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!
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.
Here is a preview spread of a couple of pages I've illustrated for 'The Deciders' written by Jonny Zucker. The image is posted on the children's publisher Franklin Watts website. The book/graphic novel is now completed and awaiting publication. I was ably assisted with layouts by the talented Jack Davies.
Been a while since I provided a work update. This has been partly due to taking on consultancy work outside of the illustration bubble to alleviate some of the stresses and strains of being a freelancer.
So, on with the update:
Here's a preview image from issue 2 of Team M.O.B.I.L.E I completed a few weeks back. The series is being launched shortly on the iPad by Rok Comics. It's produced by the same creative team as the first issue - John Freeman (writer), me (art), Kris Carter (colours), and Jim Campbell (letters). I'm working in good company in terms of comic industry Eagle Award nominees, with John nominated for Strip in the Favourite British Comics category, and Kris for Lou Scannon in the black and white category. FutureQuake which I contributed a strip to last year is also in the running in the same category. Jim Campbell of course has contributed his lettering skills to Strip amongst probably other nominated comics on the shortlists!
Ahead of its iPad release, there has been heaps of audiovisual work done on the first issue to produce an immersive experience. The theme tune can be heard by clicking on the sidebar to the right, and there is an interview with John which coincided with the recent Hi-Ex Comic Convention in Glasgow to shed more light on the project.
I have begun work on the cover for the third issue whilst the script is being finalised.
I've completed an illustrated biography of a historical figure for the BBC Bitesize website which provides study aids for children and young adults about to sit there exams. I was pleased with the figure I was assigned as they have strong links with Manchester. The commission comprised of 27 illustrations in a widescreen format, and hopefully I'll be able to post some images on here once they are online.
I'm currently working on illustrations for a couple of titles for Rising Stars, an award winning independent book publisher for the children's education sector. The illustrations will be A2 in size which is not something I've tackled before. My main worry is whether my computer will cope when I move on to the colouring stage in photoshop. I'm looking for any excuse to upgrade to a macbook!
I've just commenced initial work on a graphic novel for Franklin Watts as part of their reluctant reader series of books. Franklin Watts are part of Hachette, one of the major industry book publishers so it'll be a good opportunity to get my work in print with them.
A few other bits and bobs are in the pipeline. Hopefully be able to reveal more in the next update.