Monday 16 November 2015

Scribblemania 112

Happy Publication Day - A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS

In May I received a lovely email from Rafaela Romaya who is the art director at Canongate Books.
Rafi asked me if I would be interested in illustrating a book written by Matt Haig

 At that time I was reading Matt's The Humans and had just read a downloaded extract from 'Reasons To Stay Alive.'  Matt writes the kind of book that leaves you thinking for a long time afterward. The kind that you need to come down from before you can pick something else up. By that I mean, because it's had an effect on you that you want to hang onto and think about for a bit. So I was excited at the prospect of working with him. 

The basic premise, as explained to me by Rafi, was that of an origin myth about Father Christmas. I thought this sounded fantastic and I have always wanted to illustrate a book about Father Christmas.

SO, needless to say I jumped at the chance of this wonderful opportunity and it was down to my lovely agent Penny Holroyde to make the circumstances come together.

                                                                              In June, after a manic and magical couple of weeks with the sketchbook,  I met with Penny, Matt and Rafi and Francis Bickmore who is Matt's renowned editor. The Canongate team are a lovely bunch of people and we had a good chat about the direction the book would take. I was armed with sketches from a my Elf scribble bible (shown here).

Over the next few weeks I worked closely with Rafi, Matt and Francis to pull the images for the book together. I adored working on this book. It's been Christmas since May and I've loved every minute of it.

In case you've never noticed, I don't like too much text on my blogs. I prefer the work to speak.

So...A huge leap forward and here we are on publication day. On Friday I delivered a signed copy to Weetwood Primary School in Headingley, Leeds, where I'm a reading mentor for the next three years.
I read to the children and a little girl came to tell me afterwards that once, she had seen a real elf in the woods carrying presents. This took me right back to the vision of Mr Tumnus dropping his parcels in the snow and to that same magical feeling I had when I found the Narnia books. Hopefully the book will do just the same thing for her and other children. What a thought!

Thank you to all the people who supported this book as I persisted with Christmas cheer on social media throughout the summer  !

Our Book Bloggers and reviewers are so enthusiastic and helpful. We hugely appreciate the time they give up for us. So a MASSIVE Christmas hug goes out to you all. THANK YOU.


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