Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Launch showcases work from Illustration and Animation students

Illustrator Sally Townsend, (below), recent BA (Hons) Illustration graduate, was one of the stars of yesterday's official book launch of A Boy Arrives, which was hosted jointly by local publisher Hawkwood Books, and the Lincoln School of Art and Design.

A Boy Arrives is written by local author Stephen Meek (shown below), and tells the story of Grimwood Streep and his ancient butler rattling about Dunnydark Hall. But things soon become a lot more interesting when a little boy called Jimbo turns up to put the sparkle back in their lives.

Stephen, who was long-listed for A Boy Arrives in The Times/Chicken House competition for Best Children’s Book, said: “It’s a story about redemption and how this little boy teaches the adults how to live again. Sally’s done a great job with the front cover - it really grabs your attention. I sent it along with the book to Hawkwood and they got back to me immediately to say they’d like to publish it.”

Sally, who has also recently completed a series of illustrations for Bloomsbury publishers, said: “I met Stephen purely by chance as he came to the end of year BA Illustration show. He came over and started talking about his book saying he didn’t have a cover for it. He sent me the first few chapters and I really loved the story. Stephen gave me full creativity which is fantastic. It’s been quite a long process so it’s great to finally see the finished product.”

Commissioned especially for the event was an animation of one of the opening scenes created by current third year BA (Hons) Animation student Mat Dame (above right).  After the screening, Mat described how he put the short animation together, with the help of his storyboards which he also screened, and talked about the characters he had selected to animate.


He said: “I am a big fan of children’s books as I think a lot more consideration into the design is given. Animation for children is something I would ideally like to go into once I graduate. The great thing about this project is that Stephen gave me free reign and the story was a fantastic source to work from.”  To view Mat's animation, you can see it on Vimeo.

Other recent graduates who have worked with the publisher also attended, such as Ian Purdy (shown above and below) who graduated back in 2007 from BA (Hons) Illustration, and who has gone on to illustrate several book covers for Hawkwood Books, including one adult title. Another recent graduate who was unable to attend is Felix Leone, who has illustrated two covers for Hawkwood, including Byte the Computer Mite (below).

The Lincolnshire Echo kindly sent Commissioning Editor Adam Moss (below left) to conduct a live interview with author Stephen in front of the audience, asking about his inspiration for the book, as well as how Stephen turned from studying zoology to writing children's fiction.

Opening the book launch, Professor Norman Cherry Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Arts, said: “The University is delighted to be associated with Hawkwood Books. It’s the cover that persuades people in bookshops to actually pick a book up and open the pages. The combination of illustrator, author and sympathetic publisher is desperately important and that is what has been a huge success in this instance.”

Also attending was a group of third year BA (Hons) Illustration students, who were all very encouraged to hear about the increasing opportunities for illustrators in the changing world of publishing, which was the theme of keynote speaker Dr Karen Maitland, Penguin International Author.  At the end of the launch, both Stephen and Sally were happy to sign books for those who attended.

To get your hands on your copy of A Boy Arrives visit Hawkwood Booksfor more information. Also available from most good booksellers.

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