Tales in Sombre Tones - the book that started it all.
Sean and I were talking about working on something big together. We'd worked on individual stories and illustrations before and discovered we were a great match creatively - but what to do? It came down to a choice of two projects in the end, either a graphic novel about my best known monster, Stephen, or an illustrated anthology. As we both had stories in one form or another that we wanted to tell, we opted for the book as it offered greater flexibility and we felt that it had more potential as a bigger project. We didn't quite realise at the time how big it would get...
We knew that we wanted to do a touring show from the start so while we worked on new stories and artwork, we began plotting the Tales in Sombre Tones events. Having the illustrations added an art exhibition to the readings and we were determined from the start to involve a wider audience, so we decided to include animations to break perceived genre boundaries and encourage people to engage with the show. One thing led to another and we went beyond looking at people who might benefit from some encouragement, to investigate access issues such as sight or hearing impairment.
All of this was driven by a desire to make sure that the experience of the book and the show that we built around it was as exciting as the creation of it all. The creatures that inhabit the pages don't just live in their own little worlds, they are a big part of mine and Sean's and we talk about them just as we do the people we know - how they are, what they are up to and so on. We are translating the book into more formats and finding new ways of bringing the work to life for new audiences. It's an ongoing process, the project is evolving all the time so if you have any requests, contact us to make suggestions :)