The Last Viking Returns


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Our second book gets a second book launch

By the time this blog post goes live, we’re likely to have reached capacity for the launch of The Last Viking Returns.

If you couldn’t RSVP in time, don’t despair.

We’ve got a second launch organised!

Keep Saturday 6 September free from 11am to 12pm for a Viking event at Beaufort Street Books, 567 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley, WA.

  • Meet Wolverine the dog and his new friend on the day!
  • There will be a special reading of The Last Viking Returns and activities.
  • Kids tickets cost $5 but can be redeemed off book purchases.
  • FREE entry for adults.

Reservations and ticket purchases: (08) 6142 7996 or hello@beaufortstreetbooks.com.au

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Character design – choosing colours for the cast

Over the last 3 months I’ve posted my rough sketches for all the characters in the book.

I’ve covered Josh’s family, all the Viking characters and the two villains.

This post gathers all the colour reference versions together so you can see the links between them.

I’ve made some notes on each major group of characters and their colours. Most of the time my colour choices were a matter of gut feeling, and it’s only after the fact that I can figure out why certain combinations seemed to work.

 

First up is Josh’s family.

I didn’t intentionally make Josh’s costume out of primary colours, but it turned out that way – yellowish hair, red helmet and shield, blue shirt. Add a bit of green and you’ve got a bunch of bright happy colours, which all help Josh stand out from whatever moody background he’s in front of.

Wolverine’s colander helmet and collar are the same shade of gold and red found on Josh’s chestplate. This sharing of colour is a simple way to link Josh and Wolverine together.

Josh’s siblings are in blue and red shirts – the same blue and red found in Josh’s costume. Their shorts/skirt are darker shades of the blue and red respectively. All three children have the same colour boots. Again, it’s about linking Josh with his siblings in the eye of the reader using colour.

Nan is the only one in the family to wear a shade of purple. I find it a loud colour for some reason; I don’t wear it a lot, and it seems to clash with a lot of colours I normally use. This fits with Nan’s no-nonsense, outspoken personality. I made it a soft, warm shade of purple though (at least to my slightly colour-blind eyes) as it seemed like a colour a loving, caring (but feisty) Nan might wear. The sneakers have purple trim in the same shade.

Pop is all in shades of grey – warm shades, tinges of brown in there. The dark vest is a strong contrast to the colour of his skin, shirt and pants. His colours seem warm and masculine and strong to me. Bright colours just didn’t seem to suit Pop; he’s silly and child-like, but he’s strong and grounded. I imagine he would give very big bear hugs. His colours make him stand out, not only from his wife but from all the other characters in the family.

character-sheet--family-550px

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Character designs – Wolverine and the lady dog

Between now and the launch of The Last Viking Returns (Sept 1st, 2014), I’m doing a series of posts showing my rough sketches for all the characters in the book.

Next up in the family is Wolverine, Josh’s faithful companion.

 

As with the character of Josh, I’d already illustrated a whole book with Wolverine before, but I hadn’t drawn him very much at all in the 3 year gap in between. I needed to practice drawing him again.

Wolverine
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The goodbye scene

There’s a scene in Last Viking where Josh arrives at Nan and Pop’s house, says goodbye to his mum and dad, and watches them drive off. Sounds simple enough. It took Norm and I a few goes to get it right.

The text and pictures would have to achieve a number of things- introduce Nan and Pop, introduce the setting, and show Josh’s close relationship with his Mum and Dad. The text and pictures couldn’t show Josh’s parents leaving in a way that implied they were dumping him so they could go away for the weekend together… it had to be sensitive.

The first and second goes didn’t achieve these things :p

earlier-goodbye-scene

First go

early-goodbye-scene

second go

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The all important opening scene- part 4 (final colours)

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve shown the process of developing the opening scene of Last Viking. I covered the first roughs, some more developed ideas, and the final pencils.

I’d gotten up to here:

p2-3-pencils-final

final pencils

and now this week: the final colours.

My first go wasn’t too bad- but the night-time panel wasn’t dark enough. It seemed like early morning, and Josh would (should) be asleep by then 🙂 I wasn’t sure about the colours in the day-time panel either. But I liked the blur of colour from the left-hand panel across the gutter.

p2-3-colour-v1

The light is too bright, almost like a spotlight, or a UFO

When I had tried colours for a few pages, I started to see that sometimes it looked good if just a few things were coloured in, and other parts were left white. So I tried that. And I darkened up the night-time panel.

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The all important opening scene- part 3

Over the past two weeks I’ve shown the development for the opening scene of Last Viking. Here’s the first roughs, and here’s some more developed ideas.

This week I’ll show the final rough and pencil outlines, and how I got there.

I’d decided the scene would take place in Josh’s bedroom. He’d be in a cubby house with his dog at night, and there’d also be a panel on the right set in the morning.

Here’s the closest I’d got so far:

p2-3-v10_4-text

My next experiment would be trying a more dramatic birds-eye perspective. I did some smaller thumbnails:

p2-3-v11-thumbnails

a small note on the post-it wonders if Josh might yawn like a lion in the morning: to go with the phrase, "But other than those things, Josh was as brave as a lion".

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The all important opening scene- part 2

Last week I wrote about how opening scenes work, and showed some early roughs of the opening scene for Last Viking.

I tried various options that didn’t quite work, which helped me become clearer about what I wanted the opening scene to achieve. It needed to do several things:

  • Introduce Josh and Wolverine, and show the closeness of their relationship (who)
  • Show that Josh is a creative, imaginative and resourceful kid (who)
  • Introduce Josh’s problem (fear) and have the reader empathise with his feelings (what)
  • probably show Josh in his room- night-time would be easiest to show fear, but daytime would be easiest to show Josh and Wolverine playing (where, when)

So with those things in mind, I kept sketching. I did a little set of thumbnails where the double page spread would have two panels. One would be big and dark, showing Josh’s room at night time. Josh and Wolverine are visible only as silhouettes, seen in a cubby made from a blanket. The bulk of the text would relate to this panel and go in a column at far left. The thinner panel on the right would show Josh and Wolverine poking their heads out from the cubby the next morning, with the line, “But other than those things, Josh is as brave as a lion” written close by.

p2-3-v8-roughsHere’s a bigger version with some tone added. There is still a silhouette of a dinosaur on the far wall. Josh’s skateboard is on the floor next to Wolverine’s cushion.

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