Tag Archives: Guildford Big Book Draw

And…. Saying goodbye to the class of ’09…

Ahhhh the class of ’09. Sometimes a good year, sometimes not so much. I look back on these guys with mixed feelings but a huge amount of happiness and joy.

I’ve been thinking about ex-students and the Book Draw a lot over the past couple of weeks. I’m coming up to the final months of, possibly, the last classes at my workplace and a number of students have been asking if I’ll miss them. Spoiler warning: (I will) and who knows what will happen in the future. I do know that some of the guys and gals I have worked with this have have been entertaining an fun to be with.

Which leads me to these guys: the class of ’09 Big Book Draw version. It was a wonderful day (click on the Guildford Book Draw tab to the right for more details) but a project that often nearly broke me. For a start I had huge dreams – as with any project – and I really must learn to stop doing that. One of the dreams was to have a launch party with a difference. I made forty copies of the book (and since each copy took at least an hour to make that’s a fair chunk of time when times always a pressing). The idea was to have a night out where people who had helped on the day could be given their copy of the book at random. The next step on this project is to wrap each book in brown paper and post them to recipients and give them to those more local. It was a lovely plan. Added to that I wanted to have a storyteller there on the night to read out the story of the Dragon and his Princess and the Fish’s Library (a story I’m quite pleased with 🙂 ) and it would all be lovely.

Of course it wasn’t to be. I tried but hey ho, some dreams fly too high and the reach of my net feels very limited. But I do still intend to send the books off to people, at random, and with a bit of luck the people who receive them will photograph themselves and their book and email that back to me. Then, and only then, will I know who got what.

It’s been a funny old road but one that’s kept me amused through some dips last year. Now I’m onto the semi-sequel (Wombat and Wambot) which, again, is a youth work venture and, again, will be drawn by teenagers who I’ve yet to meet and can’t wait to do so, and hopefully I’ll look back on the project in the Summer as I wrap it up and smile as much as I do with the mini-books above. We’ll see. I’ve yet to learn to stop dreaming but, since the dreams help me with the ideas in the first place I can hardly complain when the rough goes with the smooth I suppose.

In other news the final, FINAL copy of Sylver went of to the publisher today for print and release in early May. More on that when I have the time to type but youth work calls for tonight so it’s time to plod onwards on a different path…

Wombat and Wambot…

One of the things I’ve been working on, well, two of them actually, comes to leave my hands and go to the hands of others soon enough.

The first, Dr Sylver and the Tapestry of Time, hits shelves in April after the most protracted birth of any of my projects, ever. Oh boy.

The second hits shelves before hand, despite only having been worked on since Christmas in any real sense. It’s been a theraputic piece of work in some ways, exciting in others. Ladies and Gentlemen meet Wombat and Wambot. It’s the tale of a small, furry amnesiac and his large robotic counterpart. Fairly obviously the name came first and the story… Well, there’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that in there. Sometime soon it becomes my own and then, shortly after, it’s going to be given over to others: much like the Big Book Draw the fun of Project Wombat is that others will fill in the middle up until the last page or so. That part will be the most fun of all. I had intended to show the project off sometime in the Summer but with the release of Brushes on the iPad in a months time it makes more sense to try and hit before then which has compressed my stretching out and relaxing time to a small, stressed ball of lack of time off. Still, I do love working on a project so hey ho, all part of the game.

Anyhow if you’re so inclined you could join the twitter feed at @wombatwambot or add the facebook page here… The more the merrier (and of course the more would help me out in showing the project off to others in the future so any adds would be gratefully appreciated).

The Final Three….

((said in a deep, ominous Battlestar Galactica voice)).

First off: this is not they.

Jumped into the photography studio today between classes with two of the final three books. One is being sent off tomorrow and I wanted to capture it afore it goes. (The bottom book of the three in the top pic is the working copy I keep on me most of the time. It’s torn and bent and creased and ragged but has a nice character regardless – a little like me I guess. Small also).

Anyhow this, hopefully, represents the last but one step of the Book Draw. It’ll be strange to see it all go but there you go, it’s been a lovely thing to be involved in.

1-39 all done…



And now, in on the sofa (which is not the best place to present them but I’m very impatient) vision, here are 39 of the 40 mini-books for the fifth Guildford Big Book Draw (also known as the project that tried to kill me).

Got home from work dog tired but too close to leave these uncooked and unfinished. Number 40 eludes me and, tbh I don’t think I should be the one to do the fortieth book covers and I have a young person in mind to do them so that ones for a later date. Apart from that? Done, dusted and in need of sleep. Night all.

((Incidentally ‘The Book of Droor’ is by far and away my favourite cover. Love it loads)).

Also: mini books status report…


Getting there. Strange to think this has been a 5 month plus project that fits into a small sandwich box. Then, when they are all set out, it seems like a much larger project.

Some things yet to do and it looks like the sending off party which’ll split all forty to different parts of the planet never to be reunited will have to be delayed until January which I’m a little disappointed about. But hey ho. Patience and all that.

After that, loads of stuff to do, but just finished a long teaching day to have a brief break before doing youth group in an hours time. Onwards (wearily).

Just to prove that I am getting somewhere….



Books 1 – 14 of 40 with coolio shrink plastic covers. They do look tres groovy indeed. I’ve made up another 10 books, all of the front and backs and HOPEFULLY will have it all done and dusted by Sunday. Woop.

Only one slight downer, and it’s been the best day I’ve had for a long, long time, is that the person who I really wanted to be with us for the reading day is too busy and said no. So if anyone knows an excellent (and ideally well known and loved) book reader I’d be delighted for the heads up. Apart from that feeling very chipper. May even get to sleep before midnight (just) for the first time in yonks.

Life’s a doozy, no mistaking.

So where we at? Previously on Planet Kercal: chaos all ways round, tired most of the time. College none too pleasant, Sylver… arduous, Book Draw…. loads of work, loads of fun, loads of work still to come.

I’ve just had a meeting and, during it I described my year as not really much fun. That’s true and fair, although not 100% correct. Some parts have been fun, meetings with friends, new friends made, new classes of students, each with their own unique character and so on. It’s just the bigger things, work, health of those around me etc, that’s been the harder sea to sail. And of course the next book, Dr Sylver and the Tapestry of Time, has had a troubled culmination. It’s a corker of a story, just wish I could share it with you quicker than I will have the chance to. Speaking as a complete and utter raging egotist I do think Tapestry is the best thing I’ve written so far but it’s the project which has had the most challenging final process for a variety of reasons, no-ones fault per se, just…. well, stuff, really.

Anyhow, meeting today was about book… 8? 9? Who knows. A: I have one project in mind which is mostly done and I hope makes it to the shelf sooner rather than later and B: do I count the Big Book Draw mini-book? There’s only forty of them but it’s a story and a book and I like it loads. Do I count it? I think I will 🙂

So, book 9? It’s been on the cards for a while, and mentioned at a couple of book shows type things. Apparently it’s generating some American interest at the mo’ which is why its come to the fore now. We’ll see where it goes but today is the day it possibly got greenlit so here’s a preview image.


I hope it works out because, as much as anything else, it may allow me the chance to collaborate with someone who I am a total fan of which will be a very cool thing for me to be involved in.

Apart from that? Started work on, of all things, a sitcom with another good friend and collaborator. We’ll see where that goes but the chat sessions which are there for testing out material leave us both giggling so, if nothing else, it’s good therapy.

Apart from that? Making up the mini-books which will be sent to a variety of people (sponsors, friends, fish doodlers and the like) and a couple may well make it to places as competition prizes which will be cool if they do so; would like to see them in a variety of hands. They take a good 30 mins or so each to make (I’ve managed to streamline the process a little. The first ones took an hour each) and I hope I finish them soon to pass them onto those who deserve to receive them, ideally before Christmas.

From a creative standpoint then life is OK, bobbling along nicely. I just wish there were more sleep involved along the line somewhere 🙂

((no idea why the formatting of this post is broken, sorry, and I’ve tried to update it four or five times now with no luck, even taking out the paragraph breaks and readding them… Sorry…))

Big Book Draw: Epilogue 1.

(May or may not be the final epilogue). (In fact you should see the amount of artwork-x-FINAL-2c.jpg type files I hav on my machine).

(But: onwards).

Big Book Draw was lovely in so many places, not least of which going through the kids artwork to pull it together into a story. It was a doozy of a day – although as soon as it’s finished I’m always so tired I fail to see the lovely parts because of all of the problem fixing on the day… But it was ace and a little distance softens the smudges.

This is one fortieth of the result. Sadly WAY too many people to do a book each – they’re a little fiddly to do and take about an hour and a half each to pull together. But they look LOVELY so I want to do some sort of showing of them later. In the meantime one will go to each of the sponsors, helpers and fish doodlers and that’s probably – time wise – going to be as many as I can manage. I can’t wait to take a photo of all of them lined up before posting though 🙂 I think that’ll look fantata.

Already got the story for the next Book Draw bouncing around my head as well as an interim project aimed more at teens. We’ll see how each progress (and I’ve passed the ideas onto someone else to see what they think… We’ll see would be lovely to get some sort of distribution in a way but all bridges to be vaulted).

So: here’s the Big Book in some of its finery. The story is a few posts down if you want to see the journey of it from start to finish. If time allows I’ll do a website of the whole thing but that won’t be for a while I think.







((the last one is a size comparision. I do have a smaller copy – about 3/4s of the size but this ones fiddly enough to make I think…))

(((Also: obvious joke ahoy. At 40 copies this now becomes one of my highest print run books! Badoom TISH))).

The big book draw mini-book in mini size preview linking to bigger version.


OK this took a LOAD more time than I’d intended (and I could have given up a couple of times but hey ho, I’m stubborn like that) but here is the Big Book Draw story (minus 12 panels which only the people who I send printed mini-books to will get). I’m really happy with how it turned out. Some bits could have been a little better but, for the most part, I think it captures some of the fun and joy of the day.

(It’s a small preview, if you click on the picture you’ll get a larger sized version).