Today is my stop on The Bum That Barked blog tour and illustrator, Rowena Aitken, will be telling us all about her experience working on the book.
Title: The Bum That Barked
Author: Elisa Peacock
Illustrator: Rowena Aitken
Bean the dog is surprised when one day his bottom (called Bongo) starts barking. Bongo is an ambitious bottom, longing to be a star on the big stage.
Soon Bean and Bongo find fame in the most unlikely canine career… ventriloquism! But when Bean’s stage fright wreaks havoc with their tummy, the duo’s cover is blown (literally!). Will their fans love them for who they really are?
Within this humorous rhyming book, is a message that it’s okay to be yourself and be bold. It will delight fans of fart gags, dogs and beans!
I think it’s fair to say, Rowena had a tough job on her hands, illustrating a talking dog’s bottom! And I’m delighted she has shared with me an insight into how she went about it…
Hi Rowena, could you tell us a bit about your career as an illustrator?
I’ve been illustrating for 11 years now and the last 5 I’ve focused on children’s book illustration. At art college I studied Animation as I have had a lifelong love of cartoons particularly the works of Chuck Jones. I moved into illustration as animation is a lot of hard work! That’s not to say illustration is easy but 2D animation is very laborious and I enjoy creating a single poignant image rather than 100s of frames. It’s a cliche I read a lot but I have always been someone who drew LOTS – it became my identity. I love art and when I discovered digital illustration in Photoshop that took my work to a whole new level.
How did you find out about The Bum That Barked?
Elisa Peacock (the author) sent me a direct message on Twitter! She gave me a synopsis of the book which I thought was really interesting. We spoke to James Shaw at Matthew James Publishing and really we took things from there.
What drew you to illustrate The Bum That Barked?
Honestly? Not to spoil the story but it was the fart aspect! Farts will always be funny. Also I love drawing animals and having a razzle dazzle performing dog was something a little different to past projects.
How was working with Elisa and Tiny Tree/Matthew James Publishing?
Elisa and James at Matthew James Publishing were fantastic to work with. They were very interested in how I would tackle Bongo’s character – how does one show a talented dog’s bottom?! That was a really fun process.
I started off thinking of characters that have two personalities and for some reason Man on The Moon (The Jim Carrey film – 1999) sprung to mind.
In particular, the character dichotomy of Andy Kaufman & Tony Clifton! Bongo is a little more mild mannered than Clifton. Elisa LOVED this idea and over the course of talking about illustrations we found much in common such as the love of Freddie Mercury.
What was your favourite part of illustrating The Bum That Barked?
One of my favourite parts of the book is the bowel spread! I got inspiration for this from the Looney Tunes & Tom & Jerry cartoons which would show a blue x-ray of a character. “The Fart” who became their own character albeit briefly.
I hear Bean (Elisa’s dog & inspiration) is taking his new found fame in his stride. I’m really excited to find out what the world thinks about The Bum That Barked – it’s a wonderful fun story and I would love to work with Elisa and the team at Tiny Tree & Matthew James Publishing again. The Bum That Barked will be wafting onto the shelves on 11th June 2020 hopefully with a big bottom clap of applause!
Thank you so much Rowena!
You can pre-order a copy of The Bum That Barked now.
Publisher: Tiny Tree
Publication date: 11 June 2020
And don’t forget to join the other stops on the blog tour!
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This feature contains my honest opinion.