Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Meals on Wheels

Doesn't every villain deserve some sort of machine to assist them in their fiendish plan? Hyde is definitely one of those dastardly scoundrels, he's a massive mouse with a monster appetite. It's only fitting his machine as the power to ZAP anything into food, from tables into toffee, chairs into chocolate... and even grannies into custard! 
This is the first drawing him in his machine. 

Initial drawing of Hyde's machine


During the development stage Hyde's machine was called various names like the Greedy Grub Mobile, Mighty Bite Buggy, Greedy Beastie Bus, Meals On Wheels Mobile and eventually Mega Munch Machine.

Mega Munch Machine

Where did Hyde find the parts to create his machine?
Early on in the story we see Granny hoover up her home after Hyde's first night on the rampage. I worked with the idea of something that was used to clean up his mess, would eventually be used as a weapon for more muddle and mayhem.

Granny cleaning up Hyde's dirty mess

This is Hyde putting the pieces together to build a machine fit for a Monster Mouse!

Hyde's work in Progress

If you like bonkers stories that contain mischief making, monster mouse machines, why not check out Hyde and Squeak in your local bookshop!





Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Hyde and Squeak

When Little Tiger Press asked me to create a gothic children's picture book I was absolutely thrilled. The well known classic The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson was my initial inspiration which give me a loose starting point, and Hyde and Squeak is the result!

The development kicked off with the simple idea of a pet transforming into something large, sinister and silly. The next stage was to design the three characters, below you'll see a selection of sketches for Squeak, Granny and Hyde.

Squeak - character sketches
Squeak - final design
Granny - character studies
Hyde (aka Monster Mouse) - early development
Hyde - final design

Early on we explored a multitude of story directions to find it's heart. It was crucial to consider how this would affect the characters and especially their motives. Obviously the plot needed some sort of transformation of small animal to large creature, and of course a food substance to swallow. I tried out various alternatives such as chocolate nuts shown in the thumbnails below.

Early initial thumbnails

After lots of discussions on favourite foods it was decided jelly was the best option, this was down to it's sculptural qualities and it's loads of fun to eat. So the result is a bright green wobbly jelly holding an assortment of disgusting toppings!!

Spread 1 - Squeak wins a prize!

Thumbnails are my favourite part of telling a story, I love doodling the possibilities and playing around with interesting compositions on the page. The layout of Hyde and Squeak evolved into a mix of a traditional picture book and comic book. The rough below is for my favourite spread. Hyde (I like to call him Monster Mouse), is terribly hungry and scouring the neighbourhood for food. Whilst on a quest for sausages he clambers up a drainpipe belonging to the local butcher, and snatches a plie of scrummylicious, raw treats. He's so greedy and eats far too much too quickly, leading to him break wind... PARP! Then POOF! he disappears, then PING! Squeak is back with us, and can't remember a thing!


Spread 4 - What a greedy beastie!
I absolutely love old movies and took inspiration from the 1933 version of King Kong - although King Kong has a much more perilous journey to reach his final goal! The black and white world belonging to Hyde helps give the story it's gothic flavour and it's an introduction into Hyde's dark but comical, gluttonous character.

And a peek of the finished spread without text.

Here comes trouble!


If you're interested in seeing what other shenanigans Granny, Squeak and Hyde get up to, Hyde and Squeak is out on the 8th September.






Friday, 13 February 2015

Friday the 13th...

We all have our moments of being superstitious, especially on days like this. So instead of dwelling on what bad luck may lay ahead, I'm going to share something good. 

Lets start with some work in progress.

Things that go bump in the night...

These images are in response to a couple of ideas I have been playing around with.

House on the hill

And now for some good news! I'm very excited to hear that Ballet Cat has been shortlisted along with three other gorgeous books, for the Dundee Picture book award. The winning book will be revealed in June! 

Way to go Arthur!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Santa's Swag

It's been a great lead up to Christmas and I've been ever so busy which is how I like it. I'm super excited about welcoming 2015 as I'll be getting stuck into my new picture book, which looks to be very different to anything I've previously done. It's a wonderful thing to be able to push your work and ideas in a new direction, it's my most favourite and enjoyable part of making imagery and storytelling. I will try my best to share some of the development along the way.

In the meantime, thank you for reading the blog and here's a little something sort of festive.

Secret Santa's Swag Sack

Wishing everyone lots of Christmas cheer!






Friday, 31 October 2014

Smashing Pumpkins!

Last week I visited a farm and stumbled upon a lorry load of shifty looking characters. And by the looks on their faces it appeared they couldn't wait to get the party started!

Frolicking Fruit

Halloween gives me the perfect excuse to stock up on extra candy for those pesky Trick or Treaters - or should I say to have on my desk to munch on whilst I work away. There's nothing better than polishing off a bag of psychedelic coloured, jellied insects to keep the creativity levels up to speed. 


Dance the Fangdango



 Happy Halloween... mwahahaha!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ice Cream Bucket Challenge!

By now everyone has heard of the Ice Bucket Challegethe campaign that raises awareness for the MND Asoociation. I was nominated by the lovely Karen Ross to make a donation along with doing the challenge. But Karen specifically requested a doodle and said she'd like Milly Moo to be involved... so it became the Ice Cream Bucket Challenge! 

Curious cows


What's about to occur?

We've been Chilly Milly Mooed!

Many years ago I lost my dad to MND, so I'm grateful to everyone that have already doused themselves in icy cold water, or created a doodle to boost awareness and help raise funds. More importantly though if you can, please make a donation to Motor Neurone Disease Association or you can easily text, details below.

Many thanks!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Animal Crackers

It's been a fantastic start to the day as I've received a copy of The Mumsnet Book of Animal Stories. It's a gorgeous, vibrant anthology containing ten enthalling tales which was a real pleasure to work on. I love nothing more than reading funny a story, so illustrating Captain Yuri and the Space Mission by Susannah O' Brien was a great match for me.

Animal Kingdom

Rough Spread

Sneaky Peek

If you're crackers for stories about animals, it's published on the 2nd October by Walker Books.