Chris Haughton is the author and illustrator of a very funny new picture book called Oh No, George! It’s all about a naughty dog who keeps getting into trouble and the story will have you laughing out loud. I was lucky to have the chance to ask Chris some questions about his new book and his quirky, colourful illustrations.
- Did you have a dog when you were a kid? If so what was it’s name?
CH: I had 3! Tammy, Tessa and Milly. Tammy was the most like George in personality. She once ate all my Easter eggs.
- What did you do as a kid that made your parents go, ‘Oh no, Chris!’?
CH: Probably annoying my sister. Maybe running after her around the room in a similar way to George and Cat.
- While researching the book you watched lots of guilty dogs videos on the internet. What were some of the worst things that you saw dogs do?
CH: I think 90% of them had eaten something. I was just using google images to see their guilty faces so I could draw them but I noticed there was one dog in particular that kept coming up again and again. The guiltiest dog on the internet! I wondered to myself what on earth had this dog done to have deserved such a reputation and that’s when I discovered that video… (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B8ISzf2pryI)
- One of the reasons I love your picture books is because of your bright, bold illustrations. How do you decide what colour pallet to use for your illustrations?
CH: I just work on it as I’m going. I try to make the colours all work with each other and be bright and harmonious but be different enough to provide a bit of contrast and it just happens that it comes out like that. I ignore the ‘real’ colours of the animals and I just use colours in a way that best tells the story. For example the owl is the only thing black against the bright colours of the forest which helps define his shape. George fills so much of the book that he couldn’t be black, I wanted it to be a colourful book and for his shape to be easily recognised so I had him in one block colour which contrasted with the orange background and text. The whites of the eyes (which are the most important thing in every picture) are the only things that are ever white in any of the illustrations.
- As well as being an author and illustrator you’re also a designer. How does your design work differ from your illustration work?
CH: There is a lot of overlap. A lot of the repeat pattern designs that I have done for dresses and clothes at People Tree have found their way into the forest and colours of A Bit Lost and Oh No, George! I think it’s nice to have a bit of variety between the different work I do because it all fuses together somewhere along the line and it helps keep it fresh in both directions.