Putting pen to paper; how LOTS came alive; my illustrating journey by Marc Martin.
First off, I wanted to say thanks for having me! I’m excited to share LOTS with readers in the UK! Creating a picture book takes lots (pun intended!) of planning, hard work and dedication. LOTS is my most time-consuming and ambitious book to date, and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out and relieved by how well it’s been received by readers.
So, I thought I’d start by telling you how LOTS first came about. Initially the idea for LOTS was going to be a simple book about different groupings of objects – lots of people, lots of cars, lots of animals, lots of buildings, etc. At the time I was drawing detailed scenes of things like cities or groupings of birds in my personal work, and that was the real catalyst for developing the idea further. Each page would focus on one particular thing or object, with multiplicity being the linking concept.
However, there are plenty of object based/multiplicity themed books out there already, and I wanted to do something a little different. The more I developed the idea, the more I started to think about some of the other things that interest me – travel, culture, people and places, and how I could combine these concepts into the book. I’m also a big fan of the M.Sasek ‘This Is’ series, and in some one ways I started to think of LOTS as a contemporary version of that series, be it more condensed with one place per spread.
In terms of illustration, I primarily used watercolour and pencil for the images, and an ink brush for the text. I wanted the drawings the feel really immediate and personal – and given I’d been to quite a few of the places in the book, it was easy to feel comfortable portraying the places in the way that made it look more like a travel diary and less like a traditional fact book.
I think what sets LOTS apart from some of the other travel themed non-fiction picture books is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and some of the observations aren’t necessarily just for children (I’m not sure if children will know who Björk is on the Reykjavik page, but hopefully most of the parents do). The illustrations and subject matter aim to reflect the colourful, quirky and varied world we live in, in a way that children and parents can relate to. I hope you all enjoy it.
Huge thanks to Marc Martin for providing us with this incredible insight into how LOTS was born and to Antonia Wilkinson for making this happen. Check out this video to see more of Marc’s picture books journey.