Friday 22 August 2008

Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur!

Well, another bit of news has just come in, about one of the books that I am currently working on (a dinosaur flap book, by Tony Mitton). I finished the coloured artwork in the early summer. It was going to be called Dippy Diplodocus and the cover was going to look like this:

But everything has changed! The publisher, Kingfisher, has decided to publish it as two books instead of squeezing it all into one, and the new title is going to be Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur! which I think is much more punchy. This is so that the 2nd book can be called Rumble, Roar, Dinosaur! to make a nice pair. I am going to have to do a little bit more artwork, but not much. This is the new cover:

It was great fun to illustrate. Each page features a different dinosaur, bumbling about and doing whatever dinosaurs do to pass the time, but when you lift the flap, they spring into action (which usually means trying to eat something or someone!). The T.Rex page has 2 flaps, each the size of the full page, so it opens out into an enormous picture. Should be perfect for boys, and great for the Boys Into Books campaign.

It was especially interesting to draw, because the dinosaurs had to be very accurate. I was sent lots of reference by Kingfisher, and even given my very own dinosaur specialist to confer with! He checked over all the roughs and helped me to tweek them, so they were just right. The challenge was trying to turn them into fun, picture-book characters, without losing the accuracy.

One very interesting thing happened at the rough stage, with the Deinonychus drawings. When Dinosaur Man saw them, he said: 'Ah, sorry about this, bit of a problem. The reference I sent has just gone out of date: we have dug something else up.' Turns out, they had it all wrong and the Deinonychus now has feathers and a sort of toothy beak! This is how experts thought it looked originally:

And below is what I had to change it to. Typical that it had to be the page where there were a whole gang of them to re-draw (what is the collective noun for dinosaurs, I wonder?). This is just the ones under the flap - there was a whole extra image on the main page! Worth it though, as they are much funnier in their new feathers.

Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur! is due out in June 2009. It's always such a long wait!


granny grimble said...

That is so interesting. I had no idea all this detective work went on behind the scenes. Fancy having your own dinosaur expert to advise you. Beats doing cards and gift wrap doesn't it?
I hope lots of people read your blogs because I am so proud of you. XX

Lynne the Pencil said...

I generally tell kids that I have the best job in the world and, though there are always up and downs in anything, it's pretty good!

It is rather unusual to have this set-up with the specialist. Normally I can please myself about how realistic the characters are, so long as they are in my own particular style. You have to keep to your 'look', because that's what the publisher is commissioning of course.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Wow! That's very interesting - a dinosaur expert no less :O)

Lynne the Pencil said...

We caught Jurassic Park 2 on TV a while ago, and I felt terribly knowledgable - I was probably better at identifying them all than even the average 8yr old boy!

Croom said...

Oh what a clever niece I have and a very talented one too. I was showing lots of my friends your illustrations in ‘The Show at Rickety Barn’ and one said “Look Tina’s Daughter did these” when I corrected them they said “Oh you were so proud I thought it must be your Daughter” lol. I can be chest sticking out proud of my Niece too.


Croom said...

I found all this very interesting Lynne, Is it common for an illustrators to give their time like this to up and coming artist? You are not only talented but also a very sweet and charming lady.

Wish everyone that reads your blogs could know you like we do, they would be charmed.


Lynne the Pencil said...

I really enjoy the advisory work. Some of the people I meet are really interesting, and I enjoy passing on all the tips I've picked up over the years.

It's a difficult balance though, as I get quite a lot of emails via the website, from people who would like to get stories published, or want to know if they can break into illustration. I do try to answer them all properly, but I'm hoping that this blog might also be a useful place for people to get some insight into the kind of details that it's impossible to find time to pass on normally.

Gary said...

I googled 'collective noun dinosaurs'and it says herd (pack). How boring! I'd like to think of them as a roar of dinosaurs. Much better me thinks. :0)

Lynne the Pencil said...

Great suggestion - definitely a 'roar'!

Who on earth decide what these collective nouns are? Are they an ancient thing? What about new items - is there a collective noun for computers? Or computer nerds??