TOOT TOOT, get dressed in your best finery and grab your train tickets, it’s time to board the Ostrich Express. Fabio the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective is still pink, still clever, still on the case and he’s back with a mystery to solve.
Presenting Fabio the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective Mystery on the Ostrich Express written by Laura James and Illustrated by Emily Fox.
It’s the height of summer and Fabio and his associate Gilbert are taking a relaxing holiday on the fastest train in the world! As the Ostrich Express belts across the desert at break neck speed a very expensive ruby necklace disappears so the great detective is back and on the case! Are bandits to blame or is someone not quite what they seem?…Whoever the culprit may be they will have to be pretty smart to outwit Fabio!
This is the second instalment in a triumphant and bedazzling fiction series for younger readers. Illustrated throughout by supremely talented Emily Fox, the illustrations highlighted in neon pink and orange pop off the pages and the characterisation of the cast of crazy critters is oscar worthy. Delightfully action packed bite sized chapters will have eager book worms and puzzle solvers gasping for more as this rip roaring adventure unfolds.
“Oodles to appeal to animal fans and young crime lovers alike” – Bookseller
The Fabio stories are published by Bloomsbury you’ll be able to get your mitts on a copy of this brand new Fabio story from the 4th April, available in all good book shops and libraries or alternatively order a copy HERE
It’s been five whole years since jolly little Oliver first evaded the big blue Troll, in Adam Stower’s Troll and the Oliver published by Templar. Now this delicious duo are back with a bright new cover treatment which we think you’ll agree it’s a treat for the eye’s as much as the tummies (available from the 4th April).
In a slapstick game of cat and mouse, clever Oliver deftly manages to avoid certain death at the hands of a trolls digestive system. Troll is set on a Oliver shaped morsel and he won’t stop until he gets one, has Oliver’s luck run out?
Will he be able to save his skin and come up with a tasty distraction just in the nick of time? it’s definitely time for a show stopper challenge!
In other wildly exciting news Troll and the Oliver will be making their small screen debut in a special 26 minute animation by our partners in Belgium! We can’t wait to see them come to life.. Here’s a tasty teaser.
Troll and the Oliver has a companion book Grumbug which features even more cake and an even bigger troll.
Digital methods of creating illustration are becoming increasingly prevalent as new generation of graduates and the publishing industry gently begin to embrace digital means of creating illustration work. You may have caught a glimpse of some recent posts on Instagram and Twitter by Arena illustrator Joe Lillington relating to how he uses the design and illustration program Procreate, Joe’s illustrative process starts with a pencil drawing where he varies the thickness of line depending on the scale. Sometimes he works over it with pencil and crayon or watercolour, then colours it digitally, Joe then uses Procreate to create a sense of depth and atmosphere in his work.
We have been finding his posts so interesting we thought we would invite Joe to tell us more so he has kindly written this fantastic guest post for us including some great top tips and insights into the way in which he creates his exquisite illustrations, he’s also tells us more about a game design project he’s been working on called Flocc inspired by the murmurations of flocking of birds.
Read on to find out more.
One thing I find really useful is tweaking the brush pressure curve for the individual aspects of brushes. It gives much finer control to how the brush reacts and whether the the size or the opacity is the priority. For example you could have a brush where the pressure sensitivity mostly just controls the size but if you press very very lightly then it will be a little more transparent.
Another tip I have is that you should definitely tweak the overall pen sensitivity. To avoid straining my wrist when working for a long time, I like it to be quite sensitive, so that it doesn’t take much pressure to get to the maximum brush size or opacity.
Lastly, a handy little tip that isn’t immediately obvious on procreate is that if you pinch outwards on the gallery view you can see an image full size without having to fully open it. While on this view you can also scroll through all the images in the gallery. This is really great for either quickly checking a detail on a previous piece, or using the iPad as a portfolio.
I started making my own brushes in Procreate quite quickly after getting used to using it. I always aim for my digital work to have a natural feel to it and so it was important for me to have a range of paint like and pencil like brushes that also felt nice to use. The brushes that come with procreate are great, but I think it’s nice to have some of the textures and shapes of brushes which feel like your own. I just kept making more brushes when I thought of a particular effect or feel I wanted, until I realised I had made enough for one or two sets.
Since then I still just make new brushes as and when I need them for a particular piece, then when I build up enough new ones. I group some of them together around a particular theme and release a set.
My favourite brush at the moment is one I just added to my Brush Set 2. It’s called Tilting Dry Brush, and as the name suggests it really uses the tilt of the pencil to affect the size and texture of the brush. It’s a fun brush to use because if you hold the pencil at an angle you get a nice streaky ink like texture, but then if you hold the pencil much more upright, you can a much more solid, thinner line which you can use to add detail.
For the last year or two I’ve been playing around with developing little games and learning how to code in my free time. I’ve started various small projects, but my new game Flocc is the first that I have finished and released.
It’s a simple relaxing game where you control a flock of birds by dragging in the direction you want them to fly. The loose aim is to gather more birds into your flock. But the real purpose of the game is just to enjoy the murmurations formed by your flock and explore the silhouetted landscape while listening to music by The Hardy Tree (Frances Castle).
In the game you don’t actually directly control any of the birds in the flock; Instead you just move around an invisible point which acts as the leader of the flock. All the rest of the birds have their own script running that looks for nearby birds to follow and then moves towards them. It was a tricky balance to make sure they follow you enough so they don’t get left behind, but at the same time move in a natural organic way, rather than sticking to you too tightly.
Flocc is a meditative experience where no rushing or panic is necessary. Just fly around and gather your tiny pixelated birds however you want. The concept and design are really thoughtful and appealing, the music soothing. It’s a lovely game. – App Store Review
Beautiful meditative app with soothing twilight skies and shifting silhouettes – and a fluttering spiral of starlings – or similar – to collect before nightfall. – App Store Review
— Flocc (@floccgame) February 22, 2019
YIPPEE Tooty fanfares all round, It’s almost here, our favourite day of the year, WORLD BOOK DAY!
We are ever so super excited this year because one of the 2019 World Book Day Books features Alex T Smith’s marvellous portly pooch, Claude in Claude Best in Show.
This perfect pocket sized Claude adventure sees Claude enter his stripy side kick Sir Bobblysock in a magnificent dog show. With their eyes firmly set on the prize they em’bark’ on a series of tricky challenges, with… it must be said….limited success. Almost all hope is lost as Claude and Sir Bobblysock team up to help save the day in only the way a charismatic pup and a flamboyant sock could do, but will they get their paws on a medal for their efforts? You’ll have to grab a copy to find out.
We’d love to see your little nippers dressed as Claude for World Book Day, all they need is a black painted nose, a red t-shirt, a snazzy red beret and perhaps a cheeky baguette. You can find tips on how to dress up as Claude HERE. Do tag us in your posts and we’ll share our favourites.
Claude Best in Show is published by Hachette Children’s Books and available at lots of lovely high street retailers in exchange for £1 or completely free in exchange for a World Book Day Voucher.
P.S we found this lovely review for Best in Show on the My Shelves are Full blog – Thanks Guys!
On the 7th March we will be wishing Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties a BIG Happy Book Birthday. This anarchic chapter book written by Humza Arshad and Henry White and illustrated by our very own Aleksei Bitskoff is published by Penguin Books and will have independent readers rolling on the floor with laughter.
It’s all going a bit Twilight Zone in the little town of Eggington as Humza Khan (possibly the world’s greatest eleven year old rapper) finds himself in the midst of a series of strange events as his teachers start to disappear only to be replaced by suspicious aunties !!! When they start to mess with his music, Humza has to get to the bottom of what’s going on. With the help of his friends Umer and Wendy, Humza must hunt for the truth. Can he stop the aunties before they carry out their evil plan?
Little Badman is a cheeky fast-paced adventure story beautifully written by quick witted comedian Humza Asrshad and Channel 4 New Comedy Writer’s Award Winner Henry White. This book is littered with Aleksei’s hilarious line drawings truly bringing the crazy cast of characters to life. From strange wonky eyed aunties to fist bumping pussy cats this laugh out loud read will have children and adults alike weeping with uncontrollable laughter.
Here for your delectation and delight are a selection of some our favourite Little Badman illustrations.