The Last Viking Returns

Designing Viking World – the entrance gate

Leave a comment


There’s only a fortnight until the release of The Last Viking Returns  on Sept 1st! This is my last behind-the-scenes post before then.

I’ve been focusing on one of the main settings in the book – a theme park called Viking World. There’s a moment early in the book where the family arrives at the park for the first time, and I wanted Josh to have a sense of awe. The text only says “Wow”, so I was free to fill in the rest.

My first sketch looked like this. Not terribly impressive, not awe-inspiring at all, but it helped me to figure out what goes where.



What I wanted was that sense of excitement and majesty that happened in the film Jurassic Park, when the characters go through the park gates for the first time. You might remember the scene:

It uses a worm’s-eye perspective (also sometimes called an ant’s-eye perspective). It’s a good viewpoint for emphasising how big something is compared to something else. It’s great for making your reader feel small and for creating a sense of awe.


worm’s-eye perspective

So I changed the perspective in my sketches.



could be better



that’s more like it



final pencils and shading



final colour version


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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s