On a dark and stormy night exactly 10 years ago today, The Last Viking was launched.
It was my very first published book, illustrated by me and written by Norman Jorgensen, and it was launched in dramatic Viking style. Thor brought a ‘once-in-1o-years’ thunderstorm down upon us with 30mm of rain falling in 30 minutes. Hundreds of guests, all completely drenched, helped us celebrate. It was a night to remember, and I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already. Then I look at my kids and my hairline and I can definitely believe it.
To celebrate the milestone, I’ve been posting some behind-the-scenes pics on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past 10 days; head over to those for more in-depth detail. But I’ll share a little bit of it here too. Here are the rough and final versions of some of my favourite spreads in the book.
To the pre-published, the children’s book industry can seem like a secret club. How do you get to be one of those people on the inside, who have their stories and illustrations published professionally? It’s something I get asked a lot.
There’s a scene in The Last Viking Returns called ‘Big Trouble’ where Fafnir the dragon is finally revealed in all his terrible glory. The scene went through a lot of changes during development, so I thought I’d share them here.
We had two launches for The Last Viking Returns this past week: a mini-launch at the fantastic Beaufort Street Books in Mount Lawley, then a big mammoth launch at the State Library. Tonya McCusker generously dressed up to launch our book with her daughter Mary ably assisting. Hit the jump for more photos.
Head up to The Place on the mezzanine floor to see original sketches, storyboards and character designs as well as prints of the final artwork. You can also see research materials and Norm’s original manuscripts.
Read on for photos of the printing and hanging process …
“A very humorous account of two worlds colliding: the mortal and the Viking Asgard. Young Josh, alias Knut, must look after his younger twin siblings at the Viking theme park but Odin and the other Viking gods get caught up in the problem that occurs when the twins go berserk …
Not only is the simple story full of action but the full colour animated spreads further make this book an exciting adventure for the reader. The front end paper brings the theme park alive with its keyed map while the back end paper offers a runic alphabet and code for the more advanced reader. This landscape production will be a sure winner with young readers up to middle primary and perhaps beyond.” – John Cohen, the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Reading Time blog
THE LAST VIKING
“This is an intricately crafted picture book of the highest quality. A CBCA Notable Book in 2012, it manages to both entertain and inspire, while touching on issues ranging from childhood fears and bullying to the power of myth and storytelling. Josh’s creativity as he builds a Viking longship is a joy to behold. His bravery in the face of terror as he marches out to confront a pack of bullying children is formidable. And the way in which his problems are resolved is delightful.
There’s a lovely wry humour running throughout this book that will give parents a great deal of enjoyment too. And I absolutely loved the way the illustrations are allowed to tell entire chunks of the story. In fact, I pretty much loved everything about this book, which is why I can’t wait for the sequel.” –Anouska Jones, Kids’ Book Review