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Flying Eye Staff Recs

To celebrate the approaching end of 2019 we’re back with our annual Staff Recommendations feature, where some of us here from Flying Eye put forward a book we believe could do with a little bit more loving ❤️

Emily, Senior Editor
One Day Series by Ella Bailey

“I couldn’t decide on just one book, so I chose the super cute, fun and beautiful One Day on our Blue Planet series, by Ella Bailey. Full of facts and adorable animals, these books are great first introductions to non-fiction, whilst also being perfect picture books to treasure.

I mean just look at that cute little lion cub! Who can resist?”

Sam, CEO & Co-Founder
Akissi: More Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet & Mathieu Sapin

“For the most bonkers and raucous collection of comics, Akissi is the boss. More Tales of Mischief brings tears to my eyes and I laugh so hard my brain is starved of oxygen. Perfect gift for nieces and nephews or any children you have no direct responsibility for.

You will be popular with the kids for ever, but the grown-ups will never forgive you!”

Satu, Managing Editor
A Mouse Called Julian by Joe Todd-Stanton

“A Mouse Called Julian is my favourite Flying Eye book of the year because it has a grumpy mouse protagonist who likes to spend time on their own, which I think many of us can relate to. I really enjoyed this lively, funny picture book about the power of friendship and being accepted for who you are, even if you are a fox who wants to eat a grumpy mouse protagonist.”

Michelle, Designer
Monty & the Poodles by Katie Harnett

“Monty and the Poodles is the ideal gift for dog lovers! It’s a great story about friendship and being yourself. The illustrations are beautiful and Katie Harnett has captured the dogs’ expressions perfectly thoughout.”

Ivanna, Designer
Wild by Emily Hughes

And don’t forget – if you see this before December 20th make sure to use the discount code XMAS20 to get 20% off your whole order over at FlyingEye.com


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Flying Eye Gift Guide: Early Readers

Getting a gift for the little ones in your life can be a hard task, especially with all the choice out there! To help you pick the perfect picture book we’ve collected together some of our 2019 titles for you to peruse, whether your young one is looking for their very first book or just another special one to add to their library.

A Mouse Called Julian
Joe Todd Stanton

It’s a lucky child who finds this gorgeous picture book under the tree, this Christmas. Joe Todd-Stanton, winner of the Waterstones Prize for Best Illustrated Book has turned his sights to picture books this year, delivering with this brilliant tale of unlikely friendship, tolerance and altruism.
When introverted mouse Julian finds a fox with its head stuck in his house (“‘I was simply popping in to see if you were ok,’ the fox lied”) he soon discovers that talking with people might not be so bad after all and that friends can come from the most unlikely of places.

The illustrations are to die for and the story has some laugh out loud moments (and one point that’s oh so fun to read aloud), this is going to be the perfect gift for everyone involved.

Professor Astro Cat’s Stargazing
Dr Dominic Walliman & Ben Newman

Professor Astro Cat and his team take readers on a new journey through space helping the biggest ideas seem small enough for young people to understand. They’ll learn how long it takes to walk a light year. Just what is a star? How big is a galaxy? And more and more and more. You might even learn a few things yourself.

Now couple that with the extraordinary vibrant retro artwork and you have a picture book gift that’s worth more than the stars.

Astro Kittens: Into The UnknownAstro Kittens: Cosmic Machines
Dr Dominic Walliman & Ben Newman

And now the toddlers can get in on the action too! These gorgeous little board books pack the brilliance of the Professor Astro Cat series into an even smaller package. Super simple, super colourful, now the littles can start to learn about rockets and rovers, life on other planets, bio-domes and wormholes. It’s never too early to start dreaming about a life in the big black.

Orchestra
Avalon Nuovo & David Doran

But we’re not just inspiring the future astronauts this season. We’re kick-starting the musicians too!

For music lovers of all ages, Orchestra makes a perfect first comprehensive guide on musical theory. Starting with a simple history of the orchestra, it sweeps through the different sections of an orchestral arrangement from string to woodwind to percussion. Then we visit some of the world’s most famous venues and the composers who have inspired generations from Vivaldi to Duke Ellington. Then it roars into a crescendo, leaving the music halls behind to talk about opera, theatre, cinema, myth and legend.
The art is glorious, the content more so. Just buy it already and thank us later.


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Flying Eye Gift Guide: Middle Grade Readers

It’s that festive time of year again! 🎄And because we know that that finding the perfect gift for the ravenous readers in your life can be hard, we’ve put together a list of the very best books for any readers aged 7 and up.

And if something here tickles your fancy, don’t forget we’re currently offering a Christmas discount of 20% off your entire order at Nobrow.net or FlyingEyeBooks.com – just enter the code XMAS20 at checkout. This code will expire on December 20th, so better get shopping!

Hilda Fiction
Luke Pearson, Stephen Davis, Seaerra Miller

If your young reader hasn’t discovered Hilda yet, then your present-buying worries are over!

Available as graphic novels (more pictures than words) or illustrated fiction (more words than pictures), Hilda and her adventures have inspired dolls, merchandise and even a BAFTA-winning cartoon on Netflix.

Smart, headstrong, kind and curious, Hilda lives in the fictional town of Trolberg but loves heading into the wilderness where she has so many cool adventures with grumpy trolls, persnickety elves, lovelorn giants, nightmarish Marras and lost house spirits.

Fun, exciting and total page-turners, there are already six books in the series, so plenty for a young reader to get their teeth into. But if you only want to buy one, then go for the first one, Hilda and the Troll (for the comics) or Hilda and the Hidden People (for the illustrated fiction).

The Secret Lives of Unicorns
Dr Temisa Seraphini & Sophie Robin

If you think your child is too grown-up for a book on unicorns, think again!

This amazing book is great for older readers – a study on unicorns as detailed as any text book. This book looks at the evolution, life cycle, diets, magical properties and anatomy of the unicorn, from the species to be found in the North, to those from the unforgiving deserts on the equator. Written by ‘Professor Temisa Seraphini’ it’s a brilliant way to learn about zoology and conservation and the artwork is completely gorgeous. Perfect for fans of nature and fantasy, with something for both.

Akissi: Tales of Mischief
Marguerite Abouet & Mathieu Sapin

If you’re looking for tales of mischief, adventure and fun then look no further than Akissi. Set in an African village, Akissi gets up to all sorts of shenanigans and scrapes from neighbourhood cats trying to steal her fish, pestering her older brother, starting a new term at school, tackling scary teachers and dealing with school bullies. Following in the footsteps of childhood classics like Just William, Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx, Akissi is the perfect embodiment of spirited children everywhere.

Each book is three volumes combined, packed with adventures told in bold colourful comic strips packed with detail and excitement. These are a must-have for the little monster in your life.

Ancient Wonders
by Iris Volant & Avalon Nuovo

How many of the Seven Wonders of the World can you name? With Ancient Wonders you’ll never wonder again. The big double pages with a large illustration of each wonder is absolutely stunning, getting across the true majesty of these incredible constructions. Those alone make this book an ideal gift, but when you see the wealth of knowledge too. Readers will be able to find out how each wonder was built, the myths, gods and rituals that inspired their construction and what happened to them after in simple, exciting language. This is an eye-poppingly gorgeous book and we highly recommend it. 

Hicotea
Lorena Alvarez

In this mesmerising follow-up to Nightlights, Lorena Alvarez explores our relationship with nature and animals, all in her stunning illustrative style.

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical new dimension. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it…

This title can be read as a sequel to Nightlights or as a stand alone comic.

Kai and the Monkey King
Joe Todd Stanton

New from the author of Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx, Arthur and the Golden Rope and the award-winning The Secret of Black Rock, comes Kai and the Monkey King. Joe Todd-Stanton just keeps getting better and better and when you see the sumptuous, colourful scenes he has in store for his fans in his latest adventure you’ll see what we mean.

In his new addition to his Brownstone Collection, we head to China where our heroine Kai, looking for more excitement in her life, seeks out the mischievous and rebellious monkey king. But does he bring her what she craves or something more dangerous? Inspired by Chinese myths and history this book is fun, educational and a delight for all the senses.


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Flying Eye x OKIDO Workshop Weekend

Don’t miss the takeover weekend we’ve got planned with OKIDO magazine on Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December at their HQ in London’s Kings Mall Shopping Centre in Hammersmith!

Over the course of the weekend we’ll be selling books at exclusive discount prices at our pop-up shop, and be running some amazing FREE drop in workshops, led by four of our incredible illustrators.

All workshops are run on a drop-in basis throughout the two hour session, so come by anytime! Check out the full details here…

Saturday 30th November

10am – 12pm : Abstract Animals with Owen Davey
Owen will how you how to use shapes to draw whatever you can imagine! This fun, drop-in workshop will help you to draw animals both big and small with the creator of the acclaimed Mad About Monkeys and Fanatical About Frogs.
Suitable for ages 6+

2pm to 4pm : Alien Activity with Ben Newman
Could there be life on another planet? Join award winning illustrator Ben Newman and Professor Astro Cat for a gravity-defying drawing workshop. Get creative with some space-factoids and design your very own alien.
Suitable for ages 5+

Sunday 1st December

10am – 12pm : Sleepy Mobiles with Eleanor Hardiman
From the illustrator of the viral sensation The Sleepy Pebble, Eleanor Hardiman, this relaxing workshop will show you how to create a gorgeous hanging mobile from collaged and found elements.
Suitable for ages 6+

2pm – 4pm : Paper Penguin Pals with Ella Bailey
Join the creator of the best-selling One Day on our Blue Planet series in creating your own penguin pal with collaged materials, just in time for the cold weather to blow in! All materials provided.
Suitable for ages 5+

You’ll be able to find us at the OKIDO shop space inside the Kings Mall Shopping Centre in Hammersmith in London, where our own pop-up shop will be running from 9.30am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5.30pm on Sunday.

We’ll also have free activity worksheets and a colouring in station running all day for the whole weekend, so whether you’re looking for some wonderful workshops to keep you busy during these cold winter days, or just want to get a head start on your Christmas shopping. pop by anytime for some Flying Eye fun!


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David Doran on Orchestra

We sat down with award winning illustrator David Doran, who we recently had the delight of working with on Orchestra, a beautiful large format book which is the perfect introduction for budding musicians and those with a passion for the orchestra.

From atmospheric film soundtracks to exhilarating live performances, the dazzling sound of the orchestra is unmistakable. Within Orchestra you can meet the performers who bring the music to life, the instruments that take centre stage and discover the beauty behind each and every note.

We picked David’s brains on everything from his own passion for music to how he puts together his elegant and inspiring illustrations. Read on below for more!

Whilst your drawings for the book are very clean and digital, they also feel very vibrant and full of life. Do you immediately draw onto a tablet or iPad, or do your illustrations start life in a sketchbook?

My process has gradually become more digital over the years, through working on projects and finding the most efficient ways to work. Though, I always do my best to maintain the handmade quality…I love seeing slightly wobbly lines and the artists hand in work!

Is this illustrative process the same when working on editorial work as well as on books?

Editorial timings can involve such quick turnarounds, sometimes a week, sometimes a matter of hours. I enjoy the challenge of thinking fast, working up concepts and speeding towards a quick deadline.

With this book, I spent nearly 3.5yrs with the idea, working with the team at Flying Eye, gradually developing the concept and working hard to make the book the best book it can be.

Orchestra has a beautiful colour palette full of complimentary peaches and blues, how did you come to settle on the colour choices for the book?

l wanted the colours in this book to be striking, warm, engaging and joyful. I have very specific memories of certain books I had as a child, vivid colours and lines;  I loved Orlando the Marmalade Cat the drawings were beautiful. I can picture my favourite spreads, and how the colours always stood out. With the more traditional printing process of these books being so clear to see, often using 3 or 4 main colours that overlap to create the full palette, I wanted to reference this directly in Orchestra, by using only 4 grounding colours in the palette myself. The difficult part was to find 4 colours that gave the book enough variety from each page to page.

The subjects of your illustrations seem to always be lovely and varied, from landscapes to people, full colour spreads to spot illustrations. You utilise this whole wide range of skills in Orchestra – did you have a favourite part of the book to illustrate?

I think that the variation from page to page is what makes a book so special to have. There’s a lovely transition as you turn the page and the opportunity to show the variety and surprise the reader with each turn is something that I wanted to make the most of.

My favourite part of the book was illustrating all the different characters on each page and including small details for readers to gradually find (birds stealing breadcrumbs, mice hiding on stairwells…). As a child, I loved pouring over the details and I’m hoping children can have the same experience of finding something new on each page with Orchestra.

And was there a most challenging part?

There’s a lot of detail and intricate information in the book that needs to be shown correctly. The most challenging part was creating and designing the layouts of each page that show the information both accurately and also engagingly.

Some of the illustrations of instruments are quite technical, how was this to work on?

Yes, there’s so much detail to capture on the instruments, and it’s very important to get it right when creating something educational. I had a lot of input from the team at Flying Eye who checked all the details with a professional.

What’s your own relationship with music like?

I love music! We have music playing in the studio almost all day (with a few podcast exceptions). I’ll often listen to Orchestral music when I’m reading briefs or emailing, as I find it great to concentrate too and often get a little distracted from reading when there is singing.

And finally, do you have any advice for any new illustrators who are interested in book illustration?

Enjoy what you’re making and find ways to make it personal to you!


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Nobrow in October

It’s been another busy month here at Nobrow HQ, and we’ve got yet more exciting events lined up for this November! Whether you’re US or UK based there’s a score of things for you to get in your diaries, so whack out your pen and notebook and take a look below…

US EVENTS

AJ Dungo connects with the surfing community, in discussion with surfer and Fulbright scholar Jamie Brisick in Los Angeles

Summer may be over, but for any of you in the vicinity of AJ Dungo’s SoCal stomping grounds, you know the waves come year-round for surfing! AJ will be at Skylight Books in Los Angeles on October 11 to discuss in Waves with surfer, author, and Fulbright scholar Jamie Brisick.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, we interviewed AJ here on the Nobrow blog last month. One of the most rewarding parts of publishing In Waves to us has been the enormous response it’s received not just from traditional media outlets like The Los Angeles Times, but the surfing community as well, culminating in a sweeping interview with AJ at the sport’s most iconic periodical, Surfer magazine.

Jamie Brisick is a former professional surfer-turned-author, receiving a Fulbright fellowship in 2008. His recent piece “Surfing in the Age of the Omnipresent Camera” for The New Yorker is worth a read for anyone who enjoyed In Waves’ pensive reflections on life in the water.

Friday, October 11 — 7:30pm
18 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Luke Healy in the Big Apple! A conversation about Americana with cartoonist Malaka Gharib at the New York Public Library

Luke Healy may be an Irishman living in London, but his new graphic memoir Americana reflects on his time spent in the United States, so it’s only fitting that he cross the Atlantic one more time to discuss his book in the country it’s named after. Luke will be at the New York Public Library’s Grand Central location on October 19 to discuss Americana with our friend Malaka Gharib—whose new graphic memoir I Was Their American Dream (Clarkson Potter, 2019) also explores personal identity as it relates to the United States as a concept.

Malaka is the global health and development editor at NPR, and the founder of the D.C. Art Book Fair, held annually at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Check out The New York Times’ recent in-depth feature profile on Malaka, “How to Draw Yourself Out of a Creative Funk”!

Saturday, October 19 — 2:00pm
135 East 46th Street
New York, NY 10017

Luke Healy in the Windy City! Cartooning workshop at Challengers Comics in Chicago

Call it a U.S. tour! After a quick NYC trip, Luke is hopping on a plane to Chicago to chat about Americana at Challengers Comics + Conversation on October 28, where he’ll be leading a workshop entitled “How to Be the Best Pictionary Player in the World,” a 30-minute cartooning workout that’s sure to get your creative juices flowing, and hopefully spark some great DIY comics! Challengers is one of the most active comic shops in the Chi-town art community, hosting all sorts of events on a near-daily basis to support the local comics scene.

Monday, October 28 – 7:00pm
1845 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

Nobrow at Comic Arts Brooklyn 2019!

Once again we’ll be tabling at Brooklyn’s premier independent comics festival on November 2, in the strange gymnasium of the Pratt Institute campus where this year you’ll be able to snag a copy of Hamish Steele’s new book DeadEndia: The Broken Halo for the very first time, ahead of its November 5 street date! We’ll also have our full bevy of brand new releases and back catalogue classics in tow, so stop by and say hullo. If you’ve never been before, CAB is a free annual show organized by Pratt and local indie comics staple Desert Island Comics to highlight the best of independent cartooning.

Saturday, November 2 – 11:00am to 7:00pm
200 Willoughby Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11205

UK EVENTS

Nobrow at Nottingham ComiCon

Nottingham ComiCon is set to be a very special one this year – we’ll have our whole set of shiny new releases with us, from AJ Dungo’s moving memoir In Waves to the long awaited sixth instalment in the Hilda series, Hilda and the Mountain King.

Saturday, October 9 – 10am to 5pm
Nottingham Conference Centre, Burton Street
Nottingham, NG1 4BU

MCM Comic Con London

We’re delighted to be representing the very best of Nobrow and Flying Eye at MCM Comic Con in London this year. We’ll be there all weekend, hand selling our favourite titles and offering some exclusive MCM discounts.

Friday 25th to Sunday 27th October – 10am to 7pm Friday and Saturday, 10am to 5pm on Sunday
ExCeL London
Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway
Royal Docks, London E16 1XL

DeadEndia: The Broken Halo Launch at Gosh! Comics

More info to come on this one, but save the 1st November in your diaries! Hamish Steele is back with DeadEndia: The Broken Halo – the long awaited sequel to the first DeadEndia graphic novel. We’re planning a suitably spooky launch London institution Gosh! Comics, so keep an eye on this space…

Friday, November 1
Gosh! Comics
1 Berwick St, London
W1F 0DR


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Eleanor Hardiman on The Sleepy Pebble

A beautiful treasure trove of tales perfect for bedtime, The Sleepy Pebble and Other Stories is co-written by sleep specialist Professor Alice Gregory and children’s author Christy Kirkpatrick, who’ve incorporated mindfulness and other techniques into every chapter.

The book is fully illustrated throughout by Eleanor Hardiman, whose elegant watercolours truly bring this book to life. We sat down with Eleanor to get a closer look at her working process, and to get a behind-the-scenes look at her studio.

We’ll pass you over to Eleanor to tell you more…

Using analogue media is really important to me and my process, and that starts right from the sketch stage. My roughs always start with pencil sketches, I have one retractable super chubby pencil that I love drawing with, it means I can create more flowy shapes and spreads without getting caught up in detail. 

The Sleepy Pebble and Other Bedtime stories took inspiration from old fairytale books in it’s layout and contains a huge mix of different elements, this was the biggest challenge for me! The book includes a set of patterns, spots, character’s, drop caps and single and double page spreads for each story.  All my sketches start as little thumbnails and are then redrawn and finalised at book size to keep everything consistent. There were so many elements on the go I made tick-charts for each story to keep on top of all the artwork in its various stages. Seeing the rough sketches in the book layout for the first time was really exciting, it went from pages of various sketches into something book-like!

Each of the stories were so different and I paid attention to creating different environments with different plants and details for each one. I based the tree story on french lilly filled lakes, and the pig story took inspiration from the Vietnamese mountainous countryside. 

Each of the 5 bedtime stories has a different limited colour palette, so my next step was to make detailed colour plans for each story and element, so that all the decisions are made before the final artwork stage. Watercolour is a very unforgiving medium so it’s saves so much time by planning everything out! I transfer the pencil sketches over to procreate for the iPad pro and plan the colours digitally. The iPad means I can try lots of different colour ways out quickly without painting each option. This process saves lots of time and makes me more adventurous with colour, although I had to be mindful about including colours that are as effective in paint as they are screen. 

With a new book layout full of coloured roughs I was ready to start final artwork, my favourite part! I like to get really settled at my desk before painting, as I’ll be there for a while. I usually have a cup of tea and a good podcast on the go. On my desk I have the sketch, colour plan for reference, a mix of brushes, tissue paper, clean and dirty paint water, masking fluid and a scrap of paper for testing the colour and consistency of the paint. I work traditionally with watercolour, meaning I start by painting the lightest colours, and work my way to the darkest using a combination of washes and thicker paint for the darker details. Simple elements like the drop caps or characters are painted as one final image, however more complex spreads with lots of elements are painted in layers and compiled together on photoshop. This means there is less pressure to paint everything perfectly first time (phew!) and also means elements can be moved or changed individually if they need to. I worked on each story one at a time, this was to make sure they all looked consistent as mixing paint again is tricky, but this also meant I really got to delve into each one, I love each story for different reasons and having this variety was a great part of the project. 

After scanning and combining the different layers of each image I start to edit the artwork digitally. This usually includes small tweaks like adding saturation or contrast to the paintings, cleaning up any marks and neatening any edges. Illustrating the cover of the book was so special as we got to include spot gloss and gold foiling (my favourite!), it also meant I got to revisit the underwater artwork and use all the squiggly coral patterns and speckled pebbles. 

The Sleepy Pebble is out now in the UK, available on our website and in all best bookshops. The release date for the US and Canada is October 15th, and available from Penguin Random House.


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William Grill & Flying Eye at Brooklyn Book Festival

We had a blast with Molly Mendoza and AJ Dungo at Small Press Expo in Maryland this past weekend, but that’s not all we’ve got in store this month for our U.S. East Coast fans!

Tomorrow we’ll be at Brooklyn Book Festivalin New York, with a kid-oriented table at Saturday’s “Children’s Day.” Swing by booth #18 from 10am to 4pm to check out our latest kids’ books like Hilda and the Mountain KingStig & Tilde: Vanisher’s Island, and Kai and the Monkey King.

But our big highlight of the festival: Shackleton’s Journey and The Wolves of Currumpaw author William Grill is making a rare Stateside appearance at Brooklyn Book Fest! He’s signing at our booth from 11am to 1pm, so be sure to stop by and say hi.


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Flying Eye on CBeebies!

This week we were lucky enough to have one of our books featured on CBeebies’ Lunchtime Storytime!

Watch here to see their reading of One Day on our Blue Planet: In the Ocean, written and illustrated by Ella Bailey

Happy watching! 🐠


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Hilda and the Mountain King Launch Events

So as I’m sure all you Hilda Folk are aware, the sixth instalment in the award-winning Hilda comic book series by Luke Pearson is set to be released at the beginning of September!

(And if you haven’t ordered your copy yet, you can preorder directly from Nobrow.net and your book will be shipped up to two whole weeks early 👀)

To celebrate we’ve organised a series of signings and workshops with Luke, where you can meet Hilda’s creator himself and pick up your own copy of Hilda and the Mountain King

Friday 30th August: Forbidden Planet Signing

Join Luke at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore, where he’ll be signing and sketching away from 5pm to 7pm

See more info at the Facebook event here

Address: Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

Saturday 31st August: Gosh! Comics Workshop

This daytime event will be running from 11am to 1pm, and is a family friendly workshop for children aged 5 and up. Luke will be on hand to help you make your very own Hilda adventure!

Address: Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DR

Saturday 7th September

This is a daytime sign and sketch session at Page45 in Nottingham, from 12 to 2pm

Address: Page45, 9 Market Street, Nottingham, NG1 6HY

We hope to see some of you there, and don’t forget to tag either @FlyingEyeBooks or @NobrowPress in any photos on social media!


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Summer Reading Challenge

Here at Nobrow & Flying Eye we’re so pleased to be part of this year’s Space Chase themed Summer Reading Challenge!

We’ve got a bunch of Flying Eye titles available at your local library ready to be read as part of the challenge, from Professor Astro Cat to The Secret of Black Rock.

If you’ve not heard of it before, the Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign up at your local library, then read six library books of your choice to complete it.

And best thing is, it’s completely free!

To see if your local library is taking part head over to the SRC website here

We’re also giving away some special books to those who take part, just take a photo of a Flying Eye book one of your family have read as part of the challenge in your local library, and tag @FlyingEyeBooks on Twitter or Instagram.

And whether you’re a librarian, a care-giver, or a parent looking for some extra activities for your kids this summer, we’ve got you covered. As part of the programme we’re giving away these free Space Chase themed work and colouring in sheets, which you can see below

(For the large versions just email [email protected] with Summer Reading Challenge in the title)

Happy reading space chasers!


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Talking Ancient Wonders with Avalon Nuovo

I’m sure we can all agree that the artwork for Ancient Wonders, our latest non-fiction Flying Eye title about the mysteries and marvels of the Ancient World, is absolutely stunning.

Fully illustrated throughout by Avalon Nuovo, you can feel the awe-inspiring nature of everything from the Pyramids of Giza to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon emanating through the pages. The depth and sense of scale that Avalon creates in her illustrations is incredibly impressive – bringing a monument to life that hasn’t actually been seen for thousands of years is no small feat! 

To celebrate the publication of Ancient Wonders we decided to dig a little bit deeper into Avalon’s working process, and she let us in on some of the secrets behind how she puts together her illustrations.

Avalon was also generous enough to send us some of her work-in-progress videos, which document her entire drawing process. See below for a time-lapse of one of her double page spreads coming to life!

So how do you begin your illustrations, do you use one program for every element? 

For the roughs, I always work in Photoshop on a big Cintiq monitor. The roughs of each page are really more about design than they are about drawing, so I’ve found it really important to do the roughs on a large screen, where I can view each spread at the same size as the printed book while I’m drawing. If I don’t, I often make something that looks nice at half-size, but when it’s enlarged to actual size, it might look totally awkward! 

I tend to make the rough illustrations really, really detailed— they’re in black and white, but I basically paint in all of the darks and lights and make it look pretty finished. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work for something that really only a handful of people will see, but it’s so helpful to to be super clear when showing the designer/editor what exactly what it’s going to look like, so that we can do all the decision-making before the final illustration. 

It’s also a lot more enjoyable for me to make all those decisions in the sketches, so that when I do the final illustrations, I get to sit back and let my mind wander and just enjoy the drawing (and some music/podcasts/netflix to keep me company!)

And what do you do when it’s time to move on from the roughs?

Once they’re all approved, I turn the photoshop files into flat JPEGs and send them to my iPad. I use Procreate on my iPad Pro to make the final illustrations, and as you can see from the time-lapse videos, I basically use the rough sketch as an underlay. 

I usually draw over all the linework first with the sketch at low opacity underneath. After that, I keep the sketch layer turned off while I fill in the color, but I continue to use it as reference for all the lighting and darks/lights that I’ve already figured out in the rough sketch. I send it back to my computer when I’m done, change the document from RGB color mode to CMYK (Procreate only support sRGB at the moment— hopefully that changes soon!), and it’s done! 

What makes you prefer using an iPad over a computer? 

I could definitely do the final artwork on my computer, but using my iPad really just became a habit because— aside from the fact that I LOVE the workflow in Procreate— I had to do a fair bit of traveling for Christmas holidays and other jobs while I was working on Ancient Wonders, and working on my iPad meant that I could be working on final illustrations pretty much anywhere. 

That’s made for some really nice memories associated with the book, personally— when I look at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon spread, I remember working on it while watching an (American) football game with my family in northern California while visiting for Christmas, and when I look at the Inspiration: Artemis spread, I remember making it while on a trip to Finland to meet my partner’s family for the first time!

And what about the analogue vs. digital debate, are you firmly a digital person?

I actually really love working with analogue media— I’m a really dedicated sketchbook keeper and when I’m making illustrations just for fun, I still find it most satisfying to use ink, gouache and colored pencils. 

I have two desks in my home studio— one with my monitor/computer, and one that has a tilting top for good old-fashioned drawing. I haven’t used it a lot these days though— ultimately I’ve realized that because my work is so detailed, it’s more realistic to work digitally for my professional work. 

As a result, I haven’t used traditional materials much lately— nowadays my drawing desk is where my partner sits so that we can keep each other company while we both work late into the night (or, now that my partner has finished their thesis, so that we can still hang out while I work and they play Skyrim!)


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Hilda: A Definitive Guide

Hands up who’s been watching Hilda the series?

Invented by Luke Pearson, beloved by us, Hilda follows the adventures of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants, to a bustling city packed with new friends and mysterious creatures

And whether you’ve been following the Netflix series or not, you can follow along with Hilda’s adventures in our illustrated fiction series!

These tie-in titles expand on Hilda’s adventure’s in the show’s first series, giving you a new insight into both Hilda’s world and her own thoughts and feelings

This makes the books perfect for either a lover of the animated series, or someone only just setting out on their first Hilda adventure

There’s three titles in this series so far:

Each book is beautifully illustrated by Seaerra Miller, who captures all the citizens of Trollberg perfectly

And if you didn’t already know, Hilda actually first began as a graphic novel way back when we published Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Troll! Have a look at a page below and you can see how far Luke Pearson’s drawing style has changed

Since Hilda and the Troll we’ve published four more graphic novels following her journey:

And in September 2019 we will be publishing Hilda and the Mountain King, the next instalment in the series that will follow on from The Stone Forest’s chilling cliffhanger ending…


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Calling all aspiring illustrators!

We have the pleasure to announce ourselves as a supporter of Pathways, an exciting new initiative for diverse, ambitious and talented artists who believe they can be the next generation of children’s illustrators.

Pathways is exclusively for those from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds and is open to both those with no formal illustration training, and well as to undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates.  

The programme is a two year course, during which you will be taught by tutors from BA and MA illustration courses from ten affiliated Universities. A wide range of world-renowned illustrators, editors, art directors and designers will also be taking part as mentors – that includes some of us here at Nobrow & Flying Eye! Members from our very own editorial and marketing teams will be working with Pathways to help you get the very best start in the world of publishing.

Check out their website for further details, and don’t forget – applications close September 2nd!


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Nobrow & Flying Eye at ELCAF 2019

It’s our favourite time of year again here at Nobrow and Flying Eye – ELCAF 2019 is upon us! 

Celebrating the very best in illustration and comics the East London Comics & Arts Festival is now in its 8thyear, and this year’s programme is bursting with talks, workshops, screenings and masterclasses.

The festival takes place at the Round Chapel in London, and will be open 12 to 7pm Friday 7th, Saturday 8th, and Sunday 9thJune (head on over to the ELCAF website for further details).

Take a look at our pick below to see when and where you can catch the best of the weekend…


SATURDAY 8th JUNE

Tom Haugomat: Colour, Shape, Land, Print: 12.15 – 13.45

Paris-based illustrator and master of colour Tom Haugomat will be heading this workshop, where you will develop your very own set of stencils to create atmospheric landscape scenes.

Through A Life by Tom Haugomat

Speaking Up and Speaking Out: 14.00 – 15.15

Francesca Sanna of The Journey fame joins Rui Tenreiro, Samandal, and Warren Bernard for this panel talk about what role comics and illustration have to play in the 21stcentury. Head over for what will no doubt be a fascinating discussion on how powerful a tool illustration truly can be.

Carles Porta, The Silly Ballet: 15.45 – 17.15

Finally, an opportunity to achieve your lifelong dream of taking part in a cardboard paper puppet ballet! Illustrator, animator and graphic designer Carles Porta will be heading this workshop, teaching you how to bring your dancer to life through stop motion animation.

Under The Water by Carles Porta

Francesca Sanna: Sharing Your Fears: 17.30 – 18.30

Francesca Sanna will take you behind the scenes of her latest picture book Me and My Fear, which is a heart-warming tale about sharing and overcoming the things that scare you the most. As well as talking about her illustrative process Francesca will be talking about the months that she spent working with a research group from Birkbeck University, and how their work influenced both the story and design of the book.

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

SUNDAY

AJ Dungo: Sequential Self Help and Surfing: 14.15 – 15.15

Come along to hear some insights into AJ Dungo’s In Waves, his debut graphic novel that covers the topics of love, loss, and the solace of surfing. As well as covering the book’s life from concept to creation, AJ will also be talking about the role of comics have to play in escapism. 

Jon McNaught: Passing Time: 16.45 -17.45

ELCAF 2019’s artist-in-residence Jon McNaught joins us for this very special talk, which has Jon talking in depth about Kingdom, his latest comic. An illustrator with an approach and aesthetic like no other, Jon will also be talking about printmaking, poetry, and the use of comics to explore distance memories and the passing of time.

Kingdom by Jon McNaught

All talks come free with an ELCAF all access ticket