Of course I was delighted when I heard that Boffin Boy and the Forest of the Ninja had been chosen for Booked Up 2010. I was especially pleased that this title was chosen, as it my favourite in the series.
Now here’s the secret of becoming rich and famous as a writer. You come up with a brilliant, world-beating idea (O.K., that’s not the easy bit), you develop it into a series, and keep on writing them forever, making loads of money each time.
Have I done this? No, not really. My problem is that I get easily bored and I don’t want to write the same thing over and over again. Shame, really.
When I started as a writer I wrote poetry. Now, I’m not bored with that, but I soon wanted to try something else, so I started to write fiction, then some non-fiction, then some school books – then someone suggested I had a go at graphic novels, and Boffin Boy came along.
The first thing I had to do was learn how to write a graphic novel. It’s not at all like writing a story in the form of a novel. You are really writing a sort of script for the illustrator (Peter Richardson) to do his own thing with. You need to describe each picture, (an artwork brief) then say whether your text is a speech bubble, a thought bubble, or a caption.
Boffin Boy is illustrated in a special style known as Manga, which came from Japan. Most people think Manga is all about drawing people with big eyes, but there’s a lot more to it than that! I’ve learnt a lot from working with Peter. With graphic novels you have very few words, so the artist has to play his or her part in telling the story. This is especially true in showing what characters are feeling. Here’s a tip for drawing characters in graphic novels. Look at the characters in Boffin Boy. We learn a lot from the expressions on their faces, of course, but we also learn a lot from what they are doing with their hands. In real life we use hand gestures as a sort of language, and we use them in graphic novels too. And not just in graphic novels. If you look at paintings by famous artists like Michelangelo you’ll see that he does it too. (Peter Richardson just loves being compared to Michelangelo.) So if you want to draw people for graphic novels, start by drawing hands.
It’s a very exciting time to be a writer. Until a few years ago you wrote books, and, err, that was it. Now your writing can be on an app for a mobile phone, or as a download for a games console. What will be next? No idea – but maybe Boffin Boy is working on it!
Info on my books:
Most boring book: 150 literacy hours for year 4.
Scariest book: Vampires!
Book that I wrote on a subject that I didn’t know anything about: How to Be a Pop Star.
Favourite Books: Boffin Boy!