That most wonderful time of year is fast approaching and we don’t want you to miss out on getting hold of Nobrow and Flying Eye gifts for your nearest and dearest! So here are the all important last recommended posting dates for shipping all around the world!
Be careful not to leave it too late though as any orders received on these dates are not guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas, although we will try our very best.
Africa, Middle East
Thursday 6th December
Cyprus, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia), Turkey, Malta
Hello, dear reader, we’re very excited to share some news with you..! We are thrilled to announce that DreamWorks Animation have optioned the motion picture rights to the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection series by Joe Todd-Stanton! We can’t tell you any more than this for now but rest assured that we will share all further details as soon as we can!
Brownstone’s Mythical Collection follows the stories of the Brownstone family and their adventures through ancient mythologies. Two books have been published in the series so far. In Arthur and the Golden Rope(2016), unlikely hero Arthur journeys to the land of the Vikings where he meets Norse gods and monsters. In Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx(2017), an anxious Marcy travels to ancient Egypt to save her adventurer father and overcome her deepest fears. The next book in the series will be based on Chinese mythology, and is publishing in Autumn 2019.
Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018 forThe Secret of Black Rock, Joe Todd-Stanton said upon hearing the news: “Knowing this studio, which was such a huge and positive part of my childhood, have even read my book is mind-blowing. The fact they are interested in possibly adapting it is on another level. I’m really excited to see what happens. “
Sam Arthur, publisher and C.E.O. of Flying Eye Books commented “DreamWorks have a knack for picking up on great content – Joe Todd-Stanton’s star is rising!”
The charming and colourful picture book The Diver is out now! Veronica Carratello is an illustrator and comic book artist who has worked with a number of clients including Netflix, Circle Dei Lettori, and has been a part of several exhibitions throughout Italy. We had a chat with Veronica and here she shares more about herself and her story…
1. Your book brings out essential topics that children and also adults deal with throughout their lives such as the self-confidence to believe in and achieve their own dreams. How did you come up with the idea of this beautiful story?
The idea came to me by chance. I could not sleep and I started thinking about how coins are flipped into fountains to make wishes, and I asked myself, what if the coin had a dream of its own? And then I started to develop the story.
At the beginning, Emma was a minor character. But after developing the story with the editor’s advice she became a main character alongside the coin, and the story shows their two lives happening side-by-side. Emma represents commitment to achieving a dream, and the coin represents strength of character. Both of them have moments of concern, as it usually happens in life.
2. Italy is well-known for its Trevi Fountain coin toss tradition and all the popular beliefs about it. Did you draw your inspiration from it to shape the personality of your main character?
Yes, I draw my inspiration from it and I’m fascinated by popular beliefs. If you toss a coin into Trevi Fountain, which I did, it means that you’ll return to Rome one day. But there is also a legend that if you flip a penny into a fountain and make a wish, it will come true.
I have to confess that before sending you the proposal of my book The Diver, I flipped a coin into a fountain too… and my wish came true!
3. Did you put yourself into your characters?
Like my characters, I believe in dreams, and my favourite quote is “If you can dream it, you can do it!” by Walt Disney. I like it because you can convince yourself that nothing is impossible, like the coin’s dream of being a diver, but I think that to achieve our goals, we also need to work hard and be determined, like Emma.
4. If you could have done something different as a child to achieve a dream as an adult, what would you do?
I would probably be a musician. I’ve always had a passion for music: a few years ago I wrote songs and played guitar in a band, I think it’s a nice way to tell a story too.
5. What is the main thing you want readers to learn from your book?
The main thing I want my readers to learn is that it doesn’t matter how small you are or how big your dream is, if you work hard and you really want it, your dream will come true!
Join us at Hay Festival of Literature and art for a day of workshops and events based aroundNobrow 10: Studio Dream magazine. In Association with ELCAF, we’re bringing four of the Nobrow 10 magazine illustrators to the festival and taking over The Cube for a day of workshops and activities and to discuss about their work, inspiration and more!
On Sunday 27th May, join us on the festival site for any (or all!) of these sessions:
Who: Katie Harnett
When: 11:30 am
Where: The Cube
The author’s picture-book Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud is a heart-warming tale about finding friendship in unexpected places. Enjoy the story and help our magical paper-flower garden grow by making your very own raincloud friend.
Discover the amazing creatures that live under the sea in a workshop with the illustrator based on his picture-book, a surreal, modern folktale about an adventurous little girl who must protect a peaceful living creature. Children can create sea creatures as part of a large-scale mural, then take them home.
A hands-on, family, drawing and mark making workshop where children can create their dream school, library and bedroom based on the Nobrow magazine illustrator’s work. Would you include a ball pool, a cinema, or a slide…or all of these and more? It’s entirely up to you!
Studio Dreams Panel (Katie Harnett, Joe Todd-Stanton, Jim Stoten, Ben Newman)
When: 5:30 pm
Join the Nobrow magazine illustrators as they discuss their work and how the environment in which we work affects what we make. The Nobrow tenth anniversary magazine celebrates 70 different illustrators’ vision of their ideal workspaces, if the sky was the limit.
Nobrow / Flying Eye Books are proud to announce our partnership with Pop Up and Transbook to bring you an exciting new practice-sharing conference for children’s literature and education professionals featuring over 30 hands-on workshops, demonstrations, collaborations and converstations… Pop Up Lab
10th November 2017 | Peterborough UK
Invigorate your teaching practice or literature programming by exploring imaginative approaches to engaging young readers and writers through visual storytelling.
Pop Up Lab is cross-sector space in which to explore and experiment, share practice and learn new things. A keynote conversation will kickstart the day, and attendees will be able to choose up to two 75-minute sessions from a programme of hands-on workshops, demonstrations and conversations with 10 organisations and individuals. Many sessions are artist-led. Throughout the day facilitated discussions will help evolve a ‘manifesto’ to advance the cause of visual storytelling in schools and curriculums.
Lab 2017 involves organisations in the Transbook project. Transbook is a European initiative to promote the digital transition and internationalisation of the children’s publishing industry. Transbook is co- nanced by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and operated by seven European partners from the children’s publishing industry.
A full programme schedule is available www.pop-up.org.uk/lab2017 and attendees will be asked to choose sessions in advance. Tickets available: here
Sessions by: Art Basics for Children (Belgium) / Centre for Literacy in Primary Education / Government Art Collection / Lisa Tilesi / Literature Wales / Metal Culture / Nobrow & MiniLab / Positive Negatives / Stephen Spender Trust / Tantagora (Spain) / Tiny Owl plus illustrators and comics artists from Estonia, Lithuania, France, England, Wales and Ireland Pop Up Lab is presented in association with Nobrow & Transbook and supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Joe Todd-Stanton joins us to celebrate the release of his new book, The Secret of Black Rock. Featuring strong female characters, epic adventure and a friendly island(!) this beautiful story is a must for children and adults alike. Come and enjoy a story reading, sea creatures fact sheets and tropical fish collage as part of our Children’s Easter Festival. This event is free however please email to guarantee your spot. Ideal for ages 4-9.
Spring has sprung with The Little Gardener! Author and illustrator Emily Hughes joins us to celebrate the changing seasons and the release of her beautiful new book. As well as a story reading we will be decorating our own plant pots and planting our own sunflower in this fun and educational activity session, part of our Children’s Easter Festival. Perfect for ages 3-7.
Join author and illustrator Jim Stoten to celebrate Mr Tweed’s Busy Day. This search-and-find adventure story is packed with riddles that we need you to help us solve. Tasks will be placed around the children’s section and will include both paper and 3D searches – with Easter themed prizes! This is event forms part of our Children’s Easter Festival. This event is free however please email to guarantee your spot. Perfect for ages 5-9.
Who: Pippa Goodhart
When: Tuesday 11th April, 13:00 -14:00
Where: Waterstones Piccadilly
Rabbits, bunnies, hoppity hops, call them what you like but we LOVE bunnies! This Easter join author Pippa Goodhart for a range of rabbity stories, songs and games to celebrate her new book My Very Own Space as part of our Children’s Easter Festival. This event is free however please email to guarantee your space. Perfect for ages up to 6.
Join us at Libreria for an interstellar drawing workshop with illustrator Tom Clohosy Cole. Based upon his beautiful leporello ‘Space Race’, participants will be invited to draw planets, rockets and all else that might be found amongst the stars, creating their very own concertina book to take home. Suitable for ages 5+
Help illustrator Owen Davey transform the Events Room into an underwater seascape inspired by his book, Smart about Sharks. Learn about different types of marine creatures and create your own using a range of materials.
Foyles x ELCAF is a new collaboration which sees the UK’s largest independent bookshop teaming up with the East London Comic & Arts Festival to celebrate some of the best creative talent in the UK. This year, we open our doors in Chelmsford, London, Birmingham and Bristol to host a series of workshops, talks and one-to-one meetings with illustrators, comic artists and experts in the field. Curated by ELCAF, this eclectic programme aims to celebrate the dynamic work of artists that are making waves in the UK’s independent comic, narrative art and illustration scene. This is the first in the series and is a children’s event focussing on the art of drawing big.
Artist and illustrator, Katie Harnett will be leading a hands-on workshop for budding artists. Katie specialises in children’s books and has worked on both picture books and book covers. Join in the fun of creating a large scale collaborative drawing and learn all about how to ‘draw big’. This event is suitable for children aged 5-10 years.
To mark the release of Safe & Sound, we asked Loris Lora to share, and talk us through, some of the beautiful images she hand-painted for the book.
“Here’s a work in progress of the cover. This is actually the second version and i’m glad that we reworked it as it ended up having much more of the animals in which made it much more active.”
‘This was the first illustration I worked on for the book. I wanted to create an underwater scene that is largely influenced by vintage children’s book illustrations and created a transparent effect using gouache paint. I loved working on the mother crocodile and the way her body curved in the illustration.”
“I think these two next to one another in the spread work really well. I really like the balance between a spot illustration and a full page illustration. Painting fur on the wolves and anteaters was fun to work on. I love being able to “drybrush” fur.”
“With the monkeys I wanted them to have an active composition. I like that I was able to paint them as they swing through the page surrounded by different hues of green.”
“The bears are probably one of my favorites in Safe & Sound. But I may be bias as my nickname growing up by parents was “Osito” which means Little Bear in spanish. I was really happy with the composition on this one and loved painting the sleeping cubs.”
“A big challenge on these the baby blue birds was making them look fun and cute. I knew I wanted to have a group of them and loved the ideas of using different kinds of blue. My favourite is the one peeking out.”
“I’m really happy with the the composition worked out. I thought it would be different to have the mother lions back towards the viewer and have her baby cub peeking through.”
“Loved working on the rhinos. This was a great opportunity for me to work on textures on both the rhinos and abstract grasslands, which later influenced the endpages for the book.”
“Knowing this would be one of the last animals listed in the book. I wanted to create an image that had a big impact on the spread. Painting a BIG baby blue whale was so much fun. And having part of the mother in the background to show scale was a nice addition.”
A huge thank you to Loris Lora for sharing these pictures and insight into her incredible process. You can now order finished copies of Safe & Sound, containing all these beautiful images and so many more here and from all the very best (UK) bookshops!
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the Nobrow and Flying Eye spring 2017 catalogues have arrived! We’ve been working hard with many talented authors, poets and, of course, illustrators and we can finally reveal two of our most exciting lists to date.
From Robert Hunter’s surreal and bewitching love story (Map of Days) to Hamish Steele’s anarchic comic take on ancient Egyptian myths (Pantheon), the Nobrow list is sure to have something for everyone!
With Flying Eye Books, we’ve created books that encourage compassion, bravery, and a greater understanding of the natural world around us; whether it’s following a daring sea adventure (The Secret of Black Rock) or perusing pages of natural wonder (Wild Animals of the South).
We can’t wait for you to see all these books next spring, but in the meantime we’d love to know which ones you are most looking forward to reading and why. You can let us know via our social media channels!
Yahhooo, Dogs in Cars is here! Count to 100 through the many breeds of dogs from French bulldogs to Great Danes, as they wreak havoc upon the streets in their recognisable locomotives! In this hilariously illustrated introduction to the world of dogs and cars, Emmanuelle Walker and Felix Massie pay homage to these glorious animals and their moving machines.
To celebrate its release, we caught up with illustrator / animation director extraordinaire, Emmanuelle Walker to talk about collaborating with Felix on this cool canine car compendium, illustration, animation and more…!
1)What came first – the words or pictures? How did you and Felix collaborate on the project?
What came first was a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet including a list of A to Z breeds, and car brands – because yes, the number of dogs corresponds to the number of each alphabet letter, which also corresponds to the name of the dog breed and the car brand! A=1 – Alpha Romeo/Afghan hound, B=2 – Bentley/Beagles, C=3 Citroen/Corgis, D=4 – Delorean/Dalmatians, etc.
I then gave that list to Felix as a base for the text, and it evolved from there. He picked the breed and the brand that he thought served the story the best. He added to the dog and car list too if he thought there was an even better option.
He did a first draft, and that’s really when I started working. Over time some of the rhymes slightly changed, but the idea stayed the same.
2) Which is your favourite spread from the book and why?
The dog I had the most fun drawing was probably the Old English sheepdogs, because I love drawing hairy things, could you count all the hair on that spread?
I like all the book spreads, but the special one is probably number 10, where I drew my dad in his blue Jeep and myself as a child with our 10 Jack Russells (even though we never had a single Jack Russell!).
3) Do you have a dog? If so what kind and what are they called? If not… what kind of dog would you most like to have?
No I don’t, unfortunately. My favorite dog in the world is probably the whippet because of all the crazy positions they can make thanks to their long limbs. If I had a garden big enough (or if I had a garden at all) I would have one.
4) Could you tell us a little bit about your illustration process?
I usually do some sketch research first. There were so many different and sometimes similar breeds, so I had to find a way to simplify them and understand the shapes.
To have a better general overview of what the book was going to look like, I did some super quick thumbnails of the spreads.
Then I prepared a template document in Photoshop because I wanted all the cars to be proportional to each other when you flip the book pages. So the small cars are tiny on the page, versus the trucks for example. Once I had the template I picked the illustration I wanted to do the most on that day. I started with the 13 Maltese.
I then roughed the car first, then the dogs and background with a thin black line. Once I was happy with the rough I made a colour-test layer to decide what the colours were going to be. Sometimes it’s a quick process, sometimes it’s harder to find something that pleases me. At this stage it’s only refining that’s left but that’s the longest and most tedious part!
Once I was happy with the colours I started selecting the different zones of the illustration with the freehand lasso tool. Basically, every colour is a different layer so I can easily change things if I need to.
And for the rest of the pages, I balanced everything depending on the number of dogs on the page. So if I had to draw a lot of dogs for one page, I would then pick one with less dogs, and so forth.
5) You work now as an animation director, what do you enjoy most and what are the challenges involved with making a children’s book outside of your day job?
I can’t really pick a favourite between directing, animating, and illustrating, I need the three to feel balanced. Animation is great, and bringing characters to life is extremely satisfying, but it can be very tiring to draw the same drawing over and over, (and then retracing/cleaning up everything afterwards). Illustration is great, you can take all the time you want to create one single image but it doesn’t move! And finally directing means that you often get to work on bigger projects, with a team to help you, but it can be stressful and the clients are not all always easy to manage. Luckily I work with great producers who take care of them most of the time.
Because I don’t have a regular schedule or regular clients, my days are always different. I have some super busy months where I stay at the studio until midnight, and other times, I can go weeks/months without working. The main challenge I’d say is not to get too stressed in the down times and try to travel a bit to work on personal projects (that will often bring you more work), find some inspiration elsewhere for other projects, and disconnect for a while.
Thank you so much Emmanuelle! Drive away with a copy of Dogs in Cars now!
To celebrate the launch of this next exciting instalment, on Thursday 8th September from 7.30 to 9pm, Hilda’s creator Luke Pearson will be joining us at Gosh! comics.
Luke will be in conversation with author, cartoonist and comic book aficianado Gary Northfield, discussing his creative process, the upcoming Hilda animation (as much as he’s allowed to) and whatever else might crop up in the evening. It’s a not to be missed chance to peek into one of UK comics’ most verdant creative minds. And a chance to get a copy of a Gosh! exclusive Hilda & the Stone Forest bookplate edition!
The Facebook event page can be found here. No need to book, no tickets required: just bring yourself down for 7.30-9pm on Thursday the 8th September, seats first come, first served for what promises to be an informative, entertaining evening.
I have worked for the Fairtrade Foundation for the last three and a half years, writing learning resources for teachers to explore with their students about where their food comes from, how closely we are connected to people all over the world by the food we eat and how choices we make as consumers affect the producers at the other end of the supply chain. Put simply, I write about some of the ways in which the world is unfair and some of the ways we can try to make it fairer.
Before that I worked at Comic Relief for four years, again on the Schools team, encouraging young people to get involved in Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, raise money and help people struggling in the UK and the world’s poorest countries.
I am a big fan of elephants, dogs, dinosaurs and beautiful books.
As I said, I worked for a maritime museum – and not just in the publishing department but in the galleries themselves for a number of years. I have stood beside a replica of the James Caird for many a day so I am well-versed in the life of Shackleton. In fact, I rather big-headedly wondered if William Grill could even have any information that I didn’t already know – and my goodness he did!! The detail in this story is incredible and the language evocative. A handy glossary differentiates your conning from your cross-bracing and however much you think you know about Shackleton’s attempt to cross Antarctica I guarantee that you will learn something new.
My second book was Professor Astro Cat’s Intergalactic Activity Book. While Shackleton’s Journey is wistfully sketched and beautifully described, Professor Astro Cat whizz-bangs from the page and gets you up and involved from the get-go. I may not have mentioned that I actually ran a detective agency in my youth – the Clueless Detective Agency – you may have heard of us? My co-founder Agent 33.3 and myself, Agent 21.5 were quite the problem-solvers of our little village in Kent (a high point being when we found a shoe without an owner – although I believe that case is still unsolved). Anyway, I digress, but it is a relevant digression because Professor Astro Cat tapped straight into my 9 year old detective brain – once again I was learning Morse code and the NATO phonetic alphabet and was given Astro Cat’s decoder to translate curious extraterrestrial text! It was amazing! There is so much to do in this book!!
I have made a star gazer, learnt some Russian, measured wavelengths using chocolate and a microwave (who knew that was possible?!) and I have designed a gym for cosmonauts to use on space stations (you’re welcome NASA). The best things I learnt were that I am essentially made of stardust which is very cool and if I move to Pluto I might just have superhuman strength. I honestly think this might have been the most fun I’ve ever had learning anything. I should add that I also nearly fell off my chair and I spilt a bowl of cereal whilst wearing three pairs of gloves – ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ I hear you cry – well, you will just have to read the book yourself to solve that case.
If you are a blogger, librarian, bookseller, illustrator… or straight-up, die-hard, all-round Nobrow/ Flying Eye Books fan and you would like to write a guest post for our blog, please get in touch at [email protected]!
By now you’ve probably already been introduced to Marcel, our favourite New York pup! He loves to go for walks with his human, checking out the sights and sounds of his beloved neighbourhood. Did you know a lot of the best spots in Marcel’s city are based on real places in New York? Here are five, real-life locations that inspired scenes from Eda Akaltun‘s Marcel.
AMNH has an iconic dinosaur exhibit at its entrance hall, a dramatic representation of an imagined prehistoric encounter: a Barosaurus rearing up to protect its young from an attacking Allosaurus. The Barosaurus skeleton, which is the tallest freestanding dinosaur mount in the world, is composed of replica bones cast from actual fossils.
Entering the museum to see and maybe even taste those bones is Marcel’s biggest dream, one that he imagines will never come true as dogs are not allowed. When the new human manages to sneak him in, Marcel ends up having one of the best days in his life and the event changes the course of their relationship for the better.
2- West Village
This is Marcel’s home with his human. He feels safe and loves it here, and gives the reader all the reasons why it’s so great in their area. He particularly likes that there are no high rises around and the abundance of activities that are available.
Marcel is a very particular pup who loves the high life – he enjoys smoked salmon and listens to jazz! It’s only natural that he needs pampering spa days like the rest of us and his favourite one happens to be in downtown naturally.
4- Ruff and Sons (in real life: Sadelle’s – this is where the photo was taken. The name was inspired from a NY institution Russ & Daughters)
Only the finest nosh for this pup! He loves this spot and introduces it to the reader as the best bagels in the city. The human happens to agree as she’s leaving it with a bag full of goodies!
Ahh the Washington Square Park! This is where Marcel’s favourite jazz band ‘The Bone Daddies’ play. It’s also one of the best and most iconic parks downtown and has a great dog play area.
New York city has inspired countless artists, and we hope that Marcel inspires you to see the beauty of your own neighbourhood!
Be sure to check out the rest of Marcel’s adventures in Eda Akaltun’s Marcel, available now in our webshop!
And who knows where this adorable pup’s adventures will take him next…
Did you know that sharks can detect electrical currents from other creatures? Or that some are covered in loads of tiny little tassels? Owen Davey demystifies these boneless fish in his beautiful new book, Smart About Sharks. This week is Shark Week, so to celebrate this and the release of his book, we asked our new shark expert, Owen Davey to share the favourite facts he learned putting it together!
1. The largest shark to have ever lived (the Megalodon) is thought to have been 16-18 meters long and weighed the same as 30 Great White Sharks.
2. Sharks can detect heartbeats using their Ampullae of Lorenzini (freckle-like dots on a shark’s nose),
3. Sharks can’t chew. They have to swallow their prey whole, crush it, or bite chunks off.
4. The Epaulette shark can actually walk on land using its fins.
5. Sand tiger sharks gulp in air and store it in their stomachs so that they can float just above the ocean floor silently and sneak up on prey.
Dive right into this underwater world and grab a copy of the book here!
Have you heard the news?! That’s right, HILDA IS COMING TO NETFLIX!!
We are so thrilled and proud to announce that Luke Pearson’s blue-haired explorer is set for her biggest adventure yet, making the leap off the page and onto all kinds of small screens, thanks to Netflix and Silvergate Media.
Here are a few words from Luke: “I’m obviously very excited to be able to finally say this is happening. Alongside drawing a new book I’ve been working with Silvergate on this for a while now and can confirm that it’s in unbelievably good hands. An inordinate amount of love and attention to detail is going into this thing and I’m looking forward to sharing the result in a couple of years’ time.”
And from Nobrow co-founder Sam Arthur: “Hilda has come such a long way since we started work on her first book with Luke in 2010. It’s the most wonderful and exciting thing to know that she will now reach an even wider audience with this TV series. We are delighted to have found such excellent partners in Silvergate Media and Netflix, who are going to do an amazing job of bringing Hilda to the screen.”
The news was broken by The New Yorker last week along with an interview with Hilda’s creator, Luke Pearson and you can read it here!
The official press release from Netflix says: ‘A production of Silvergate Media, the makers of Octonauts, in collaboration with Mercury Filmworks, Hilda transforms the Eisner-Award nominated graphic novels by Luke Pearson and published by Nobrow into an incredible animated adventure for older kids. The series follows the journey of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants to the bustling city of Trolberg, where she makes new friends and discovers mysterious creatures who are stranger –and sometimes more dangerous– than she ever expected. Netflix members worldwide will be able to join Hilda on her thrills and escapades beginning in 2018.’
‘Hilda is starting to shirk her responsibilities, seeking days filled with excitement instead of spending time at home… and her mother is getting worried. While trying to stop Hilda from sneaking out into the house spirits’ realm, the pair find themselves flung far away into a mysterious, dark forest – the land of the trolls! Will they be able to work out their differences in time to rescue each other and get back home? And are the trolls all as sinister as they seem?’
For all the biggest Hilda fans, we also have HILDA TOYS! These are limited edition, high-quality vinyl art toys and make perfect desk companions and shelf inhabitants! Make sure you get one now, before they run out!
Last month, we were thrilled to release the second book from Kate Greenaway Medal winning William Grill, The Wolves of Currumpaw. Where Shackleton’s Journey took us on an epic expedition to the icy antarctic, this time we’re following Ernest Thompson Seton’s true life tale of hunters and the wolves they were hired to trap, set across the vast plains of New Mexico in the dying days of the old west.
After a busy month of launch events, we finally managed to sit down with Will to ask him a few questions for you!
1. Why did you decide to write (and draw) about Lobo and Seton’s story?
As well as being an emotive story, I was struck by how Seton’s tale says something relevant about our relationship to nature today. For me, his experience with Lobo is a good allegory for how regrettable our selfish treatment of nature may be. The tale unfortunately ends with Lobo’s death, but what Seton goes on to do afterwards can be seen to redeem his actions in some way.
2. How do you feel attitudes have changed since Seton’s time?
I think now there is more of an appreciation for nature and we have a deeper understanding of ecology, a concept which didn’t really exist in the late 1800s. In Seton’s time, animals were treated more like a resource and anything that was a nuisance was removed. Thankfully this attitude has changed a great deal, as we understand that many animals like wolves play a vital role in the food chain and deserve to live freely.
The main focus of my story was to show how one man’s attitude towards nature changed, influencing the early conservation movement and the way we treat animals. In a wider sense, I also wanted to show that these destructive early attitudes affected not only wolves but caused extreme suffering to Native Americans, however I am aware that my book in no way represents the full oppression and devastation inflicted upon Native Americans by the European settlers. That would be a whole other book, one that deserves a full story to itself.
3. How did your own research inform your adaptation of Seton’s original story?
I think the story has a lot more impact when you know the context to it and what attitudes were like at the time. In a visual sense, travelling to Corrumpa Valley in New Mexico allowed me to take lots of first hand sketches and photos which influenced much of the artwork. Since wolves are no longer present there, I spent a week at a wolf sanctuary where I was able to draw wolves all morning. Simply drawing wolves at the sanctuary gave me lots of good reference for different postures and expressions which I tried to incorporate into the book.
7. It’s almost a year since you won the Kate Greenaway prize for Shackleton’s Journey! How did it feel to win? Do you have any plans to go into fiction, and can you tell us anything about what might be coming next?
It completely took me by surprise and still feels unreal to think I was chosen. It’s hugely encouraging to have the support from all the judges, although it now adds a little pressure to live up to the previous book!
I would like to venture into fiction at some point, although I’m enjoying non-fiction a lot at the moment. I think it would be interesting to try my hand at a darker subject matter in the future too. What really interests me though is blending genres and producing a book that is unusual. It’s hard to say what’s next at the minute as there are a few ideas floating about. I’m thinking it could be set somewhere green though, in a jungle or a forest perhaps.
8. What’s in your sketchbook at the moment? Can we take a look?
My sketchbook is in a display case at Waterstones Piccadilly right now for another three weeks so you can see them for real! I don’t have much else current but I visited Kew Gardens a while back and did a few chalk drawings there.