Agatha Crumbly

Another illustration for The Society Of Incredible Stories was completed last night.

As I was about to take a photo of the final picture I realised it looked quite 3d from a particular angle so I`ve shared this with you instead of the usual forward-facing scanned version.

Warmest regards,

Bernard Babbington




The House on the Hill

The cover for ‘The Society of Incredible Stories’ is now complete which means the focus can be turned back to the book’s illustrations.

The last picture for chapter 3 was completed before work started on this cover art.

This was done intentionally so falling back into drawing the book’s illustrations meant starting work on a new chapter.

In this case, this chapter was also the beginning of one of the short stories, read by a society member.

It opens with a shot of an isolated rickety old house perched atop a cold and barren snow-covered hilltop.

Soft pillowy snow-covered trees have been replaced with hard cold shards of rock, a dead tree and a foreground chained spiked fence were purposely chosen to make this place feel uninviting.



The Glorious Art of Storytelling – Part 2

When writing your characters, places or objects do so by utilising the fourth-dimension.

So, what do I mean by that exactly? Allow me to explain.

It is often talked about in writing that you should strive to create three-dimensional characters. I disagree. Spatially, a three-dimensional character is one that has a two-dimensional personality. A Barbie Doll, vacuous and more crucially, uninteresting.

When I talk about using the fourth dimension I am obviously talking about the dimension of time. Time is what add’s character to anything. It could be a rusty old bucket, or it could be a brand new car, or it could be a little old lady with gnarly knuckles knitting by an open fire. All of these things are what ground our characters in the universe and make them much more believable. A well thought out character, where the writer has considered the fourth dimension, is one that allows the reader to understand and associate with them more closely.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s take the first example of a three-dimensional situation.

John sat down in his armchair.

Well, it’s clear, and I get it. But so what, right? Now let’s take the exact same sentence, but this time let’s give it the dimension of time.

John eased himself down into his old worn armchair and rubbed the scar on the back of his hand.

It’s subtle, but by just adding the experience of time having passed for this character (and the chair too) we can tell the reader so much more about the character. He hasn’t just popped out of nowhere. He’s old or broken in some way. He’s seen stuff, there’s a story there that’s not been told about his hand, we start to imagine what that could be. Using your imagination, as a reader is one of the greatest pleasures of reading. Fill the heads of the reader with intriguing and unanswered details, they’ll thank you for it.

Really play with the fourth-dimension in your writing it’s a powerful tool to add a greater level of depth and lasting quality to your work.

Until next time.
Best wishes

Augustus Babbington

Meet the Boil family!

In this illustration Arthur Boil, the main character from our book, is visiting the solicitors, with his mother and father, to find out what his late Uncle had left them in his will.


It was an interesting and fun illustration to draw as it opened up the opportunity to introduce the reader to the Boils and offer a snapshot of their individual personalities and relationship to one another.

I started out by first reading and then re-reading the text that the illustration would finally accompany. Below is an extract from this part of the chapter.

“Arthur sat in the solicitor’s office and waited patiently. Whilst Mrs. Boil kept dabbing her eyes with a floral handkerchief, whimpering from time to time like an injured puppy. Mr. Boil, on the other hand, kept fidgeting around in his chair, itching for the proceedings to begin.” 

Poor Mrs Boil! Clearly Arthur’s uncle was someone she felt very fondly of and this whole situation is really rather emotionally affecting her.

Mr Boil, on the other hand, couldn’t give a rat’s bottom about Arthur’s uncle! From the extract above, it’s not clear whether he’s a bad person or not but his intentions, on this day at the solicitors, couldn’t be more obvious.

What about Arthur? Well, the chapter extract doesn’t offer much regarding his relationship with his late uncle but they do show him to be someone who isn’t outwardly emotional or greedy.

In the picture I chose to sit the Boils in a row, facing forward, as if being viewed from the other side of the solicitor’s desk.

I wanted to convey the relationship that Arthur has with his parents and also the relationship between Mr and Mrs Boil.

Placing Arthur in the middle re-enforced the personality divide between his parents. I didn’t want it to look like a strained marriage though, but a relationship made up of two people who love each other dearly but have no idea why!

To re-enforce the closeness of this family’s bond I consciously chose to keep all three characters in close proximity to each other.

The use of identical chairs also further connected them. Arthur’s chair was made slightly lower to reflect his grounded character. It was felt that, had Arthur’s chair been at the same height then it wouldn’t have reflected that difference he has to his parents.

Arthur has reached the age where most children start to notice the odd quirks their parents possess. I just loved the idea of conveying this in the illustration so I made Arthur slouched in his chair and slyly looking at his dad in utter disappointment.

For Mr Boil I wanted him to come across as someone who isn’t evil but just terrible at hiding his true emotions. This is something children are also not very good at so Mr Boil was draw to mirror the persona of a young over-excited fidgety child.

Mrs Boil, on the other hand, is a fragile emotional character. I imagine she would cry often and about the most trivial of things. To illustrate this she was made thin to re-enforce her fragility.  Also slightly turning her away from Mr Boil reflected her annoyance of his totally unexceptable behaviour.

For a picture that demanded quite a lot of character depth and story telling the ideas and artistic decisions came quite naturally.

Warmest Wishes,

Bernard Babbington



50th illustration complete!

Great news fellow blogoteers! The 50th illustration to our brand new book ‘The Society of Incredible Stories’ is now complete! All that is left for us to do now is share it with you. What is going on is really something you are going to have to discover I’m afraid. If you buy the book when its comes out you can find out then (I know, we’re quite the teases) For now, our lips are sealed!

Your faithful friends

  The Babbington Brothers