The Last Viking Returns


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Evolution of a scene: the rough sketches for ‘Big Trouble’

pg23-rough-vs-final

final rough on the left, finished version on the right

There’s a scene in The Last Viking Returns called ‘Big Trouble’ where Fafnir the dragon is finally revealed in all his terrible glory. The scene went through a lot of changes during development, so I thought I’d share them here.

It’s a lot of pics though so I’ll share them in two parts. This post will show you the roughs, and next week’s post will show how the final illustration was put together.

(And if you haven’t read the book yet, there’s a few SPOILERS below.)

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The Last Viking Returns, September/October school holiday events

We’ve got two more Viking events happening during the school holidays:

  • the State Library exhibition continues until the end of the September
  • we’ve got a Boffins bookshop event in Perth on Wednesday 1st October.

Hit the link for the details.

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The Last Viking Returns exhibition

SLWA-exhibition-1

The State Library of Western Australia is exhibiting the artwork of The Last Viking Returns from today until September 30.

Head up to The Place on the mezzanine floor to see original sketches, storyboards and character designs as well as prints of the final artwork. You can also see research materials and Norm’s original manuscripts.

Read on for photos of the printing and hanging process …

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The Last Viking Returns – front cover timelapse

The Last Viking Returns, the sequel to our children’s book The Last Viking, will be released September 1 this year.

In this post we reveal the cover for The Last Viking Returns!

I’ll also show a step-by-step look at the design of the cover, from the first rough sketch to the final drop of colour.

First off – here’s the final cover design.

The Last Viking Returns - front cover

For a step-by-step look at the design process, including a time-lapse of me colouring the cover, watch the YouTube video below.

(For the trivia-minded among you, the time-lapse represents about 4 hours work squished down into 8 minutes of footage; the whole video is 10 minutes long).


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I wish I could paint this fast

Here’s a timelapse of me painting a page from The Last Viking Returns.

This page features Odin and his ravens, as well as Freya (the goddess of love and beauty), Sigurd (blacksmith to the gods), and Thor (no introduction needed).

All the illustrations in the book (including this one) were drawn with pencil, then scanned and coloured digitally using a Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet and Photoshop CS3/Corel Painter X3.

The footage was captured using Screenium. The colouring process took 4 hours in real time.

The Last Viking Returns is the sequel to The Last Viking (2011) and is once again illustrated by James Foley (me) and written by Norman Jorgensen. All being well, it’ll be released in October 2014 by Fremantle Press!


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Picture A Story exhibition

The State Library of WA has a new exhibition beginning November 2nd called Picture A Story, comprising works from their Australian children’s book illustration collection.

You’ll see artwork by Shaun Tan, Ron Brooks, Graeme Base, Alison Lester, Frane Lessac, Leigh Hobbs, Matt Ottley, Sean E Avery and me!

There’ll be originals, sketches and sculptures I made for The Last Viking… including this little reference maquette for Josh.

Josh reference sculpture

And as you probably noticed at the top of the post, Wolverine is the official mascot of the exhibition!

More info at the State Library website.