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Toffle Towers – how to draw Chegwin Toffle

My new book Toffle Towers book 3 is out in one week! It’s written by Tim Harris and illustrated by me. You can grab a copy at the links at the bottom of this blog post.

To celebrate the release of third book in the series, 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 exterior and interior; and how I designed other elements like the shuttle bus and the title typography. But today, I’m showing you how to draw the main character, Chegwin Toffle.

Grab a pencil and paper, then click the video below to follow along.

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


Toffle Towers 3: Order in the Court

Buy online:
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)

Chickensaurus and Lena available to pre-order

It’s a bumper year for new books. As well as Toffle Towers book 3 out on Aug 4th, I’ve got another two books coming out later this year. One is a graphic novel and the other is a picture book.


Chickensaurus

Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of 12, is back with a new adventure in invention. When Sally’s nemesis hatches a fowl and poultry plot – turning chickens into dinosaurs – there’s no room for the lily-livered. The chickensaurs are let loose, and Sally and co will need all their pluck to return the world to its rightful pecking order.

This is book 4 in my S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out; it’s the biggest story yet, not just in terms of scope but also length. It’s a whopping 200 pages of sci-fi silliness. Perfect for fans of action, adventure, dad jokes and mutated chicken-dinosaurs.

Here are some sample pics from inside the book.

PRE-ORDER online
Booktopia (Australia and NZ only)
Dymocks
Readings
Angus and Robertson (Australia only)
Book Depository


There’s Something Weird About Lena

There’s Something Weird About Lena is the eagerly anticipated sequel to the CBCA-shortlisted My Dead Bunny.

On my first day back at school
I met a girl called Lena.

Every time she acted mean
she laughed like a hyena.

There’s something a little bit odd, a little bit weird, about Lena. Such an unusual classmate is really hard to wrangle … it’s up to a committed band of courageous classmates to uncover just what she’s hiding.

NB: even though this is a picture book, it’s recommended for older readers (the same goes for My Dead Bunny). These books are funny and also creepy and were never intended for reading to a room full of kindergartners!

Here are some sample pics from inside the book.

Pre-order online
– Booktopia (Australia/NZ only)
– Angus & Robertson (Australia only)
– Book Depository


PLEASE NOTE: you could also pre-order these books from your local indie bookshop. They need your support this year more than ever, so please show them some love!

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). Continue reading “Toffle Towers – hotel exterior”

Toffle Towers – cover design

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 hotel’s interior and exterior; and how I designed other elements like the shuttle bus and the title typography. But today, I’m showing you how I designed the cover for book 1 in the series.

I started off by sketching a few ideas the publishers and I had.

   Then we tried another bunch of options … Continue reading “Toffle Towers – cover design”

Toffle Towers – character design

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 hotel’s interior and exterior; how I designed the cover of book 1; and how I designed other elements like the shuttle bus and the title typography. But today, I’m showing you possibly the most important part of prepping for this series: how I designed the cast.

Toffle Towers is a chapter book series, fantastically written by Tim Harris and illustrated by me. Tim wrote a HUGE cast into the series, and I had to create all their character designs – partly based on descriptions Tim included in the text, and partly from my imagination.

Chegwin Toffle is the main character, so of course I started with him. Chegwin is a 10yo dreamer who inherits a hotel and becomes the manager.

Because I’d be drawing Chegwin so many times throughout the series, I drew a quick turnaround sheet for him too.

Continue reading “Toffle Towers – character design”

Toffle Towers 3 out in August

*** COMING SOON: 4th AUG 2020 ***

The adventures at Toffle Towers hotel continue as the manager – 10-year-old Chegwin Toffle – battles with blizzards, rioting guests and hostile takeover attempts!

Join Chegwin Toffle for more fun and frolics as Toffle Towers gets snowed in. Amid the snowball fights, things start to go wrong when guests’ precious belongings go missing and Brontessa Braxton launches yet another assault to take over the hotel.

Will Chegwin catch the culprit? Will he be able to beat Brontessa in court to save his beloved hotel and staff? And will he ever find the missing room 50 and the hotel’s mystery guest?

Another stellar story written by Tim Harris,  and illustrated by James.


PRE-ORDER YOUR SIGNED COPY
Paper Bird Children’s Books

Pre-Order Local
Find your local bookshop

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


More books in the series:

Toffle Towers 1: Fully Booked
Toffle Towers 2: The Great River Race

Free online workshops in June

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.

 


Month of June: drawing demo and Q&A (for kids, ONLINE)

AVAILABLE: the month of June ***PLEASE NOTE – THIS WORKSHOP IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE***
COST: free!

Thanks to the City of Gosnells libraries for commissioning this session.


June 20: Character Design workshop – (for 10-17yo, ONLINE)

In this workshop participants learn how colour, shape, costume and body language all make great unique characters, and learn to design their own characters for their own stories. Thanks to Victoria Park library for organising this session.

A link will be sent to registered participants prior to the workshop for access.

WHEN: Saturday June 20th
TIMES: 1-2pm
WHERE: online
AGES: 10-17 yo
COST: free
BOOKINGS: essential, via the Victoria Park website.

Win $500 in prizes in the ‘Connecting Through Creativity’ competition

Calling all young creatives in Western Australia – it’s your time to shine and WIN up to $500 in prizes!

To explore how creativity can play a part in staying connected, Scribblers Festival and CBH Group have joined forces to launch a new visual storytelling competition: Connecting Through Creativity.

Connecting Through Creativity – what’s it about?

Create your artistic response, to the theme Connectivity, in any visual method that inspires you! Some examples include 2D Arts (drawing, illustration, painting, collage, photography, comics, etc.); Video (video diary, performance, stop motion, interview, short film, etc.); and 3D Arts (ephemeral art, land art, sculpture, pop up books, etc.).

The competition is open to Primary and Secondary aged kids from ALL OVER Western Australia, with $500 in prizes up for grabs!

Want Some Inspiration?

I’m one of four ‘creative mentors’ helping the project (along with Cristy Burne, Beci Orpin and Remy Lai ) – we’re sharing tricks of the trade through a series of video and blog posts over the coming weeks. We’ll help guide you on your artistic journey with inside peeks to our own creative processes, how-tos, and answers to your burning questions.

I made a video for the competition about how being curious helps your creativity.

I also wrote a blog post about curiosity and creativity which you can find here.

How To Enter

Check out the official competition page on the Scribblers website for more info. Entries close June 26.

Good luck!

Free online comics workshop this Wednesday

Join me this Wednesday May 6th for a free online workshop called Writing and Illustrating Comics 101.

I’ll show you the basics of how to make your own comics. You’ll learn how to write and edit a script, design characters, and use speech bubbles to make a short comic story.

This workshop is provided by the State Library of NSW but is open to kids across Australia.

WHEN: Wednesday May 6th
TIMES: 8am-9am (WA time) / 10am-11am (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
WHERE: online (link provided when you register)
AGES: 8-12 yo
COST: free
BOOKINGS: essential. Click here to reserve your place.

 

 

Free resources for homeschooling + 10% my books!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all staying safe and well in these strange times.

Looking for free stuff to help with your homeschooling? I’ve got you covered.

FREE RESOURCES

check out my Teacher resource page. It’s a comprehensive list of resources related to all my books. There’s a bunch of bonus activities and content at the bottom of the page.

FREE VIDEO LESSONS

Check out the free videos below (if the videos don’t come up,  please try the online version of this blog post).

Also – while schools might not be going back to normal for a little while, I’m still available to do presentations for school groups – either live or pre-recorded. Get in contact to find out more.

There are heaps more videos on my youtube channel and also on my Teacher resource page.

Littlescribe also has a bunch more free creative writing lessons on their Youtube channel. They also offer full terms’ worth of creative writing programs for a fee via their website; each writing program is developed in conjunction with professional Aussie children’s authors (including me).

10% OFF MY BOOKS + FREE ACTIVITY PACKS

My publisher Fremantle Press is offering 10% off my junior graphic novels, and is throwing in a ‘Kids At Home’ pack too – a bunch of freebies and activity sheets! Use the discount code ATHOME at the checkout to get your discount and freebies. Head to the Fremantle Press website for more info.

*** This offer lasts until Easter 2020. ***


Look after yourselves – wash your hands, keep up your social distancing – and we’ll meet up again on the other side of this.

 

– James