Roof Runners: children's fiction illustration

"Roof Runners"

Illustration for a children's book, fiction 11-14 age group.

Brief supplied: Strong, iconic monochrome image. Text describes a night-time chase across a Victorian cityscape.

This is an illustration for an as-yet unpublished book, aimed at the 11-14 children's fiction market. The novel is set in Victorian England, and so for the artwork I decided to reference the very detailed line work of the time, exemplified by Phiz. Modern readers now have the advantage of film references to inform their mind’s eye whilst reading, so I also injected a more cinematic element to the three figures racing across the rooftops than would perhaps have been present in illustrations from Dickens’ time. As with the "Mask" image, my enthusiastic consumption of comic books has obviously left its mark.

As a child I enjoyed spending time looking closely at the illustrations in books I read, so two of the three silhouettes in the image are deliberately difficult to spot. I would anticipate that the reader will only notice them on second or third viewings. I have rarely read a book only once, and I hope the 11-14 year olds who eventually read this book will do the same, and return to the story many times, hopefully finding something fresh in each illustration.