Saturday, 28 November 2015

Scribblemania 113


Following the launch of A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS I joined our festive author, Matt Haig last week for an event. It was brilliant to catch up with Matt (and meet Kirsten Grant) and inspect his spangly Sleigh Bell Dash tour sweater. The event went well and we signed over 200 copies of the book. The books are selling like hot cakes so do jump in if you don't already have a copy.
Here are a few scribbles from the event. Matt talked about the characters and read from selected scenes whilst I drew. 
Before heading to the event I had spent the morning with the worlds greatest book seller, Leilah Skelton of Waterstones Doncaster where we dressed the window with a Christmas scene and Leilah waved her sparkly lights and glitter wand over the finished item. 
All in all a brilliant but tiring day. And by the way, Christmas hasn't even started yet so I won't be shutting up any time soon. 
Also seen here, the finished Waterstones window at the Frenchgate centre, Doncaster.

More festive gubbins coming real soon ...

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.