Wednesday, 31 July 2013


How to Train your Dragon

Dragon Heart
The Dark Crystal
I’ve picked some of the films I’ve particularly enjoyed in the past. It’s probably even more obvious that I am a dragon and fantasy person. My least favourite in fact was ‘Eragon’ but simply because I didn’t like the actors in it, rather than the story itself. I suppose I also felt that I didn’t like the script in comparison to the book. However, I love how the dragon has been designed in this film. It’s very similar to the illustrations on the front of the book; very elegant and I think it’s safe to say a very attractive, lady-looking dragon. She has very soft qualities to her features which make her approachable.
I think everyone adores Toothless in ‘How to train your Dragon’. Being black makes him sinister at first but his expressive face also and more importantly, makes him so endearing. As this is the most recent film, along with the target audience, this film can have a huge influence on developing my dragons.
In ‘Dragon Heart’ we see the gentle Drago take sides with a knight Bowen. At first it’s all for work and fun but they later realise that in order to save the Kingdom they must kill Draco, as he gave half of his heart to the King to safe him. Unfortunately the King is evil, and the whole time Drago is alive, remains immortal. This story always breaks my heart when I watch it and I think many will agree that none one wants to see Drago go. He is a brilliant character because he brings everything you would expect from a dragon yet he also contradicts it all. He’s the one people go to for help, he’s the one the evil King fears and when he’s gone we’re left to still believe that he’s watching us from the stars. He has to be my all time favourite.
Finally I wanted to include ‘The Dark Crystal’ because of the wicked Skeksis and the gentle Mystics. Both are part lizard, bird of prey and beast. There are clear similarities between the two and I think it important to see how the two have been developed to create evil and good. These contrasts are very obvious in their features and qualities and I would like to use this in my own development.


The Natural History Museum

Visiting the Natural History Museum seemed an obvious thing to do simply because of the dinosaurs but of course along the way there were plenty of other creatures that had a prehistoric quality which I could also use as valuable research. Animals such as crocodiles, which sadly, in some of the photos I’ve taken, in some parts of the world are still being hunted for their beautiful skin. Their skin is exquisite. In many aspects it doesn’t seem real; it’s an incredible form of protection as pretty much nothing can break through it, yet the scales mould together like a jigsaw. Of course, the dinosaurs were incredible beasts, and just by looking at their skeletal structure, can bring plenty of motivation towards my dragons.


The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story is a German Fantasy Novel written by Michael Ende, first published in 1979. The Standard English translation, by Ralph Manheim, was first published in 1983 and was then later adapted into a film. I have to admit I have only seen the film and it is still one of my favorites. I think it’s because it always brings me back to my childhood. There is such an adventure in this story, which is also filled with so much danger and mystery. From a child’s view I believe it’s frightening but not the kind that stops you from watching and I love the idea that a book can written as you’re reading it, which also makes it haunting in an intriguing way.
I wanted to use this film as an example because of the character Falkor and particularly how the director portrayed him. He is a gentle giant, with fur, floppy ears and a long steam-lined body, very much like a Dachshund dog (sausage dog). I have always viewed him as a dragon, as he should be, despite the fact that he doesn’t have any of the typical characteristics that would make you think he is a dragon. He doesn’t have wings or scales and he doesn’t breathe fire. Yet in terms of creating a lovable dragon character for my book, I think Falkor is the perfect inspiration.



Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Eagle Heights

Eagle Heights, initially a bird of prey sanctuary, first opened in 1996 and since has expanded rather rapidly. I can honestly say that at the age of 6, literally around the same time as when it first opened, my parents took me and my brother there nearly every week as we fell in love with the place. On hard work, entertainment and donations they’ve now expanded and improved the facilities to provide many rescued birds with good homes and have a successful breeding program. Eagle heights now looks after around 150 to 200 birds at a time, along with other animals such as meerkats, cheetah’s and many reptiles. As much as I love to go for the air displays I visited this time for the reptiles. I was given the chance to get quite close to photograph them so I have a good few shots of their scales and skin which I will use as reference when developing my dragon characters. These images would probably be very easy to find on the internet but it’s different again when you view it for real which is why I felt it was important to include as research. Bizarrely, it’s also amazing at how the details and shapes on the reptiles give them such different characters. If I wanted to create a cast I could probably name the ones who would play the hero and the villain.



Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Idea


I have some examples here of the where the idea started and I would like to continue with this. I feel it’s a good and solid base to start from but will still allow me to rework and develop it.

Having done this a few times I naturally started to change the style of the book and the character. However, I now have some experience with creating and developing a children’s book which I look forward to putting into ‘The Little Dragon who couldn’t Fly’.


Previous Project Inspiration

The Firebird appears
The evil magician Koschei
I have always been interested in fantasy which was part of the reason I enjoyed my last project so much. This was based on the Russian Ballet story ‘The Fire Bird’.

It allowed me to create the characters the way I wanted them and it opened a whole other world which was adventurous and magical. So it seems logical to go along a similar path with this fantasy theme but I feel as though the dragons can push me in different ways.

I don’t have to think about the human figure as there aren’t any people in the story so the ‘look’ of these creatures is completely open. I feel it’s this which will be challenging as I’ll be aiming to create something that is different but approachable, even lovable for the type of audience I’ll be aiming at.

Perhaps not as literal when I mean 'lovable' but appealing


Where to start ... ?

When it came to deciding on a project over the summer I knew that I wanted to continue with creating my own children’s books but coming up with a story or theme was something else I hadn’t thought about. I didn’t knowwhat exactly where to start when I stumbled across an idea I actually came up with years ago. Dragons ...

... when I was younger I would’ve loved a picture book or story based on something like this, perhaps it’s not an original idea at all, but I never had a book like it so why not base my project on it now.