Merry Christmas, from James and Norm … (and Odin)

Merry Xmas, from Odin

 

I often joke with school kids that Odin looks like a pirate Santa. (You may already know that similarities between depictions of Odin and Santa are not coincidental). Anyway, that running joke led to the drawing above. There could be a story in it; who knows?

On behalf of Fremantle Press, Norman and myself, I want to say thank you for your amazing support since the release of The Last Viking. Can you believe that was 2 and a half years ago?? And it’s now only 10 months until The Last Viking Returns!?

Right now I’m working on final illustrations, but I’ll have more time for behind-the-scenes posts in 2014. Stay tuned. And Merry Christmas!

 

James

 

Children’s Book Week, Kalgoorlie style

I spent the last week of August in Kalgoorlie, an old mining town in Western Australia’s goldfields. The Library hosted me, and I saw three school groups a day for 5 days.

I’d been to Kalgoorlie twice before but only ever briefly (my first visit was for year 7 camp back in 1994). This time around I got to explore it more, and also see the nearby towns of Coolgardie and Kambalda.

Out there I was struck by how big the sky was. Sometimes you can see all the way to the horizon with nothing in the way.

IMG_0071
They’ve got big trucks too.
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And a big pit- a superpit, in fact.

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Continue reading “Children’s Book Week, Kalgoorlie style”

More sneak peeks…

There’s only four weeks to go until the launch!

So here’s four sneak peeks to celebrate.

Here’s Josh meeting the bullies…

pg 15 final colour

Prince Knut and his trusty Wolfhound going a-Viking…

pg21 colour

a proper Viking funeral…

pg22 colour

and Odin, Thor and the Bezerkers preparing for battle.

pg25 colour

My favourite part of this last image is the bottom right-hand corner. I put in a bird poo for a joke. At the time I didn’t realise that when people were going to turn this page, that’s exactly where they would have to put their thumb.

Set design- interiors

Last week I blogged about the designing the outside of Nan and Pop’s house. This post is about the inside.

Most features were made up, but one room has its basis in real life- Pop’s hallway is based on Norm’s hallway.

When I first visited Norm’s house, I was amazed at his collection of Viking artefacts. They take pride of place in the hallway, just as you enter the house.

Norms house 0Here’s Norm’s house, with Norm. Get out of the way Norm, I’m trying to take a photo.


Norms house 1
That’s better.

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Set design- exteriors

I grew up in a house that my great-grandparents built in 1936. Four generations of my family have lived in the house (only two at a time though); my parents and sister still live there. Its a Californian bungalow design, common in older suburbs around Perth like East Fremantle and Mt Hawthorn.

I remember snippets of visiting my great-grandparents when they were still living in the house. I was only 3 or 4. Great-grandma would take a tray of just-baked cupcakes out of the Metters stove. We would sit in the front room and eat, while family members with big white moustaches that I didn’t know the names of looked down from frames on the mantlepiece. Great-grandma was always smiling, at least I think she was- or maybe that’s a made up memory based on the only photos I know of her. I don’t remember great-grandpa very much. In his photos he looks kind.

great-grandma and grandpa

Pop’s house in The Last Viking is essentially my family home. Obviously my parents don’t live in a house with Viking ornamentation all over it, but the basic similarities are there.

Continue reading “Set design- exteriors”