May 12, 2017
The Prisoner of Azkaban is finished. I’ll be honest, it just about killed me. I was completely burned out half way through Chamber of Secrets, and probably shouldn’t have gone straight from three years work on Potter into another year of very, very long days. So I’m currently on a break trying to get better again. I’ve still got a lot of letters to reply to. If you’ve sent me a letter or email, I’m so sorry if I haven’t replied to it yet. I receive quite a lot, and it takes a long time to get through them. I do try and answer them all, but it can take an embarrassing amount of time. Please forgive me!
Anyway, I’m finally doing the things I haven’t been able to do for over five years. Sitting in a room other than the studio, watching TV, gardening etc.
It occurred to me this week that I haven’t drawn anything for myself in something like seven years now, and so I’m hoping to to that this summer. I’ve got some form of RSI in my right arm from scribbling, so I’m going to try and learn to draw with my left. If I can sketch and make roughs with my left hand, it might give the right one a bit of a break (and with any luck, something new and less predictable will come out of it). I want to get started early on Harry Potter book four though, I really, REALLY wish to make a book that I can spend time getting right. So many illustrations i roughed out didn’t make the final books because of time constraints. No Ginny Weasley STILL, which is terrible, I know. Hopefully with this year off I can sit and plan book four with a bit less pressure.
I’ve been back to Calke Abbey again, which is one of my favourite country houses, and a constant source of inspiration for Potter, not so much in the architecture, but in all the little details. I used the gardener’s cottage as reference for Hagrid’s hut in Azkaban.
There is a blue paint that was used years ago at Calke, and I love the way it has aged. The house is a time capsule, with rooms left exactly as they were found. There is a patina across the whole house that has been made through years of use and neglect, it reminds me of the crumbling buildings if Venice.
Even the window frames have a fantastic texture
January 1, 2017
So the film version of Patrick Ness’s book is out in the cinemas today. Do pop along and see it if you can. It was a pleasure to be involved in some small way on the film. I had dinner with J.A.Bayona recently, and he is the nicest, most welcoming, genuinely friendly guy you could meet. What a great job he did on the film. Now he’s working with Chris Pratt on the next Jurassic World movie, very exciting. I also got to meet Felicity Jones, but I was all star struck and so I only managed a few mumbles before I shuffled off. I’m rubbish at meeting new people! Anyway, I just wanted to say again how wonderful it was to see the finished film, I hope you enjoy it too. I warn you though, it’s an emotional 2 hours. The image you see here is a special poster they made for theaters using some of my original artwork.
November 26, 2016
I was in Cardiff on 6 October and gave a talk to students at the fantastic Cardiff Metropolitan University. At the book signing afterwards, I met a talented student called Avril Dann, who has an equally talented Mum, Samantha. Together, they write and illustrate the Madder’s World children’s books, which they self-publish. I promised that I would put a link to their website on my blog (sorry it’s taken so long…!), so have a look at their work here.
| Tags: Avril Dann, children's books, Madder's World, S C Dann
September 27, 2016
I got to see the finished film recently (sat next to Patrick Ness at a private showing). Blimey, is it emotional. What a wonderful film, and Lewis Macdougall is simply incredible. Congratulations to Bayona, and everyone involved, you did an amazing job. If you go and see it, take tissues, it’s a moving movie. Follow this link to watch the trailer.
I was lucky enough to be asked to do some concept work for the film, which can be seen in the new Collector’s Edition of the book, published by Walker Books. I WISH I could have done more, but I was so busy on Potter. The Collector’s Edition is extremely well put together, by the way, showing behind the scenes footage, set design, concept art. I’m a big fan of these sort of books. (The Hobbit production design books are wonderful, for example). What I really love about the film is seeing Conor creating pictures using the same technique I used on the original book! The attention to detail too, just astonishing. Anyway, it’s out soon – go and see it!
September 25, 2016
If you live near Brighton, please get down to see the exhibition of illustrator Ian Miller’s work at the Corridor Gallery on York Street.
Ian Miller is an artist, illustrator and writer, a giant in the world of fantasy illustration, actually. He’s the main reason I became interested in scribbling, I used to keep a pile of his published work next to my bed, in the hope that I’d have Miller-infested dreams. I love his designs (and so does Guillermo del Toro – can’t ask for a better fan than that!). My Hogwarts drawings owe a great deal to Ian’s work, particularly his exquisite renderings of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, and he has been a constant guide and support over the years, a really nice chap. There is no-one else like him, so make a trip to the Corridor Gallery, see his stunning originals, and if that’s too far, have a gander at his website, here!
| Tags: Exhibition, Ian, Miller
September 25, 2016
One of my favourite illustrators Levi Pinfold has recently completed a stunning commission for Walker Books, illustrating The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, by Megan Shepherd. I got to see a sneaky copy earlier in the summer when we briefly met, it is absolutely knockout, incredible stuff. Have a look at his website, he is an astonishing talent, I wish I understood colour like he does, and he paints using egg tempera, which is quite unusual these days. The book is out on the 13th October, details here.
June 26, 2016
Well, on Friday I felt very, very disappointed, and that feeling gets worse by the day. I desperately wanted to remain in the E.U. I am not alone, it seems, and lets hope that something good comes out of this terrible mess. I don’t know what this means for British publishing, but I don’t think in the short term it’s going to be easy. All those decades of building environmental laws to protect our varied and beautiful wildlife face being undermined too. Will the government fight for funding of the Arts now, do you think? I hope the rest of Europe realises that almost half of the population didn’t want this. That’s the thing about democracies, sometimes they don’t go the way you want. This whole affair has been dividing cities, towns, and even families.”We build too many walls and not enough bridges” as Sir Isaac Newton said.
I’m going to work hard, the future is uncertain, I need to raise my game – more diversity in my children’s books for a start. Hold firm people.
June 6, 2016
I’ll be going back to the West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield for the Create Expo, on Thursday 21st July. This is a creative digital media conference, for students and professionals in the industry. Follow this link here for tickets and information. I’ll be doing a talk, along with Alex Traska (Director of Makermet Creative), 3D Artist Andrew Comb, Nick Kidney (of Bartle Bogle and Hegarty, London), Glen Southern, (Freelance Digital Sculptor), Iain Swales of Linney Group, Amy Smith of Framestore, and Simon Smalley of Fuzzy Frog.
So, a ton of varied creatives all keen to share their brains with you. Should be very useful!
It will be good to return to the College that taught me so much, I still use the techniques they taught me every day. Look forward to seeing you there.
May 29, 2016
Alexis Deacon’s amazing graphic novel is here! It’s beautiful! Nip along to Gosh Comics in London if you can on June 4th, and see the man himself. Then buy armfuls of them and enclose yourself in an illustrated house of Deacon Glory! Do it….you know you want to.
May 9, 2016
Congratulations to my favourite author and illustrator Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz for their book ‘I Am Henry Finch’ winning the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award 2016. Read about it here. I am really, really looking forward to Alexis Deacon’s graphic novel Geis! which is coming out this summer. From what I’ve seen it is absolutely beautiful. Do look at his website/blog here.