Awesome Reader Art!


Following on from my previous post about my visit to Market Bosworth High School, here are some stunning bookmarks created by its students…!

FabulousBookmarksfromMarketBosworth

Aren’t these fabulous? The two on the left are by Laura-Anne, the middle two are by Ross, and the two on the right are by April and Josh. Massive respect to all four of you for your wonderful art skills: I am honoured and thrilled that my books were the impetus for such stylish and spirited work. You’ve put a huge cheesy grin on my face. HEE HEE HEE HEE!

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s a nice piece of Black Tat art that was sent to me this week:

Ethan  the blacktatoo 2009 no. 2

ebirk wrote: Charlie with the Scourge on his back in Hell. Thank you for the opportunity to submit my art.

Thank you for sharing it, Ethan! Whenever my stories inspire people to do or make stuff, that gives me an enormous thrill. This fine pic will be going up on the Black Tat Reader Art Page very soon. Anyone else reading this who wants to show me their work will find all the details about how to do that either there or on the Reader Art Page for Tim.

Meanwhile, here are some follow-up questions from yesterday’s Trapped By Monsters Halloween Event (which, btw, was an absolute hoot – click the link to read all about it!) A big thank you to Derek, 9, from my home borough of Hackney, who wrote into the Tim Guestbook to ask the following:

Why did it take you five years to write The Black Tattoo? And how is it fun?!

Why did Black Tat take five years? That’s how long it took to get the book written and polished into the best shape I possibly could. The polishing was what took the longest (you can find out more at the Black Tat website). Black Tat was a big project for me, no doubt about it. But like any big project, if you break it down into manageable chunks (small steps towards your goal), and you do them, and keep doing them, because you want it, and love it, and believe in what you’re doing, then you can get there. If you approach it like that, you can achieve anything you want.

Some of writing Black Tat was definitely fun. I was excited about the story. I had to be, because most of the process of writing it was work. But I did it, I’m proud of it, and when people write in and tell me they enjoy reading the book, that makes me very, very happy.

I also just wanted to ask how you became quite famous. Has anyone inspired you???

Quite famous”? Hee hee hee! I wouldn’t even go that far! :D

I’m not famous. Most authors aren’t. But I am published: my books are available in shops and libraries and online, and people can read them if they want. For ten years that was my biggest ambition, and now it’s happened. How?

Again, no easy answer I’m afraid: I worked for it. I wrote stories. I sent them off to publishers and agents and anywhere else I could think of. I built up a pile of one hundred and thirty-four letters saying ‘no’. But I kept working on my stories, writing new ones, pushing myself to get better at this job of writing. I kept sending my stuff out. And eventually, one day, someone said ‘yes’.

Who inspired me? Lots of people! In particular, there were two terrific authors who came to visit my school when I was young: a comics writer called Alan Grant, and a poet called Ted Hughes. Both of them absolutely amazed me: they made this ambition of mine seem possible enough for me to decide to give it a serious go. It’s my hope that by visiting schools now and speaking to young people such as yourself, I just might – might – pass that sort of inspiration on to a new generation. Or, heh, that’s what I’m aiming for, anyway! ;)

Thanks for your questions, Derek. All best wishes to you,

Sam

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

I recently received this from my friend, the brilliant illustrator Barnaby Richards:

this_and_that.72dpi

Long-term Trapped By Monsters followers might remember Barnaby’s work from last February, when he sent us poor, captive authors a Message of Support. The monsters certainly do: his ’support’ was for the monsters!

If you feel the urge to create some monster art of your own – and with Halloween fast approaching, what better time than now? – my TBM Monster Art Attack giveaway is still very much alive. What with Barney’s entry above and this one from Michelangelo, results so far may have been slow but they’ve also been spectacular. Ready to take a crack at it? Click here for all the details.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

TWO amazing pieces of Black Tat Reader Art today.

First up, here’s Iain from Johannesburg, who followed up some cracking questions in the Black Tat Guestbook last week with this awesome manga-style image:

charlie

This is a depiction of Charlie. I decided to be subtle with his evil look and that’s why instead of him having the Scourge dripping off him, he has sinister looking wings. He has an “emo fringe” to illustrate the pent up emotions that Charlie has. His clothes are sleek and stylish as described in the book. Hope you like it. Iain

…And here is the final, finished version of this stunning pic by Ali from Illinois:

blacktattoofinalcopy

Seeing beautiful art like this being made out of things from my stories is an absolute joy. Thank you, Iain and Ali! And if anyone else reading this feels like creating something and sending it in, then please, be my guest.

PS: Over on Trapped By Monsters I’ve just put up a short post about one of my very favourite books EVER, namely Momo by Michael Ende. Take a look.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s the latest version of this gorgeous take on Black Tat‘s cover art, as worked on these last few weeks by Ali from Illinois, who says:

I’m almost done!!!!!!
The next scan I send will be the final color copy!
Here you go! You can put the update on your blog again
All the best!
Alisa

blacktatfanartupdate21

As for me, I’ve already(-!) heard back from my editor about the final draft of Crawlers, and the news is good: we’re on to the copyedit stage. The book is being checked for any tiny errors of grammar, punctuation, spelling or continuity that I’ve missed, but the story is now officially all set and working properly. I’m very happy! :D

PS: For previous versions of Ali’s amazing art, check here and here.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Further to the previous post, here’s the latest from Ali:

I’ve started on the color copy and thought you might like to see it.
Feel free to put it up on your blog again.
A big hello from over here in the USA!
Best wishes,
Ali

blacktatfanpicupdate

Looking great, Ali! Thank you so much!

In other news, this week I’ve seen the first early versions of what might become the jacket art for Phase Three. I am very, very, very excited! Official announcement of the real title (which, in case you weren’t sure, isn’t actually Phase Three) coming soon. Watch this space! :D

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Step up and take a bow Ali from Illinois, who has sent me this spectacular drawing (below) via the Black Tat Reader Art Page:

blacktattooreaderart

Isn’t it great? It reminded me a lot of John Jude Palencar‘s original sketch for what would become the Black Tat Painting. I don’t think I’ve posted that anywhere before, so here it is:

tattoart

You can see the art changed quite a bit between this and Mr Palencar’s final version!

My thanks to Ali for sharing this work with me (and now with you). It’s a huge thrill and honour for me if my stories inspire people to do or make amazing and beautiful things like this.

If, by any happy chance, the books are doing something similar for you, then please don’t hesitate to show me via my websites’ Reader Art pages. Here’s the one for Black Tat and here’s the one for Tim.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Before I get down to it, take a look at THIS:

dinnertimeinhell

This is Dinner Time in Hell, another stunning piece of Black Tat-inspired art by Monique Van Dongen, the genius behind The New Emperor, the winning entry of the previous round of the No Monsters Were Harmed In The Making Of This Website Competition. Apparently the image was originally dried rose petals. Isn’t it incredible? So sinister! :D

There’s been a flurry of activity on the Black Tat Guestbook lately. Everything written there goes straight to me: I’ve been replying to the posts directly on the page, but I figured I’d share a few highlights with you over here.

First up, just in today(!) from Lily, 14, from Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, is this question:

What inspired your view of Hell? It’s so vivid and crazy, I love it!

Thanks, Lily! :D

Once I’d decided that so much of Black Tat was going to be set in Hell, I set about gathering together all the source materials I possibly could. I started with the classic stuff like Dante’s Inferno and the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, as well as all sorts of different views on the subject from all over the world (see below-!). Then – like everything else in my stories – I basically mixed it up with whatever I thought would be fun. I knew there were going to be lots of fights: that suggested a gladiatorial element, which naturally led me to thinking about Ancient Rome. I knew there were going to be monsters: I had a lot of fun with the demons, as you probably noticed! By the end of the story I was chucking in everything I could think of: in fact I ended up with more material than I knew what to do with! If you’ve found the password in the back of the book, you can unlock some deleted extra scenes, here.

Next up, Kit, 15, who asked:

Hi! I’ve always wanted to be an Egyptologist and I swear somewhere along the lines I’ve come across the name Khentimentu somewhere! Does the Scourge have roots in Egyptian Pharonic mythology?? Please reply! It’s KILLING me! :S

Hi, Kit! Put your mind at ease: you’re absolutely spot on. The Scourge’s name is indeed (almost) the same as that of KHENTIMENTIU, “the Egyptian god who rules the destiny of the dead” [source: 'A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, by Anne S. Baumgartner, University Books, 1984]. Respect to your Egyptology skills! :D

Here’s Tony, 13, from Elsa, Texas, who asked:

I WAS WONDERIN IF YOU COULD VISIT OUR SCHOOL AT CARLOS F. TRUAN JR. HIGH

Tony, one day I would LOVE to visit schools in the US. But I live in the UK, so until a publisher or school is up for flying me over there, that particular dream is going to have to wait. Tentacles crossed! ;)

Stepping up next: Derrick, 16, also from the USA, who wondered…

If it is O.K. with you, I was thinking about designing my first video game based on the book ‘The Black Tattoo’. Also, with the video clips, I am still looking for the right characters to play the part as Charlie. Who knows, I might even get to be the Scourge! Heh. Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to. Thanks. Derrick.

Hi, Derrick! These plans sound amazing, best of luck with ‘em! The way it works with my permission for you using things from Black Tat is very straightforward: if you want to make money out of them, then we have to do this on a business footing. But if you want to make clips or design a game as a showcase for your skills, so people can see (for free) what you can do, then go for your life. Drop me a line at the address on the Reader Art page whenever you like. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Finally, from Arra, 13, in Fauldhouse, Scotland, here’s one of the most touching messages I’ve yet received about my work. My answer appears below.

i was really bored in hospital. i was in for a brain scan when a quad hit my head and it was apparently really bad then my friend brought me this book and i couldnt put it down it saved me. the nurses even said i was a different kid with the book. i adored it so cool i mean really. totally you need to write more books like this! i tried reading the other books but couldnt get into them the same so i think you should write another like the black tattoo it was so awesome. have to go see ya

Arra, this is one of the most wonderful things that anyone has said to me about my stories so far. I am touched and honoured that Black Tat has affected you this strongly.

I aim to put my whole heart into all my books. I think that’s the only way to write something truly exciting. But that means (and I’m sorry of this is disappointing to you) that I won’t repeat myself by writing something too like what’s gone before – whether for money, or even because people ask me to. Each book I write is its own beast: each one will affect each reader differently. That’s my plan; that’s the only way I want to do this. And I hope you’ll understand why.

Say I wrote a sequel to Black Tat: it wouldn’t have my heart in it, so the chances are it wouldn’t be as good. You would be disappointed. You might even start to doubt whether the original was really as good as you thought it was (crummy sequels can do that). And then your feelings towards the book, the ones you’ve got right now, would be ruined.

I think that would be a shame. The power that a particular book at a particular time can have over a person is one of the most amazing and brilliant things that books can do. I’m thrilled and delighted that Black Tat has touched you that way. But I know from my own reading experience that those kinds of feelings are too important to trifle with – particularly by trying to recreate them artificially.

I hope you’ll keep an eye on what I write in the future – even if it’s not exactly like Black Tat! But in the mean time, if you’d like some suggestions for other books I think are awesome, check my LibraryThing profile.

Thank you again for your wonderful message. Very best wishes to you,

Sam

BREAKING NEWS: This Saturday, to my great glee and delight, I’m going to be taking part in The Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival. I’ll be in The Bookseller Crow bookshop from around 2pm. Hope to see you there!

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Briefly, here are some more pics just in of the wonderful Tim and Black Tat art that students at Amersham School created for my visit there the other day. Their stunning work has gone up in a special display at the local branch of UK chain bookstore Waterstone’s!

amershamwaterstones

You see it there? Just to the right of the main entrance, in full view of EVERYBODY??

display

Another HUGE thank you to Amersham’s Year 8 students for their hospitality, and to Ms Shapland for sending me these pics. They have put an enormous cheesy grin on my face. Hee hee hee! :D

Meanwhile, for more monster art of a medievally menacing kind, check Trapped By Monsters, here.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s a pic of me doing my stuff during yesterday’s brilliant visit to Amersham School, in Buckinghamshire:

amersham010409pic1

See that display in the background? Take a closer look…!

amersham010409display

Aren’t these spectacular?? This fantastic display of Tim and Black Tat art was created especially for my visit by students in Amersham’s Year 8. Their work is going up for the world to wonder at in the window of the Amersham branch of Waterstone’s.

This was my first school visit for a while, and it was a CORKER. My gleeful thanks and best wishes to Ms Shapland for inviting me, but also to all of Amersham’s Year 8, who were a terrific audience: I hope you got something out of listening to me(!) because after talking to you I returned to the cave refreshed, reinvigorated, reinspired, and (best of all) reminded of what this writing-for-young-people caper’s really all about.

Thank you! :D

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

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