Two more book covers I've recently completed for the Football Factor children's book series I'm currently illustrating for Wayland Books have been posted over on Hachette's website, so I guess it's safe for me to reproduce them here too!
Issue 3 of Team M.O.B.I.L.E., the audio comic app I've been illustrating is now available for downloads on itunes for iphone and ipad devices. This issue is set in the fictional 'Game World' theme park where the teen agents investigate the mysterious disappearance of children. Team M.O.B.I.L.E. is a Rok Comics production, created by Jonathan Kendrick, Ferg Handley (script), Andrew Chiu (art), Kris Carter and Kirsty Swan (colour) and Jim Campbell (letters), backed by a full UK-US voice cast and soundtrack. The first two issues are still available for free through both itunes and google play.
I drew this last year, but a considerable amount of lead in time to publication is required once it leaves my drawing board, as John Freeman, Rok's editor has to co-ordinate the completion of the coloured and lettered stages of the comic, and oversee production of the audio soundtrack, animation sequences, and app development - as well as managing publication of Rok Comics other titles! He also finds time to promote UK comics in his Down The Tubes blog which is worth checking out.
Whilst I've been on a good run of illustration work since my last work update, there are periods of time when nothing happens and attracting other drawing work outside of the publishing sector is vitally important. Private commissions are not an area I've spent much time in promoting, but I seem to be getting more enquiries in this area of late so I thought I'd display a commission I completed recently.
I was approached to produce a custom / bespoke comic a couple of months back. The client came to me with a story and I provided some guidance for him to draft it up into a script which I was able to edit and produce the artwork for. I then physically made it up into a comic so that it could be given as a present. Below is an anonimised version of the printed comic book.
If this is the sort of thing you might be looking for, don't hesitate to give me a shout.
Here is the cover image (pinched from the publisher's website!) I've illustrated for 'Seeing Red', part of the Football Factor series of children's books coming out from Wayland Books this autumn/winter. A series of six children's books written by Alan Durant, it focuses on the ups and downs of the football players of Sheldon Rovers, and is illustrated throughout by me.
I'm really enjoying working on this series as it brings back fond memories of when I was a kid, and how I began my love of drawing through reading comics such as Tiger and Roy of the Rovers. I use to love copying the comic artists who drew Billy's Boots and Hot Shot Hamish. Google John Gillatt's work on Billy's Boots if you get chance!
Back to work....
Franklin Watts, an imprint of Hachette Children's Books, have published an image on their website of the cover art I've produced for this title. The children's book is written by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore (known as The 2 Steves) and is part of the publisher's catalogue of books aimed at reluctant readers. It has a publication date of October 2013, and will also include interior illustrations by me!
Work was quiet for a four week period over Christmas and New Year which was nice rest-wise but left a bit of a hole financially in my pocket! Fortunately things have picked up nicely since mid-January, although it remains an ever present struggle as a freelance illustrator to feel confident that you can go on a lengthy run of constant work. Of course doing something you love is a good trade-off and I certainly don't miss the challenges that I use to face as a manager in the public sector despite retaining a weakness for reading policy and strategy documents, and the need to design an excel spreadsheet for everything I do.
I'm currently making good headway with the Football Factor children's book series I'm drawing for Wayland Books; the first book is nearly finished with some amendments to be made to the interior art and a cover to produce. I've just completed pencilling the second book and awaiting comments before moving on to completing the finished artwork. The stories written by Alan Durant work really well for its target audience, and I'm pleased with how the illustrations I'm producing are turning out in bringing them to life.
I've also begun work on a children's graphic novel for Raintree of which very rough storyboards have been completed so far. The next few weeks will be spent pencilling the book, whilst ensuring I keep on top of the work I'm doing for Wayland Books.
In between times, I've managed to complete an educational comic strip for Benchmark Education - an American publisher, as well as a storyboard commission for Monitor - a creative design agency in Manchester. I also had a rare private commission in producing a comic book for a client which was slightly easier said than done, given I rarely deal with needing to produce a 'physical' product these days. Nevertheless, I'm pleased with how it turned out and I'll hopefully be able to post some of these pieces on my blog at a later date. It's been cool being able to slot these interesting projects in between the children's book work. The next few weeks will be pretty full on with the children's books but I remain on the look out for new commissions!
As a gear change, here's an illustration I drew for a text book for McGraw Hill last year. Not sure where or when it was published in America but it was one of two I produced to accompany the story of Orion the Hunter.
A preview of 'Football Factor', the children's book series I'm the illustrator for can be found in Wayland Books catalogue for 2013. Below is an extract featuring some of the illustrations I've already completed. Football Factor is written by Alan Durant and will be published by Wayland Books later this year. Details of all their children's book publications for 2013 can be found in their catalogue at the bottom of their home page.
To get into the practice of drawing footballers for the series, I did some some illustrations of Manchester United footballers for fun a few months back if you want to check them out.
A comic strip I drew features in a music app just released by Rok Records on itunes. I don’t really know much about the artist since the music world ended for me with the death of the Carpenters, er...however moving on, I’m sure younger folk might find out more about her on You Tube and the like – better still, buy the app!
Earlier last year, I produced artwork on one of Roc Nation’s artists as part of Rok’s product development of the app to demonstrate its potential as a marketing tool for record companies and recording artists. There seems to have been some success in this area, as Rok’s parent company announced a deal on its website with Sony Music Entertainment.
A copy of my Wayne Rooney illustration was posted on the Business Boom website just before Christmas, along with a profile and a few details of upcoming work.
There may be some A3 size prints of the non-Xmas version still available for sale in Manchester at the Grumpy Shop just off Deansgate. Grumpy provide resource centres open to trainers, artists, carers, parents, playworkers, students, voluntary, non-voluntary groups, schools and anyone who works with or cares for children and young people. The shop sells a range of prints and cards by local artists and illustrators.