My new picture book Stellarphant is out in November this year. I’ve been working on it since 2014, so it’s been 7 years in the making.
That might not seem like much compared to Jurassic Park‘s ’65 million years in the making’. But it’s still a lot … but I digress.
I drew the first sketch for what would become Stellarphant on a whim in June 2014. I was sitting with my illustrator buddies in a cottage on Rottnest Island for our annual SCBWI WA Retreat, when I started sketching an elephant and a penguin in spacesuits. No reason why – it just came out on the page. I added some colour and there was the beginnings of a story. The image stayed with me, and I started trying to write something to go with it.
I submitted an early version of the text to a publisher back in 2015; it didn’t go anywhere at the time as that version of the text was a bit rubbish, to be honest! But the germ of the idea was there, and I kept coming back to it to add more notes and research, and to play with the text.
I’ve got pages and pages of aborted attempts at this story, and sketchbooks full of drawings and notes showing the development over the last 7 years. Lots of my colleagues in the industry have heard about this book going back a while now, including those friends who were sitting with me when I first made this sketch back in 2014; they’ve borne witness to this, and encouraged me along the way, and it’s so great to finally have it ready to share with readers in November.
Here are some of my earliest sketches for this project, all from 2014 and 2015, with the final art to compare.
Stellarphant lifts off in November 2021, but you can pre-order it now: