Thursday 28 August 2014

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Friday 22 August 2014

Thursday 21 August 2014

The Classical Retro Flavour

Notebook from an ALE-HOP store in Spain, 2014

Is imitation the highest form of praise? I guess it depends on how dodgy the result might be. Here's a notebook recently discovered in Spain, one of many similar kinds sold in the ALE-HOP chain of gift stores (where you can buy everything from kids puzzles to sunglasses and sex toys,side by side). Interestingly, also similar to a certain other book:

The Arrival, 2006

What gives away the plagiarism is not the idea, which at a glance looks generic enough - 'Classical Retro Flavor' as suggested (not unlike the funny 'Engrish' of Asian products my wife and I collect, although more Eurostyle here, 'Euringlsh'?). It's actually the details of spinal damage, which in my original cover were directly scanned from an old photo album sourced from a local museum in Perth and recomposed. The typography detail is a further giveaway. 

The Arrival is a fairly popular book in Spanish speaking countries, under the title Emigrantes, although the ALE-HOP notebook, produced by a company called Clavendia (who notably don't show images of their work online) is based on the slightly different English-language edition and probably draws files off the internet and run through a photoshop filter. Maybe the designer thought it was a relatively obscure foreign source and a safe target. Almost true: it only came to notice after being accidentally discovered by a family member on holiday.

Of course, there's a debateable grey area between 'heavy influence' and copying, but either way the absence of permission is a problem and presents an unwelcome issue for my publishers too. That said, I can't help but be amused by gratuitous type, almost a mini-review of The Arrival... not to mention the Euringlish spine type you can see on this scan of the back cover below: 'SMELL OF HAPPY'. Or perhaps just fishy.

Back cover of the ALE-HOP notebook

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Teenagers watching an approaching storm, oil on board, 20 x 15cm

Monday 18 August 2014

Sunday 17 August 2014

Studio 360 Interview

Recently aired, I talk here briefly with Kurt Andersen about influences and Rules of Summer, which you can listen to here,

or as part of the full podcast episode leading with the iconic British illustrator Ralph Steadman (who happens to have been influential on much of my early work, such as The Rabbits).

For an extended version of my own segment with a little more comment on creative process:

It's wonderful to have been invited for this interview as an avid NPR listener myself (mostly while working or, more often at the moment, strolling with a pram).

Saturday 16 August 2014

CBCA Book Awards - Rules of Summer

This week is Children's Book Week here in Australia, and was preceded on Friday by the CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) Book Awards, and Rules of Summer was honored with the prize for Picture Book of the Year, fantastic news and no small feat given the strong showing this year; congrats also to fellow winning fiction picture-bookers Nick Bland, Bob Graham, Ann James, Janeen Brian, Libby Gleeson, Freya Blackwood, Andrew Joyner and Jan Ormerod (greatly missed), and to all other writers and illustrators in other categories. More info about the winners and shortlists can be found here, and my short acceptance speech here. Particular thanks to all the booksellers who have been so active in bringing Rules of Summer to the attention of readers over the past year, your support has been amazing as always.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Sunday 3 August 2014

Saturday 2 August 2014