Children’s book illustrator Gus Gordon (Herman and Rosie, Somewhere Else) talks about illustrating the Tom Weekly My Life series. Gus and I have been working on this series together since 2011 and the sixth book, Tom Weekly: My Life & Other Failed Experiments is out in July.
‘Tom Weekly reminds me very much of my 12-year-old self. It isn’t too difficult a task to channel the random thoughts of that younger, fantastically naïve, enthusiastic, imaginative boy as it is pretty much how I am today. I still, like Tom, daydream about incredible situations and still have the propensity to think in a random, fractured manner, jumping from thought to thought with no real segue as if I am picking my thoughts out of a hat.’
‘Drawing for me was the most efficient way of communicating these unorganised ideas. Off-kilter illustrations and pointless list writing were a speciality of mine. I drew in every class, in every margin on everything and anything I had in front of me. This kind of fervour – the need to express myself through drawing – was how I approached the illustrations, or more specifically, how I saw Tom drawing them – a natural extension of his rambling imagination.’
‘The subjects (awkward encounters, girls, gross bodily functions, eating) were also all too familiar to me. Whether it was a panicked list about an operation, escaping false teeth or a drawing of a floating poo, it all felt disturbingly normal. Obviously it was the same for Tom!’
You can check out the Tom Weekly My Life series here.