Gastronauts is officially released today (and a Dead Bunny is back)

My new book Gastronauts is officially released today!

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out … though I do wonder if I crossed the grossness threshold with this one.

Here’s the synopsis:

Sally Tinker – the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve – has developed her greatest invention yet. But when Sally’s baby brother Joe swallows it with disastrous (and gaseous) consequences, Sally and her friend Charli must shrink themselves, venture into the very bowels of Joe, and shut down the invention before it’s too late. What could possibly go wrong?

Magpies magazine calls it ‘hilariously funny … it will  be devoured by emerging readers. Perfect for school and public libraries.’ Cheers, Magpies!

You can read a free sample here, and check out some of my favourite images below.

Continue reading “Gastronauts is officially released today (and a Dead Bunny is back)”

The evolution of Sally Tinker

My latest book, Brobot, was released in 2016. It’s a graphic novel for younger readers. I first started working on it in 2012. Over those four years I drew many different versions of the main characters – Sally, Joe and Brobot – and I’ll be sharing some of those over the next few months on this blog.

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ABOVE: One of the earliest sketches of Sally Tinker. From 2012. This is from the very first draft picture book (well before we realised it needed to be a comic). She’s very cute here, and is in much the same style as Josh from The Last Viking. She has a tiny hint of the attitude she shows in the final book.

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ABOVE: Another early sketch of Sally, from 2013, back when I was still trying to figure out her hairstyle and costume. Note that here she still has dots for eyes like Josh did in The Last Viking, rather than the cartoony circular eyes she has in the final book.

 

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ABOVE: Another version of Sally, from 2015. Closer to her final version but not quite there. She now has circles for eyes, and her grumpy demeanour. The oversized rubber gloves didn’t make it to the final version.

ABOVE: Maquettes are super helpful when you want to figure out how a character looks in 3D. I was having particular trouble with Sally’s hairstyle and profile, and a maquette helped me figure that out. This is from January 2016, just as I started the final artwork.

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ABOVE: The final version of Sally Tinker, Feb 2016. When you draw the character from different angles like this, it’s called a ‘turnaround’. It’s a reference you keep by your desk when you illustrate a story so that you can keep your character consistent (ie this is also called keeping your character “on model”). I drew this after I had completed the final illustrations for the book. Pro tip: you should really make your turnaround sheets BEFORE you do the final illustrations, not after 😉


Brobot-3d-final-400pxBuy ‘Brobot’ now

Brobot: from roughs to final artwork

Hello! I’ve pulled together some gifs to show you how I made some of the illustrations in Brobot. You can see how I got from the first rough drawing to the final artwork for each illustration. Check them out below.

(NB: if you’re receiving this post by email and the gifs don’t appear, just click on the post title above to view the original post on my website).


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Brobot-3d-final-400pxBuy ‘Brobot’ now

How I use texture in illustrations (plus 4 free texture sites)

Today I’m going to show you how I used photographic textures in the illustrations of My Dead Bunny.

Photographic textures are great for whenever you need a realistic-looking texture, or when it’s going to be too hard ot time-consuming to draw a texture by hand.

I’ve used photographic textures in all my books so far, but only sparingly.  The creepy, cinematic style of Dead Bunny called for the use of lots and lots of textures, and it was heaps of fun to let loose.

Example 1: title page

Here’s a little excerpt from the title page illustration. It uses the three three texture samples you see below it.

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Continue reading “How I use texture in illustrations (plus 4 free texture sites)”

Colour schemes for My Dead Bunny

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My Dead Bunny is my latest book. It’s a tongue-in-cheek picture book about a zombie pet rabbit. My illustrations took a lot of inspiration from movies.

I’ve already written about how one scene was almost an homage to The Shining, how the family home was inspired by a farmhouse from The Walking Dead and how a lot of the images use camera angles and clichés from film.

Today I’m writing about why the illustrations use a black and white (plus green) colour scheme.

Continue reading “Colour schemes for My Dead Bunny”

Movie clichés and camera angles

dead-bunny-raised-hand-vignette My Dead Bunny is my latest book. It’s a tongue-in-cheek picture book about a zombie pet rabbit. My illustrations took a lot of inspiration from movies.

I’ve already written about how one scene was almost an homage to The Shining, and how the family home was inspired by a farmhouse from The Walking Dead.

Today I’m writing about how some illustrations were inspired by clichés and camera angles used in film.

Continue reading “Movie clichés and camera angles”

Which spooky house influenced My Dead Bunny?

dead-bunny-final-pg16-vignette My Dead Bunny is my latest book. It’s a tongue-in-cheek picture book about a zombie pet rabbit. My illustrations took a lot of inspiration from scary movies.

The book features a spooky house. If it looks familiar, that’s because it is – most American films about ghosts and ghouls take place in a house that looks pretty much like this. But which house is it inspired by?

Continue reading “Which spooky house influenced My Dead Bunny?”

Designing the cover for ‘My Dead Bunny’

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One of my favourite parts of illustrating a book is helping to design the cover – you get to sum up the whole story in one image.

Here’s how the cover for My Dead Bunny came about.

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Early sketches for My Dead Bunny

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I love seeing early sketches for a project. You can see how much work goes into a project before the final images are created, and it’s fun to spot glimpses of the final characters showing through in those first designs. I also like to imagine how different a story might have looked if the creators went with different designs to start with. It’s as if you’re seeing the story as it appears in a parallel universe.

Here are some early sketches for My Dead Bunny. Some spoilers below.

Continue reading “Early sketches for My Dead Bunny”