Thursday, October 28, 2010

Otter in a Can

Some of my more regular readers may know that for the past year or thereabouts my attention has been taken up by many things domestic and creative, and deputy chief among these is this chap here, Albert Otter. I’m delighted to announce that after eight months of evenings and occasional weekends wrestling with a pretty new medium, my illustrations for David Haywood’s wonderful story The Hidden Talents of Albert Otter are now on the eve of publication. The book is rit, the pics are drwnd. I have enjoyed a sleep like no other for a good week or so now.

The project was long in execution and had some build-up. I initially contacted David through his blog after his call for an artist for a previous project, on which we made some headway before the very early arrival of Jet Junior meant my complete attention and energy were needed elsewhere for the foreseeable future. That illustration project went no further, and in the interim David completed his second book, the scurrilous and outrageous NZ Reserve Bank Annual 2010. I missed the Parliamentary launch but gate-crashed his setting up for the signing at Arty Bees to say Hi and (hopefully) reconnect as things domestic had settled down considerably. Gracious and welcoming as ever, David offered me a copy of the book and said he had a new project in mind and would I be interested? A few days later he revealed it was to be Albert (of course it would be Albert!), and we set to work, gradually planning the look and feel of the book.

David was initially interested in an Oliver Jeffers approach (though not a slavish copy of course), while I’d imagined something Beatrix Potter-ish. I think we struck a happy medium, and in the event David’s feedback throughout has been positive, helpful and insightful. Readers of David’s blog will of course know that his home is among those in one of the worst-hit areas of the Christchurch quake zone, so his patience and encouragement are, in my opinion, absolutely heroic. And now, scarping on the good side of a deadline the book is done – hooray!

For a better look inside I urge you to visit the preview pages at Public Address Books.
More details on availability are there.

Thanks to David and his family and of course my family for their patience and stoicism over the last eight months, and to those generous friends who’ve already put orders in!


  1. I am duly impressed. Very nice work. As always, it amazes me how you can so easily change your style to adapt to whatever is required. An enviable skill.