FINALLY…! this book has been two years in the making…! This post is just to show where the idea came from, and how the book took shape. its also quite useful for me to put together this post because its always such a long process that i kind of forget where the ideas came from to begin with.
My first idea for this book was a cause and effect sequence called Oh No!… it was an idea for a sort of elaborate circular accident… i may come back to that idea in future in fact…
I was toying with that but was reluctant to settle on it. Another idea was ‘Bad duck’ about a duck who was bad at being a duck.. swimming and quacking etc… its was a bit like a version of the Ugly Duckling and was sparked by seeing a worried looking duck in London who seemed to be swimming about 2 inches below the water level of his friends
A third idea featured ‘clown man and clown dog’ which i think also could be quite good in the future…
i didnt realise it at the time but all these ideas revolved around the idea of characters somehow messing up (which i thought would make entertaining drawings) I realised its a lot funnier if there is intention from the character to not mess up, so in the end i scrapped clown man and sort of fused all three ideas to make the dog the comic lead character.
One part of the picture book i try to make use of are the page-turns.. they can be great fun when reading aloud if there is bit of a build up so i decided to build up to a page-turn where the dog messes up somehow… that was how the basic idea came about … i jotted it down on 3 pieces of A4 which it turned out hardly changed at all from this first sketch.
I usually draw from my head without using much reference but i found myself googling ‘guilty dogs’ to see if i could find some good material. It turns out there’s a lot about this on the internet. the video below is really worth watching if you havent seen it.
most of this work was done while i was in kathmandu. I went over to get more involved in my fair trade work and ended up staying between there and India for more than 8 months in 2010. I was lucky to work on some super projects there which was the main reason i was very late for my book deadlines. In fact this book was 9 months late and was supposed to have been out last august (!)
I did most of the sketches for george from this room..
and i sent the bologna draft from this internet cafe (the monks were on facebook)
this is me trying to finish it off the last images in the airport on my way home, i had to meet my editors deirdre and lucy the following week and i hadn’t done half as much as i had said i had… (!)
This is the part of the book im most proud of.. the first page builds up in three images to a large close up of george with the text ‘what will george do?’ When the page turns the following double page spread tells us exactly what george has done.. OH NO!!!
as you can see george does some pretty terrible things, but all is forgiven in the end
the end-papers are a kind of before and after
i quite liked having a little quote on the title page for A Bit Lost. i decided to go with this one from the stoic philosopher epictetus for George.
the final proofs and tweaks were all done in a very intensive few weeks with the help from deirdre and dan when i got back to the UK (my room was being lived in so i did all this from my next door neighbour’s place!)
Oh No George is out on the 1st March 2012 or available for pre-order in these countries, im told there are more to follow soon
Oh No, GEORGE! IRE/UK here
Oh No, GEORGE! USA/CANADA here
Stoute Hond Netherlands here
Oh Non, GEORGE! France here
Oh Nein, PAUL! Germany here
Voi Sinua SULO! Finland here
¡Oh no, Lucas! Spain here
Oh no, Charlie! Catalan here
Nominated for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2-6 category
Nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize
Nominated for the UKLA Awards
Nominated for the Irish Book Awards
Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Kate Greenaway Medal
Nominated for the Waterstones Prize
Winner of the Junior Magazine Picture Book of the Year
Nominated for the CBI Awards Ireland
Nominated for LoveReading4 kids Reader’s book prize 2013
Nominated for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards
Nominated for the Carouge Story Book Award
The making of ‘A Bit Lost’ is here