Watch the instant replay of my online book launch!

Hello readers! I’m struggling to find the right words for this post; it’s been a very big week in a very big month in a very crazy year and I’m barely keeping my eyes open. I’m sure many parents feel the same at the end of CBCA Book Week. As a complete sucker for punishment, on top of all this, I decided to run a livestreamed double book launch this morning. If you missed it, you can check out the recording below.

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Chickensaurus is out TODAY!

My new graphic novel, Chickensaurus, is out today!

I hope you enjoy the story; I worked really hard on this one and I think it’s my best yet! And special thanks to everyone who pre-ordered a copy, it makes a huge difference.

Here’s a little insight into the process of making the graphic novel; it’s a timelapse of me working on four pages from the final illustrations. It’s about 7 hours work shrunk down into 11 minutes.

You can order Chickensaurus at the links below.

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Awesome Festival workshops + a double book launch

The Awesome Festival is back (and COVID safe) this October in Perth. I’m running some art workshops for kids, plus I’m having a double book launch!

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Two new book trailers

I love making book trailers. It makes the armchair-movie-director in me feel very satisfied!

It’s a great challenge to make a movie that will give readers a sense of what the book is about; it’s also very exciting to find just the right music and sound effects that will bring the story to life.

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New books available for pre-order

It’s a bumper year for new books. As well as Toffle Towers book 3 out on Aug 4th, I’ve got another two books coming out later this year. One is a graphic novel about Jurassic Park with chickens, and the other the sequel to the cult-favourite My Dead Bunny!

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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

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:

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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.

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