Monday, 10 February 2014

Henry, Hank Zipzer and I

I just got my comp copies of these books today! Weirdly, I don't think I've mentioned on here before the fact that for the past year I have been working on illustrating a set of Hank Zipzer books. Hank Zipzer is written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver... Yes, that Henry Winkler...aka The Fonz!! Well, the first two books of this new series are now available to buy. Hank Zipzer is a smart kid who suffers from dyslexia, just as Henry did, though he didn't realise this at the time only later when he had kids of his own. There are already many Hank Zipzer books out there, but for these ones he took Hank back a few years to second grade. Here's the write up...

Hank is a kid who doesn't try to be funny, but he somehow always makes the kids in his class laugh. He's pretty bad at memorizing stuff, and spelling is his worst subject. (But so are math and reading!) In the first book in this new series, Hank's class is putting on a play, and Hank wants the lead part: Aqua Fly. But he freezes in his audition and can only buzz like a fly. His teacher creates a special part for Hank, a silent bookmark. This may seem like an insignificant role, but when his enemy, Nick McKelty, freezes during the performance, it's up to Hank to save the play!

There are lots of inside illustrations too!

I was in America with my family in January last year, when I got the final nod that i would be working on it. Well, I was excited, I really wanted to work on this and I was very grateful to be finally chosen. Work started in earnest when I got back. It was tricky to start with trying to create all these characters and Henry knew each of them inside and out. It's hard trying to make real something in someone else's head! We got there in the end though. There's way more to think about than you'd imagine conjuring up fictional worlds! Continuity! I would sketch the images I felt like and break from chronology and then forget it was a totally new day and new clothes!! I had to keep a chart of all the days covered in the book and what each character was wearing. I should have created plans for all the interiors too! I'm learning now!!
It's been fun though and it came as a shock the first time Henry called me for a chat out of the blue. Only after about ten minutes did I finally believe it wasn't a prank!! I pushed my luck and asked if he'd call Jakki and he very kindly did. It made her day, but she was mortified that she was too freaked out to just chat! Ha. We finally met Henry over Christmas as he was doing pantomime, Peter Pan, here in the uk, playing Captain Hook at Richmond theatre. He was great and let the boys try on the hat and hook... I even got my go! 
Anyway, thought I'd share. I never expected to be getting random calls from the Fonz! Or illustrating his books. Life is definitely weird., but I've been very fortunate.

Tennessee and Texas with Henry (Tennessee likes an 'outfit' a bit more than Tex! : )
i hate almost all photos of me, i really do... and this one is no exception!
thought i'd share it anyhow : )

No comments:

Post a Comment