'Have You Seen Elephant?’
Published by Gecko Press
Here, right before your eyes (not hiding at all) is a bonefide pitch perfect laugh out loud picture book for all ages. Debut author David Barrow has created a brilliant celebration of the limitless nature of a child’s imagination wrapped up in a deliciously sophisticated and accessible package.
A joyful simple text perfectly compliments moments of complete hysteria in the accompanying illustrations. Beautifully immersive full page pictures draw the reader into the game of hide and seek played between a young boy and a cumbersome pachyderm. Little readers will quite possibly burst at the seams desperately trying to help the young boy find the elephant on each page and the story’s punch line is a complete delight and the characters are utterly beguiling.
I do hope you enjoy this picture book as much as I have and will do for years to come. Have You Seen Elephant? is a must have for every pre-school and home library and the perfect gift for little Book Sniffers this Christmas (and any other season for that matter)
Promotes – Inclusivity / imagination play / friendship
By some stroke of fantastical luck and the help of a dear friend David agreed to spend a little time answering some questions for us - here's the result!
Are there any authors or illustrators you would like to collaborate with?
Also I’d gladly do a two way writing/illustrating swap with fellow Anglia Ruskin alumni (and thoroughly nice bloke) Steve Anthony!
Do you work digitally or physically or a mixture of both?
I create all my artwork and textures physically with ink, paints, pastels, pencils... whatever’s to hand really. Then I scan it all in and composite everything digitally. That way, you get both the spontaneity and energy of physical mark-making, and the control offered by working digitally. Most things I do are a result of accidents happening during both stages!
Which is your favourite spread?
Hmmm... I have a love/hate relationship with most of the spreads! I know you shouldn’t laugh at your own jokes but Elephant behind the TV still makes me chuckle (only a bit, and then I remember how long I battled with it and I shed a little tear). I guess an honourable mention to “Elephant under standard lamp” has to be made as that’s the image that ultimately led to the book actually happening.However, I can tell you exactly what piece of music I was listening to with every part of every image. I bet a lot of illustrators possess that skill!
Are the characters in the book inspired by people you know? Are there any special details we should look out for?
Elephant is actually inspired by my nieces’ hide and seek skills. Pretty much all of Elephant’s hiding places have been adopted by one or both of them at some point. Obviously, I’ve ever so slightly exaggerated the situations. Things to look out for; the dog plays a fairly significant role, cat makes a couple of appearances, the tortoise is hiding in a couple of spreads. Oh and Edward Lear’s in there somewhere.
You have kindly let us have a peek inside your beautiful sketch book (below)– If you could snoop in someone else's sketch book who would you choose?
Whilst on the MA course, I’ve been lucky enough to have sneaky peeks in some fairly astounding sketchbooks over the last couple of years. Highlights include Axel Scheffler, Alexis Deacon, Jim Kay, Ronald Searle, Helen Stephens and Pam Smy. I find sketchbooks phenomenally exhilarating to behold and will gladly look through anybody’s!
What will you be working on next?
I’m very lucky in that I’ve got a few projects on the go. Due to the secretive nature of the publishing industry I can’t say too much, however I’m writing and illustrating my next book with Hodder which is massively exciting (also a development of a Uni project). I’ll be illustrating for some other authors as well.
Can you recommend a good hiding place?