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DIY with I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast!

Whether you’re brushing up on your home teaching skills or just looking for some fun activities for these fresh spring days, we’ve got you sorted 🌻

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland and Philip Giordano is an incredible introduction to the world of plants and is packed full of fascinating facts about the powerful science behind the great green machines of the natural world. This comprehensive guide covers everything from the parts of a plant through to conservation, and is full of inspiration for gardeners both young or old. 

We’ve picked out our favourite nature-based DIY activities from its pages for you and your little ones to crack on with. From how to make your own cornflower slime to making beautiful leaf prints to decorate your home, you’ll need nothing more than what you’ve already got on your shelves and in your garden.

And if you take a try of these activities and would like to see more, grab a copy of I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast from our online shop, or ask your local independent bookstore if they can post you a copy. All copies ordered from our site, Storysmith Books in Bristol or Sevenoaks Books in Kent will come with a free poster and seed packets.

First up…

DIY: Cornflour Slime

Slime: nature edition! For this one all you’ll need is some fine cornflour, water and a bit of food colouring – not a manmade chemical in sight. You could even try making your own food colouring from turmeric, beetroot, or spinach! Truly a-maize-ing stuff.

DIY: Wild Weed Bottle Garden

If you live in a flat or don’t have your own garden, that doesn’t have to stop your gardening adventures. Head along on a walk to a local park or nature spot, and build your very own wild weed bottle garden to take home with you. A free and easy way to bring a bit of nature to your windowsill.

DIY: Leaf Printing

A beautiful way to make some artwork or gifts out of nothing more than leaves, card and a regular ink pad. A wonderful introduction not just to the different types of leaves that have fallen in your garden or local park, but how to do simple and easy printmaking. What else can you find in your garden to print with?

DIY: Invisible Ink

Who knew you can now become a spy with nothing more than a lemon, a pen and a sheet of blank paper?! This magical trick will fool everyone you want to keep secrets from, and is the perfect way to pass notes without those pesky parents knowing a single thing.

DIY: Make Your Own Plant Maze

This insightful activity is not only fun to put together, but demonstrates the incredible way plants grow! Another indoor activity which requires no outside space, you’ll just need some seeds, an old shoebox, and all your creativity.

DIY: Bean Bag Boules

Finally, a use for those oversized multicoloured socks your gran got you last Christmas! Just follow the instructions below to make your very own bean bags, ideal for any range of home-PE lessons.

If you enjoyed these activities then don’t wait to order your own copy of I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast, which is bursting with even more facts and fun! At a weighty 128 pages, this comprehensive guide will offer your young gardener hours of insight into the natural world, and help water their budding passion for science and nature.

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast was written and researched by the expert ecologist and educator Michael Holland, former head of Education at Chelsea Physic Garden. He has taught tens of thousands of people, aged 2 to 92, about the natural world and is on a mission to educate and inspire people from all walks of life about the powerful world of plants and the vital role they play in our daily lives. 


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A Mouse Called Julian Activity Sheets

Wondering how to keep the little ones busy indoors?

For this week, we’re offering activity and colouring sheets on A Mouse Called Julian, wonderfully illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton. Julian is a mouse who is perfectly happy avoiding other animals but you can join him for dinner, help bring colour into his life, and learn how to draw your own Julian!

Come join in and read along with Joe to find out what happens when Julian has an unexpected dinner guest…

You can download the hi-res printable worksheet here.

A Mouse Called Julian by Joe Todd-Stanton is available to order from our website here.

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.


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One Day on Our Blue Planet… Activity Sheets

During these strange and uncertain times, we know lots of you will be stuck at home in your very own little corner of our blue planet, perhaps with little ones who need lots to keep them busy! We’ll be bringing you lots more activities, posted here over the coming weeks.

To start off with, you can hop along with Ella Bailey’s cute baby animals with these activity and colouring sheets, as they explore their habitats all around the world.

You can download the hi-res printable worksheets here.

You can order any of Ella Bailey’s One Day on our Blue Planet… books from our website here:

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.


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March: Nobrow’s Book Club

Hey Nobrow fans,

The independent comics scene is a constant source of inspiration for us here at Nobrow, so we thought each month we’d highlight a few books we’ve been reading lately—titles we’re putting out ourselves, as well as exciting releases by fellow indie publishers. Our March picks were chosen by Jacob Shapiro, U.S. Sales & Marketing Assistant based out of our New York office!

Sports Is Hell by Ben Passmore (Koyama Press, 2020)

Sports Is Hell is the latest from Philly-based cartoonist Ben Passmore, exploring the racial and societal baggage of American football as a cultural institution—through the lens of the anarchy that ensues in a city after its NFL team wins the Super Bowl. Passmore’s art and storytelling style have a raucous, goofy, manic, punk energy to them; anyone who’s interested in the racial politics of sports in a post-Colin Kaepernick era should pick this up.

Maids No. 4 by Katie Skelly (self-published, 2020)

Maids is a self-published ongoing series by NYC cartoonist Katie Skelly adapting the real-life story of the Papin sisters, French orphans who become live-in maids for an upper-class family who they eventually murder(!!!). Skelly’s 1970s Italian horror cinema influences are on full display in Maids, with minimalist panel layouts and a subversively feminine violent edge to its sensuality, along with a healthy dose of Catholic guilt. Skelly’s work is like no other.

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Stig & Tilde: Leader of the Pack by Max de Radiguès (Nobrow, 2020)

Katie Skelly’s “siblings on a surprisingly violent adventure with a clean art style” got me thinking about one of our new releases, Stig & Tilde: Leader of the Pack. It’s a kids’ book, but Belgian artist Max de Radiguès’ survivalist quest comes from a similar indie comics sensibility as Sports Is Hell and Maids. In this latest installment, titular 14-year-old twins Stig and Tilde find themselves stranded on an island full of wolves, and must fend for themselves with nothing but their wits and a surprising dose of humor. De Radiguès employs a classic Franco-Belgian ligne claire style, and Stig & Tilde evokes Tintin while still feeling distinctly modern.


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Nobrow Staff Recs

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

Lilly, Senior Designer
Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn by Ryan Heshka

The perfect gift for the Mean Girl in your life.

A glorious pulp graphic novel filled with mayhem, glamour and women dismantling the patriarchy.”

Katie, Sales & Marketing Assistant
Eileen Gray: A House Under The Sun by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes & Zosia Dzierzawska

“Eileen Gray is a unique biography captured through a series of vingettes. I knew very little about Gray before going into reading but loved learning more about this inspirational woman and pioneer of the architectural Modern Movement. The illustrations are stunning, and you can tell a lot of thought was put into using a limited colour palette to show mood and create a very appealing composition. It was also a very satisfying read as it comes full circle – by the end of it you understand scenes at the start which were captivating and made you want to keep reading.”

Lucy, Marketing Designer
Forming I & Forming II by Jesse Moynihan

“Forming I and II is definitely NOT for children but Jesse’s art style gives me all the nostalgic synapse bursts from watching Masters of the Universe and Beavis and Butthead as a kid. The plot is theological, mythological, philosophical, non-sensical and hysterical, Jesse’s dry, crude (and sometimes completely stupid) humour clashes exquisitely with the complex and profound events of Forming I and II. For fans of Adventure Time (which Jesse worked on) Pantheon and the Bible.”

Tristan, Production Coordinator
Americana by Luke Healy

“My choice would be Americana as it is funny and sad and meditative and a little bit profound.

It looks lovely too.”

Marie, Foreign Rights Manager
Stig & Tilde: Vanisher’s Island by Max de Radiguès

“My pick this Xmas will have to be Stig and Tilde, Vanisher’s Island. Not only because I translated it 👀 but because it’s a great coming-of-age story packed with adventure and suspense, that any outdoorsy kid would very much enjoy reading!

Max de Radigues’s clear line illustrations are extremely charming. A wonderful comic for 8 to 88 years old where Robinson Crusoe meets Tintin, a gem for the family bookshelf!”

Peony, Marketing & Website Assistant
The Fantasy Sports series by Sam Bosma

“I’ve chosen the Fantasy Sports trilogy by Sam Bosma as my recommendation – I mean, it’s life or death situations settled through the medium of basketball/volleyball/golf. How can you not love that?

Sam Bosma is a ridiculously talented draftsman, and his character design and settings are second to none. As someone who did an illustration degree way back when, books like Fantasy Sports were ones that kept me inspired to keep making comics.

Perfect for anyone who likes fantasy, sports, or anything that falls in between”

Geoff, US Sales & Marketing Manager
In Waves by AJ Dungo

“In Waves by AJ Dungo manages to be all at once tender, heartbreaking, and inspiring. I always get goosebumps when I’m describing AJ’s ability to effortlessly weave together the complex history of surfing with the deeply personal story of his partner Kristen’s battle with cancer. AJ’s art is simple and clean, and he’s able to use it to effectively highlight the heart of every image he creates.

These are true stories that feel real thanks to the sense of immediacy in AJ’s art and the open honesty of his storytelling. Reading this book is like having a deep, late into the night chat with an old friend. I also love all the true life Southern California details AJ includes, from the vintage surf posters to the sneakers he wears, even down to the Jack in the Box that I used to eat at with my friends after trips to the beach!”

Jake, US Sales & Marketing Assistant
SKIP by Molly Mendoza

“There’s no question Molly Mendoza’s luscious, psychedelic art is Skip’s immediate draw. The neon orange on the cover catches your eye, and the evolving color palette through the book is impossible not to love. What confounds readers more is the dimension-hopping story—abstract, existential, and nonlinear in ways equal parts The Phantom Tollbooth, Through the Looking-Glass, and In the Night Kitchen, but with a surrealism that evades all these progenitors.

It’s this innate strangeness that makes Skip resonate with me as its nonbinary cast of characters come to terms with the world they live in.


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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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Christmas Gift Guide: Nobrow Edition

What a year it’s been… from Darwin to DeadEndia and from SKIP to Stig & Tilde, we’ve published some absolute gems during 2019. And whilst of course we can’t pick favourites, we have put together the following gift guide to help you choose that perfect comic.

DeadEndia: The Broken Halo
Hamish Steele

If you’ve not read any DeadEndia before – well, you’re in for a treat. Written by Eisner award winner Hamish Steele, this series is exciting, emotional and peppered with laugh-out-loud jokes.

Set in the Pollywood theme park, we follow the staff who look after the haunted house attraction at the park’s centre. But the house is also a portal to hell, with the elevator able to reach the thirteen planes, home to demons, spirits and other supernatural denizens. Cue a series of adventures filled with brilliant characters, awesome set pieces and a fantastic ‘series-wide’ arc. These books are part Clerks, part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part love story, part horror and all entirely their own thing. Buy the first book, The Watcher’s Test, fall in love, buy book two. You’ll be glad you did.

Americana (And The Act of Getting Over It.)
Luke Healy

A travel journey with a difference. Luke Healy is unhealthy, unprepared, and undaunted when he undertakes the challenge of travelling the Pacific Crest Trail, the gruelling 2660 mile hike from the border of Mexico through the USA, up to the border of Canada. A mix of long text and short snappy comic strips, we follow Luke every step of the way, through deserts and snow, facing forest fires and mountain lion encounters and a single hard decision. Luke examines the landscape, the nation, himself, his art and everything in between as he travels up the West Coast meeting a host of bigger than life characters on the way.

SKIP
Molly Mendoza

Do we describe this book as a visual journey or a visual feast? Because it really is both!

From the peaceful lake of the opening scene to the psychedelic sunset of the closing image, the story of Bloom and their alter-dimension counterpart Gloopy is a glorious stream of arresting artwork as artist Molly Mendoza whisks them through a dazzling array of different worlds. From weeping giants to alligator islands to 2D landscapes, Molly’s imagination runs riot and takes the reader with her while the central relationship between Bloom and Gloopy grows in a great coming-of-age tale.

In Waves
AJ Dungo

A warning before reading. There will be tears.

This visually arresting graphic novel following the author as he and his partner navigate her battle with cancer is both heartbreaking and life-affirming in equal measure. A raw, honest look at the grieving process, it sugarcoats nothing as the author uses surfing as both a temporary reprieve and a way of reminiscing about the life he once shared and the life he now has. The artwork is sparse, stunning and boldly effective and complements the story beautifully. In Waves is a literary and illustrative masterpiece of a book and whoever you give it to for Christmas will thank you. 

Tyna of the Lake
Alexander Utkin

Whether you know your Russian folktales or not, you need these books in your life. This gorgeous series reaches new heights as the Merchant’s Son’s adventure goes from bad to worse as he continues on his quest to gain his freedom. The art is bold, the twists are brutal, the journey is epic! If you thought European folklore was harsh, then Russian is about to teach you a lesson.

Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage
Fabien Grolleau & Jérémie Royer

If you read Fabien and Jeremie’s last book, Audubon: On the Wings of the World, you’ll already know the brilliance the pair bring to combining both intimate and historical detail. Brilliantly highlighting the huge achievements their subjects have made in our understanding of the natural world, while focussing on only smaller parts of their lives, these books are the perfect balance between the mundane and the divine of these incredible men. Shifting their sights to Charles Darwin, they focus their (and our) attention to the beginning of Charles’ voyage, allowing us to see the very seeds of his revolutionary theory begin to germinate as he wonders at the majesty of nature that his voyage presents.

A love letter to science, to nature and to understanding, this is both a beautiful book to own and to see – you don’t just read it, you inhale it.


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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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Hamish Steele Travelling Man Tour

As part of our celebration of the publication of DeadEndia: The Broken Halo, we’re delighted to say Hamish Steele will be doing a tour of Travelling Man stores across the North of the UK.

Hamish will be doing signings at stores in Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle – check out the times below to make sure you don’t miss out!

2nd November
11am to 1pm: Manchester Travelling Man, 4 Dale Street
4pm to 5pm: Leeds Travelling Man, 32 Central Road

3rd November
11am to 1pm: York Travelling Man, 74 Goodramgate
3pm to 4pm: Newcastle Travelling Man, 43 Grainger Street

If you can’t make it to any of these signings Hamish will also be joining us at ThoughtBubble festival in Harrogate the weekend of November 9th and 10th. He’ll have his own table in the Ask For Mercy hall at Table 104, next to Nobrow over on Table 102-103.

If you’re new to the world of Dead End The Broken Halo follows on from where DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test finished off, but it can also be read as a stand alone graphic novel if you fancy jumping straight in.

But as a short summary for any newcomers: war is brewing across the thirteen planes. And as always, haunted house attraction and portal to hell Dead End is right at the centre of it.

Recently reopened as a hotel, Dead End’s resident tour guide turned hotel manager Norma is determined to leave the ghosts of the past where they belong. But with her friendship with Barney up in the air, and angels and demons using the hotel as their literal wrestling ring, Norma soon finds that unwanted ghosts can appear at any moment, especially when they’re your own.

Follow this link for an early preview of The Broken Halo!


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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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DeadEndia: The Broken Halo Preview

“Everything, from the candid dialogue to the artwork, brings to life an adventure full of heart. [DeadEndia] is a celebration of diversity and love that transcends all the astrals levels”
– Lorena Alvarez, creator of the Nightlights series

The time is almost upon us: November the 1st is DeadEndia: The Broken Halo‘s publication day. Officially.

The Broken Halo (written and illustrated by cartoonist and all round wonder Hamish Steele) follows on from where DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test finished off, but can also be read as a stand alone graphic novel if you fancy jumping straight in.

But as a short summary for any newcomers: war is brewing across the thirteen planes. And as always, haunted house attraction and portal to hell Dead End is right at the centre of it.

Recently reopened as a hotel, Dead End’s resident tour guide turned hotel manager Norma is determined to leave the ghosts of the past where they belong. But with her friendship with Barney up in the air, and angels and demons using the hotel as their literal wrestling ring, Norma soon finds that unwanted ghosts can appear at any moment, especially when they’re your own.

Read on for a short preview of The Broken Halo, and don’t forget to preorder your copy now if you like what you read!


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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.