Sunday, 18 November 2007

Story rewrite. If a thing's worth doing...

Progress report. I sent off a draft of the story to my US agent a couple of weeks ago. I heard back from them on friday last and they were good enough to provide a full and frank feedback on the work so far. I have to admit I was knocked for six when I first read their comments but after sitting back and mulling things over I can see where they are coming from. So it's back to the nuts and bolts of the story to sort things out with a rewrite. I never intended for the story and artwork to be set in stone at this early stage, and I want to give this my best shot before I try to hawk my wares! If nothing else it's a great learning experience...and we all have to start somewhere. Expect news as it happens. For now here's the latest (unfinished) storyboard before I put on the brakes.

Monday, 12 November 2007

storyboard- pages 8-9

Here's Grandpa hard at work on his night shift, which of course leaves hiim quite sleepy during the daytime!

I was talking with a friend over the weekend (many thanks for listening Al :) and realised that I need to change an aspect of the story on spread 18-19. There are one too many lightbulbs getting broken, which just spoils the flow of the story, so I've rewritten and will have to rework the sketch storyboard. There is another big plus in changing 18-19 as I get to have my storm sequence as a double page spread on 16-17. This was something I really wanted to do from very early on but couldn't get it to work with my earlier page plan. Now I can have this as a double spread it gives me the chance to really show the scale and power of the storm and the characters predicament.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Flattered and puzzled...?!

Came upon a very surprising and confusing post about this blog yesterday. "Children's Books Illustration" posted on youtube on Oct 6th by "alanjasonb" has a slideshow of images from my website and blog which then cuts into the great Eric Carle's artwork...and all this to a soundtrack of Bach's cello suite (spookily, a piece of music I love...). Just to be mentioned alongside Eric Carle is a great compliment and I'm very flattered indeed. Perhaps if alanjasonb is still reading this blog he/she/they might like to post a comment describing their thought process for this nice gesture. The internet truely is a strange and wonderful place sometimes. Many thanks alanjasonb.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

storyboard- pages 6-7 text design

As always my good friend Phil's advice is spot on, cheers phoole! I wasn't going to dwell on the design of the text too much at this stage (just make sure it would fit at the correct point size) but I think I do need to iron things out as I proceed page to page. I'm also being ruthless again, pairing down the story even more as I work on each new page spread. It may still be too wordy on some pages but I can work on that later if necessary. Its still surprising how you see things afresh at each new stage of the book. Some words/phrases which have withstood countless drafts of the story just seem superfluous now I see them against the images. As far as page 7 goes, I'm going to leave the 'sounds' in for now and see how they work when you view the book as a whole. I have always wanted to incorporate some 'audio' but I'm cautious how far I should push it. I think it's important to strike a balance between playful text design and clarity in the page layouts. There's nothing worse than having to go hunting for the next line amongst the image, but I do love the playfulness you can get out of typography.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

storyboard- pages 6-7

As Magnus gets ready for bed his Grandpa climbs the stairs to the top of the lighthouse and switches on the light...self explanatory really. I want to capture a little of the classic James Whale Frankenstein in Grandpa switching on the light so imagine blue sparks and bolts of electricity creating an eerie glow until the bulb is fully lit.

Smurf houses on my lawn.

Smurf property developers have moved onto the lawn in front of my house. I haven't seen any little, blue prospective buyers as yet. Maybe they have a look round while I'm not there...? Interesting to see the 'building process' nevertheless.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

storyboard- pages 4-5

The slow zoom in to the island and the lighthouse continues. It's getting darker as the sun sinks below the horrizon. Pin prick stars are just visable in the sky. We zoom in further until the lighthouse door and the two figures fill the frame. The text introduces Magnus and his Grandpa.

If you compare these figures to my early posts of the character's design you can see that I've played around with the look of Magnus and Grandpa a bit more. Drawing these two so many times for the thumbnail storyboard I've eventually settled into something which is more comfortable for me to draw while also, hopefully, giving Magnus a younger look and making him more visually likable. I've also 'had the builders in' to the lighthouse and added the porch structure. I wanted something which would iron out some composition/lighhouse door design issues I was experiencing with page 5 while also giving the lighhouse more of a homely feel and also providing a focal point for the zoom in.

storyboard- pages 2-3

First of the cleaned up, 50% actual size storyboards. It's sunset with candyfloss clouds in a salmon pink/orange/violet sky. Gulls wheel in the sky. A purple/black night is falling. On the small rocky island light from the lighthouse porch doorway is pooled around two tiny figures. This spread will also contain the legal text and title page.

What I did this October... book thumbnail storyboard.

I see it's been a whole month since I last posted...doh! As always I've been beavering away at my work while letting the blog slip by the wayside. By way of recompense here's the rough storyboard for the book. Some pages came togther much quicker than others but I'm pretty happy with where I'm at as far as page layouts and story pacing goes. Things will no doubt change slightly as I work the thumbnails up into the clean storyboard, which will also provide my underdrawings for each page, but by and large the book has taken on it's final shape.