I graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2005. I studied Media Production, specialising in New Media and Photography. I found work as a graphic designer after a stint on the dole and working in call centres.
Graphic design was largely a career path I wanted to pursue but to my detriment, I wasn’t very good. The role was largely unfulfilling, designing curry menus and adverts for washing machines. I found that I could design for myself quite well, but for other people, I was not so hot. It was only a matter of time before I would have to move on…
Luckily, when the time came a friend of my boss was setting up a social media project where we would work with young people in the local area, teaching them an array of creative disciplines such as; Graphic Design, Music Production, Film Making, Graffiti, Drama and DJ’ing.
It was during this time that I started to develop a ‘design style’ that I was happy with, and created many quirky characters that were child friendly. After talking it through with my new boss, we set about applying for some funding to create a series of children’s books that focused on social issues, bullying being one of them.
I conducted a series of workshops in late 2008 with two groups of young people aged between 8 and 16.
The workshops took place at the Meir Youth Centre and the Queensberry Centre, both in Stoke on Trent. Each week I would work with the two focus groups to shape characters, establish storylines, create words & rhymes and generate a world in which these characters could thrive.
Slowly but surely the story took form and began to blossom. When the workshops were over, I took the sketches, doodles, stanzas and poems home. From that, a framework of the story was built, I wrote the words first, then illustrated the pages accordingly, the pages would be tweaked many times to ensure that they were ‘child friendly’.
By November 2009 Waldo the Worm was ready to launch. I had a website that I got a very talented friend to develop and I was able to market the book on facebook, Myspace and Twitter.
In the last 10 months I have sold quite a few copies of Waldo, I have been able to get Waterstone’s to stock copies and to let me conduct events in various stores. I have developed a range of products to go with the books.
Waldo the Worm has been quite an adventure for me, the most enjoyable part was creating the artwork and putting together the book as a whole. I’m not too talented at marketing myself and Waldo, but it has been an experience.
I am currently working on Waldo 2. It’s going to have an alien in it! I’m quite excited by the whole thing, I just hope that it takes off as well as the first book.
For more information about me and Waldo, take a look at www.waldotheworm.com