The Last Viking Returns

Designing Viking World – the visitor map

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There’s only 3 (!) weeks until the release of The Last Viking Returns on September 1, and I’ve got a couple more behind-the-scenes things to show.

I’ve been focusing on one of the main settings in the book – a theme park called Viking World. I had to figure out the rough layout of the park early on so that I could map the journey made by Pop, Josh and the family. I also wanted to make the backgrounds of each illustration consistent with the map so that the reader could really believe in the fictional setting.

I mentioned last week that most of Viking World is based on Universal Studios in Singapore. Norman and I visited in 2012 and 2013 (strictly for research purposes, we didn’t have any fun at all).

Here’s a map of Universal Singapore:

(Click for larger version)

(Click for larger version)

And here’s the map of our fictional park, Viking World. It forms the front endpapers for The Last Viking Returns.

(Click for a larger version)

(Click for a larger version)

Both parks feature an entrance promenade with souvenir shops. Both have a lake. Both are colour-coded so that you can see at a glance the types of attractions in each area. Both have legends and symbols (and folds in the paper).

Early versions of the map were much sketchier. It took a while to come together.


First sketch – statue of Thor is also a fountain



Second sketch



Third sketch



Fourth sketch



Sketchiest sketch (almost there – the scribble at the bottom is the basis for the final version)

(Click for larger version)

Final rough (click for larger version)

Next week I’ll look at one final part of Viking World: the entrance gate.


Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. His books include 'The Amity Kids Adventures', 'In The Lion', 'The Last Viking'. A couple of these books have won awards. People have also bought copies, and for that he is grateful. His new book 'The Last Viking Returns' is out now. Follow James at , @James_R_Foley on twitter and instagram or at

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