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

Creating the character of Knut- part 1

So, after building the ship with Nick, I used some of the photos as reference for character sketches.

pics of Nick
pics of Nick
sketches of Nick, and character ideas
ship building sketches 1
ship building sketches, featuring a very early 'Wolverine' (Knut's dog).
ship building sketch 2
Nick performing cardboard dragon dentistry

These sketches look very similar to the final roughs for the book- I’ll show their development in a future post.

From this point I started developing a very early version of Knut, which looks nothing like the final version… I call it the ‘big-nose’ version. Here’s a peek:

big nose detail
One of the first Knut sketches, dated 6/10/09

More next week!

Building a Longship – Cardboard Engineering (part 1 of 3)

To recap-  a boy who lived across the road from my parents was helping me develop the main character for the book. This boy, Nick, seemed very much like the main character of Josh (Knut)- both are very inventive and creative boys, with vivid imaginations. For research purposes (and for fun), Nick, his dad Roy and I set about building a Viking longship out of a cardboard fridge box.

Step 1.

We laid the cardboard out flat and ruled a line straight down the middle- we’d be building two identical sides for our ship, so we would need to divide the cardboard in half.

Nick and his dad Roy measuring

Step 2.

We drew the outline of the boat onto one half of the cardboard, making one half of a ship.

Nick consults the blueprints
the dragon-head of our longship

Continue reading “Building a Longship – Cardboard Engineering (part 1 of 3)”