One of our favorite new artists, Lorena Alvarez, will be headed out to enjoy the scenic west coast, where she’ll be making stops at Gallery Nucleus, Comix Experience, and Floating World Comics to celebrate the release of her debut graphic novel Nightlights!
Nightlights is the enchanting story of Sandy, a bright eyed and creative little girl, and her budding friendship with the mysterious new girl at school, Morphie, whose fascination with Sandy’s drawings begins to take a turn for the sinister…
The Nightlights Tour is your chance to be among the first in the US to pick up a copy of Nightlights, and to catch Lorena in a rare US appearance! You can meet her at these three tour stops:
It’s going to be a fun time, so make sure to come out to meet the amazing Lorena Alvarez and get your very own signed copy of Nightlights, the book Publishers Weekly calls “captivatingly eerie […] a deliciously hair-raising story!”
To mark the release of Safe & Sound, we asked Loris Lora to share, and talk us through, some of the beautiful images she hand-painted for the book.
“Here’s a work in progress of the cover. This is actually the second version and i’m glad that we reworked it as it ended up having much more of the animals in which made it much more active.”
‘This was the first illustration I worked on for the book. I wanted to create an underwater scene that is largely influenced by vintage children’s book illustrations and created a transparent effect using gouache paint. I loved working on the mother crocodile and the way her body curved in the illustration.”
“I think these two next to one another in the spread work really well. I really like the balance between a spot illustration and a full page illustration. Painting fur on the wolves and anteaters was fun to work on. I love being able to “drybrush” fur.”
“With the monkeys I wanted them to have an active composition. I like that I was able to paint them as they swing through the page surrounded by different hues of green.”
“The bears are probably one of my favorites in Safe & Sound. But I may be bias as my nickname growing up by parents was “Osito” which means Little Bear in spanish. I was really happy with the composition on this one and loved painting the sleeping cubs.”
“A big challenge on these the baby blue birds was making them look fun and cute. I knew I wanted to have a group of them and loved the ideas of using different kinds of blue. My favourite is the one peeking out.”
“I’m really happy with the the composition worked out. I thought it would be different to have the mother lions back towards the viewer and have her baby cub peeking through.”
“Loved working on the rhinos. This was a great opportunity for me to work on textures on both the rhinos and abstract grasslands, which later influenced the endpages for the book.”
“Knowing this would be one of the last animals listed in the book. I wanted to create an image that had a big impact on the spread. Painting a BIG baby blue whale was so much fun. And having part of the mother in the background to show scale was a nice addition.”
A huge thank you to Loris Lora for sharing these pictures and insight into her incredible process. You can now order finished copies of Safe & Sound, containing all these beautiful images and so many more here and from all the very best (UK) bookshops!
When I saw the cover of Nightlights for the first time in the Nobrow catalogue, I knew that I had been hooked. There was something about the style and colour of that cover that brought images of Miyazaki’s worlds to mind as well as a touch of Sendak’s Outside Over There and Henson’s Labyrinth: a taste of the mythical and magical daubed with a sense of weighted reality. When I managed to get hold of a copy and found that it was all of these and yet, equally, none of them – a story set within the imagination of a vibrantly creative individual – I was swept in from the first few frames and taken on a wonderful journey which I still regularly return to. My review can be found here.
Thanks to the people at NoBrow and Lorena herself, I was able to ask the creator a few questions that I had about Nightlights and the creative process that went into its making:
1.Can you tell me a little about yourself and the path you took that brought you into illustration and creating Nightlights?
I’ve always been interested in writing and drawing my own stories but the idea of becoming an author was too intimidating. I was waiting for a big, epic story to come out of nowhere in my head and it took me a while to understand that it doesn’t work that way. I started then with “small” ideas, taking notes from my everyday life, writing about the music I like, about the people I met; it wasn’t only a good exercise but also it gave me an opportunity to communicate with others and share experiences.
When I wrote the first draft for Nightlights I was living in a small town in Arkansas. Being in a place so different from Bogotá gave me enough distance to see things in perspective, to appreciate my personal story in a different light. I was educated in a catholic school for girls and it was something I dreaded to talk about, but at some point I realized that the whole experience was an important part of my identity. I thought a lot about the stories we used to tell each other -particularly during our elementary years- and they were amazing. Unknowingly, we mixed the doctrine we learned from the nuns with elements of our own imagination, pop culture and the social context we lived in. With all that in mind I started to work in the plot of Nightlights.
2. One of the things that immediately grabbed my attention when reading Nightlights was where you positioned me as a reader. Sometimes I was high up, looking down and other times I was at ground level. Using some of the pictures from your book as examples, could you tell me a little about how you go about choosing the reader’s positioning and what your intention is in some scenes?
I think it depends on what aspect of the characters I want to present to the reader and the action that’s taking place. I draw many scenes viewed from above because I like to give and idea of how Sandy interacts with the place she’s in. For example, when Morphie and Sandy are playing in the supply room, I wanted to create a dynamic image, without a rigid sequence to follow, in which both girls are using didactic objects as toys, moving freely in an otherwise regulated space. Also, when Morphie leads Sandy to the forest I wanted to show how Sandy is engulfed by the surroundings which symbolizes Morphie’s power. When I want to show more subtle aspects of the story I like to draw details, like Sandy’s hands which represents her feelings and reactions.
3. Sandy’s story really struck a chord with me with and how much we encourage children to follow their dreams and interests. How much of your own story is she telling?
Sandy was created as a silent character in a short story I wrote before Nightlights. She actually resembles me during that age, with the ponytails and the oversized skirt. I also used to imagine that there were little bright dots in the darkness of my room at night, that I could catch them and give them any shape I wanted. For a long time I didn’t have close friends at school and I was found being by myself during recess.
In a way, Sandy has allowed me to acknowledge and appreciate the little girl I once was, with her flaws and complexities. It wasn’t until I started this project that I could see how the decisions I made being so little draw the path I would follow ever since. I have drawn since I can remember; I made the decision of being an artist when I was a kid. I like to think that determination is still in me, so as it is in Sandy.
4. ‘Breathtaking’ is probably a good word to describe some of your panels. How you go from the start of creating a page to the end, sharing a little about your method and materials?
Thank you! I start doodling and writing notes, trying to “catch” and give shape to the idea I have in mind. Then I take all that mess and put it in a layout, working the flow of the story until I’m happy with the plot. Finally I start to clean the images and work in the dialogues.
5. There are too many scenes for me choose from which I enjoy. Which picture is your favourite and how long did it take to put together?
One of my favorite scenes is the one in the supply room, when Sandy and Morphie play together. It was very important for me to write it because I could define their relationship through that scene.
6. Can you give us a little sneak peak of your work-space and how a typical working day looks for you? (I know you’re extremely versatile and work in other mediums besides illustration – please do share)
This year has been kind of weird because I had so much to do, but I usually try to keep a routine. A typical day for me means to get up at 8 am, feed my cats, water the plants, and check the online papers and the mail before getting to work. I like to take time and draw my sketches on paper before taking them to coloring in Photoshop. I dedicate two days a week to write. When it comes to exhibitions I like to paint with watercolors and acrylics, lately I’ve been also working with Ink and bleach. I make time to knit and sew, I haven’t been able to do it lately but i love to do plush toys. Now that I have a little more of time I’m planning also to retake my guitar lessons and my swimming practice.
7. All readers will carry on interpretation of what or who Morphie is but can I ask what Morphie means to you?
Morphie is a part of Sandy, that’s why she mirrors her in some panels and that’s why she won’t die or disappear.In a certain way Morphie represents the traps and insecurities you have to deal with when something you love to do becomes your job. I think it is a concern for many artists to lose their authenticity while dealing with the pressure of staying relevant and produce great things all the time to the pleasure and benefit of others.
Morphie is also that part of me that tells me to stop trying, that inner critic that we all have but sometimes grows so much that it consumes all your energy and makes you feel worthless.
8. Finally, can you tell us of any future projects?
I hope so! :) I’m writing a second book, so I’m again feeling this mix of happiness and fear again, I’m really excited about it. I’m also planning to paint more, to create a new line of plush toys, to work in some animation projects too.
Thank you Matt for the insightful questions and Lorena for the inspiring answers! Order a copy of Nightlights right here or get hold it from your local bookshop.
We have collaborated with Libreria’s risograph artist Jess Fogarty to produce a unique collection of limited edition prints in celebration of our relaunch of this masterwork of graphic invention. These will be exclusively available from Libreria on the night, until they run out! And Robert will be on hand to sign copies of Map of Days (as well as The New Ghost and The Land of Nod).
Robert Hunter’s vivid illustrations tell a dreamlike tale of ancient love, creating a surreal graphic novel unlike any other. Intrigued by its endless tick-tocking, Richard steps into the world behind his grandfather’s clock and discovers the Face of the Earth, trapped there by an eternal longing.
Moved to pity, Richard winds back the clock, changing time forever…
“With its strange symbols, alien landscapes and rich hues that speak of dreams and mystery, Map of Days bewitches’- The Guardian
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the Nobrow and Flying Eye spring 2017 catalogues have arrived! We’ve been working hard with many talented authors, poets and, of course, illustrators and we can finally reveal two of our most exciting lists to date.
From Robert Hunter’s surreal and bewitching love story (Map of Days) to Hamish Steele’s anarchic comic take on ancient Egyptian myths (Pantheon), the Nobrow list is sure to have something for everyone!
With Flying Eye Books, we’ve created books that encourage compassion, bravery, and a greater understanding of the natural world around us; whether it’s following a daring sea adventure (The Secret of Black Rock) or perusing pages of natural wonder (Wild Animals of the South).
We can’t wait for you to see all these books next spring, but in the meantime we’d love to know which ones you are most looking forward to reading and why. You can let us know via our social media channels!
Start spreadin’ the news! Eda Akaltun, creator of Marcel, is hitting the Big Apple for three days of fun events featuring New York’s favorite French Bulldog, Marcel!
It all starts at 11:30am on Sunday, November 20th at Brooklyn’s POWERHOUSE. Stop in for a very special story time session! Eda will be performing a live reading of her debut picture book, Marcel, and it’s sure to be a fun time. Stick around after the reading to meet Eda and get your own signed copy of Marcel!
Then at 10:30am on Monday, November 21st, Eda will be taking her storytelling talents to FIKA at the TurnStyle concourse below the iconic Columbus Circle! Come by and check out this vibrant Manhattan scene, sitting in the heart of New York’s incredible subway system. (And while you’re there, why not check out our very own kiosk popup shop?)
That’s three stops on Eda’s Marcel tour, and three chances for you to meet Eda and to hear all about that street-wise city-dwelling pup Marcel! We’ll see you there, New York!
WHOA WHOA WHOA SPECIAL UPDATE! We got so excited about meeting all of you, we’re going to be kicking off the Marcel Tour a day early! Join Eda at 1:00pm on Saturday, November 19th at Books Of Wonder for the November Picture Book Bonanaza! Eda will be joining the lineup of picture book authors, ready to show off their great new work. Hope we can catch you there!
Hey New York, we’ve got some exciting news for you! Nobrow and Flying Eye Books have opened up our very own limited engagement pop up shop… in the heart of New York’s subway system! That’s right, from now until November 21st, you can find us in the TurnStyle concourse beneath Columbus Circle, Monday thru Friday.
Come check us out! You can take the A, B, C, D, or 1 train to Columbus Circle and find us on the TurnStyle concourse, or if you’re coming from above ground, just take the stairs down from 57/58th street & 8th ave.
We’ve set up a lovely little kiosk, stocked up with some of our favorite titles from Nobrow and Flying Eye Books, and we’re ready to sell them to straphangers, pedestrians, New Yorkers, and tourists alike!
Oh boy! Nobrow is pulling double duty on both sides of the good ol’ USA this Saturday! Let’s lay out the plan starting from Left to Right…
Seattle is the home of the wonderful Short Run Comix and Arts Festival, and we are pleased to tell you that some pretty amazing titles from Nobrow and Flying Eye Books will be available for you at Table P93. We’re posting up at our very own Nobrow table, and we can’t wait to get these books out to the fine folks of the Pacific Northwest!
It’s going down this Saturday, November 5th from 11am to 6pm at the Fisher Pavillion at Seattle Center!
Meanwhile on the East Coast… Comic Arts Brooklyn is happening on Saturday too! Team NOBROW will be at Table U21-22, ready with all your favorite Nobrow and Flying Eye Books, and we’re bringing in our pals Wren McDonald and Jeremy Sorese to hang out and meet you! Yes, you! You, specifically!
If you’re in Brooklyn, we’ll catch you at 12 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 from 11am to 7pm!
Make your way to Hub Comics this Friday, and get ready to party with a solid lineup of MICE’s special guests, including Nobrow artists Wren McDonald (Cyber Realm, SP4RX) and Jeremy Sorese (Curveball). Check out the full lineup here, you won’t be disappointed! The party starts at 7pm, and we promise it will get you properly pumped up for an awesome weekend of hanging out with your pals at MICE!
Then on Saturday and Sunday, bring yourself and all the new friends you made at the party to Lesley’s University Hall for the main event! TEAM NOBROW will be posted up at Table A48, and we’ll be ready with all your favorite Nobrow and Flying Eye titles. Also, keep an eye out for the the Developing The Independent Graphic Novel panel on Sunday at 1pm, featuring MICE special guests and Nobrow artists Wren McDonald and Jeremy Sorese.
It’s going to be such a good weekend, and we can’t wait to see you, Massachusetts!
Hub Comics MICE Kick-Off Party Friday, October 28th, 7-9pm 19 Bow St. Somerville, MA 02143
MICE (Nobrow – Table A48) Saturday, October 29th to Sunday, October 30th Lesley’s University Hall 1815 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140
The amazing cartoonist and illustrator Anne Simon is making her way to the East coast to talk about the subject of her latest graphic novel collaboration with Corinne Maier – EINSTEIN!
Anne will be signing copies of Einstein and chatting about cartooning and the challenges of adapting the lives of some of the greatest minds in the history of Western Civilization to the graphic novel page. You won’t want to miss these rare US appearances by one of the foremost French cartoonists of today:
Thursday October 6th, 5pm
Updike Farmstead, Princeton, NJ
The Historical Society of Princeton presents a talk with Anne Simon.
After the presentation, make sure to stick around for the book signing!
Event is FREE
“The Ignatz Award, named for the character in the classic comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman, is the festival prize of the Small Press Expo, that since 1997 has recognized outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. The Ignatz recognizes exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression.”
Sam was nominated along with some genuine giants of comics– Melanie Gillman, John Martz, Daniel Clowes, and Kim Deitch. Congratulations to all the nominees, a big thanks to the folks at SPX and the Ignatz Awards Jury for counting Fantasy Sports among the outstanding comics of the year, and an extra special thanks to all of the attendees who threw in their vote for Fantasy Sports!
Berlin-based couple and illustration duo Daniel Dolz and Doris Freigofas – AKA Golden Cosmos – are back with a brand new Leporello in their distinctive, colourful style! Having taken us flying high through the sky with a history of aviation in High Times, they are now bringing us back down to earth with Locomotion: a beautiful and factual guide to the history of train engineering and travel.
To coincide with the release of Locomotion, they took a little time to answer some questions for us:
Which part of Locomotion was your favourite to draw?
The history of trains is really diverse and we had fun going through the years, always being excited about what was to come next. The early beginnings of trains with the first steam machines and all the adventurous experiments like the Rainhill Trials were particularly fun to draw, especially visualising the sounds, the smell, but also the grace of those monstrous, heavy locomotives.
How do you work together on a piece like this? Do you delegate different jobs to each other?
We’re both involved in the whole process, but we’ve started to allocate work. We’re not working on the same illustration at the same time.
For Locomotion, Daniel was making the major part of the illustrations while Doris was involved in the sketching process and idea generation. This was because our second child was born in the middle of it!
What was the most interesting / surprising fact that you learned about the history of trains?
We were really amazed by the fact that on the Canadian Pacific Railway there are cargo trains that are four kilometres long and need 13 engines to conquer the Rocky Mountains!
And of course we had to include some crazy inventions like the Rail Zeppelin – a train that looked like a Zeppelin on rails, driven by a propeller! This train only had one maiden voyage from Hamburg to Berlin and set a speed record at that time.
You’re based in Berlin, what are your favourite things about living and working in the city?
Actually we’ve been thinking of buying some old farmhouse and moving to the countryside. There’s this part of us that would like to be closer to nature and be far from the fast pace of the city. But we would quickly miss all the things that are so special about Berlin: the great diversity of lifestyles, the tolerance in views of live, the tasty and affordable food, the barbeques with friends on the balcony, going to see an exhibition on a Sunday afternoon and wandering over to the flea market by the canal afterwards… On the one hand, you can always discover new things in Berlin, the city is changing so fast. On the other hand, there are places that haven’t changed much since we’ve moved here 12 years ago. This continuity makes this place our home.
What is your studio like?
Our studio is located in a former Kindergarten in Lichtenberg, a part of Berlin that is becoming more and more interesting to young people and creatives as it’s become hard to find affordable space in Neukölln or Kreuzberg. The house is shared by around 25 creatives, artists, designers and photographers. There is also a huge garden where we grow vegetables in the summer.
Which illustrators / artists are you most inspired by? And which new talents are you most excited by?
The Bauhaus is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for us. The Bauhaus philosophy is interdisciplinary and so comprehensive! It’s not just the graphic work that inspires us. For example, we’ve just recently come across a collection of hand puppets that Paul Klee made out of everyday objects for his children.
We also love the work of Christoph Niemann. His illustrations are so humorous and pointed. He likes to experiment stylistically so he always surprises you. Last year we discovered the work of Cynthia Kittler and totally fell in love with her style and ideas. She is part of the PARALLEL UNIVERSE COLLECTIVE, a group of six amazing artists from New York, Berlin and Hamburg.
Thanks so much to Doris & Daniel! Locomotion is available to buy now HERE and in all great bookshops!
You better make sure your weekend is free because NOBROW is headed to SPX, and WE’RE BRINGING SOME HEAVY METAL!
SPX is always special, and this year we’re bringing along some extra-special guests. We’ll be rolling in with Sam Bosma (FantasySports series), Wren McDonald (SP4RX, CyberRealm), Luke Healy (How To Survive in the North), Jeremy Sorese (Curveball), and José Domingo (Pablo & Jane and the Hot Air Contraption), and they’ll be hanging out, signing books, and drawing up a storm!
Here’s when you can catch them signing at Table W76-78:
12 – 1 Wren McDonald
1 – 2 Luke Healy
2 – 3 Jeremy Sorese
12 – 1 Sam Bosma
1 – 2 Wren McDonald
2 – 3 Luke Healy
3 – 4 José Domingo
It’s going to be an exciting SPX for us because we’ve got not one, not two, but THREE Nobrow artists nominated for Ignatz awards! Ryan Heshka (Mean Girls Club) is nominated for Outstanding Artist, Joe Sparrow’s The Hunter is nominated for Outstanding Story, Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports is nominated for Outstanding Comic. We’ll have all of those titles with us so you can experience all that top-tier prestige first hand.
“But will you have anything new?” Buddy, you better hold on to your hat because we’re bringing some amazing new titles, a bunch of your old favorites, and some stuff you haven’t even seen! Get ready to be among the very first to get your hands on two SPX exclusive debut titles, Luke Healy’s How To Survive in the North, and Wren McDonald’s SP4RX (be sure to check out the killer book trailer on our Vimeo page). Both will be out later this year, but we’ll have advance copies ready for you at our table! We’re also bringing along a couple of certified mega-hits, Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports 2 and the latest in Luke Pearson’s Hilda series, Hilda and the Stone Forest.
There’s going to be so much good stuff, we can’t wait to see you there!
Yahhooo, Dogs in Cars is here! Count to 100 through the many breeds of dogs from French bulldogs to Great Danes, as they wreak havoc upon the streets in their recognisable locomotives! In this hilariously illustrated introduction to the world of dogs and cars, Emmanuelle Walker and Felix Massie pay homage to these glorious animals and their moving machines.
To celebrate its release, we caught up with illustrator / animation director extraordinaire, Emmanuelle Walker to talk about collaborating with Felix on this cool canine car compendium, illustration, animation and more…!
1)What came first – the words or pictures? How did you and Felix collaborate on the project?
What came first was a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet including a list of A to Z breeds, and car brands – because yes, the number of dogs corresponds to the number of each alphabet letter, which also corresponds to the name of the dog breed and the car brand! A=1 – Alpha Romeo/Afghan hound, B=2 – Bentley/Beagles, C=3 Citroen/Corgis, D=4 – Delorean/Dalmatians, etc.
I then gave that list to Felix as a base for the text, and it evolved from there. He picked the breed and the brand that he thought served the story the best. He added to the dog and car list too if he thought there was an even better option.
He did a first draft, and that’s really when I started working. Over time some of the rhymes slightly changed, but the idea stayed the same.
2) Which is your favourite spread from the book and why?
The dog I had the most fun drawing was probably the Old English sheepdogs, because I love drawing hairy things, could you count all the hair on that spread?
I like all the book spreads, but the special one is probably number 10, where I drew my dad in his blue Jeep and myself as a child with our 10 Jack Russells (even though we never had a single Jack Russell!).
3) Do you have a dog? If so what kind and what are they called? If not… what kind of dog would you most like to have?
No I don’t, unfortunately. My favorite dog in the world is probably the whippet because of all the crazy positions they can make thanks to their long limbs. If I had a garden big enough (or if I had a garden at all) I would have one.
4) Could you tell us a little bit about your illustration process?
I usually do some sketch research first. There were so many different and sometimes similar breeds, so I had to find a way to simplify them and understand the shapes.
To have a better general overview of what the book was going to look like, I did some super quick thumbnails of the spreads.
Then I prepared a template document in Photoshop because I wanted all the cars to be proportional to each other when you flip the book pages. So the small cars are tiny on the page, versus the trucks for example. Once I had the template I picked the illustration I wanted to do the most on that day. I started with the 13 Maltese.
I then roughed the car first, then the dogs and background with a thin black line. Once I was happy with the rough I made a colour-test layer to decide what the colours were going to be. Sometimes it’s a quick process, sometimes it’s harder to find something that pleases me. At this stage it’s only refining that’s left but that’s the longest and most tedious part!
Once I was happy with the colours I started selecting the different zones of the illustration with the freehand lasso tool. Basically, every colour is a different layer so I can easily change things if I need to.
And for the rest of the pages, I balanced everything depending on the number of dogs on the page. So if I had to draw a lot of dogs for one page, I would then pick one with less dogs, and so forth.
5) You work now as an animation director, what do you enjoy most and what are the challenges involved with making a children’s book outside of your day job?
I can’t really pick a favourite between directing, animating, and illustrating, I need the three to feel balanced. Animation is great, and bringing characters to life is extremely satisfying, but it can be very tiring to draw the same drawing over and over, (and then retracing/cleaning up everything afterwards). Illustration is great, you can take all the time you want to create one single image but it doesn’t move! And finally directing means that you often get to work on bigger projects, with a team to help you, but it can be stressful and the clients are not all always easy to manage. Luckily I work with great producers who take care of them most of the time.
Because I don’t have a regular schedule or regular clients, my days are always different. I have some super busy months where I stay at the studio until midnight, and other times, I can go weeks/months without working. The main challenge I’d say is not to get too stressed in the down times and try to travel a bit to work on personal projects (that will often bring you more work), find some inspiration elsewhere for other projects, and disconnect for a while.
Thank you so much Emmanuelle! Drive away with a copy of Dogs in Cars now!
To celebrate the launch of this next exciting instalment, on Thursday 8th September from 7.30 to 9pm, Hilda’s creator Luke Pearson will be joining us at Gosh! comics.
Luke will be in conversation with author, cartoonist and comic book aficianado Gary Northfield, discussing his creative process, the upcoming Hilda animation (as much as he’s allowed to) and whatever else might crop up in the evening. It’s a not to be missed chance to peek into one of UK comics’ most verdant creative minds. And a chance to get a copy of a Gosh! exclusive Hilda & the Stone Forest bookplate edition!
The Facebook event page can be found here. No need to book, no tickets required: just bring yourself down for 7.30-9pm on Thursday the 8th September, seats first come, first served for what promises to be an informative, entertaining evening.