Wednesday 8 October 2014

Monsters Love Underpants

Monsters Love Underpants: Book 2

TOOT TOOT - It's here! It's finally here. Time to get our best underpants on and celebrate the arrival of 'Monsters Love Underpants' the latest collaboration by best-selling duo Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. 

As you can imagine it's barking mad and full of comedy and this time we are introduced to a whole miriad of bizarre and freakishly furry monsters. Each magnificent monster has it's own unique preference for undergarments and little book sniffing monsters will adore sniggering at the mischief they get up to and the chaos they cause. 

Not a truly scary monster in sight but lots and lots and lots of FUN! Prepare to read this one over and over and over again! 

We are thrilled to welcome Ben and Claire to Book Sniffer Towers to talk a bit more about the creation of then monsterrific picture book and yes we will all be wearing our very smartest pants! 

Q&A with Author Claire Freedman 

What are your first memories of reading?

I clearly remember the first time I read a whole book by myself. I was aged 4-5. It was The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. I woke up very early one morning, determined to read the book and read it twice. I was so excited, and pleased with myself, that I woke my parents early just to read the story to them too!

Do you stick to a set daily routine when writing and could you describe your working space for us?

I don't have a daily routine - writing is not something I can force. However, when I need to write, I am quite disciplined and will stick at it - unless the dreaded writer's block comes, in which case I will call it a day and try again later.
My 'office' is the spare room overlooking the garden, the bird table and feeders. So I have a great view of squirrels and birds - nicely distracting!
We are short of space, so everything is jammed packed in this room (books, files, bits and pieces, all sorts of things, suitcases etc) but it is organised as I am generally a tidy person. 

What's the strangest question you've been asked at an event?

How do you understand alien language!!

Which books are currently on your reading pile?

I have so many! I am always finding interesting books that I never have time to read. At the top of the pile today is a book I picked up from the library, A Nurse's Courage by Maggie Holt. It's set during WW1 and written by a nurse. I must start it soon!

What's next? Or is it top secret?

Oooh! I think I had better keep you guessing!

Here for your eyes and ears only is a word from Monsters in Underpants illustrator
Ben Cort about the process behind creating such a riotous band of bristly Monsters and an EXCLUSIVE peek at his work in progress...

Fantasy based books are my absolute favourite to illustrate and Claire’s text for Monsters Love Underpants was really fun to work on, giving me a free rein to paint a mixture of weird and wonderful creatures in a variety of locations.

I spent a lot of time creating the characters and filled two large sketchbooks with hundreds of monsters of which about forty appeared in the final book. It was important to give them a different look to my alien characters, whilst still keeping them appealing and not too scary, as these books are for a young age group and I didn’t want children having nightmares about them! 

Once I am happy with my characters I start roughing out the spreads. I very rarely rough a book in page order and prefer to work on the ones that I have the clearest vision of first. Sometimes the transition from initial thumbnail sketch to finished rough is very swift. However, it’s often a much more protracted process involving a large amount of readjustments to characters, poses, expressions, compositions etc... until I am satisfied I have got it right. I find Photoshop an invaluable tool at this stage as it enables me to make rapid changes to my roughs without the need for more drawing.

After my roughs have been approved by the publisher I then use acrylics to paint the final artwork.  Depending upon the complexity of the image this can take me anything up to two weeks to complete a double page spread. When all the spreads are finished they are sent off to be scanned and proofed.  As well as checking proofs and asking the printer to make colour changes if necessary, I will often make final alterations and additions to my artwork via the digital files prior to printing.

Pop over to for the next exciting instalment on the 
Monsters Love Underpants blog tour!

A HUGE thanks to Ben and Claire and the team at Simon and Schuster and an especially BIG Thank You and a golden paw print to Elissa! 

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