Monday, 17 October 2011

Skint! Artwork

We had a fantastic time launching Skint! last month at the International Adult Literacies Conference in Stirling. Members of the Scottish Youth Theatre re-enacted a small part from the book/play, with our artwork as a backdrop, and it was amazing. The actress playing Carly actually looked like Carly in the book (strange to see as the drawings were created long before).

As part of the launch we gave a short speech, along with Gowan Calder who wrote the script, talking about how the project was put together. It started with Sandra sketching out a few characters while Gowan was busy thinking about the script. Here are some of them:

In the book, the character gallery ended up like this (again, selected characters here only):

Because of the unusual nature of the project we decided to proceed slowly at first, with Gowan producing a couple of very rough pages of script, just to get a feel for what the images would bring, and thus know what she could leave out in the script, in terms of direction, character and location description and so forth; as well as allowing everyone to grasp the interaction between characters and between the text and image pages.

Then Gowan worked towards a final draft from which rough layout pages were created. These had to be approved before any final artwork could be started. This stage was actually quite straightforward and we completed the layout for the entire book over a period of four weeks. Skint! is quite an unusual and experimental book in many ways, as the script is on one page and the artwork is on the facing page, much like in a traditional illustrated book. It is designed mainly to be read in a group for role playing: although it works well too for individual reading. We produced the graphic novel pages so that they enhance the reading of the script and set the scenes, as well as developing the characters.

The final pages were pencilled and then directly coloured on computer (after a clean up of the pencils in Photoshop). For the Louis graphic novels, Sandra had been painting by hand with acrylic inks and then inking by hand over the colouring, so this was a nice change.

One of the finished panel images, one of our favourites, from Jamie's story:

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Louis - Red Letter Day

Louis - Red Letter Day has now gone into production. We received the ozalids this week and all has been approved. Looking forward to seeing the finished book!

Official release date is 10th of November 2011!

And we're delighted to announce that we have been successful in securing investment from Creative Scotland for the publication.

Preorder the book on amazon now

Louis - Red Letter Day will be launched at Thought Bubble festival in Leeds on November 19 where we'll be signing copies!

We're also delighted to attending the ceremony for the Leeds Graphic Novel Awards on November 18, as Louis - Night Salad is on the shortlist.

For bookshops and libraries: Louis - Red Letter Day can be ordered through Turnaround Publisher Services, wholesalers and library suppliers (Gardners, Bertrams...)

For comic shops: the graphic novel can still be ordered from Diamond Previews, page 308, item code SEP111173.

Promotional material for shops, schools and libraries is available on request.

1001 Comics...

Paul Gravett's excellent new book is out now. We are pleased to say that 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die features Louis!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Guernsey Book Week 2011

We'd been looking forward to our trip to Guernsey for Book Week 2011 ever since the Guille Allès library invited us, and we weren't disappointed!

Leaving Glasgow in the rain, in a small plane, we soon found ourselves landing in sunny Southampton. From there it was another short flight to Guernsey where we met our hosts and representatives from their Book Week sponsor Ardel.

And, we had the pleasure of meeting our fellow authors Chris Wormell and Sonia Leong, who were also touring the schools.

Our schedule was intense: starting early on Monday morning we visited 14 different primary schools and delivered 15 illustrated talks/workshops over a period of 5 days. In all we must have spoken to over 1500 children from KS2 and had an absolutely brilliant time!

We received an incredible amount of feedback and were extremely impressed by the drawings that the pupils produced.

On the Thursday evening we gave a public talk (along with Chris and Sonia), and then presented copies of Louis - Night Salad to the winners of the KS2 competition. (We'd asked them to "Draw the Creepiest Character".) The KS1s got to enter a colouring competition and were rewarded with copies of Chris' book.

Special thanks to Jane Falla and Sarah Nicholls, and also to Elizabeth, Ellie and Rachel who drove us each day and supported our work in every school. Guernsey has 300miles of road, and resembles a maze. Without their expertise and kind assistance we wouldn't have been able to see this wonderful island.

We even got the chance to dip our toes in the sea - a welcome refreshment!

You can see more photos on our picasa web album here.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Belmont Primary

The past year has been such a whirlwind of activity, we ended up not getting a chance to blog about some of the things we had planned to, and had really enjoyed. Between all the author visits around Britain, the illustration jobs, convention visits, the work on Skint! and the new Louis graphic novel, we really didn't have moment's rest. But one of the schools in particular we wanted to write about.

In November last year we visited Belmont Primary School in Stranraer.

We started the first day by giving an illustrated talk to the whole school and then delivered carousel workshops to smaller groups of children helping them to produce their own comics.

Some fantastic ideas developed from original character sketches to finished comics. Some of the comics even had barcodes!

We had three fantastic days. The children didn't really realise just what they could achieve until they finally had their finished work in their hand.

To show their appreciation they made a thank-you card, complete with a drawing of us, and even gave us a box of chocolates! At one point, one of the kids must have got wind that it was Sandra's birthday that day, and they all sang a surprise happy birthday song in the classroom! It was really touching.

More pictures can be seen on our Picasa web album here.

Highly Commended for the 2011 Scottish Children's Book Awards!

Great news!! Louis - Night Salad has been Highly Commended for the 2011 Scottish Children's Book Awards!

The Scottish Book trust asked us to write a guest blog about the book on their excellent website here.

This is the fourth award that has recognised the book this year!

Highly Commended for the 2011 Scottish Children's Book Awards

Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring

Leeds Graphic Novel Awards 2011 Shortlist

YALSA 2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Longlist