into how the concept for a picture book develops and moves forward ending with the beautiful finished book! 

We have more guest posts coming soon from Niamh Sharkey and David Lucas and an exciting competition to win books including a mystery prize so stayed tuned to the Picture Book Picnic!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A Bit Lost :The Making Of...Part Two

In the end my story turned out quite differently to my original idea. Although the story had changed, there were a few things that I kept the same. The main thing was for the story to be able to be read without words so that children can understand everything just by looking at it. I also wanted there to be other visual interests in the book that children can find themselves. In the first story there were glimpses of the berries that the birds were looking for all along throughout the story, and in A Bit Lost it is the mum looking for her child.

The first images for A Bit Lost!

Although I changed the story, you can see the patterns on the owls were similar to the original birds and I was using all the same colours.

Some character sketches

I got some character ideas from handicrafts I bought in Mexico (this one was made by Tejiendo Arcoiris in San Cristobal)

...more bold graphic toys for inspiration...

A noggin...

And a bit of Henri Rousseau.

I had the idea of doing a leporello (non-accordian) fold-out so that you can follow the path that owl takes as he falls. I ended up dropping this idea too. But there is still a half page where little owl drops on the opening spread.

Eventually I lost most of the pink colour from the owls too. By now it has now become almost unrecognisable from the original story

Some more colour tests...

I started going a bit mad with all the trees....

One thing I like about these images is the only white on the page is the white of the eyes of the characters. It focuses attention on them in what would otherwise be a very busy image.

Watch out for the third and final part of Chris's guest blog about the making of A Bit Lost, coming very soon to a computer near you!