Mannie and the Long Brave Day is now out in the world. It was a long (and brave?) process, finding just the right style to suit Martine's text, so I thought I'd post some of the early sketches to give you an idea of how the book developed.
There is also a photo of the 'real Mannie' - Martine's little girl. I took heaps of photos of her and stuck them all around my studio while I worked to inspire me - but this is one of my favourites, sent by Martine when they were in Paris together.
I have included the illustration we ended up using for the cover (left), as well as another cover idea (above) the designer came up with using one of the illustrations from inside the book. It took a long time to find a style that everyone was happy with and I worked in many different mediums. You can see that at one stage Lilliput was going to be in pink gingham! In the end we decided on the pale watercolour wash because Martine and I wanted the book to have a classic, almost old-fashioned feeling.
Every book I work on I try out many different styles and techniques until I find the one that most suits the feel of the book. I will post some other examples of more books I am working on later on.
"Mannie" has had some nice reviews so far. Here is a lovely one from the Sunday Age:
When you were a child did you have (or wish you had) a Useful Box chockers with incredible items that might come in handy some time? Mannie has a special box filled with secret things and it's the perfect accessory for a girl with a yen for adventure. The intrepid Mannie coaxes companions Lilliput and Strawberry Luca into an expedition. They set off into the great unknown, stopping regularly to check the box for anything that will put the excellent back into their exploration. During their journey, repetition and delicious onomatopoeia abound, reminiscent of "We're Going On A Bear Hunt". Indeed, read this to an under-five and you'll see their eyes light up as they detect the patterns in the story. Two talented author-illustrators have collaborated for this tale. You can feel their friendship frolicking from page to page.
This one is from Australian Bookseller & Publisher:
And this one was from Magpies: