You don't have to be BIG and BRAVE to find your ROAR.
Being little isn't always easy. But when Mouse sets off on a journey to find his roar, he discovers that even the smallest creature can have the heart of a lion.
WINNER OF THE UKLA BOOK AWARD 2017
Shortlisted for The Evening Standard Oscar's Book Prize 2016
Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Prize 2017
'A heartfelt message, delightfully conveyed.' Parents in Touch
This is a wonderful rhyming story of a little Mouse and the King of the jungle/dessert - Lion...
As with all my books the first thing I do when starting a project is to start designing the main characters, sometimes they come to me very quickly, sometimes not and I have to try and squeeze it out of every pencil and pen I have. The mouse of this book was the latter specimen.
I find once I've cracked the 'look' of the main character, it really helps me on track to get the look and feel of the whole book.
Below I've selected the designs that made it onto my computer, there was half a sketchbook of tiny mouse doodles. This first 'ROAR' (image below) of the mouse I really liked, it had a good looseness and energy in the brush work when I was dabbling with some new brushes in photoshop.
I wanted to capture the dusty, dry, arid dessert of Africa in the brush textures and the colour palette. I love the work of Japanese artist Tadahiro Uesugi, he created concept artwork for the film Coraline, check it out. Tadahiros use of colour and lighting is beautiful, he really makes you feel the warmth from his illustrations with dramatic shadows and images soaked in golden sunshine, sometimes bleached white in light. I wanted to capture some of this sun soaked warmth and bright bleached whites in the art work for this book.
The brushes I used too were slightly different to what I used in previous picture books. I did try some watercolour textures as a base but I ended up using a mix of photoshop brushes that gave a dry, chalky feel.
The other main character is a lion, which is something I'm quite well versed in drawing after There's a Lion in My Cornflakes. The Lion is King, I wanted the angles of the Lion to be strong, bold and sharp in contrast to Mouse roundness. I actually loosely based the Lion on Elvis, check out his sideburns. He is the King after all! So here is an early colour concept.
Another key element of this story is the rock. Mouse lives at the bottom in his tiny little house and Lion lives on top of the rock. I visited Joshua Tree Park in California a couple of years ago and the incredible rock formations stayed with me, the way they had eroded looked at times like giant Henry Moore sculptures. I had the idea to make the rock resemble the lions head, it would give the sense of Lion being King of the dessert for those Eagle (or Lion) eyed readers.
Below are my thumbnail sketches for cover ideas and the cover roughs. I wrote a piece for The Bookseller in more detail you can read here
PRAISE FOR THE LION INSIDE
"A heartfelt message, delightfully conveyed" — Parents in Touch
"A delight to read over and over again" — WRD
"Charming... Older children will appreciate the moral of the story....Meanwhile, younger children will love looking at the fun, vibrant illustrations of all the animals" — Mumfidential
"[This] adorable, big-eared mouse will easily win over readers." — The Book List
"Rachel Bright's rhyming story reads aloud well, and Jim Field's illustrations are a delight ... A book to treasure that has already been shared many times with grandchildren" — School Librarian
"Field is on top form ... readers will feel carried along by his visual and comedic generosity." - Publishers Weekly