Win a school visit from me!

Visiting-Author---James-Foley---19-Aug-2015-(18)Attention teachers! Fremantle Press is giving one lucky Perth metro school a free author visit from me.

To win the visit, all you need to do is check out the latest edition of Fremantle Press’ education newsletter, Classroom Express, here – then click on the ‘Forward to a Friend’ button at the top right and send it to your colleagues. The school with the most teachers subscribed to Classroom Express by 30 June 2019 will win the author visit!

But wait – there’s a second prize up for grabs! If you also happen to be a subscriber to the Classroom Express newsletter (you can subscribe here), AND you get the most friends signed up using the ‘Forward to a Friend’ button, then you’ll win 10 Fremantle Press books for your school library valued at $200.

So pass it on! And tell your colleagues, friends, parents and more about the competitions, teaching resources, activities and merchandise that they can get from The Classroom Express.

Both competitions close on Sunday 30 June 2019. The winner for each competition will be notified by email after this date. The winners will be announced in the Term 3 issue of The Classroom Express.

Toffle Towers 1: Fully Booked – cover reveal!

Great news!

I’m illustrating a new chapter book series written by the very talented Tim Harris.

The series is called TOFFLE TOWERS, and the first book is out August 6th.

Here’s the cover …

… and here’s the official synopsis:

Toffle Towers hotel has been run by a Toffle for over one hundred years – and it’s about to be inherited by the next generation.

Chegwin Toffle is only ten years old. But he isn’t going to let that stop him from turning this run-down hotel into a success. Chegwin is determined to transform Toffle Towers from a boring hotel for grown-ups into an incredibly exciting destination for children (and their families).

But running a hotel isn’t easy. Chegwin has a lot to learn, and his tendency to drift off into daydreams isn’t helping.

Chegwin has plenty of ideas. But can he turn his madcap daydreams into reality?

Toffle Towers 1: Fully Booked is published by Penguin Books Australia, and available in all good bookshops from August 6th, 2019!

PRE-ORDER your copy now:
Booktopia (Australia/NZ only)
Kinokuniya (Australia only)
Angus & Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Dymocks
Readings
Or find your local bookseller

Upcoming events (Feb 2019)

Hello you! I hope your 2019 has been treating you kindly so far. What did you get up to? I spent most of January soaking up time with my wife and son and labrador. We paddled in the river, read books, watched more than a little netflix and had bbqs. I also got to work on some new sketches and picture book ideas that I’m excited about. It’s been great to spend quiet time relaxing and ‘refilling the well’ so that I’ve got the energy for the year ahead.

I’ve got a few great events coming up at the end of this month – the Perth Writers’ Week family day and a teacher/librarian PD in Sydney. See below for details. Hope to see you down the track!

Happy reading/creating/living,

James 🙂

Continue reading “Upcoming events (Feb 2019)”

Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 4: final cover illustration

My new book Gastronauts is out now in bookstores and online.

Today I’m taking you behind the scenes to show you how I illustrated the front cover.

Step 1: cover design

Here’s my final rough:

Continue reading “Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 4: final cover illustration”

Events for Nov/Dec

To get email notifications of future events, you can either:
– subscribe to new posts via the little box on the right.
– sign up for my newsletter, The James Foley-o, and get all my news and events in a quarterly email.


Nov 22:  Picture Book Illustration (for adults)

Have you ever wanted to illustrate a children’s book? Join me to find out how. Learn how character design, composition, choice of medium and typography all affect the visual story, and have a go yourself.

Bring your favourite drawing materials and a notepad or sketchbook.

WHEN: Thursday Nov 22nd
TIMES: 6:00pm-7:30pm
WHERE: Victoria Park Library, 27 Sussex Street, East Victoria Park, WA 6101
AGES: 8-12yo
COST: $3 per person
BOOKINGS: essential. Click here to book online, or call the library on 9373 5500.

 


Continue reading “Events for Nov/Dec”

Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 3: cover design

My new book Gastronauts is out now in bookstores and online.

Today I’m taking you behind the scenes to show you how I designed the robots and vehicles in the story.

Quick recap: Sally Tinker is the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve. In Gastronauts, Sally’s baby brother Joe swallows her latest invention. So Sally and her friend Charli shrink themselves down in a tiny submarine and journey into Joe’s body.

Here’s how I designed the cover.

Step 1: really bad first sketches

Sometimes you get the cover idea pretty quickly and clearly from the start.

This was not one of those times.

I struggled with this a lot at first; I couldn’t figure out how to show the reader that Sally and Charli were inside a sub, inside Joe, and make Sally and Charli big enough so that they were recognisable, without being too big that the scale stopped being anatomically correct.

None of these ideas really work, but I’ve included them here to show you how a cover design process can go. There are usually lots of rejected, fairly ordinary ideas.

Continue reading “Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 3: cover design”

Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 2: submarine & robot design

My new book Gastronauts is out now in bookstores and online.

Today I’m taking you behind the scenes to show you how I designed the robots and submarine in the story.

Quick recap: Sally Tinker is the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve. In Gastronauts, Sally’s baby brother Joe swallows an invention called the smartCHIP, along with a bunch of tiny robots called smartbots, and also a tiny shrunken submarine containing Sally and her friend Charli.

Here’s how I designed Sally’s SUB and the smartbots. But:

**SPOILER ALERT***

I’ll discuss plot points for the book, so if you haven’t read the book yet, go do that first, then come back.

All good?

Have you gone and read the book?

Ok, here’s how I designed the SUB and the smartbots.

Continue reading “Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 2: submarine & robot design”

Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 1: illustration process

My new book Gastronauts is out now in bookstores and online.

Today I’m taking you behind the scenes to show you how I made the illustrations.

Here’s one of my favourite spreads from the book. It’s where Sally leads her friend Charli into the SUB (Sally’s Underwater Boat) for the first time.

I thought it would be easiest to show the insides of the SUB by just drawing a massive cut-away diagram. Here’s how I drew it.

Continue reading “Behind the scenes of Gastronauts, part 1: illustration process”

The Gastronauts book tour was a gas

I’ve just been on a book tour, celebrating the release of my new junior graphic novel called Gastronauts. From Sept 26 to Oct 14, I had 23 events across three states.

I started in my hometown of Perth, then visited Sydney and Melbourne. We had four book launches, heaps of cartooning and comics workshops, and I got to deface decorate the windows at a few bookstores too. It was a brilliant trip, but I’m very happy to be back home with my family, and gearing up to work on some new projects.

Fun fact: Gastronauts is probably the first book in the world to be launched via a giant nappy. It will probably also be the last, as I don’t recommend it. Too messy. Watch what happens in the video below.

Here’s my favourite photos from the trip.

Thanks to everyone – bookstore owners, librarians, teachers, kids and parents – who came to events. And big thanks to my publishers Fremantle Press who helped organise the tour.


Gastronauts

Buy local – find your closest bookshop

Or order online:
– Booktopia (Australia and NZ only)
Angus and Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Boffins
Dymocks
Book Depository

Total Quack Up is out from today

Earlier this year I got to illustrate a story written by Paul Jennings.

Yep, you heard right.

Paul.

Jennings.

Back in May, authors Adrian Beck and Sally Rippin were putting together an anthology of funny short stories written by some of Australia’s best kids’ authors. They were calling it Total Quack Up. All the writers were donating their time, Penguin was publishing it, and all profits were going to Dymocks Children’s Charities. The only thing they didn’t have yet was an illustrator.

I caught up for coffee with Adrian in Melbourne. He explained the project, but he didn’t say who any of the authors were. He said everyone was donating their time, and whoever illustrated it would need to do it quick – they’d only have a month to do 30-40 illustrations including a cover.

I said PLEASE LET ME DO IT PLEASE YES IT SOUNDS AWESOME.

He said, ‘are you sure?’

I said YEP COUNT ME IN ALL GOOD LET’S DO IT PLEASE AWESOME THANKS YES.

So Adrian and Sally and Penguin said okay, and I’m glad they did, because Mr Paul Jennings was one of the authors contributing to the anthology.

So …

… I got to illustrate a Paul Jennings story! OMG!!

I loved reading Paul Jennings’ stories as a kid; I would get chills from the spooky stories, and laugh myself silly at the funny stories. And of course I was glued to the TV whenever Round The Twist came on. So it was a fantastic surprise to find out that Paul was one of the authors in the anthology and that I’d get to illustrate one of his stories.

 


This is all a very long-winded way of telling you that I’ve illustrated an anthology called Total Quack Up!

It features stories from Paul Jennings, Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Adrian Beck, Jacqueline Harvey, Alex Miles, Oliver Phommavanh, Sally Rippin, R.A. Spratt and Matt Stanton.

It also includes a story written by Ella Wallace (aged 11 and three-quarters), whose story won out over 172 other entries in the Total Quack Up kids writing competition. It is an incredibly funny story and easily my favourite in the whole anthology. Ella is a young writer to watch.

Continue reading “Total Quack Up is out from today”