Running on the Roof of the World, the debut novel by Jess Butterworth, was published today by Hachette and I was thrilled to be asked to draw the cover. Loved working with Jess, Thy Bui and the team on this book.
Well, this has been hard to keep a lid on.
We heard around Christmas that the amazing Tom Hardy might be reading Odd Dog Out as one of CBeebies' Bedtime Stories. "There is a 90% chance he'll do it" they said. Then last week we found it that there was a 100% chance of him doing it. In fact, he'd done it! Last night the BBC posted the trailer...
...and then today it went live on the iPlayer. It's available to watch here (UK only) until July 2. It airs on CBeebies on 2 June at 6.50pm. I think Tom (we're mates now so I can call him Tom) does an amazing job. I really hope you enjoy it. Here's a little teaser.
Last year I was very proud to be asked by Janod, a French toy maker who have been making wooden toys and games for over 40 years, to illustrate three card games for them.
The first, called Mémo des Mots, is a memory game for children aged 5 to 10. Player try to be the first to pair the illustrations of the animals with their names. Here's a video trailer...
The second is called Castagne. This one is a battle game for children aged 3 to 7. A colour and a number is associated with each animal and you must win all of the cards in the forest. Here's another little video trailer...
The last one is called Happy Tree and is a memory game for children aged 4 to 8. The objective is to reconstruct a tree formed of 6 cards, based on the model provided, by each taking turns drawing cards. The winner is the first to build the Happy Tree in order. Here it is...
More info here, including details of where you can buy them.
I'm so pleased to (finally) be able to tell you that I'm re-illustrating the Flat Stanley series of books for Egmont. It's a huge honour to be working on these bona fide classics by the late, great Jeff Brown. I only hope I can do the characters justice. The first three books (covers pictured) will be published on 27 July and each contain around 30 illos. Hope you like 'em :)
Here's the press release... http://www.thebookseller.com/news/biddulph-re-illustrate-flat-stanley-543086
I'm thrilled to tell you that Odd Dog Out has received it's fourth and fifth awards nominations. What a lovely surprise!
Firstly it was shortlisted for Oscar's Book Prize. The award is in memory of Oscar Ashton, who was three-and-a-half when he died from an undetected heart condition in December 2012. It was set up by his parents with the support of the London Evening Standard, Amazon and the National Literacy Trust. I am very proud and touched that they think that Oscar would have liked my book. What an honour. And what great company I'm in. Full story here...
It has also been shortlisted for the #IBW2017 Award. It's my third consecutive shortlisting for this prize (the first for Blown Away, the second for GRRRRR!) and it's a record I'm very proud of. Again, the shortlist is unbelievably strong so I don't hold out much hope for winning. Still, it's such an honour to be in the mix.
So, as you can see, this book is really starting to blaze it's own trail...
My fifth picture book with Harper Kids UK will be published at the end of July and it will be called ...(drum roll)... "KEVIN".
This story means a lot to me as it was one of the first that I wrote. Also, the idea came from the imagination of my daughter Kitty. I definitely think it's my favourite book so far and I really hope you like it when you get to see it.
Well, that was a LOT of fun. I've just got back from nine days on the road visiting book festivals, schools, libraries and bookshops up and down the country, reading stories, drawing pictures and generally having a nice time. Massive thanks to everyone who came along to see me, to all of my very generous hosts, to the amazing booksellers I met along the way and to HarperCollins and Annie Everall at Authors Aloud UK who organised the tour.
Here are some of the highlights... (click an image for a closer look and a caption)
A closer look at my adventure in Waterstones Nottingham's window...
I can't tell you how much I love this. SO nice to see the characters brought to life...
AHOY THERE SHIPMATES! I am very proud to say that last Thursday my fourth picture book Sunk! was published by HarperCollins. It's now an actual thing that you can buy in the actual shops. Look!
It's such an exciting moment when a project you've worked on for a year, often in quite an isolated fashion, is finally out there in the world for everyone to see. I really hope you enjoy it. Here's a little look inside (click on an image to enlarge)...
Waterstones Piccadilly were kind enough to host a launch event yesterday in the children's department. It was a busy, noisy, fun-packed session featuring lots of small pirates who sat and listened beautifully while I drew and read stories. Big thanks to everyone who came along. It was lovely to see you all.
Now, I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few thank yous. Firstly to the AMAZING team at HarperCollins Children's Books, led by Ann-Janine Murtagh. My editors Rachel Denwood, Alice Blacker and Lydia Barram are total geniuses who know exactly what works and what doesn't. Their ideas, their prompting, their prodding, their cajoling, their patience, their faith and, above all, their encouragement are all things that I have come to totally rely on. It is a FACT this book would be nowhere near as good as it is without their help. I say it every time but I really do feel incredibly lucky to be working with them.
The same can be said for Nia Roberts and Manda Scott who were in the art department when this book was made (they have both now moved on to pastures new). It must be difficult having to deal with a former magazine art director who thinks he knows best all the time. The reality is that he doesn't and that he appreciates all of your guidance. Thank you.
My publicity and marketing team, headed up by Geraldine Stroud and Jo Hardacre, are awesome. Jo, you make my events such fun to do. Thanks so much for all of your hard work sorting everything out for me over the last nine months or so. I really appreciate it. Also thanks for the posh lunch the other day - let's do it again soon! Massive shout-outs also to Siân Robertson (cut-outable pirate hat creator extraordinaire and my number one source for #PackedLunchPostIt ideas), Jess Dean (powerpoint slides wrangler and fellow working-from-home-and-the-procrastination-problems-that-exist-therein empathiser) and Sarah MacMillan (who was very calming when I was about to go on stage in Glasgow in front of 2500 kids AND whose great, great, great, great grandfather invented the bicycle). Thanks for everything that all of you do. I know what hard work it is and I really appreciate it.
My agent Jodie Hodges at United is always the first one to see the finished book (as well as several draft versions along the way). This whole me-writing-books thang is totally down to her and as such her good opinion is one that matters so much to me. It's great to have you in my corner Jodie. Thanks also to Emily Talbot, Jodie's assistant, who is patience personified and the most organised person in the entire universe.
Finally, I want to thank my wife Ally and children Ella, Kitty and Poppy for their support and their patience (I seem to be using that word a lot!), particularly as I got closer to deadline. There were a lot of ballet runs that I didn't do because of this book. Thanks, as ever, team. I love you all xxx
Right, I think that's about it. I'll leave you with this little trailer that I made for the book. In the meantime I'd better get on with getting the next one finished. Deadlines are a-looming...
For the launch of my fourth book Sunk! I will be doing a free event at Waterstones Piccadilly branch in central London, and YOU'RE ALL INVITED! Please come along (bring the kids) on Sunday 12 March at 12.30pm for some stories, some drawing, some pirate hat-making and some signing. It'll be lovely to see you if you can make it.
Well that was a busy few days. Busy, but FUN.
It started with a trip up to Glasgow for the first leg of the World Book Day Biggest Book Show on Earth, organised by the fabulous and indefatigable Kirsten Grant and hosted by the brilliant Steven Butler. It was a real honour to be part of this amazing line-up.
We were performing at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which was HUGE (hi publicist Sarah!)...
...and it was soon full of two and half thousand very excited and VERY noisy children. My fifteen minute slot consisted of some drawing and some GRRRRR! reading. When it came to the part that needed a very loud GRRRRR from the audience they nearly took the roof off.
I was first up on stage so afterwards was able to relax and watch Lydia, Frank, Chris, Joanna, Clare and Cressida do their thing. It's so nice to see what other authors do at their events - it's rare that I get the chance. They were all brilliant, obviously.
Then it was back to London (through the snow) for evening at home before setting off for a schools day in Oswestry with Tim, Carrie and Peter from award-winning independent bookshop Booka Books (see below right for their fab Sunk! display - the first time I've seen it in a bookshop).
On world book day itself I visited Norland Place school in west London. The kids (and teachers) were resplendent in their book character outfits. I, on the other hand, came as... myself. Poor show, I know. Still, we had a great day and to make up for my lack of costume here are the gang from Blown Away and Sunk! dressed as their favourite characters (click a pic for a closer look). Happy World Book Day everyone!
As you may know I worked at the Observer newspaper in London for nine years before becoming a full-time children's author, so I was thrilled to be asked to illustrate the cover for Food Monthly’s annual OFM-50 issue. It was lovely working with the team again and I'd like to pass on my thanks to Allan Jenkins, Gareth Grundy and Paul Reed for the commission. It was a lot of fun to draw and nice to work in a slightly different style to usual. Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's a White Park cow.
Mammoth Sunk! signing session tonight. Luckily I had my two helpers by my side (still wearing their dance festival make-up). My signature started looking a bit ropey by the end though...
It is exactly one month till Sunk! hits the shelves, so I made a little teaser GIF thing...
Yesterday I went to the awards ceremony for the Bishop’s Stortford Festival of Literature Picture Book Award because Odd Dog Out was one of the nominated books. This is a really nice prize because it is entirely voted for by kids so I was hugely flattered to be included.
The shortlist was incredibly strong.
A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson and David Roberts
A Child of Books by Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers
A Dog Called Bear by Diane and Christyan Fox
The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright and Jim Field
Max and Bird by Ed Vere
Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph
Oi Dog! by Jim Field and Kes and Claire Gray
This Book is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne
Tidy by Emily Gravett
See? Anyway, guess what. We won!
Exciting, huh? It was SUCH a proud moment for me when the great Korky Paul read my name out as the winner.
I was at the ceremony with my brilliant editor Alice Blacker and my equally brilliant publicist Jo Hardacre, which was a lot of fun. Here we are straight after the result was announced...
I'd really like to thank Alice, Jo and the entire crew at HarperCollins. Making a picture book is a real team effort and, even though it's a cliché I'm still going to say it: this award is just as much theirs as it is mine. I love working with these guys.
It was great to meet some of the other shortlisted authors and illustrators too. Here I am with Richard Byrne, Emily Gravett, Diane Fox, Christyan Fox and Ed Vere.
Such a talented bunch and really nice people too. It was a privilege to be shortlisted alongside them.
So Odd Dog Out is now an award-winning book. That is a nice sentence to be able to type. Now then, just got to get the next one finished...
I am very excited to be part of World Book Day's Biggest Book Show on Earth for the second year in a row. This time I'm off to Glasgow on February 27 to speak to over 2000 kids in the Royal Concert Hall. The author line-up is: Cressida Cowell, Sir Chris Hoy, Lydia Monks, Frank Cottrell Boyce and, er, me. Gulp. Anyway, if it's anything like last year it should be a lot of fun. And quite noisy.
Hi. Today I have TWO (count them) books publishing with HarperCollins.
Firstly the paperback version of Odd Dog Out...
and secondly Christian O'Connell's brilliant Radio Boy, which I have illustrated...
Thats' right, I'm only doing yellow covers from now on. Click the links (or the covers) for more details. Hope you enjoy them.
In the meantime here are some Odd Dog Outtakes (dachshunds that didn't make it into the book for legal reasons!)...
and here are some early cover tries for Radio Boy...
It's Christmas tomorrow and that means that I don't have to draw any more #PackedLunchPostIt notes for Poppy for a week or two. HURRAH! Oh, and it also means that you get to spend quality time with your family, eat turkey and open presents and stuff. Yes. That too.
Anyway, here are all of this year's advent post-its. Merry Christmas!
Earlier this week I headed over to HarperCollins HQ to be interviewed by my brilliant editor Alice Blacker as part of a series of Facebook Live events. I love chatting to Alice so we had a lot of fun. I even taught her how to draw a hula-hooping dachshund.
See it in it's entirety below...