Toffle Towers – hotel exterior

To celebrate the upcoming release of Toffle Towers book 3, I’ve prepped a bunch of behind-the-scenes blog posts. I’ll show you how I designed the characters; how I designed the cover for book 1; how I designed the hotel’s lobby; and how I designed other elements like the shuttle bus and the title typography. But today, I’m showing you how I designed the exterior of the hotel.

Tim described the hotel pretty clearly; it had three floors and a symmetrical design. It had ivy growing up the walls, and it also sounded a bit old-fashioned and quirky. This is the very first tiny scrappy sketch I made while reading the book.

Through some google image searching, I found a real location that felt like what I had in mind: Belton House in the UK. The problem was, it only had two floors. So I photoshopped another one on (and added in some extra turrets).

From there I could have a go at drawing it and simplifying it. I tried one version that was pretty much the same dimensions … … but it wasn’t quite quirky enough, so I smooshed it – I made it narrower and taller. It still wasn’t quite quirky enough, so I mucked around some more, and started adding some colour – I made three more versions.

Here’s a timelapse of me sketching those three versions.

Version B was the winner! Here’s the final version (before Barry started renovating it).

You can check out more behind-the-scenes blog posts for Toffle Towers here.


Toffle Towers 3: Order in the Court

Pre-order now:
Booktopia (Australia/NZ only)
Dymocks
QBD (Australia only)
Readings
Angus & Robertson (Australia only)
Book Depository

Toffle Towers 2: The Great River Race

Buy online
Booktopia (Australia/NZ only)
Dymocks
QBD (Australia only)
Readings
Angus & Robertson (Australia only)

Toffle Towers 1: Fully Booked

Buy online
Booktopia (Australia/NZ only)
Kinokuniya (Australia only)
Dymocks
QBD (Australia only)
Readings
Angus & Robertson (Australia only)

Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017) and Gastronauts (2018) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The fourth in the series, Chickensaurus, is out in late 2020. He is also the illustrator of the Toffle Towers series written by Tim Harris. James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015), In The Lion (2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. The sequel to My dead Bunny - There's Something Weird About Lena - is out in late 2020. James comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at www.jamesfoley.com.au .

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