Events for Sept-Oct 2017, including the Dungzilla book launch

Exciting news: my next graphic novel for kids, Dungzilla, is out on September 1st!

Kids and families are invited to a book launch on October 3rd at the State Library of WA – scroll down for details.

DUNGZILLA is available for pre-order now.

And now, my upcoming events:
Some Perth-based school holiday workshops, and the Perth book launch of Dungzilla!
Plus, some fantastic events in Queensland in early September.


Sept 4:  Bearbots and Brobots (for kids)

Join me and fellow author Andrew King for a fun session about robotics! in building robots out of bits and pieces. I made a graphic novel called Brobot, and Andrew King wrote a book called Engibear’s Dream. Find out what a Brobot is and meet Engibear. Listen to the stories, join in hands on activities then explore the library’s bots.

WHEN: Monday Sept 4
TIMES: 4:00pm-5:00pm
WHERE: Ipswich Central Library
AGES: 4-8yo
COST: free
BOOKINGS:
essential; click here.


Sept 4-7:  StoryArts Festival Ipswich, schools program

I’ll be talking to schoolkids about the making of my picture book, My Dead Bunny, written by Sigi Cohen and illustrated by me. The sessions will run after performances of My Dead Bunny the musical (see below).

WHEN: Monday Sept 4- Thursday 7
TIMES: 10:35am and 1:25pm
WHERE: Studio 188, 188 Brisbane St, Ipswich, QLD
AGES: grades 5-7
COST & BOOKINGS: see the StoryArts Festival website.


Sept 4-9:  My Dead Bunny, the musical comedy!

You’ve read the book – now see the musical.

After his pet bunny Brad perishes in an electrifying accident, a young Boy struggles to say goodbye, but following a bizarre chain of events, it would seem that Bunny Brad’s journey isn’t quite over.

Odd odours, eerie earthworms, and strange shadows can only mean one thing – there’s an undead bunny going bump in the night. But with a cast of eccentric doctors, bizarre besties, creepy crawlies, peculiar parents, silly sisters, and ghoulish guests… defeating the undead may be a little tricky.

A hare-raising musical adventure for the whole family.

WHERE: Studio 188, 188 Brisbane St, Ipswich, QLD

SCHOOL GROUP SESSIONS: Sept 4th-7th: 9:30am and 12:20pm daily. Grades 5-7.
Bookings via StoryArts Festival Ipswich.

PUBLIC SESSIONS: Sept 7th-9th: 7.30pm nightly + 11am & 2pm Sat 9th.
Bookings via That Production Company.


Sept 8:  Brisbane Writers’ Festival schools program (Wordplay)

I’m running two different sessions at BWF this year.
Creature Characters is for primary students – they’ll learn all about the secrets of character design and how to design their own robots and creatures.
Visual Literacy is for teachers – it’s a session on learning how visual narratives tell stories in picture books and comics.

WHEN: Friday Sept 8
TIMES:
*  Creature Characters: 10am-11am and 1pm-2pm
*  Visual Literacy: 11:30am-12:30pm
WHERE: State Library of Queensland
COST & BOOKINGS: see the BWF Wordplay website for details.


Sept 9-10:  StoryArts Festival Ipswich, adults program

I’ve got two sessions:

My Dead Bunny – Digging Deep
I’ll talk about the illustration process behind the CBCA-shortlisted picture book.
WHEN: Saturday Sept 9th, 3:30pm-4:30pm.

Bearbots and Brobots
Hear from myself and Andrew King about the making of our two books: Brobot and Engibear’s Dream.
WHEN: Sunday Sept 10th, 9:45am-10:45am.

BOOKINGS: Essential. Head to the StoryArts Festival website for more details.


Sept 28-29:  Robot illustration workshops (for kids)

Come to the City of Melville libraries for an art workshop! Learn how to create your own robot collage illustration, inspired by my comic book for kids, Brobot.

TIMES/VENUES:
Thurs Sept 28
*  9:30-10:30am – Civic Square Library >>>BOOKED OUT<<<
*  11:30am-12:30pm – Canning Bridge Library
*  2-3pm – Willagee Library
Fri Sept 29
*  9:30-10:30am, 11:30am-12:30pm – both at AH Bracks Library.

BOOKINGS: Essential. Book your place online here.


Oct 3:  DUNGZILLA book launch! (for kids)

It’s here, it’s finally here! Help me celebrate the launch of my latest graphic novel in the S.Tinker Inc series, Dungzilla. I’ll tell you all the weird things I learned about about dung beetles while researching the book, we’ll do some drawing, and you can ask your nitty-gritty questions about the book-making process. And I’ll also sign your copy of Dungzilla!

This launch is part of the Awesome Arts Festival for kids.

WHEN: Tues Oct 3
TIME: 3pm
WHERE: The Story Place, mezzanine floor, State Library of WA
COST: $15.50 general admission + one copy of the authors’ book. $25.50 family of four + one copy of the authors’ book. $5.50 general admission (Inclusive of all fees and charges).
BOOKINGS: Essential. Book your place online here (there’s a tiny ‘Book Now’ button on that page, top right) or call 9328 9666 during office hours.


Oct 5:  Cartooning workshops (for kids)

I’m heading to the City of Kalamunda libraries to teach you cartooning! We’ll practice the basic facial expressions, learn how to draw bodies, and invent our own crazy characters.

WHEN: Thurs Oct 5
TIMES/VENUES:
*  9:30-10:30am – Kalamunda Library >>>BOOKED OUT<<<
*  11:15am-12:15pm – Lesmurdie Library
*  1:30-2:30pm – Forrestfield Library >>>BOOKED OUT<<<

BOOKINGS: Essential. Book your place online here.

 


Teacher resources for My Dead Bunny

Children’s Book Week is coming up fast: this year it’s August 22nd – 26th.

My latest book My Dead Bunny is shortlisted in the 2016 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, in the Picture Book of the Year category.

A lot of older students will balk at the mention of picture books because those are just for babies.

But this book is different.

While it is technically a picture book, it’s definitely not a bedtime story for little ones – it’s for older readers, 8-ish and up (teenagers and adults especially seem to love this one.)

Older kids take one look at this book and know it’s not for babies, so they don’t feel like they’re being talked down to. It’s a great book for looking at rhyming texts, visual narrative/visual literacy and generic conventions. Plus it has zombies in it. Kids love zombies.

In preparation for Children’s Book Week, Walker Books and I have put together some free teacher notes for My Dead Bunny.The notes include heaps of discussion points and activity ideas, with links to relevant behind-the-scenes posts from my blog. It should all make studying the book in class super easy.

Download ‘My Dead Bunny’ Teacher Notes (pdf)

Behind-the-Scenes blog posts

My blog has heaps of posts about the making of the book; each post is tagged with ‘My Dead Bunny’.

View Behind-the-Scenes blog posts

Craft Activity – make your own zombie rabbit softie

Shannon at OhCreativeDay.com has put together this brilliant tutorial on how to create your own zombie rabbit softie.

Blackline Masters

Here’s some fun activities for early finishers – two word searches and two colouring-in sheets. Feel free to download these for use in your classroom.

– My Dead Bunny word search –
Download word search (pdf)
Download solution (pdf)

My-Dead-Bunny-word-search-600px– Zombie vocab word search –
Download word search (pdf)
Download solution (pdf)

My-Dead-Bunny-zombie-vocab-word-search-600px– Mindlessness colouring sheet #1 –
Download now (pdf)

MDB-mindlessness-colouring-1-600px– Mindlessness colouring sheet #2 –
Download now (pdf)

MDB-mindlessness-colouring-2-600px

If you choose to use the book in class, I’d love to hear about how you use it! Please leave a comment below, or send me photos of displays/student work via james(AT)jamesfoley.com.au   [replace the (AT) with an @].


MDB_cover-400pxBuy ‘My Dead Bunny’ now

Booktopia (Australia)
Readings (Australia)
Angus & Robertson (Australia)
Book Depository (UK)

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.

IMG_7295

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

Colour schemes for My Dead Bunny

mdb-colour-test-3-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, 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’

Cover-rough-1-colour

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.

Continue reading “Designing the cover for ‘My Dead Bunny’”

Early sketches for My Dead Bunny

early-sketches-MDB-header

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”

How ‘The Shining’ influenced ‘My Dead Bunny’

dead-bunny-final-pg19-the-shining-header

My Dead Bunny includes a scene in a hotel lobby. It seemed like a natural opportunity to reference the classic horror film The Shining. My idea was rejected.

Continue reading “How ‘The Shining’ influenced ‘My Dead Bunny’”

My Dead Bunny in Top 10 Picture Books of 2015

Thanks to Zac from bestfriendsarebooks.com for naming ‘My Dead Bunny’ in his Top 10 Picture Books for 2015.

I’m very chuffed for Bunny Brad to be in such good company.

My Best Friends Are Books

This year has been another great year for picture books.  There has been a good mix of laugh-out-loud picture books to read aloud to groups and picture books with lots of details to share one-on-one.  Below is my list of favourite picture books from 2015 (some with links to my reviews).  I’ve been doing lots of school visits in my library role this year and most of the books below have been real winners with the kids I’ve read them to.  Some of them I didn’t get a chance to review (these I’ve elaborated on) but they have proved to be very popular.

  1. Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey
  2. Little Red Riding Hood (Not Quite) by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley
  3. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
  4. I Want Spaghetti by Stephanie Blake
  5. My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen and James Foley
  6. The Mystery…

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