Interview with Charlie Sutcliffe, creator of Zubert

Charlie Sutcliffe aka Spookernox, is the genius behind The Tate’s latest picture book, Zubert.


Having posted my review of his debut picture book, Charlie agreed to answer a few questions and also very kindly sent me a couple of pictures to share how he arrives at his beautiful spreads.

Octopus monkeys

PBB: How do you go about choosing your colour palettes?

CS: The work is made on giant pieces of Bockingford paper (1.4 metres wide) with pen and ink and then scanned into the computer. At this point my working colours are primary as I build up the image so that I can see what I’m doing. The muted palette came about as a result of the complexity of the images. It was the only way to create a clarified whole, reducing and editing until it became homogenous across all the spreads.


These two images show how life starts for Charlie’s fantabulous spreads – pen and ink on humungous sheets of paper.

PBB: Did you have this story in your head before The Tate commissioned you?

CS: The story was written before meeting the Tate, and the roughs for the dummy were all done in a 24 hour period prior to our first meeting. 

1450186_10152013870480446_1707681219_nPBB: How did you come up with the name ‘Spinglefrank’?

CS: I really don’t know where the name ‘Spinglefrank’ came from. I have sketchbooks full of nonsense words and notes and scribbles, although I do have a friend called Frank who is always rushing around and I liked the idea that they (The Spinglefranks) could all claim to be called Frank in the manner of Sparticus.

PBB: We love all of the hidden details in the book, do you have a favourite?

Page 23

CS:  I like Kasper the best. For example, on page 23 he appears as The Dude from ‘The Big Lebowski’ as The Dude only bowls on lane 23 in the film.

PBB: Can we hope to see Zubert up to more fun and games in the future?

CS: There certainly should be more from Zubert and I am currenty working on the next book……

A massive thank you to Charlie for taking the time to answer our questions and providing us with a sneaky peek into how he works. We are big Zubert fans here and can’t wait for the next instalment.


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