Inspired by Railhead


Railhead isn’t even out yet, and it’s already being re-imagined! My publishers OUP have commissioned some artwork from leading illustrators and concept designers. It won’t be in the book – it’s for use online and as projections in the Railhead stage event I really need to be sorting out – so the artists were told to interpret the book as freely as they liked, rather than produce literal illustrations.  The pictures will be shared on various different blogs over the coming days. I’ll post updates on Twitter and Facebook, and a link here to all the posts once they’re all up.


Here’s the first selection, on We Love This Book. It includes pieces by the great Ian McQue (whose portrait of anti-hero Zen looks about right to me) and Anthony Foti, (whose picture of Nova is so unlike the character in the book that I’m starting to think it might have been mis-labelled and is meant to be one of the others). Also, a landscape sketch by Jaguar Lee, whose alternative takes on Mortal Engines are some of the most popular things I’ve published here, and a conversation between me and OUP’s Jo Cameron about the commissioning process.


Lakes International Comic Art Festival

In October this year I’ll be in Kendal for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, where Sarah McIntyre and I will be promoting our new book, Pugs of the Frozen North. The Festival has an amazing lineup of artists and writers, and they have asked some of us to create lakeland-themed postcards. McIntyre and I came up with this view of Traditional Pug Bathing at Friar’s Crag on Derwentwater.


My parents lived near Derwentwater for many years, so I drew the background, based on old sketches I made when I was staying with them, and then Sarah added the pugs, mermaids and colour. You can see some of the other postcards here, including a lovely one of Castlerigg stone circle by the great Jonathan Edwards, and one by Bryan Talbot whose Luther Arkwright graphic novel was the subject of Jake Hayes’s excellent Tyger Tales blog this week. I’ve not come across Luther Arkwright before, but the drawings look amazing, like this one…


While we’re at the festival, Sarah will also be doing an event based on her brilliant new picture book Dinosaur Police. And I’ll get to meet one of my heroes, the artist Ian McQue. My new book Railhead isn’t illustrated, but if it was, Ian would be the man to illustrate it (and if I could re-write Mortal Engines I’d change all the airships into mysteriously airborne tramp steamers like the ones which appear in his paintings).


We’ll be doing an event together about creating worlds through words and pictures, and I’ll be reading from Railhead while Ian draws. His line work is just as amazing as his colour stuff, and he has published two great sketchbooks, Robots, Space-Dudes and Flying Ships (currently sold out, it seems) and Mechs and the City

Do check out the festival website, there will be all sorts of good stuff going on. And, of course, it’s not the only Pugs show Sarah and I will be doing – more details on our Frozen North tour soon!

WOME-art Wednesday

Here are three nice images that have reached me via the internets recently.  First, a fine Mortal Engines cover/poster by Kathryn Rosa Miller, aka Kate-Kyrillion on DeviantArt…

She writes:

Inspired by a great Abram Games poster, I wanted to create a front-cover-style piece for the wonderful ‘Mortal Engines’ by Philip Reeve…

This is a relatively bright and saturated version of the image… I think this balance works well for a poster image, but as a book cover I’d up the emphasis on the title and take the brightness of the city down.

So I’m glad to have finally done this. The only problem is that I’m going to find it hard to resist starting on a cover for book 3, Infernal Devices: it’s largely set in the Traction City version of Brighton – my beloved hometown…

Yes please!
(As well as her DeviantArt page, Kathryn blogs on Tumblr here.  She has a good website too, with lots of images of Brighton, my old hometown. And her blog features lots of good stuff, including these great 1960s Puffin covers for The Hunger Games)
Secondly, here’s a gruesome but rather wonderful Shrike by Daniel Reuben Young:
And finally, I think this aviatrix is really a character from Ian McQue’s own world of rusty sky-trawlers and airborne harbours, which has been unfolding for the past few years in the illustrations on his excellent blog. But that’s a world that looks more like the WOME than anything else I’ve ever seen, and she’d make a very good recruit for the Green Storm’s air-fleets, or possibly a young Anna Fang..

You can follow Daniel Reuben Young and Ian McQue (and also ME) on Twitter.  Oh, and the Clovenstone Goblins have their own Twitter feed now – so that’s one to avoid.