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Getting somewhere (slowly).

It’s been almost three years since I started working on my book “Pete and the Enchanted Book”. And it was only today that it hit me – I’m actually getting somewhere. Writing and illustrating a picture book is such a humongous project that getting to the end is not something I care to think about because the end always feels so far away.

But today I realised that I’ve reached an important milestone. The drafts for most illustrations are done. I still have loads of work left – but we’re talking months not years now. Not even a year! Now that put a smile on my face.

Anyway, here’s the latest illustration that I completed this evening.

Pete and the enchanted book

Pete and the enchanted book

 

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Boy meets witch

Pete meets Willisa the witch for the first time. Work in progress…

Pete and the enchanted book test scene 3.jpg

Haunted by Amelia Dyer’s ghost…

young Amelia Dyer

Young Amelia Dyer

… well, at least that’s what it feels like!  In the past 10 months I’ve learnt a lot of new tricks and techniques about illustrating in 3D.  These have given me a few thoughts about my Amelia Dyer illustrations. Looking at them now, just over a year after completing them, they look a bit amateurish and flat.

So I now have this little nagging voice in my head saying I should redo them all, and start working on the 2nd edition of my horror story. The Amelia Dyer story is my most successful picture book in terms of sales so I feel obliged to improve on the illustrations in the book.   

I’m currently working on my third children’s book so this must be prioritised.  Once I’ve completed that, rather than start on a new original story, I will go back to my Amelia Dyer’s illustrations. Although it feels like the work is never ending, I’m pretty much looking forward to revising and improving the illustrations.

It feels like I can’t escape the ghost of Amelia Dyer.  It’s forever drawing me back; it’s the Amelia Dyer curse!

Amelia Dyer's ghost

Amelia Dyer’s ghost

 

How do you consume your media?

Man and TV

According to an article in the Daily Telegraph, our traditional TV viewing habits are changing dramatically. It is noted that: “major shift in viewing patterns persists after so-called millennials get their own home and have kids”.

 

I came across the article just as I had just started to illustrate the part in my book where millions of people across the world fall under the spell of Pete’s enchanted book, when the spell is broadcasted around the world.

 

Personally, I don’t consume media exclusively on one device and these days it’s pretty safe to say, that’s true for most people. I guess that how we consume our media depends entirely on the type of media and the situation / environment we’re in, so my illustrations reflect that, I hope.

 

Man and tablet

Although the Telegraph article is mainly talking about the millennial generation (people born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s) I would argue that today’s major shift in viewing patterns is not exclusively applicable to them. I’ve seen the changing viewing patterns of my parents who, in their early 70s, have abandoned the traditional way of consuming media (newspapers and TV) for the internet, devouring their news and entertainment on laptops, mobiles and tablets.

Go “Silent Generation” go!

 

Changes in the way we consume and share information have changed at incredible pace.  Just think – in 1982 in the UK, there were just three TV channels that, like the pubs, usually ‘closed down’ at about 11pm. By 2002 major consumer brand owners could no longer advertise on TV effectively anymore – not only were there numerous competing channels, but a wide number of media appliances competed for the general public’s time too, like DVDs and with the arrival of the internet, computers.

Man and laptop

Then came social media and suddenly people spent more time in front of the computer screen than the TV, interacting and connecting instead of sitting passively on the couch. By 2014, there were six billion mobile phones in operation, worldwide. Thirty-two percent of the world’s population has Internet access, and is rising faster because you no longer need a computer for media consumption.

 

This fast pace of change has a moral for artists. Certainly, what I’ve learned from illustrating this particular section of my picture book is that including today’s gadget is not necessarily a very good idea if you want your story to have relevance and longevity. I’m certain that in a few years’ time my illustrations will look very dated. But I’m curious to see how thechnology and the way we interact with it, will develop over the years to come. I’m sure a revised edition of my book will be necessary in the not too distant future.

girl and mobile phone

 

 


 

Amelia Dyer, a Victorian Tale of Horror (part 5/5)

Wow, time really does fly. When I started posting my Amelia Dyer story on this blog, I imagined I would do it over a couple of weeks. However, it’s been such an incredibly busy summer for me, I haven’t really had the opportunity to log on as often as I had intended. It’s taken me over two months to post the whole story but here’s the last instalment. Enjoy!

Note: Amelia Dyer is part of my Horror Vault stories and is NOT suitable for younger readers. The story contains no strong language but has occasionally some gory moments.

Proceed with caution… part 5/5

Whilst packing her bags, she had a premonition:  Dressed in rags, it was a child's apparition. It hobbled towards her as she stood in shock. Turning to the window, she let out a squawk.

Whilst packing her bags, she had a premonition:
Dressed in rags, it was a child’s apparition.
It hobbled towards her as she stood in shock.
Turning to the window, she let out a squawk.

The bodies were crawling out of the dirt, First an arm, then a head, and next a tattered shirt. The children were back, back from the dead. Their eyes full of hate, they filled her with dread.

The bodies were crawling out of the dirt,
First an arm, then a head, and next a tattered shirt.
The children were back, back from the dead.
Their eyes full of hate, they filled her with dread.

They grabbed her and dragged her out to the garden. She begged them for mercy. She begged them for pardon. But the dead don't listen. They can't speak or hear. Her time was up, and she trembled with fear.

They grabbed her and dragged her out to the garden.
She begged them for mercy. She begged them for pardon.
But the dead don’t listen. They can’t speak or hear.
Her time was up, and she trembled with fear.

Her victims demanded violent retribution. Amelia’s death was a gruesome execution. But according to legend, her soul was so foul It fled from hell and spends nights on the prowl.

Her victims demanded violent retribution.
Amelia’s death was a gruesome execution.
But according to legend, her soul was so foul
It fled from hell and spends nights on the prowl.

So beware, beware, before going to bed – Amelia is back. Yes, she's back from the dead. Feeding on children just like you. You better watch out, or she might eat you too!

So beware, beware, before going to bed –
Amelia is back. Yes, she’s back from the dead.
Feeding on children just like you.
You better watch out, or she might eat you too!

Read Part 1 here

Read Part 2 here

Read Part 3 here

Read Part 4 here

Click here to read more about Amelia

Amelia Dyer, a Victorian Tale of Horror (part 4/5)

Note: Amelia Dyer is part of my Horror Vault stories and is NOT suitable for younger readers. The story contains no strong language but has occasionally some gory moments.

Proceed with caution… part 4/5

For years, Amelia cooked up baby flesh with flair. Her gastronomic venture was a winning affair. People came from all around to try the carte du jour. "This meat's so soft and tender!" "You should try the confiture!"

For years, Amelia cooked up baby flesh with flair.
Her gastronomic venture was a winning affair.
People came from all around to try the carte du jour.
“This meat’s so soft and tender!” “You should try the confiture!”

Until one night at dinner, there came an awful scream. Did someone have a heart attack? It was that extreme. "There's a hand on my plate," a young man blurted out, “Served with some carrots and just one Brussels sprout.”

Until one night at dinner, there came an awful scream.
Did someone have a heart attack? It was that extreme.
“There’s a hand on my plate,” a young man blurted out,
“Served with some carrots and just one Brussels sprout.”

The diners crowded round the abhorrent preparation, Then rushed into the kitchen to demand an explanation. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they spotted Bloody walls, severed limbs, and infants half-rotted.

The diners crowded round the abhorrent preparation,
Then rushed into the kitchen to demand an explanation.
They couldn’t believe their eyes when they spotted
Bloody walls, severed limbs, and infants half-rotted.

The women all fainted and fell to the floor, While the men all heaved at the sight of gore. Their disgust and terror was palpable On finding out they’d become cannibals.

The women all fainted and fell to the floor,
While the men all heaved at the sight of gore.
Their disgust and terror was palpable
On finding out they’d become cannibals.

But wily Amelia refused to get caught. She picked up her knives and her patrons she slaught. Knowing her days in Bristol were over, She started to plan a new life in Dover.

But wily Amelia refused to get caught.
She picked up her knives and her patrons she slaught.
Knowing her days in Bristol were over,
She started to plan a new life in Dover.

Read Part 5 here

Read Part 1 here

Read Part 2 here

Read Part 3 here

Click here to read more about Amelia

Amelia Dyer, a Victorian Tale of Horror (part 3/5)

Note: Amelia Dyer is part of my Horror Vault stories and is NOT suitable for younger readers. The story contains no strong language but has occasionally some gory moments.

Proceed with caution… part 3/5

"Please take my child!" cried a mother in despair, Leaving little Doris, the result of an affair. Farming children became Amelia's trade Prospering from the pain of the women she betrayed.

“Please take my child!” cried a mother in despair,
Leaving little Doris, the result of an affair.
Farming children became Amelia’s trade
Prospering from the pain of the women she betrayed.

And so Amelia gained a saintly reputation Amongst unwed mothers afraid of defamation.  Desperate and poor, they flocked around her house, Giving up their bastards so they could court a spouse.

And so Amelia gained a saintly reputation
Amongst unwed mothers afraid of defamation.
Desperate and poor, they flocked around her house,
Giving up their bastards so they could court a spouse.

But looking after children was a dreary proposition. Amelia let them starve and they died of malnutrition.  She hid their little bodies wherever there was space, Cabinets full of babies, gone without a trace.

But looking after children was a dreary proposition.
Amelia let them starve and they died of malnutrition.
She hid their little bodies wherever there was space,
Cabinets full of babies, gone without a trace.

But the stench of rotting children was causing air pollution. Afraid of getting caught, Amelia thought of a solution.  "I'll start up a café and serve the dead as pork and game.  I'll call it ‘The Crying Baby.’ Now there's a fitting name!”

But the stench of rotting children was causing air pollution. Afraid of getting caught, Amelia thought of a solution. “I’ll start up a café and serve the dead as pork and game. I’ll call it ‘The Crying Baby.’ Now there’s a fitting name!”  

Read Part 4 here

Read Part 1 here

Read Part 2 here

Click here to read more about Amelia

Amelia Dyer, a Victorian Tale of Horror (part 2/5)

Please note: Amelia Dyer is part of my Horror Vault stories and is NOT suitable for younger readers. The story contains no strong language but has occasionally some gory moments.

Proceed with caution… part 2/5

And then one day in 1848, Amelia Dyer sealed her mother's fate. Locked in the basement, she let out a scream As the rats surrounded her, their eyes agleam.

And then one day in 1848,
Amelia Dyer sealed her mother’s fate.
Locked in the basement, she let out a scream
As the rats surrounded her, their eyes agleam.

In a minute or two, the beasts were upon her And Amelia’s mother knew she was a goner. She made a tasty meal for those starving rats, So much better than rotting kitchen scraps.

In a minute or two, the beasts were upon her
And Amelia’s mother knew she was a goner.
She made a tasty meal for those starving rats,
So much better than rotting kitchen scraps.

Soon, Amelia's brothers suffered their demise. Filling the room with their blood and their cries, She put them through a mincer and served them on a plate. Amelia's thirst for murder was impossible to sate.

Soon, Amelia’s brothers suffered their demise.
Filling the room with their blood and their cries,
She put them through a mincer and served them on a plate.
Amelia’s thirst for murder was impossible to sate.

Forced to earn a living, Amelia had a plan. She turned to baby farming. The horror soon began. Knock, knock, knock! "There's someone at the door!" Just outside, she found a baby on the floor.  To be continued….. Read Part 1  Click here to read more about Amelia  http://www.gustavoolivo.co.uk/amelia-dyer-a-victorian-tale-of-horror.html

Forced to earn a living, Amelia had a plan.
She turned to baby farming. The horror soon began.
Knock, knock, knock! “There’s someone at the door!”
Just outside, she found a baby on the floor.

Read Part 3 here

Read Part 1 here

Click here to read more about Amelia

Amelia Dyer, a Victorian Tale of Horror (part 1/5)

Please note: Amelia Dyer is part of my Horror Vault stories and is NOT suitable for younger readers. If this had been a film I would give it a 12A rating. The story contains no strong language but has occasionally some gory moments.

Proceed with caution…

Born in Bristol in 1837, She looked like an angel, sent down from heaven.  But Amelia Dyer, that cherubic child,  Grew up to be wicked, deviant, and wild!

Born in Bristol in 1837,
She looked like an angel, sent down from heaven.
But Amelia Dyer, that cherubic child,
Grew up to be wicked, deviant, and wild!

At five years old, she tortured little kittens, Hung them upside-down, and stuffed them in her mittens. Tormenting helpless creatures became her addiction –   Her story’s so grim you might think that it's fiction.

At five years old, she tortured little kittens,
Hung them upside-down, and stuffed them in her mittens.
Tormenting helpless creatures became her addiction –
Her story’s so grim you might think that it’s fiction.

Her three older brothers, William, Thomas, and James, Feared their little sister and her sadistic games. For no one was safe when Amelia was near. To hurt other people filled her with cheer.

Her three older brothers, William, Thomas, and James,
Feared their little sister and her sadistic games.
For no one was safe when Amelia was near.
To hurt other people filled her with cheer.

Amelia’s mother lived in constant panic, Fully convinced that the girl was satanic.  At home, she took care to avoid her daughter, Sure that she’d be the first one slaughtered.

Amelia’s mother lived in constant panic,
Fully convinced that the girl was satanic.
At home, she took care to avoid her daughter,
Sure that she’d be the first one slaughtered.

Read Part 2 here

Click here to read more about Amelia

 

It’s heeeeere!

My horror story picture book has finally arrived! You can buy the print copy directly from my website or you can get the Kindle eBook version from amazon. Ooooor you can read it here, on this blog, for free, shortly!

Book Cover

Book Cover

Based on a true story...

Based on a true story…

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