Dearest little Mia,
This Christmas, instead of a Christmas card – you’ll have plenty of those – and instead of a present – you’ll have plenty of those too, I am sending you a letter . . .
Every Christmas Mia and her family read a letter which her Grandpa wrote to her. His letter is a warm, impassioned and heartfelt wish for a better world for Mia to live in. He remembers fondly the times they spent in his garden finding frogs and worms and planting seeds.
But Grandpa worries that all the things they love so much are in danger . . .
His letter is a hopeful plea to Mia (and to all of us) to continue to care for and protect our precious world.
Michael Morpurgo frames his powerful message about protecting the environment in this beautiful personal story about a grandpa’s wish for his granddaughter to live in a better world. This vital and timely story is paired with Jim Field’s emotive illustrations in this gorgeous Christmas picture book, perfect for the whole family to share.
PUBLISHING 4TH OCTOBER 2018
Below are some of the character designs for Mia and Grandpa. I wanted the design of the characters to be quite simple, they would be less expressive and exaggerated compared to the usual animal characters I illustrate in picture books. Why? Well, Michael’s beautiful, emotional words speak volumes and the book is about a very serious subject, protecting our planet and each other. Therefore, it would have felt odd to have huge grinning faces, or big boggly eyes. Both characters took along time to get right, it was difficult to communicate some of the right emotion in the faces when they were so simple. That’s when finding the right pose for the characters is absolutely key to striking the right emotional chord in the scene.
Finding the ‘look’ was tricky too. My initial approach to the book was to give a more, painterly - expressionist approach. I didn’t want to get into lots of details in the scenes, or too specific with locations, instead I wanted to give a feel of what’s going on and the reader can fill in the blanks with their own imaginations. Lighting was really the key to this. If I could crack a realism feel to the lighting and mood then I felt it would work well with Michael’s beautiful words. The art was created initially in pencil, to give the hand feel approach. Then I coloured it digitally using Kyles T. Websters excellent Photoshop brushes.