This year our resident robot expert James Foley will be heading to the Sydney Writers Festival to talk about ideas, illustration and of course – robots. James will be running author talks and workshops for kids (and kids at heart) on 27–28 May.
James Foley: Where Children’s Book Ideas Come From on Saturday 27 May will explore the journey between initial idea and published children’s book. James will discuss the process behind his graphic novel Brobot, working through hundreds of character designs, multiple storyboards and a healthy dose of weird ideas along the way.
Festival goers can join James on Sunday 28 May in the Casula Powerhouse Robot Lab for a special workshop session where recycled materials are turned into unique robotic creations.
The illustrator of the award-winning picture books The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns will then share his Viking and zombie tips at a free author talk, Vikings and Zombies and Robots, Oh My!.
We caught up with James ahead of the festival.
What are you most looking forward to at Sydney Writers Festival?
The chance to meet new readers.
If you were to invent a robot, what would it be?
A drawing and colouring robot. I could tell it what my illustrations were supposed to look like and it would draw them for me while I lounged by the pool with a stack of comics and a hug of something fizzy.
Sally Tinker is an inventor. Why are characters who love science important in kids' books?
Because science is one of our greatest assets (along with the arts). We need to encourage kids to think creatively and critically about the world around them.
What do you enjoy about the graphic novel medium?
It’s as close as I can get to showing you what the film in my head looks like. You can fit in a lot more drawings than in a 32-page picture book, so you can show a lot more of the little moments and expressions, so your characters can seem more alive; also you can include more action and craziness. Short answer – it has a lot more drawings.
What do you enjoy least about the graphic novel medium?
It has a lot more drawings.
Where’s your favourite place to read in Sydney?
The tea house in the Chinese Gardens of Friendship at Darling Harbour. It’s the quietest place in Sydney.
For more information and session times visit the Sydney Writers Festival website.