Who is the Troll

4For the last couple of months I’ve been working on a classic story “Three Billy Goats Gruff”. I had wanted to illustrate the story for some time, so when I was asked to do so, I was excited and I thought that it would be “a walk in the park”.

Of course, it turned out to be more difficult than I thought. I got stuck with the troll.


Who knows what the troll looks like? I always thought that a troll needs to be mean and scary to deserve to end up the way he ends up.IMG_6295The first sketches were SO scary, that the Korean publisher sent me the best feedback I’ve ever received- “There won’t be any point in publishing a book which the child would open only once”. I had to admit that they had a point.IMG_6559
IMG_6305In fact I started to be scared myself.

The publisher made a comment, that the troll needs to be scary, but not too much. He needs to look silly, stupid and a bit funny too. IMG_6564So I started to do more sketches.IMG_6561


IMG_6560Once or twice I thought I’m nearly there.IMG_65638I tried in colour.3But even this troll was still a bit too much. The publisher wanted the book to be for very young children, so I had to smooth him up a bit more.

IMG_6587And so here is the final troll from under the bridge.Billy Goat Gruff
7TI hope he now looks a bit stupid,6a bit silly9and scary enough12to deserve to end up in the river!

Parrots and whales

I’m looking at the calendar and I can’t believe how quickly time goes by.

I wrote the last blog before Christmas. Since then I have painted lots and lots of goats, some trolls, birds and parrots, whales and a lion.

Most of this drawings and paintings were wrong. The goats’ horns are too long, the troll is too scary, I don’t need the most of the birds and I’m not sure if the lion is brave enough.

I’m illustrating “The Three Billy Billy Goats Gruff” and a board book at the same time.4I like working on “The Three Billy Billy Goats Gruff”, but it seems that my idea of how the troll should look is different from the idea of the publisher. I’m doing more sketches and I’m waiting for more feedback. 9

Meanwhile I’m skipping into the world of  board books.

I mentioned it before. Doing a simple picture for a board book doesn’t mean that it’s easy and quick. To be honest it takes me probably as long as a full colour double spread for a picture book. Many things go wrong and I have to change it again and again, but it may be just me.

So here is a photo of how it looks when you are printing lots of birds.IMG_6569

I’ll cut these printed papers into pieces and collaged a couple of birds out of them.

Here is a parrot.IMG_6573parrot

And here is a whale. I like painting whales.IMG_6575IMG_6580

This one was painted for my book “Blue Penguin”, but the picture didn’t make it into the book at the end. IMG_0202.JPGIt’s a shame, I like the picture.

Now talking about nice pictures of a whale. This whale was sent to me by Hugo Booth. He is nine years old and this is his illustration for a beautiful Czech story book “Zahrada” (Garden). Written and illustrated by Jiri Trnka.Hugo BoothI absolutely love the drawing.

I had a look at my sketchbook for more whales and here are some.ano rekl jsemThis is one of my latest sketches.

One more.


And a bird sitting on a chair at the end.


I’m now about to put the board book to one side and have another go with the troll.

Almost Christmas and some sketches!

This is a nice, but also a busy time of the year. Apart from getting ready for Christmas I somehow ended up working on three books at the same time.

I’m working on two board books and one picture book. These books have one thing in common – a deadline for the middle of February.

I’m skipping between these books as I’m waiting for the feedback from publishers. It’s a bit challenging, I must admit. I like working on these titles equally and it’s always hard to leave one book and work on another.4Here is a sleeping fish I’ve been working on this week

bear (1)and a polarbear.

The picture book I mentioned is a classic story “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”. IMG_6292Here is the work in progress.

I’m enjoying illustrating the story very much. The book is for a Korean publisher and I was asked to do the Troll a bit more scary, so this is what I’ve done.

IMG_6295I just hope that it’s not too scary. I’m waiting for feedback as I write.

As I was taking photos for the blog and tiding up my table for Christmas I opened one of my sketchbooks. I got stuck looking at some of the pictures and collages.

I like opening old sketchbooks. Some of the pictures I haven’t seen since I finished them and some of them I haven’t seen for years.


This was a photocopy of my drawing, but water splashed over it and this is what happened. I liked it and put the picture into the sketchbook.

IMG_6328This is also one of my sketches plus some paper samples. It’s a finished picture. “Young Girl, Pig, Cat and UFO”.

IMG_6329One more.

Well, this is it I think. It’s time to leave the work for a bit and start enjoying Christmas!

Petr - Happy Christmas copy