Behind the Book | Fred Blunt

last updated 17 February 2020

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Bright Author/Illustrator Fred Blunt always entertains with his fantastically funny and superbly silly picture books! As well as collaborating as an illustrator with authors such as Kes Gray and Michelle Robinson, he’s also written his own books, including Santa Claus vs The Easter Bunny (Andersen Press), the Captain Falsebeard Series (Puffin) and now his latest picture book Gnome (Andersen Press).

We caught up with Fred to find out where this grumpy gnome came from and how Fred brought the world of Gnome to life…


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Where did the idea for Gnome come from?


Gnome came about when my boy Sonny was around 4 years old and going through his “NO!” phase. Every time he was asked to do something, he would reply “NO!”

It was like he had discovered a superpower and he was going to use it. His nickname became Dr No and I was sure there was a story in there somewhere.


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Did it take you long to develop the character and story?


A gnome appeared in my sketchbook and I immediately knew he was the right character for this story. The book then literally wrote itself during a long train journey. That was back in 2016 (which gives you some idea of how long these things take to come to fruition).


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How did you decide on the illustration style for this book?


I experimented with various mediums and approaches before settling on a reduced line, hand-coloured look with a fresh palette.

I even drew a map to help the Editorial team visualise the location in which the story was set.


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Did the story evolve much throughout the process?


The story changed very little from those initial train scribbles. I was determined to keep this one nice and simple. I did more style and character preparation for this book than usual. I really wanted to find memorable characters with an appealing look, but without watering down my usual idiosyncrasies.


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Fred’s next picture book, The Diddle That Dummed written by Kes Gray is out on 5th March.


Fred is represented by Arabella Stein. You can see more of Fred’s work in his Bright Portfolio.

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