Come With Us to Bremen! - Susan Price

PriceClan has been quiet for a while. But we've been working. Above is the first page of our 'Bremen Town Musicians.' It's not quite true to say I wrote the text and Andrew did the pictures. Andrew wrote some of the text and although I didn't actually pick up the e-brush, (I wouldn't have been allowed) I had a lot of influence over the illustrations.

Below is one of my favourite panels. It's where the (almost) always cheerful donkey first gets the idea of going to Bremen.

So off he goes to Bremen. On the way he meets three more abandoned, homeless animals: a dog, a cat and a cockerel. All are lamenting their sad fates but Donkey cheers them up by persuading them all to go to Bremen with him and form a band: "We'll be a duo! - We'll be a trio! - We can be a quartet!" With new purpose and full of hope, off they all go to Bremen.

Andrew came up with the idea of the little shuttered windows at the corners of the pages - "To make it more interesting," he said. Each little window may be open or closed. If open, it may give a glimpse of some object or you may see someone peering through and reacting to the action taking place in the main panel.

Long before we finished the book he was kicking himself for having the idea. They required tiny drawings with hair-thin lines.

It was also Andrew's idea to make all the howling and miaowing, cock-a-doodling and ee-awing into a visual cacophony. The best illustration of it is, I think, the scene where the robbers are panicked by the sound of the animals 'each singing a different aria from The Barber of Seville at the same time.'

The animals never make it to Bremen, of course, but they do find a happy life together. The whole story is about travelling hopefully in good company. It doesn't really matter whether you ever reach Bremen or not.

In the process of making the book, Andrew and I learned to use Adobe's InDesign programme to set up the book and 'export' it as a PDF. It's an excellent programme (as I'm sure other AEs already know) and can be used to design non-illustrated books too. Gob-smackingly expensive to buy but you can rent it by the month, with lots of on-line tutorials.

The other PriceClan brother, Adam, keeps himself busy. When he's not dispatching ambulances to pick up and deliver patients, he's making silver jewellery in his shed, or cardboard machinery, or he's illustrating and writing his own picture books.

The Teeny-Tiny Tiger Tot

The teeny tiger is based, he tells me, on Billy Goats Gruff. Constantly warned that he shouldn't go off to play in the jungle because a hunter is about, the teeny tiger tot goes anyway and... Well, it all turns out happy in the end. Except for the hunter. But who cares about him?

For more about PriceClan's picture books, visit our website here.


Sandra Horn said…
Lovely stuff! More power to your collective elbows/drawing arms/keypad fingers!
Bill Kirton said…
Joyous images. You're a talented bunch and these books deserve to succeed.
Dennis Hamley said…
What a family the Orices are! Beautiful stuff, Sue.
Enid Richemont said…
Oh wow, glorious! Fancy coming to 'that London' sometime and giving me a basic tutorial?
Susan Price said…
Enid, I don't think you know what you'd be letting yourself in for! Heads all round would be seriously nipped.
Lydia Bennet said…
Great stuff, Susan, good luck with the books and forthcoming projects!

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