Saturday 29 May 2010


Once upon a time publishers sent us illustrators copies of the books we had worked on as a matter of duty, these days the complimentary copies are less forthcoming. This may well be down to publishers being understaffed and overworked rather than some conspiracy, of course. Luckily I have Wendy Dye of the Art Agency to hunt down the books I've worked on, and this morning something I did four years ago finally arrived in book form. Well done Wendy!

Before I get to that here's some other books that have turned up. The Merlin books I've blogged about a few times here are pictured above and below. The designer did a nice thing for the chapter headings, chopping my illustrations. Below you can see the scattered mix of text, comic strip and straight illustration that I was playing with. It's a shame this series got cancelled (due to some supermarket deal rather than the reception to the books I'm told) as I would have liked to continue the experiment.

Another set of books I blogged about turned up recently as well. This is a series of 'junior spy adventures' called The MI Five. This was my first experiment with manga Studio, I tried to use the tight deadline and new tools to give a real 'drive-by-illustration' speed and frantic feel, working without pencils and drawing free hand over thumbnails. In fact the second image here with the bashful boy and girl was my first ever attempt at using Manga studio.

And below is the book that turned up this morning. At the time I did it I had no work and was prepared to turn my hand to anything. Despite the terror that blazed in my head when I was offered a 3-D pop-up, natural history book to be done 'realistically' in water colour, I still said yes.

Each spread required four A3 watercolour paintings with areas that could be removed to reveal the image beneath. I had to work with a paper engineer who had some kind of masterplan I was only partially aware of. I'm not someone who paints with watercolour, so it's fair to say I felt totally out of my depth on this project.

My daughter loves this book now it has arrived, so I'll give it to her. Makes it all worth while.


Simon said...

Excellent work all round, Rob, as one would expect. The Merlin layouts and art are really good.

Garen said...

Amazing work - as ever!

paulhd said...

really nice. Reckon I'll pick up a couple of those Merlin books.

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