Friday, 28 October 2011

The story of Fluff and Billy Part 2 - Developing the idea

I now had an idea for a story where one character copies everything the other character does. I decided that to make the story more interesting, the two friends should fall out at some stage before making up again at the end.

I then had to think about:

What or who would the two characters be?

What actions would they be doing/copying?

How would they fall out?

How would they make up?

As my previous projects on the MA had involved child characters, I decided to make these animals of some kind. I thought about two bears or a bird and a bear but decided that the characters needed to be a similar scale so they could interact easily. I used to work as a Christmas card designer before starting the MA, so maybe the idea of penguins was a leftover from those days - my top 4 Christmas characters were always: 1. Santa: 2. reindeer: 3. snowman and 4. penguins! (If I remember I'll post some of my old designs closer to Christmas)! I thought the contrast of black and white penguins on water and snow would work well so I made my decision......penguins!

I then started working on very rough story boards - drawing thumbnail ideas of what the two penguins would get up to.

As you can see, these were very basic! I wanted their actions to fit into their environment so things like sliding, swimming and splashing seemed to be the way to go.

I originally called the penguins Scruff and Billy - Scruff was big and scruffy and I just liked the name Billy for a little penguin! But when I was drawing Scruff, he looked more fluffy than scruffy, hence the name change!

Initially, I thought the pair could fall out by getting carried away when spinning each other around. One of them would take a tumble and get in a mood. However, I thought it might be better if the copier deviates from the pattern at some point and so when Fluff rolls a snowball, Billy throws a snowball.....straight at Fluff!

The making up started off as Fluff pulling a funny face to make Billy laugh but soon switched to a spot of tummy tickling!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The story of Fluff and Billy Part 1 - Where the idea came from

I had a launch night for Fluff and Billy at Heffers Children's Bookshop in Cambridge last night. I shared it with the lovely Marion Lindsay and Elizabeth Baguley who were launching their book Ready, Steady Ghost! Thanks to everyone who attended and to Michelle and the staff at Heffers for organising everything.

In the run-up to the event I had a few emails from my friend's mum who wanted me to talk a bit about the process of making the book - I found the idea a bit scary but I'm so glad she applied the pressure! I prepared a short sequence of images which explained the progress of Fluff and Billy over the many months it took to complete. It seemed to go down well so I've decided to share it on my blog!

Part 1: Where the idea came from

Back in 2008 I was in the middle of studying for my MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. I was working on my diploma project (which became the book 'Not Me!') and needed to practice drawing children. I was lucky enough to get permission to go into the university's nursery to draw and observe the children there - it was an amazing experience to see how a big group of kids interact, and the staff made me feel so welcome. As well as sketching, I made little notes in my sketchbook about the things the children said to each other.
One conversation between two children went as follows:

"I'm making a beeping noise."
"I'm making a beeping noise."

"I'm going to stop beeping."
"I'm going to stop beeping."

"I'm going to sit over here."
"I'm going to sit over here."

The way one girl was copying everything her friend did got me thinking..... and that was the very start of Fluff and Billy!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fluff and Billy: book of the week at Peters

I was very pleased to hear that Fluff and Billy had been chosen as a book of the week at Peters Bookselling Services. I was lucky enough to visit their showrooms in Birmingham last year to talk about Not Me! and to meet the staff there. Thanks to James Wilson at Peters for taking some pictures of the display for me!

And the winner is......

Drumroll please! Having put the number of entrants of my Fluff and Billy giveaway into the random number generator I am pleased to announce that the winner is......Moira Millman! She will be getting a signed copy of Fluff and Billy do everything together! and an artwork too. Congratulations Moira and big thanks to everyone who entered!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Illustration Friday: Contraption

While mulling over the topic of 'Contraption' and also trying to think of new story ideas I realised what it was that I really Ideas Generator! So here it is!
Don't forget to enter my current giveaway if you haven't already - it's open until Friday 14th October. Click here for all the details.

Monday, 3 October 2011

GIVEAWAY!!! Today's the Day!

Today is the day that Fluff and Billy do everything together is officially published so to commemorate this I am doing a giveaway! To enter all you have to do is: a)be a follower of this blog and b)leave a comment letting me know you want to be included in the's that easy.
The draw closes on Friday 14th October at 2pm BST and the winner will be selected at random.
The prize is a signed paperback copy of Fluff and Billy do everything together (a dedication of your choice can be included) and an original signed painting of Billy (approx 70x90mm). Good luck!