• Eek! It’s the Edinburgh Children’s Book Festival

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    This is one of several pics I’m using as covers of notebooks I’m having made. Fearsome beasts all.

    In August I’ll be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. It’s years since I’ve been to Edinburgh, easily the most beautiful city in the country, and I can’t wait!

    Come and see me on Saturday August 17th for “ZOMBIE CUPCAKES AND EXPLODING MILKSHAKES!” at the Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab from 3pm. It will be a lot of monster, foodie fun! You can get tickets here.

    Check out the other events too, as a bunch of my comic and book friends are taking part in the associated Stripped Festival, celebrating comics in all their forms. It looks amazing!

  • What have you been up to lately, David?

    Mystery Project!

    mystery_picLots of things! I’ve been doing some work with Sarah McIntyre on a mystery project. The mystery has, for a while, been whether it would ever see the light of day at all! But happily the end is (almost) in sight. This is an image that may (or may not) be in the final thing. Dissemblers assemble!

    Monster & Chips

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    I’ve also been busy on the illustrations for MONSTER & CHIPS 2: Night of the Living Bread. The deadlines are TIGHT but I think I’m on course.
    I gave a short talk last night to some of the lovely people from the children’s book division at the HQ of my publisher, HarperCollins. They were very polite and attentive as I babbled on about comics a lot. There were chips and wine afterwards too – most civilised!
    In other Monster & Chips news, there’s an interview with me in the current issue of TBK magazine and here’s a quick reminder that the competition to win an iPad is still open at the official Monster & Chips website. Create your own recipe and you could win!

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    Tiny Pencil

    Also not in my comfort zone: I was very honoured to be asked to contribute to the new Tiny Pencil artzine, edited by Katriona Chapman and Amber Hsu. It celebrates illustrated work in pencil or charcoal, untouched by ink or any digital shenanigans. Yikes! All my safety nets gone! The pic is a detail of my contribution. Yes, more monsters!

    Travels

    Finally, I was very fortunate to visit the BT Tower this month on one of its rare openings to the public. It was open in aid of a charity event which happened to coincide with our wedding anniversary so we made a day of it. There was a glass of champagne waiting at the top too, appropriately enough, and the organisers had switched on the revolving floor which was a novel, if slightly disconcerting, experience. The weather had been kind so the views across London were spectacular.

    I much preferred it to the Shard which we’d visited just before it opened in February as part of a free preview for local residents.

    I think the Shard is just a little too high to appreciate the mostly low rise city below it, but from the shorter BT Tower you can see the detail better. I was pleasantly surprised by just how green London is too. Lots of little parks and tree-filled squares everywhere. The city definitely looked at its best.

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  • Monster Art & Comiket

    A school teacher friend of mine sent me these pics drawn by students in his class. They were drawing characters from their favourite books and a few of them had chosen MONSTER & CHIPS! I’m very honoured that they liked the book so much and the art is pretty amazing too:

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    Joe meets Fuzzby. Great expression on Joe’s face.

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    Barry, Joe and Fuzzby. Fuzzby’s huge paws are perfect making all those chips.

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    Particularly if they’re monster-sized!

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    More chips! I love the furriness of Fuzzby in this picture. Thank you so much, everyone!

    Spring Comiket

    In other news, I’ll be at the Comiket in London this coming Saturday (20th) selling copies of ink+PAPER and I’ll also have some MONSTER & CHIPS books with me too.

    Do come along and say hello! The Comiket is from 11am-7pm at the new Central St Martins College behind King’s Cross Station.

    Entry is free and there’ll be loads of people selling comics and doing live drawing on the big screen. There are also a couple of competitions to win an iPad or artists materials.

    It’s going to be huge fun – and it’s free! And it’s just part of the wonderful Comica Festival.

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  • Zombie cup-cakes!

    I’ve been busy writing the second of the Monster & Chips books just recently (amazing to think you can already pre-order it!) so haven’t had time to post any drawings.

    Thankfully it’s all done and is now being knocked into shape by my brilliant editors Harriet Wilson and Sam Swinnerton, so I’ll have a little more time from next week to get posting sketches, comics and whatnot.

    In the meantime, it came to my attention that over at the wonderful Playing by the Book, there’s a virtual Edible Book Festival in progress. And not only that, someone’s made a plate-load of zombie cupcakes inspired by Monster & Chips! Brilliant!

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    They look freakily delicious, I must say! You can see a pic in the background from the book – it’s like they’ve just stepped out of it! I’ve pinched the above photo from Playing by the Book – if you’re the chef, then do let me know.

    ETA: And the marvellous baker was Polly of The Little Wooden Horse Blog! Do check this blog out – full of very handy reviews of kid’s books. Lots of good reading to be had there.

    I’ve actually had a go at making zombie cupcakes myself in the past, as gifts for my publisher. These cakes rather put my efforts to shame!

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    Oh dear. I think I’ll stick to drawing.

  • MONSTER & CHIPS DAY!

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    Today is officially the best day ever, as it’s officially the release day for my book MONSTER & CHIPS!

    It’s been a real adventure for me and I’ve loved every second – and I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed creating it. My publisher, HarperCollins, has been brilliantly supportive (editors Harriet Wilson and Sam Swinnerton, designers Elorine Grant and Kate Clarke) and I’ve really felt looked after.

    The book is in the shops already (please, please, please buy from your local bookshop if you can!) but the e-book goes on sale today from the Amazon Kindle store, iTunes and Google books. It’s in full-colour and I’m thrilled with the way it looks.

     

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    The promotional work the HC team have done has been fantastic – take a look at the brand new MONSTERANDCHIPS.com! As well as info about the book and characters, there’s a fabulous competition to win an iPad pre-loaded with the MONSTER & CHIPS e-book. All you need to do to enter is think of your most disgusting recipe! Stinky coughy pudding? Frog fritters in snotted cream sauce? Vomitburgers? See what you can come up with.

     

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    MONSTERANDCHIPS.com has also teamed up with the crazy and gross Toxic Magazine to give away 5 copies of the book! Just enter your details here.

    I popped into HC HQ yesterday and was amazed to see the canteen was being set up for a MONSTER & CHIPS-themed lunch for today, including a bit of fancy dress, apparently! I hear chewy worm spaghetti and parp tarts are on the lunch menu today, HarperCollinsers – enjoy!

     

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    HC also presented me with a souvenir apron. I hope they weren’t suggesting a alternative career. The apron reads: Monsters need foooooood! Too true. [Spatula, model’s own.]

     

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    Phew! All this AND I’m working on Book 2 right now, so more monstrous goodness to come very soon!

    Some links:

  • Imagine Festival

    MONSTER & CHIPS had its first official outing at the Southbank last weekend, when I held a couple of workshops as part of this year’s Imagine Festival. The events took place just under the Queen Elizabeth Hall, probably better known as the place where the skate-boarders hang out. Part of the space has been walled in to create the Festival Village, which I was sharing with brilliant authors Sarwat Chadda and Clara Vulliamy.

    It was my first solo event (although I’ve helped out at others) but there wasn’t any time to be nervous. Both workshops were sold out, so there were plenty of eager faces ready to get down to the serious business of drawing comics.

    I started out with a bit of reading to get us into a monstrous mood:

     

    BDtXGMZCUAAkER7

     

    Thank goodness for the microphone – it helps with the silly voices. [Photos pinched from the lovely HarperCollins team’s twitter feed.]

     

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    Then on with some character-making with suggestions from the crowd. This tweet pretty much summed it up:

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    Then it was comic-making time. It was so busy I forgot to take any photos of the comics that the audience made themselves  – I really wish I had a record of the imagination, energy, complexity and colour that went into them. So brilliant!

    After a bit of book-signing it was back to the writing desk for me: DEADLINES!!!! Thanks so much to everyone who came along – I hope you had fun! And thanks to Nicola, Lizz and the team at HarperCollins for their wonderful support.

    MONSTER & CHIPS is officially out on Thursday! Woohoo! All the info here.

  • 28 Days to Go!

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    Only 28 days to go until the publication day of MONSTER & CHIPS! I’m afraid I’ll be harping on about this quite a lot but I’m so excited to have my first book for sale! I’ll be posting some sneak peeks here but in the meantime feel free to pre-order at Amazon or other online booksellers (though you should always support your local bookshop if you can). I’ve head the book will be on sale in Asda supermarkets too, which is great news. Need to have a lie down now.

  • Eleven Cars

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    [Click for a bigger version.]

    I used to hate drawing cars: no straight lines, all subtle, aerodynamic curves. A nightmare to draw in perspective. Good job I’ve given up on reality! I’ll try to get some colour on this later.

    In other news I’ve already had one review for my book MONSTER & CHIPS, which isn’t even in the shops yet, from the wonderful people of Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books. Take a look.

     

  • Monster & Chips

    Monster and Chips

     

    I’ve been keeping this under my hat for about six months, which has been pretty excruciating, but it looks like I’m free to talk about some very exciting creative happenings for me.

    Early in the year I submitted a manuscript for a children’s book to my lovely agent, Jodie Marsh. I assumed there would be a bit of a wait before I heard anything as I know these things can take time, but after a couple of weeks I received an email from her saying that a publisher was interested. Then another. Then another. And then another…
    There followed a week of visits to the different publishers, weighing up their offers and meeting their editorial teams with Jodie as my guide, dispensing words of wisdom and insight along the way. It was a pretty crazy few days. They were all brilliant and I’d have been honoured to have been published by any one of them, but after a lot of thought I’m very happy to say that I’m going to be writing and drawing a three-book series for HarperCollins, the first book due put at the end of February 2013.

    Monster and Chips is the story of a boy who discovers a diner run by monsters, for monsters. Naturally, he gets a job there – with disgustingly slapstick results! Lots of fart jokes and revolting food episodes – it was huge fun to write, and I’m thrilled I got to draw the illustrations too. The team at HC have been wonderful and I’ve really felt at home there. Here’s the blurb from the HC page:

    Meet the amazing monster customers and sample the foul-food served up daily at Fuzzby’s diner – the brilliant setting for this innovative series from debut author and illustrator, David O’Connell.

    Somewhere in suburbia, or maybe smack-bang in the middle of your city, there is a very special diner. What’s so special about it? Well it does the best chips ANYWHERE but also its customers are a little bit ‘unusual’… some people say they are monsters… The diner is hard to find, you have to look carefully, in fact some people say only a special kind of kid can find this special kind of diner. But maybe that kid could be you?

    When Joe the ‘hooman’ gets a job at Fuzzby’s diner, he learns to bake zombie-cupcakes, exploding milkshakes and not to stare at the customers – even the ones who are see-through. He also foils a terrible plan to sabotage the annual Grand Cooking Competition.

    With cartoon strips, ‘find-the-monster’ features and a Special’s Board that’ll make your tummy churn, take a seat at Fuzzby’s and join the fun.

    I’ll posting much more about this as launch day approaches, of course. In the meantime, book one is already available to pre-order on Amazon (I think there will be a Kindle version too), Waterstones, WHSmiths and Blackwells, but of course please support your local independent bookseller if you have one.

    As for me: back to the drawing!