At The Bookseller buyers guide drinkies with Sarah McIntyre.
From Instagram: http://ift.tt/2vlO6sk
It’s the publication day for Boyband of the Apocalypse by Tom Nicoll! It was my pleasure to do the illustrations, with fabulous design help from Sophie Bransby of Stripes. The whole project was a lot of fun to work on.
Here’s the blurb:
When Sam agrees to take his little sister, Lexie, to see the world’s most popular boy band, Apocalips, he expects it to be bad. But he doesn’t expect to get locked in a cupboard, to overhear the band plotting to destroy the world and to witness them disintegrate one of their own members. When no one believes him but his best friend, Milo, Sam is left with no option but to take part in a contest to join the band to try and save the world from Armageddon. To do this Sam will have to become someone he’s never been before. With help from Milo and Lexi, he’ll have to overcome the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, pop Svengali Nigel Cruul, a dodgy haircut, and his complete inability to sing or dance. Still, it’s not the end of the world. Not yet anyway.
And here’s one of the interior illustrations (and my favourite): Apocalips on stage!
All the information for BOTA is here. Go buy and make Tom a happy man!
Nice to see book buddy Jamie Littler talk at the Nosy Crow illustrator salon.
From Instagram: http://ift.tt/2sjg9TO
Back from a few days of refreshing seaside sun. I love Southwold!
So many different textures and tones to be seen. The coastal landscape is quite stunning.
It always helps when you’ve got decent weather, of course. Fortunately, it was a beautiful week and the town wasn’t busy, as it was the just before the summer season starts in earnest.
Back to work! I had some nice news whilst I was away – hopefully I will be able to share it soon.
This week I bought the Beano comic for the first time in, well… decades. As a child I had it delivered from the newsagents. ‘Beano Day’ was definitely a highlight of a week dominated by school and its associated joys/miseries. It was the first comic I ever read, and I’ve never stopped reading comics since. I’ve even had a go at making my own – its influence is enormous.
The Beano has recently had a revamp and I thought I’d have a look, and compare it to the comic of my boyhood. I was reading the Beano in 1977, which would have made the gap a nice, round forty years, but I must have thrown those issues in the bin at some point as the earliest I have is 1979. So here is a comparison of today’s Beano with that of thirty-eight years ago instead.
Fear not! This is not an old-man-ranting review. I appreciate today’s Beano is not made for me. I’ve self-published comics, edited comic anthologies and I write for children. I have some understanding of how much effort and cost it takes to get something like this into the shops every week (A LOT) and have a professional interest in what’s current in kids’ culture. I’m also a history nerd and documenting changes in popular culture is a useful exercise in seeing how far our society has progressed (or not). I also thought it would be a fun thing to do, so here goes:
Happy Mother’s Day in the U.S.! Hope all the moms are enjoying their special day.
Sunshine through the mailbox today: advance copies of Boyband of the Apocalypse!
Fan art of the gloriously villainous Lucretia Cutter from Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard.
Reading on the step. #colour_collective #mountbattenpink #kidlitart
From Instagram: http://ift.tt/2pegG7n
Baleena for #mermay #mermaid on Instagram: http://ift.tt/2pHtDKX
Here’s what has been happening with me for the first part of this year.
When I’m a Mummy Like You!, the picture booked created by me and Francesca Gambatesa was released into the wild in February! We had a launch party at Gosh! Comics in Soho to celebrate (pic by Sarah McIntyre). It’s also out now in the US as When I’m a Mommy Like You! You can read a lovely review at Bookblog Book Monsters here. Francesca spotted the book in Foyles window as part of a Mother’s Day display.
We had to talk about our book characters and then lead the audience in a draw-along – the (huge) audience were very enthusiastic and some fantastic drawings were produced.
Read Sarah’s report here (from where I pinched these pics).
In March I had another big event at Leicester Author Week, organised by Whatever It Takes, an initiative to encourage reading within the city. I gave a talk to two sets of school children – about 400 children in all – about my work, followed by creative writing workshops. It was a busy day, but a lot of fun! Thanks to WIT for organising it, probably the best organised event I’ve been invited to. (Pic by WIT)
— Louisa Fielding (@WeezyFielding) March 2, 2017
— Keeley Darrington (@KeelsD76) March 2, 2017
— Michelle C (@TheTrueMC) March 2, 2017
— MrsClark (@mrsvickyclark) March 2, 2017
Currently, I’m working on the edits for the first book of my novel series with Bloomsbury books, which comes out next year. An illustrator has been chosen and I’m very excited about the whole thing. Fingers crossed that other people like it too!
2016 is rapidly coming to its end and most people seem to be quite happy about that, as far as I can tell. It’s been a bit of a bumpy one, current affairs-wise, but 2017 promises more of the same. Let’s hope that cooler, wiser heads will prevail and that it’s not too troublesome.
For me, the second half of 2016 (as it’s been that long since I updated this blog!) was quiet, book-wise. I was focused almost entirely on writing, something that makes me very happy! I can report that the first draft of the first of my two books for Bloomsbury has been handed in, and I’m awaiting the editorial verdict. I’m expecting lots of red pen as even I could see the flaws of this draft, but I’m looking forward to fixing things up with my editors’ help. I love the world I’ve created in this book and really enjoyed writing it, in spite of a few uneven
sentences paragraphs chapters. I have to finish this book and hand in the first draft of the second book by June next year, so I’m expecting the first six months of 2017 to be spent tapping away on a keyboard…
…apart from January/February, when I’ll be working on the illustrations for this book written by Tom Nicoll. It’s very funny and I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty on the drawings. There are some great, quirky characters in it, which are always very satisfying to do. More info on that when I’m allowed to show it.
Speaking of quirky characters, I drew a whole bunch of them for Inktober. This is an internet community thing set up by artist Jake Parker. It encourages artists to create an ink-based picture every day for the whole of October. It’s a chance to draw just for fun, without the aid of a computer, and not be too precious about the splats and smudges. I’ve posted all thirty-one pictures on my Instagram account (or on my Facebook account if you’re that way inclined).
The last Creature Teacher book was published in July. It’s now out in six languages (English, Turkish, Danish, Slovak, Hungarian and Vietnamese) which is very pleasing.
Writer Sam Watkins is currently working on a new series from Egmont: The Fintastic Diary of Darcy Dolphin which is out soon, and I’m sure will be… well, fintastic!
Jampires has become something of a Hallowe’en book – not quite what Sarah McIntyre and I intended, but I love hearing about little Jampires turning up at costume parties in October – there are more and more each year!
On the subject of Jampires, here is Mrs Coventry from St Joseph’s School in Keighley, Yorkshire, reading the book aloud for us:
A very impressive performance! I went to a workshop for children’s writers in October on how to inject a bit of drama into book presentations so I’m hoping my reading skills have buffed up a bit. It was hosted by the Golden Egg Academy who mentor up-and-coming authors through the writing and publication process. It was an excellent day and the Golden Eggers are a lovely bunch of people too. I’ve a big couple of presentations in March (among other things) where I need to step up my showbiz side a bit more.
— Anthony Ho-Ho-HoBurt (@AnthonyJBurt) October 22, 2016
My most recent public gig was at the brilliant Brentwood Children’s Literature Festival back in July, organised by Natasha and Jim at the Chicken & Frog Bookshop. It was very well-organised for a first-time festival and there was a great crowd at the Brentwood theatre to see me do my Monster & Chips comic-making spiel. Some fab comics came out of it too, my favourite being about a prince and princess who meet, fall in love… and are eaten by a giant fly. (Pic below by Natasha.)
— JANE MILES (@MrsJaneMiles) July 29, 2016
Here are some more monster-y drawings that have been sent my way – firstly, this fearsome chap who comes with his own specials board (I love this colour combination!):
— Sophie Anderson (@sophieinspace) October 8, 2016
And also this brilliant comic featuring Fuzzby and pals (a couple of years old but which I only just found out about on the Imagination Project website):
Last, but definitely not least, I’m very excited about the next book from me and the amazing Francesca Gambatesa: When I’m A Mummy Like You! It’s out in early February (just in time for Mothering Sunday in the UK) and a bit later in the US – where it’s called When I’m A Mommy Like You! (obviously).
I can’t get over how super Francesca’s art is – there’s more at the book page. She’s done such a wonderful job with my rhyming nonsense and I hope people love it! There’ll be a launch party at some point which I’ll post about here when we’ve firmed up the details.
I’m going to be offline for the rest of the year but have lots of plans for 2017 so will be back refreshed and recharged in January.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful 2017!
I’m off for a summer break soon, escaping to the seaside from the city and its current political wailing and grinding of teeth. There is a folder filled with creative projects going with me. Past experience says they won’t even make it out of the suitcase – it’s good to do nothing sometimes. I might post some terrible snaps on Instagram, but aside from that it will be a very welcome social media-free zone.
To counteract that, here is a blog post written around other people’s Twitter photos! I may not do social media very well but I can’t deny it’s very useful.
Out and About
— Hachette Children’s (@HachetteKids) June 21, 2016
I was very privileged to be asked along to the first Lollies awards ceremony recently, hosted by TV presenters Sam & Mark, to honour the best in funny children’s books. It was a jolly event at the Lyric Theatre in the West End of London with entertainment provided by the performers of the stage show of Horrible Histories. There were even lollies for the audience – very welcome on a hot day.
This year’s winners were:
Picture Book: I Need A Wee! by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
6-8 years: Badly Drawn Beth by Knife & Packer
9-13 years: The Parent Agency by David Baddiel & Jim Field
Among the nominees was my book buddy Jamie Littler, one of the hardest working people around. He wasn’t a winner on the day, alas, but it was great to see him recognised, and to see an award for funny books to replace the late lamented Roald Dahl Funny Prize. My friend Alex Milway has done a huge amount of work with his This Book is Funny Campaign to highlight the hunger for funny books amongst children. The more attention they can get, the better!
— This Book is Funny! (@ThisBookIsFunny) June 17, 2016
— francesca gam (@francescagam) June 20, 2016
It was great seeing When I’m A Monster Like You, Dad! in various shop windows over the Father’s Day weekend. It’s going down well in the U.S., apparently, and everyone wants to know what Francesca will do for the illustrations for our second book together (including me). There will be a wait, I’m afraid, as that’s not out until early next year. However, you can colour in some of her illustrations with these lovely activity sheets she made, available on my activity page.
— Brentwood Art Trail (@BwdArtTrail) June 21, 2016
I will be at the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival next month, and in the run up to that I’m taking part in the Brentwood Art Trail. Some of my illustrations are in the window of the wonderful Chicken and Frog Bookshop, who are organisers of the festival. I’ll be running a writing workshop on the 29th July so do come along – tickets are available at the above link.
Meanwhile, I’m super-excited about a new book deal which means I’ll be writing a couple of books for an older age group (9-12 years) than my usual 7-10 years. It doesn’t sound like a big age gap but there’s quite a leap in reading ability in that time. Monster & Chips was about twelve thousand words in all, these will be about thirty thousand words long: loads more to write but loads more to play with, developing characters and exploring new worlds. It’s going to be a real challenge but I’m so looking forward to it, especially as I’ll have an editor holding my hand along the way. The first book won’t be out until 2018 but I can’t wait to see what people think.
Now, off to pack my bucket and spade!
Happy book birthday to us! Francesca Gambatesa and I have a new picture book in the shops today (and if you’re on the USA, it’s been out for a month already!).
When I’m a Monster Like You, Dad! is about a little monster who wants to be just like his dad: BIG and BAD! But Daddy Monster just wants little monster to have fun. The words are by me and the beautiful artwork is by Francesca. I’m thrilled with how it looks! It’s been a long-timing coming (I wrote the text in 2013) but it’s great to see it finally in the shops -just in time for Father’s Day (June 19th).
We had a launch party at the wonderful Gosh! Comic Shop in London last Friday. Lots of people turned up and I did a dramatic reading of the book! It was a lot of fun – thank you to every one that came along, and thank you to Gosh! for being such good hosts.
Francesca made some goody-bags with little note-cards and badges in. So cool!
Here’s me and Francesca, with monster ears, proudly holding our book baby (taken by Sarah McIntyre):
There are a load of other great photos from the night here, taken by Gosh!’s resident photographer, Mauricio Molizane De Souza. Here’s one of us signing some books (fascinating fact: it was the first time Francesca and I had actually met!):
All the buying information can be found here. Francesca and I will be at Village Books in Dulwich on Sunday 11th June at 11am for a story-telling session, and we’ll be making Father’s Day cards too, so do come along if you’re around. Toot-a-loo!