New book out now (and more on the way)

Hello readers!

James here, finding a quiet moment while the toddler is asleep to update my blog. And there’s lots of news to share …

FUNNY BONES out now

Funny Bones came out just this week. It’s a whopping 700-page kids’ anthology from the funniest Australian authors and illustrators, with all royalties going to the charity War Child Australia.

I’ve got a couple of pages of comics in there, but you’ll also find Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, Garth Nix, Jacqueline Harvey, Richard Roxburgh, Sally Rippin, Tristan Banks, Gus Gordon … you name them, they’re probably featured in here. It’s a brilliant book for a brilliant cause, and would make an absolutely brilliant Christmas present.

Grab your copy of Funny Bones here:
Allen & Unwin
Dymocks
Booktopia (Aus/NZ only)

… or ask your local indie bookshop for a copy.


TOFFLE TOWERS 2 out in January

The next installment in the adventures of young hotel manager Chegwin Toffle will land in bookstores in January 2020. Words by the incomparable Tim Harris; illustrations by me.

This time around, Chegwin’s hotel staff are ‘reverse mugged’ by two mysterious men. Chaos ensues and it’s Chegwin’s job to get to the bottom of these attacks before Toffle Towers loses all its hard-earned guests. Meanwhile, the town of Alandale is preparing for the annual Great River Race. Once Chegwin discovers his saboteur is none other than Brontessa Braxton, owner of the rival hotel in town, Chegwin find himself preparing to go head to head with her in the Great River Race to save his beloved staff and Toffle Towers.You can pre-order Toffle Towers book 2 here:
Booktopia (Australia/NZ only)
Angus & Robertson (Australia only)
QBD (Australia only)
Dymocks
Readings

… or ask your local indie bookshop to order it in for you.


More books coming in 2020/21

Look out for these projects coming next (I’m excited!):

Chickensaurus (Sally Tinker book 4)
Toffle Towers Book 3
– the follow-up picture book to cult favourite My Dead Bunny (more details on that soon)
Stellarphant, a new picture book written and illustrated by me

That’s all the new book news for now! Thanks for reading.

– James

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

I’ve got some Perth-based school holiday workshops, and the Perth book launch of Dungzilla!
Plus, some fantastic events in Queensland in early September, including the My Dead Bunny musical.

Continue reading “Events for Sept-Oct 2017, including the Dungzilla book launch”

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’”