I’m best at writing in the morning, before my head gets filled with distractions like music and conversations and the internet and reading. I have another job (as an Art Director at Wonderbly, working on picture books) so when I was writing Stick Boy I got up while it was dark and wrote at the kitchen table before breakfast. I’m definitely not a morning person though (ask my wife, Tanvi) so this was really hard! After a while, I found I liked to write in a very curious place with very good cakes called the Barbican.
Stick Boy started with the drawings though, before there was an idea for a story. I was wondering what it would be like to have other people know how you’re feeling – if all of your feelings were visible. Would it be weird? Would it be okay? What would the feelings look like? So I drew a lot of versions of Stick Boy. Like hundreds. When I start drawing, I draw on paper.
Drawing on paper is best for me when I’m working out new scenes and characters and I can be as scribbly as I like. Then I read through the whole story and see what images pop into my mind – what I would like to draw. Then I plan what I am going to draw every week. The whole book takes about four months to draw, because I can only draw at weekends.
I start by making really rough sketches for everything to see where the characters will be on the page and what’s in the background and everything, and then I draw them again and again to make them better. The images you see in the book were the last ones I did, drawn on my iPad with an Apple Pencil. I like listening to terrible pop music from the 1980s while I’m drawing.