Building a Longship- final construction (part 3 of 3)

With the cardboard cut and painted, it was time for Nick and I to put the pieces together.

First we poked holes in the side of the ship with a screwdriver, then bolted the shields on.

Nick activates the ship's deflector shields
Nick activates the ship's deflector shields
One side finished
One side finished. It was around this point that we started getting funny looks from passers by.

Then we attached the two sides to each other.

The ship stands on its own
The ship stands up pretty well. Nick is finishing the sail, painting over the last of the floral print
Nick cuts the curtain rod
Nick cuts the curtain rod, while our ship bobs serenely on the driveway
The sail dries in the sun
The sail dries in the sun. The crossbeam of the mast is held by a bolt and some wire

We cut a hole in the sail so that the mast could poke through the middle- all finished!

Nick tests the boat
"Oy. Don't even think about christening the boat."

Time to set sail. (…there’s an awful lot of seagrass here.)

Onward to glory
To infinity, and beyond!

This process gave me lots of ideas for a sequence in the book, and for the character design of Josh/Knut. Next week I’ll show you some sketches I made from reference photos…

Building a Longship- spray painting (part 2 of 3)

Nick, Roy and I had finished cutting the cardboard– it was time to paint it. Roy bought some silver and brown spray paint, and Nick and I got started…

Nick with a metal hand
Nick tests out the paint
Nick paints the side of the ship
Nick paints the side of the ship

Continue reading “Building a Longship- spray painting (part 2 of 3)”

Building a Longship – Cardboard Engineering (part 1 of 3)

To recap-  a boy who lived across the road from my parents was helping me develop the main character for the book. This boy, Nick, seemed very much like the main character of Josh (Knut)- both are very inventive and creative boys, with vivid imaginations. For research purposes (and for fun), Nick, his dad Roy and I set about building a Viking longship out of a cardboard fridge box.

Step 1.

We laid the cardboard out flat and ruled a line straight down the middle- we’d be building two identical sides for our ship, so we would need to divide the cardboard in half.

Nick and his dad Roy measuring

Step 2.

We drew the outline of the boat onto one half of the cardboard, making one half of a ship.

Nick consults the blueprints
the dragon-head of our longship

Continue reading “Building a Longship – Cardboard Engineering (part 1 of 3)”

Sketchy Vikings

While Norman was in the Shetlands researching, I was at home in Perth, doing some research for the pictures.

I made a few initial sketches of Viking things- costumes, houses, the bows of ships,  rune stones, helmets… Norman has a huge collection of books on Vikings, so I wasn’t short of material. These sketches gave me lots of ideas for how the pictures and characters might look. (I haven’t shown all the sketches here, because  don’t want to give away too much of the story).

In all the kid's reference books about Vikings, they show these cool little carved chess pieces. There's two in this sketch- the king up the top, holding the sword on his lap - and the warrior down the bottom, biting his shield

Continue reading “Sketchy Vikings”