While Norman was in the Shetlands researching, I was at home in Perth, doing some research for the pictures.
I made a few initial sketches of Viking things- costumes, houses, the bows of ships, rune stones, helmets… Norman has a huge collection of books on Vikings, so I wasn’t short of material. These sketches gave me lots of ideas for how the pictures and characters might look. (I haven’t shown all the sketches here, because don’t want to give away too much of the story).
Norman also made me watch a film called ‘The Vikings’, made in 1958. It’s epic- it has huge sets, incredible costumes, proper Viking ships, and sword fights. Kirk Douglas is in it, his chin gets its own credit.
Here’s a cool clip from the movie, where Kirk Douglas climbs a ladder of axes to storm the enemy castle.
I got a few good ideas out of the movie- what characters might wear, things they might do, how helmets look, how Viking shoes strap to your leg, and so on.
After this initial research, my next step was to design the main character- our young hero Josh, who becomes the Viking boy Knut. For that, I was going to need some assistance…