It’s a weird thing drawing the covers when I haven’t actually written the books yet! I really need to get on with writing too – deadlines are looming.
The publishing business needs to see the covers as soon as possible, so that marketing can start swinging into action. There are catalogues to be produced, schedules to be organised, printers to be booked and warehouse space to be allocated. So much to do and all waiting for me to get what is in my head out onto paper.
Here’s a video explaining how I paint the covers and a bit of chat about designing covers too!
Are you getting excited by the British Museum Vikings Exhibition? I am! The British museum is one my most favourite places in the world and the new exhibition is going to open the brand new World Conservation and Exhibition Centre.
Having a Norwegian mother, I always thought I would grow up to be a Viking. Unfortunately there are few jobs for Vikings these days, so I became a children’s author and illustrator instead.
Eventually the time came to write my Viking stories. I was inspired the day I went to my Auntie’s Hutte – or little holiday house – on an island not far from Bergen in Norway.The Hutte looks down on a small inlet from the sea.There was a moment when I put the name and the geography together and realised that Snekkevik (Snake Vik) would have once been a Viking settlement.
The name Viking means “People of the Viks“. This inlet was a Vik and this is where Vikings would have lived. Now you can drive there over bridges and there is gas and electricity too. But I could imagine Viking children playing on the beach, just as my children were doing a thousand years later.
Viking Vik was born in my imagination! A lot of work later and The eight book series became a reality. If you are studying Vikings, you may like to have a bit of Viking related reading. They’re both fun and informative – boys love them :D
Learn to draw Viking Vik!
“What’s a crumpet?” I hear you say, Shame on you. Crumpets are the most delicious teatime bread/cake/bun – not sure what to call it. They are a little rubbery and they have holes in the top side. When toasted, butter melts into the holes. Lovely covered with jam, jelly, marmalade, honey or, I suppose, even peanut butter.
When you bite into a crumpet the melted butter will drip down your chin and all over your fingers and clothes! delicious! Watch the video and learn how to draw one!
I’m sure many people will be wanting to draw a WW1 tank as the centenary of the first world war is upon us. This one is fairly simple. I shall do another more action scene too soon. If you would like me to draw more WW1 things, let me know in the comments
If you don’t know what to draw on a card for Valentine’s Day, here are 78 ideas for you. There must be something in there that you can use! Click the video to be taken to a video that will explain how to draw in more detail.
Coming soon! I’m working on the final artwork for my new book, Dragon Gold, which will be published in May by Firefly Press, the new and first children’s book publisher in Wales. It’s an honour to have been asked to write one of Firefly’s launch titles and I’ve had a lot of fun writing it.
Harri never wins anything at school, because Ryan’s Dad has a lot of time on his hands and makes sure that Ryan wins everything. Dragon Gold is the story of how Harri and Ryan’s Dad battle it out to win Dragon Gold, the prize for making a model dragon fly for over 10 seconds at the school Eisteddfod.
What’s an Eisteddfod? Well you’ll have to read the book to find out! It’s set in Wales, in a town that is a mixture of places I know well, like Machynlleth, Portmadoc, many schools and towns in the Valleys of South Wales and my Grandmother’s Birthplace, Hollywell.
In this video I talk a bit about the book and show the techniques I use for the illustrations.
Take a simple word like Slow.
Slow can be pronounced phonetically as Slough, like the town, or Sloe, as in the name of the fruit.
If you come from Birmingham, you probably will say Slough for Slow.
And if you come from the North East you will say something nearer to Slew.
In Newcastle it will sound more like Slaw and in Yorkshire Slor.
Cockneys, in Lunnun Tahn, might say Slah-oow.
In South Wales it might sound a bit like Slor-awe
In Slough itself the world might be pronounced Sleeow.
Out in the West and East Anglia you will hear Sloo.
Other regions and nations might say Sloah, slurwah and Slah-oo. If you’re posh, Slee-oow and let’s not forget that wonderful antipodean rising inflective – Slah-oow?.
Some people think that reading is decoding.
Decoding is an analytical pursuit for cryptographers, accountants and machine translators. Decoding provides raw data that can be interpreted in a multitude of different ways.
All the pronunciations above are my interpretations of different accents. Others may hear those accents and interpret them quite differently.
Human’s are messy, elastic creatures that tend to break the rules.
English is a messy, elastic language – it tends to break the rules too.
Yesterday I spent the morning in the British Museum, looking for details to add to the stories, and came away with lost of fabulous new ideas.
I spent some time sketching the gladiator helmet and decided it would be great to make a video showing how to draw it. I imagine there will be lots more videos over the next few months that will be inspired by the illustrations and stories I’ll be working on.