Non Series Books


Gobble Gobble Moooooo Cover


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About the Idea

Gobble Gobble Moooooo Early Sketch

This is a sketch from my ideas book which I probably made at least fifteen years ago! (The moral of this is never throw ideas away). It doesn’t look like much but it contains one central idea which tickled me which was animals pretending to drive a tractor. It’s a funny scenario, but it’s not in itself enough for a book. It became more interesting to me when I saw that some of the animals are pretending to be parts of the tractor; for example the cat is using his tail as a windscreen wiper. However it was when I looked closer and found some animals impersonating the sounds a tractor makes (a bird opening his beak to make the sound of the tractor’s hooter) that I felt I was finally onto something - because a Goose actually does make a Honk which sound like a hooter. If I could just come up with other animal sounds which related to driving a tractor then I felt I had a framework for a story.


The next animal sound I realised I could use was a Sheep going 'Baa a a aa'! I thought this was perfect for the stuttering noise an engine can make when it’s starting up. Continuing in this way and bringing in the threat of the animals being caught on the tractor by Farmer Dougal eventually lead to the resolution of the idea.


About the Pictures

GGMTB early sketch 2

Once the story is in place I begin trying it out visually in small thumbnail sketches. Already decisions are being made about the look of the book; for example it becomes clear that the typography of the animal sounds will be a big part of the design of the page as they are so integral to the story. Each layout begins to design itself around the sound. Also, certain big scenes present themselves which are so dramatic you know will have their place in the story; like where all the animals are jumping off the tractor at once.


Super Duck

THE GOBBLE GOBBLE MOO TRACTOR BOOK is painted in gouache, which I love using for its strong colours and the lovely textures you can create.


The book took quite a while to complete because I had to create a whole new cast of characters from scratch: a cow, a sheep, a turkey, a goose and a mouse. It made me realise what a luxury it is for me when I do a Duck book because I know Duck and his friends so well, I can draw them without thinking. In this book the story led me to use some animals which I had never drawn before (a turkey for instance). For reference photos and drawings I visited a turkey farm (not very nice, especially for a vegetarian).


Back in the studio there is a long process of playing with shapes and colours until I find my way of representing an animal. In the same way that a child would draw a cat’s face with a circle and two triangles for ears, what I’m trying to do is capture the essence of an animal through simplification. I like to marry this simplification with a detailed painting technique to capture the textures of feathers, fur, hair and wool.



Find out more about The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book in the Library:


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