karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
Right after work, I went to the Heffers at the Grafton for a talk by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, the author and illustrator of the wonderful Edge Chronicles books. It was really good and quite funny, too. Interestingly, the guy who looked like an artist was the writer and the bloke who looked like a shabby author was the illustrator. ;o)
Their first collaboration was a series of children's picture books called Rabbit and Hedgehog. After the fourth one Chris said, "they're all very nice and the story is nice but shouldn't we try to create something darker?" - Paul: "The fifth book was called Roadkill [waits for the giggles to die down] ... but was rejected." That's a pretty good indication as to how the rest of the talk and Q&A session went.
They talked about the design process which is a true collaboration, i.e. Riddell isn't just drawing pictures after the story is done, it's a shared thing. Sometimes Riddell draws something which inspires Stewart to write a story around it (that's how the Edge Chronicles started, the main illustration in the front cover of the books - the edge jutting out - was first) or Stewart has an idea and Riddell puts it into a drawing. Both have input and Riddell's kids are the first to hear and critique them.

For those who read the books, the third part in the Quint trilogy (Curse of the Gloamglozer, Winter Knights) will be called Clash of the Sky Galleons and will be out in September and then, sometime next year, will be a tenth book tieing everything together and answering open questions. There's going to be a 91/2th book, too, which will contain Cloud Wolf and other short stories as reissues in one book.
They're reissuing all the books with new covers, too and we were the first to see them. :o)

While Stewart was talking, Riddell "doodled" a banderbear on a flipchart sheet, occasionally turning around to emphasise a point or explain his parts. Very very impressive. He started with the tiny ears, btw. He also had one of his "doodle journals" with him, basically a sketchbook with a full page illustration idea on each page. If he were to auction one of these, I'm sure they'd fetch a decent price...

After the Q&A, Stewart read and excerpt from the current book (Winter Knights) and then the haphazard queuing for the signing started. All good.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart are going to be at the Grafton Centre Heffers on the 27th of April (7:30, IIRC) to talk about their books. It's a ticketed even so you need to go to the Children's Dept of the Grafton Heffers and pick one up. They're free, though.
I would assume they're touring so they might be at a Heffers near you, too.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
I'm not sure if I've written about the series of fantasy books written by Paul Stewart and superbly illustrated by Chris Riddell, so I'll do that now as I've just finished another book.

I first came across it when I was in Dublin with nothing to read and Beyond the Deepwoods caught my eye as I was browsing a book shop. As soon as I started reading, I was hooked as it's not the usual high fantasy style. Other than humans, there are instead of elves, dwarves, orcs and the like various wonderful and unusual creatures (including myriads of different goblins who aren't all evil and completely new creatures like the banderbears). Everything else is a bit stranger and weirder, too. There are no magic users but (weird) scientists. Nature as a whole is really rather freaky.
An interview with the authors can be found here.

The best book to start with is the trilogy Beyond the Deepwoods/Stormchaser/Midnight over Sanctaphrax starring Twig.
There are two other unconnected (as yet and they are set a number of years apart) storylines, one starring Quint (beginning with The Curse of the Gloamglozer) and the other starring Rook Barkwater, starting in The Last of the Sky Pirates and continuing in Vox (which I just finished) and Freeglader.

The books are written for kids (9-11) but are very enjoyable and actually quite deep. Disturbingly, they are also quite violent and graphic. For example, in Vox, there are lot of graphic descriptions of injuries, brutality/torture or a goblin who has his belly ripped open in battle and desperately tries to hold his guts in...

All the books contain loads of superb illustrations by Chris Ridell which underline the weirdness of the world and characters.

Highly recommended.

April 2016

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