Author and illustrator of ‘Every picture tells a story’
Paul graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art, London, in 1993. After that he worked in children’s animation making cartoons for the BBC and Channel 4. When the animation company went bust, he found a job in web design and worked for a variety of companies thinking up ideas, designing, and writing copy. In 2002 he started submitting stories to children's publishers. They were all rejected. Paul moved to Wellington, New Zealand, in 2012. His stories and picture book ideas continued to be rejected until June 2013 when Gecko Press agreed to publish Mrs Mo's Monster. He now writes and illustrates full-time.
Books and films that inspired me:
The original film, not the rubbish that came out last year. When I first saw, this aged seven, I believed it was real. It didn't look made up. Everything was believable, it had to exist. Eventually I became aware that people had made this film, and I wanted to know how. So the first book I recommend is Art of Star Wars: A New Hope. Even better is The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film.
When I was about twelve or thirteen I saw a documentary on TV called Style Wars. It was all about the subway graffiti artists (they called themselves writers) who sprayed and tagged the trains in New York. The colours and the designs were great, but so were the friendships between these guys who were risking arrest as well as their lives to get their art shown all over town. I wanted to be like them, so I tried to copy their designs. I’d videotaped the film so I could watch it over and over – but pausing videotape just shows a shaky, blurred image. Luckily in 1984 a book called Subway Art came out, which was basically a book version of the film. All the designs were in there, and I could copy to my heart’s content.
So the second book to check out is Subway Art. I think Style Wars is on Youtube if you can find it.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
This is a brilliant cowboy film that I saw when I was ten. It remains one of my all-time favourite films. First off, it has the best ending ever. Perhaps for most people, the ending – although not shown – was self-explanatory. In my ten-year-old mind, though, the possibilities were endless, and I could get my two heroes out of their predicament if I thought about it hard enough. (If you haven’t seen the film, stop reading this now and watch it!)
The second reason this film is so great is that the filmmakers use so many different techniques throughout. It starts off in sepia tone, then goes to colour. It has two musical sequences: one with a song; the other a silent, robbery sequence with music playing over the action. There’s a section built up just with static photos. The opening credits have a re-enactment of the film you are about to watch. There are so many ideas in this film, I’m still watching it thirty-five years later.
And finally, this film is written by screenwriter William Goldman – a personal hero. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I fully came to appreciate what a screenwriter does. I won’t waffle on trying to explain. Instead, I’ll direct you to two books Mr Goldman has written about the art of screenwriting and how text and image work together: Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting and Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade. So, if you are a maker of comics, graphic novels, and picture books, these books have ideas that translate from film to those other mediums. And check out Mr Goldman’s other films. His novels are pretty darn good as well – you won’t be disappointed.
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