My new picture book took 7 years to make

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.

Stellarphant 3D 500px square

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.

Continue reading “My new picture book took 7 years to make”

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

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.

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”

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”