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20th September 2019

Claude Hits The Small Screen

After taking Disney Junior by storm in 2018 with his very own animated series, Alex T Smith’s Claude now has his sights firmly set on terrestrial TV in the UK, so set your alarms and get the kettle on because at 9:25 every morning Claude and his chums will be gracing our screens on ITVBe.

Based on the much-loved, best-selling series of books by Alex T. Smith, Claude follows the humorous adventures of a little beret-clad dog, Claude, and his faithful sidekick, Sir Bobblysock. It is set in the cosmopolitan seaside resort of Pawhaven – home to an eccentric mix of larger-than-life-characters and colourful visitors.

The series was devised for television by Sixteen South and produced by Colin Williams, head written by Sara Daddy and directed by Tim Harper. The show first launched in 2018 on Disney Junior in all countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.

The interstellar voice cast features greats such as Simon Callow CBE, Anne Reid MBE, Shane Richie, Jane Horrocks, Su Pollard, Brian Murphy, Tameka Empson and Bhasker Patel. Newcomer, twelve-year-old Alexander Molony plays the eager and enthusiastic eponymous doggy hero, Claude.

Simon Callow CBE said of his first ever role as a sock: “I just loved the character and the relationship between Claude and Sir Bobblysock. He’s very well written and the concept of the stories is very original. There’s a lovely innocence about the series, however it’s also odd and wacky. The characters are so vivid, funny and unexpected.”

Colin Williams, Creative Director at Sixteen South, added: “We fell in love with Claude from the moment we saw Alex’s amazing books – the humour, design and styling of Claude and his world are one of a kind. We’ve really enjoyed working with Alex to develop the series for children around the world to enjoy and are excited to see Claude come to a new audience on ITVBe and RTÉ Jr this autumn.”

Hachette Children’s Group have published four Claude TV tie-in titles – two activity books, the Snazzy Dress Up Sticker Book and Ever So Summery Sticker Book and two Claude picture books: All About Keith and Anyone For Strawberries? Both picture books are based on episodes of the TV show, written by Alex T. Smith. Order and pre-order HERE 

The publishing programme continues with a further four titles scheduled for 2020 including two more picture books: Camp Claude (March)and Dream Bun (June). In March the very first comic book publishes, Claude, Claude Comic Capers. Also coming in June 2020 is the Whopping Great Sticker Activity Book.

Author-illustrator Alex T. Smith added, “I’m absolutely delighted to see the Claude TV show come to ITVBe and RTÉ Jr. It’s been a joy to work with Colin and the team at Sixteen South on this series and I can’t wait for even more viewers to meet Claude on screen and in the new books!”

View Alex’s amazing online portfolio HERE .. or check him out on Twitter HERE

For more information about Alex and his work please email info@arenaillustration.com

Read our Video Blog post about the Claude animated series HERE 

17th September 2019

Travels With Sushi in the Land of the Mind

Travels With Sushi in the Land of the Mind is an atmospheric debut novel by Eduard Shyfrin illustrated by Tomislav Tomic. It introduces children to quantum physics and classic morality through an adventure in another universe, it’s a celebration of the power of words and the role of science.

 

Aaron and Stella spend every summer at their grandparents’ house playing on the beach in the day and eating sushi at night. One evening, the children try some sushi which transports them to an alternate universe. In the Land of the Mind the children are tasked with rescuing the Book of Understanding, navigating the infinite dimension of quantum physics to save the Land of the Mind from the Dark Lords of Intolerance, Fear, Pride, Indifference, Betrayal and Despair. Aaron and Stella travel on a Phi-Flyer and are guided by a wise raven called Sophie.

“The children closed their eyes in order to enjoy the sensations more fully and when they opened them again the restaurant had vanished!”

 

 

 

Illustration for Travels With Sushi in the Land of the Mind Illustration for Travels With Sushi in the Land of the Mind Illustration for Travels With Sushi in the Land of the Mind

 

Illustration for Travels With Sushi in the Land of the Mind

Celebration Launch at Nobu, London

 

 

 

This is Eduard Shyfrin’s debut children’s book. a lifelong scientist, Eduard won the Ukrainian Physics Olympiad as a teenager and has a PhD in metallurgy from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys. Travels With Sushi began as a tale to entertain his grandchildren. Seeing how enchanted they were by the story he was inspired to write this book which explains quantum physics and classic morality through vivid metaphors and a perilous adventure into an alternate dimension.

 

Tomislav Tomic took on this exciting project to imagine the visual world of the Land of Sushi, working alongside his art director Strawberrie Donnelly the book is published by White Raven for middle grade children with enquiring minds.

21st August 2019

Neal Layton – Look! I Wrote a Book!

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We are BIG book worms at Arena HQ and what could be better than a book about a book? Written by New York Times best-selling author Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by our very own Neal Layton, ‘Look! I Wrote a Book'(and you can too!) is a handy and hilarious step-by-step guide to writing your own best-seller, written from the point of view of a child.

The feisty budding author at the heart of this book leads readers through the entire process of creating a book from planting the seed of an idea, to writing a story which isn’t utterly snooze worthy to getting people to buy the book (note to publishers tips include: be nice, give them cookies, and if all else fails, tie them to a chair!) hugely entertaining and equally informative this window into the life cycle of a book will prompt readers to think about aspects of the process they might never had thought of before.

Neal uses collage elements in his illustration which really added a touch of Monty Python magic to the spreads in this particular book, from boggling brains to swathes of colourful crayons, Neal’s whimsical characterful illustrations bring this outrageously silly story to life making it a read that is sure to have young readers–and writers!–howling with laughter from start to finish..

Here are some of our favourite spreads from the book, we hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

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Look! I Wrote a Book (and you can too!) is published by Schwartz and Wade in the US but you can buy a copy HERE 

You can view Neal’s online portfolio HERE, we also recommend his awesome Instagram and Twitter feeds.

14th August 2019

John Howe Song of Ice and Fire Calendar 2020

John Howe’s beautiful new illustrations for George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire 2020 Calendar will be revealed at the World Science Fiction Convention held in Dublin in August.

George R.R. Martin will be attending the convention himself and will be launching the stunning calendar, which was published on 1st August and is available to buy now.

Penguin Random House in New York who commissioned the artworks said…

 

“The magical creatures of A Game of Thrones and beyond come to life in a 2020 calendar inspired by George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, featuring illustrations by acclaimed artist John Howe.

Fantastic beasts are not solely the purview of Newt Scamander. Such creatures also abound in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels—one of the most successful and beloved fantasy series ever written. And who better to bring these creatures to life than acclaimed artist John Howe, who has built a huge reputation for his stunning work on Middle-earth. Here are sphinxes and krakens, sea dragons and ice spiders—a thrilling panoply of creatures both real and legendary . . . and some a bit of both. With twelve stunning full-color paintings, plus a bonus fold-out poster, this annual calendar—now in its tenth year!—is a “timely” addition to a franchise that has continued to grow with each passing year.”

Direwolves

Ice-Spiders

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George R. R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire Calendar 2020 Direwolves

Direwolves

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George R. R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire Calendar 2020 Three Eyed Crow

Three Eyed Crow

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George R. R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire Calendar 2020 Kraken

Kraken

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You can find out more about John Howe by looking at his extensive website and reading his very interesting chronicles. John exhibits his artwork throughout the world most recently in China and is most well known for his work on Peter Jackson’s two movie trilogies, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit when he worked alongside Alan Lee as the conceptual artist for all six films.

7th August 2019

AY, CARAMBA! Adventure Duck 2 is Here!

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Our favourite duck with the supersonic quack is back in Adventure Duck VS The Armadillo Army. With Ziggy his zebra sidekick, Adventure Duck returns in a tasty new mission set in Mexico with amazing illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff. Their nemesis, Power Pug is trying to take over the world (again) by seizing control of the global chocolate market.

Luis the Llama who has super-soft wool, a flair for fashion and a talent for projectile spitting, helps the superhero amigos as they set out to foil Power Pug’s nefarious plans to dig up the rainforest and build a massive chocolate factory. But an army of armadillos, led by super-sized Armando the Commando, stands in their way… Can they  find a chink in the giant armadillo’s armour and save the rainforest from destruction?

Aleksei’s illustrations just explode off the pages in this quacking tale written by Steve Cole, published this month by Orchard.

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Adventure Duck vs The Armadillo Army is the second in the series – if you want to see more check out the first book, Adventure Duck vs Power Pug.

View Aleksie’s online portfolio HERE or follow him on Instagram and Twitter