Thursday, 23 January 2014

Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five' Colour Readers

Remember when I said my silence was over? Yeah...I'm really sorry about that. I won't make any more crazy promises, but I will do my utmost to keep this blog ALIIIIIIIIIVE *thunder clap*.

So...I kind of disappeared last year. But, contrary to popular belief, what I have actually been doing, rather than having gone on an epic quest with a rag-tag, un-likely yet extremely compatible group of misfits and mythical creatures to save the world as we know it, I have been drawing books. And lots of them! I'm going reveal them all now, as I am finally allowed to divulge such secretive information.

The first is a project that is pretty special to me. Every once in a while, you get a project to work on that you can't quite believe has fallen in your lap. Enid Blyton, needless to say: is a pretty well-known author. A bit of a legend in the UK children's writing world, some might say. I grew up with my mum and school teachers regaling me with Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures, and as such have had a pretty good knowledge of them from as early as I can remember. Lashings of ginger ale and stuff. Y'know. So to find out I was to be illustrating an eight-book, full-colour series of the Famous Five short stories for Hodder Children's Books was enough to blow me away.


I was pretty daunted with this huge project at first: the Famous Five have a massive and dedicated following and many have a clear vision in their heads of what the characters and world should look like, one which I would hate to challenge. Not to mention all of the other amazingly brilliant and knee-shakingly well-known illustrators who have illustrated their own covers/interiors for the stories. But Hodder were AMAZING (and the designer I had working with me: Paula Burgess), they wanted MY spin on the stories, and MY spin on the characters. They wanted me to modernise the visuals: set it in the present day, and breathe a fresh look into the well known adventures, and to look distinctly my own, and not needing to be like anything that had gone before. It's been a massive honour, and I have done my best to do justice and remain 'sensitive' to these beloved stories, whilst adding something that is hopefully a bit new and unexpected. I really hope you like them. And I really hope that didn't come off too soppy or anything *spits on ground like manly cowboy*.

The text remains the Enid Blyton originals, it's only the illustrations that have changed. As I said: there will be eight books in the series, all fully-illustrated and in full colour. It's been a true illustrating MARATHON, and that's why I'm so proud that I can start shouting about it. I think the titles will be coming out roughly every month as of February, but I will keep you posted in that regard!

The first four titles to be released are as follows (unravels large scroll and dons reading glasses):

'Five and a Half Term Adventure',
'George's Hair is too Long',
'Good Old Timmy'
and 'A Lazy Afternoon'.

I will post more about the next books to be released closer to the time (and before this post gets any longer!).

As always: thanks so much for stopping by. Perhaps I shall do the same, now and then. Next week on the next thrilling episode of Blog Update: Emma Barnes' 'Wild Thing'!