Illustrator inks his magic

Illustrator Josh Morgan signs a book for Marcus Young at the launch of The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere at The ...
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Illustrator Josh Morgan signs a book for Marcus Young at the launch of The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Māpere at The Wellington Children's Bookshop.

Illustrating vials of hamster snot, jugs of lava and jars of yeti snorts is a dream job for Manawatu born illustrator Josh Morgan.

The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Mapere is Morgan's second children's book with author Sacha Cotter and he said it is about a child's dreams of inventing a brand new marble and having the recipe appear in The Book of Marbles.

"The book has such relatable, gorgeous, full of life characters. From the feedback we have received from kids about both books, it is evident they also feel the same and love the smorgasbord of magic in the books."

The pair's last book, Nga Ki, won the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Maori category, while the English version Keys was a finalist. Both were published by Huia and Morgan said he felt very lucky to work with "an amazing and visionary team".

"The art direction provided by Te Kani Price and Bryony Walker at Huia was invaluable and inspired and played a huge part in bringing Sacha's wonderful story to life."

Morgan said he also enjoyed working with Cotter.

"There is something very exciting and motivating working with a writer who shares the same sensibilities to storytelling and humour. To be honest I am like a kid in a candy store when illustrating Sacha's stories."

Cotter said they are both on the same wavelength, sharing a "similar sense of humour, similar taste in style and a leaning towards the quirky and whimsical."

"I love the way Josh weaves in his own wonderfully creative story telling. He adds elements and subplots that take the story to places that I wouldn´t have thought to go to by myself."

Cotter said her inspiration for the book came from memories of "marble season" at her primary school.

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"We had these amazing trees with big, curly roots, which formed perfect holes for playing marbles. There were all these rules and regulations made by us kids. Every marble hole was named. It was an intricate, exciting world, just for children, so of course as an adult, I am drawn to returning there."

The Marble Maker/Te Kaihanga Mapere is available at Bruce McKenzie Booksellers in Palmerston North.

 - Stuff

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