It took me ages to break into picture books.
I first started visiting publishing houses in London after finishing work on MARS ATTACKS
, and would try and get down there at least once a month to "blitz" the publishing houses. I'd initially made contact via introudctory letters and phonecalls to the companies I was interested in getting on board with - Hodder, Collins, Penguin, Macmillan and the like. Then it was a case of keeping the relationships bubbling away, sending down new samples of my work whenever possible, calling up and in as often was deemed non-stalkery and generally just reminding them I existed."I got the same old story from all my peers, there ain't no room around here for a gee-tar man..."
Each of the art directors and editors I met pretty much unanimously said they loved my work. However, the couldn't employ me. It was simply too dark. My influences were Tim Burton and Lane Smith, and consequently I had real trouble "lightening" my paintings. When I eventually sucked it up and tried this approach, I got my first commission from Harper Collins - to illustrate "Dinosaurs After Dark
", a text written by the lovely Jon Emmett. It was a story that immediately captured my imagination, following the adventures of young Bobby as he sees a dinosaur creeping past his bedroom window at night. The book is inspired by one of both mine and Jon's favourite books, "Where The Wild Things Are
" by Maurice Sendak.
I'll put up some more of the artwork in the next few posts for you to take a butchers at - the original artwork adorns my children's nursery, although some of it is for sale. We're actually looking to get this off the ground as a kids show too, so watch this space!
Thanks to Glazey for kindly compositing these huge paintings as Jpegs ;-)