I wish I could paint this fast

Here’s a timelapse of me painting a page from The Last Viking Returns.

This page features Odin and his ravens, as well as Freya (the goddess of love and beauty), Sigurd (blacksmith to the gods), and Thor (no introduction needed).

All the illustrations in the book (including this one) were drawn with pencil, then scanned and coloured digitally using a Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet and Photoshop CS3/Corel Painter X3.

The footage was captured using Screenium. The colouring process took 4 hours in real time.

The Last Viking Returns is the sequel to The Last Viking (2011) and is once again illustrated by James Foley (me) and written by Norman Jorgensen. All being well, it’ll be released in October 2014 by Fremantle Press!

Sneak Peek

Hello readers! We’ve been away for a bit. But Norm and I have been working on something new. Hopefully I’ll have a cover image to reveal in the next month.

In the meantime, here’s a section from one of my colour roughs. It should give you a little idea of what’s to come.

TLV2-sneak-peek-1

 

Onward to glory,

James

Viking longship-builders in Murwillumbah

These incredible longships were handcrafted by Year 4 viklings at St Joseph’s Primary School in Murwillumbah.

Their teacher Deborah Walker has put in a huge effort. Thanks for bringing the book to life and encouraging the next generation of marauders!

Thanks also to the school’s library coordinator Melissa Fraser for sending the photos.

Melissa tells us the school is busting to read the sequel to The Last Viking. We’re working as quick as we can Melissa- I’ll get on to the artwork in the middle of next year, fingers crossed.


viking ships from St Joseph's Primary in Murwillumbah

viking ships from St Josephs Primary, Murwillumbah

viking ships from St Josephs Primary, Murwillumbah

The kids’ votes are in – The Last Viking wins the 2012 Hoffman Award!

WAYRBA logo

The Last Viking has won the Hoffman Award in the 2012 West Australian Young Readers’ Awards.

The Hoffman is awarded to the highest-ranked book by a West Australian creator (in this case, 2 creators!).

It sure is an honour to have kids pick and then vote for their favourite book. Thanks to all the WA young readers who voted, we couldn’t be happier.

Studio Open Day- Sunday Nov 25, 2-5pm

My studio is in a Leederville complex called The Ward, and on Nov 25th we’re having an open day!

Come see where I work and what I’m working on next. I’ll have prints from ‘The Last Viking’ for sale too.

Plus you’ll get to meet all the other amazing artists here: filmmakers, photographers, illustrators, painters, textile workers… it will be awesome.

Come down and say hi! We’ll be open from 2-5pm.

More info at Artsource’s website.

Make-your-own Viking god or goddess

One of the best parts of school visits is seeing the great ideas that schoolkids come up with. Here’s a bunch of viking god and goddesses, designed by students during children’s book week this year. God of Wind, by Tom Isabella the Goddess of Patterns, by Maddy Bothgolong, God of Fire, by Rohan A portrait of Thor that also folds up into a paper plane, by Christian This guy looks familiar… The God of Literature, by Catherine And finally, Optimus Prime, by Brayden. It’s not a viking god but it looks really cool.

Award-winning Viking display by young berserkers

Norm and I were stunned to see the following Viking-inspired artwork from year 2s at Guildford Grammar in Western Australia.

There’s Viking helmets, self-portraits with rune-encoded titles, and longships all over the place! It’s no wonder they won an in-school Children’s Book Week competition for best classroom decorations.

Well done year 2s. This really made us smile 🙂

guildford grammar display 1

guildford grammar display 2

Prepare your classroom for a Viking invasion

Viking boat display at heARTlines Festival 2011
Display by Gidgegannup Primary School students at heARTlines Festival 2011. Teacher: Trevor Dent.

It’s August, which means Children’s Book Week is fast approaching. If you’re a teacher, maybe you’d like to use The Last Viking for one of your classroom displays. Here’s some examples that Norm and I have seen since the book came out.

In the example above, teacher Trevor Dent guided his students from Gidgegannup Primary in making a Viking ship display for the heARTlines Children’s Literature Festival 2011. The centrepiece is a ship painted on to card with a cloth sail. Students have illustrated characters from the book and their own original Viking warriors.

The picture below is a display from Year 1/2 H at Penrith, NSW. They coloured viking ships, swords and shields, and translated their names into runes along the bottom of the display.

Viking artwork display by year 1 and 2 students at Penrith NSW

Below are two photos from a year 3 classroom at Rosalie Primary School. I visited them for their biennial writers’ festival and contributed some drawings. The foam lettering and cardboard viking ship were used in their assembly item (seen playing on the smartboard), in which they acted out the entire book! They performed an inspired closing number- ‘One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater’. Odin and Thor would be proud of their stellar efforts.

Rosalie Primary School display

Rosalie classroom display 2
Rosalie Primary School display- detail of their cardboard Viking ship

And finally, here are some illustrations by the same talented Rosalie Primary School year 3s. These are pasted to the front and inside of a thank you card the students presented to me. Norm got one too. We were gobsmacked at the creativity in this classroom (which probably has a lot to do with their fantastic teacher, Mrs Goods).

Rosalie Primary students artwork 1

Rosalie artwork 2

One other activity I like to do with students is Viking character design. I talk a little about the Viking gods and what each god or goddess was in charge of. Then I ask the students to imagine that if they were a Viking god or goddess, what would they be in charge of? Then I ask them to draw that character.

There’s more Viking-themed classroom resources on our Resources page. There’s blackline masters for colouring in, a ‘How To Read Runes’ worksheet, and links to activities on the web.

The Teachers page gives you some ideas about how to link The Last Viking in with curriculum, and provides a handy overview of this blog and sorts some useful posts into ready-made lists for you.
Norm and I love seeing the work that students make in response to The Last Viking. If you have any pictures of your own Viking displays or artwork and would like to share them with us via your blog, we’d love to see them- send us a link!

Last Viking flying high

The Last Viking has won the 2012 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) Crystal Kite Award.SCBWI Crystal Kite

This is a members’ choice award. Writers and illustrators from each region voting on their favourite title for the past year.
Congratulations to all the other Crystal Kite winners around the world! And many many thanks to all the Australian and New Zealander SCWBIans for choosing our book; it’s very humbling to have your support.

James responds to the news