Thanks for visiting my blog…if you just want to see the pictures and you’re not in the mood for a stop and chat you can view my full illustration portfolio by clicking ‘portfolio’ above or visiting www.portfolio.maxinelee.com
So Edinburgh was brilliant. I met lots of lovely people, grinned (like my brain had fell out) as I said hello to Nick Sharratt and Guy Parker-Rees, had the two most amazing chairs introducing my events, had a shock beyond belief at the cost of two dippy eggs and a piece of toast, ate fudge and watched A Touch of Frost. I also saw a lady in a bright pink tutu push her whole body through something that looked like a tennis racquet, a man throw a stick of fire in the air and almost set a member of the crowd on fire and lots of dogs made of sand. The best thing though, as ever, was the sea of little smiling faces waiting for me to do something pirate-y and the ever more bizarre and lovely sly hugs that the children (this time at Drumbrae Library) throw on you when you’re least expecting it (although, I don’t think anyone will take me more by surprise that the little boy who kissed me on the knee back in May). It will never stop bewildering me when I see the standard of art that these little people produce in a draw-along.
Unfortunately I’m a little late with this post as I brought back a horrendous cold/sinus-y thing/chesty thing with me and just generally getting any work done has been like wading through custard.
I made a handout for the children attending the events and now it’s all over, I can share it with everyone – feel free to download and (as ever) don’t forget to show me what your little ones’ come up with!
If you were following my Twitter account a few years ago, you may remember that I had a fox as my background, just on the left of the page. His sharp little nose pointed to a post and he said Big Whoop with his sarcastic face on.
So how do you go from there to a book?
Well the first thing to happen was a conversation with my Agent (Bright) in the US* and at the time, that was the fabulous Kirsten Hall. I had no intention of doing anything other than occasionally agree with Mr. Fox as he selected a random post on Twitter to be not bothered about (sometimes my own, sometimes not). Kirsten had a twitchy feeling though and planted the seed that he’d be a great character if I could develop a story for him.
So I did.
It involved a rabbit, a squirrel, a helicopter, a dragon, kittens, a chessboard and a sausage. The sausage was eventually dropped, for reasons of decency, but the story was something to build on with the right publisher. Cue Pow! Kids Books.
I had one of those overseas conversations with Sharyn at Pow!, you know where you sound very awkward and dweeb-like because of the delay (laughing 20 seconds after the last sentence started so you miss the start of the next sentence). We talked about language and words and I learned why American’s look at me like I’m a little strange in face-to-face conversation. I use a LOT of colloquial terms, so we had to change that. Originally, there was a line ‘Well fold me like a letter and post me home!’. That was cut.
At this point, we signed the deal, and although it was my third book, it was my first with a publisher outside of the UK so I was completely chuffed (if you’re in the UK)/stoked (if you’re in the US).
From there it was just ironing out details and colouring in. The personalities of Roman and Harrison and Mr. Fox are all family based. I couldn’t possibly put names to them, that would be rude, but I bet the lovely mister can spot himself in there…
Pow! have been brilliant to work with and pretty much let me run riot with the artwork, but I’ll always be sad about the sausage. I loved that sausage, in all it’s innocent inappropriateness.
If you fancy seeing some reviews, you can check out Goodreads or Google if you have a spare 5 minutes.
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I really appreciate your support, people, even just reading my waffles on here. It means so much to me and I can’t say a GREATBIGTHANKYOU enough!
Just checking in quickly to shout about the fact that I’ve updated my folio with lots of new things. You can get there by clicking the link up there ^ or go to www.portfolio.maxinelee.com if you like typing.
I’ve uploaded lots of art from Big Whoop!, Sorry, Dad!, Pi-Rat!, a picture dictionary I worked on last year for Blue Rabbit and some educational spreads for Learning Focus and Compass Media.
I’ll post again shortly with a nice meaningful post about the fabulous commissions/projects I’m working on right now, just as soon as the heat stops frazzling my brain.
Just a quick post to share some the fabulous reviews/comments left by Mumsnet members after their big Sorry, Dad! giveaway. I do love a bit of Mumsnet (in between sketching and writing) so when I saw these, I was smiling all over my face.
Some things get inside your head and refuse to be ignored. I find this is especially true with music. There’s just something about particular songs/artists that draw you to them. You can weave a story between the lines or come up with a typographical composition, spread or doodle that you KNOW would never have happened without hearing a particular song at a particular time.
Some of the most influential artists for me (for this reason) are Sarah Blasko, Of Monsters and Men, Leonard Cohen, Fleetwood Mac, Blondie, ELO, Macy Gray, Bjork, The Jam, Pixies, The Doors, Portishead, Lana Del Ray, The Cure and piano/strings…..Way too many more to mention. Not all necessarily the stuff I’d listen to in my car but definitely good for me and my blank piece of paper. I think it’s the use of descriptive language/narratives/compositions that make them so influential/inspirational for me. Like idea fuel.
Anyways, the point of me drenching you with that info leads me on to the ‘New Thing’ that I mentioned up there ^. Buckle up.
Last week, I started writing a story whilst I was half asleep. It’s a bit odd and macabre and darker than my usual and the idea first sprung to mind as I was listening to one of my inspirational Spotify playlists. Some of you may be able to guess the song some of you not. Depends on your feelings about electro-pop. So I’ve knocked up a cover and I’m going to work on this for fun and post the spreads as I go. I can’t promise it will be a quick process, but if you’d like to follow my progress/comments, here’s a quick link to where I’ll be posting about (da da da daaaaa!) The Child Who Bought The Stars
In between all this listening to music and creative abandon, I’ve been working with some fabulous clients, old and new.
Sorry, Dad! was released last month
Big Whoop! is released next month (July 2014)!
As soon as I have the nod from my lovely clients, I’ll post pics of what I’ve been doing this year so far.
In between working I had a fabulous trip to Cambridge to attend their ‘Read It Again!’ awards ceremony at the Bellbird School in Sawston (Hello, Wrens!). ‘Pi-Rat!’ received a ‘Highly Commended’ award – look:
I’m now preparing for the Edinburgh Festival where I’ll be reading Pi-Rat! ( who will be making a very special appearance in person/ratson?) and making pirate hats, so if you’re in Edinburgh on the 19th August, I’l be at the Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab at 1.30 – information and tickets available here
You don’t have to draw like a boss to win – just draw a picture of the worst thing you ever did to your dad and write Sorry, Dad! on there. For example – my sister waited until my dad was asleep, bit the heads off all her jelly-babies and then stuffed the bodies in his gaping, snoring mouth. I’d give you an example of my own but I was angelic and was always nice. Ahem.
Are you as bad as the cheeky little cat in Sorry, Dad?
You can tweet your pics to me @maxillustration or you can post them on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/maxillustration.I’ll put them all in an album for everyone to see and announce the winner next week. You have until 4th June to get your entries in! If you have 10 children, they can all enter separately. You can help me decide the winner by ‘Liking’ your favourite pics.
The prize is a signed illustration (by me) of you and your Dad (Step-Dad, Granddad – use your imagination here) and the worst thing you did…I’ll even throw in a signed copy of ‘Sorry, Dad!.
Please only enter if you’re in the UK – sorry for the exclusion, I wish we could all do what we like but I don’t want to get told off.