Pug-A-Doodle-Do!

What with one thing and another I’ve been too busy to publish any new fiction this year – although I have been hard at work on Railhead 3, which will be coming out next spring. (I’ll be announcing the title and sharing the cover artwork soon.)

But although Sarah McIntyre and I won’t be releasing a new story until next autumn we are publishing one book together this year, and here it is – PUG-A-DOODLE-DO, the Reeve & McIntyre Bumper Book of Fun:

 

When those nice people at Oxford University Press asked us to come up with an book of doodling and colouring activities based on characters and illustrations from our four books with them (Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space, Pugs of the Frozen North, and Jinks and O’Hare, Funfair Repair) we had to have a good hard think…

And some full and frank discussions…

We decided that we didn’t want to just re-use pictures from the other books, so we ended up writing and drawing quite a lot of new material too, including some surprisingly pointless quizzes, the autobiography of Colin the superstar crab, a day in the life of put-upon space tyrant Lord Krull, Iris the Mermaid’s Beauty Tips and super villain Stacey de Lacey’s frankly disturbing debut as an agony aunt. There are, inevitably, Quite A Lot Of Pugs. It was also a chance to publish print versions of a few things which have hitherto existed only online, like the excellent character drawing guides which Sarah produces to go with all our books, and the touching tale of Kevin, the Dartmoor Pegasus.

That lot filled about half the book. For the rest, I went to Sarah’s studio in London’s exotic Deptford, where we sat up late into the night dreaming up jokes and activities to fill the remaining pages. This resulted in some lovely spreads…

…and some rather odd ones…

…and towards the end it all started to get a bit Conceptual…

Anyway, PUG_A_DOODLE_DO is available now from all UK booksellers, price £10, and I think it’s turned out rather well. When I was a kid I always looked forward to the Bumper Summer Specials which comics like the Dandy and Whizzer and Chips used to publish in the summer holidays – extra thick editions crammed with stories, jokes and puzzles – and I hope our Bumper Book of Fun has something of that quality. It made us laugh like drains while we were thinking it up, so hopefully it will amuse somebody else too. Here’s my 8-year-old cousin Aretha test-driving a copy, and she seems to approve!

If you’re able to get to Tales On Moon Lane bookshop in London’s exotic Herne Hill this coming Saturday (8th September) Sarah and I will be launching the new book with a special doodling event, featuring guest pugs (including pug superstar Benny Bean).

 

Benny Bean: look at his little FACE…

Pugs of the Frozen North

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The new Reeve & McIntyre book, Pugs of the Frozen North, will be racing into bookshops any minute now, and Sarah and I are busy preparing for some publicity events. This coming Saturday we’ll be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where you can see us in the Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre, Charlotte Square, at 12.15pm. We’re planning songs, snowballs, and an interactive pug-racing game. Book tickets here!

Then, the following weekend, we’ll be performing free in a teepee as part of the inaugural Guardian Children’s Book Festival in London’s King’s Cross. Details here…

There will be lots more Pugs events in September, and I’ll also be doing some Railhead things, mostly in the west country, in October and November. More details to follow, but for Reeve and McIntyre-related shenanigans you can always keep an eye on the events section of Sarah’s website.

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Illustrations by Sarah McIntyre

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.

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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…

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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).

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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!

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