Illustrator Rob Hunter has brought to life a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson in new children’s book, The Land of Nod. To launch the book, published by Flying Eye, Rob has also created a trio of animated trailers with Blink Art, showing the surreal characters of the protagonist’s subconscious alive in their dreamy habitat.
“The book is about a boy that spends his days at home with only his toys to keep him company,” explains Rob. At night, the character travels to the Land of Nod, where his toys and other familiar objects from his room have transformed into surreal giant creatures, given magical personality by Rob. Some were based on old toys the illustrator had as a child.
The poem is fast-paced, flitting quickly from one place to another, and fairly open to interpretation, so Rob had the challenge of condensing this into a narrative. “When I was asked to make the book using Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, I was only familiar with Treasure Island so I instantly thought of buccaneers and buried treasure,” says Rob, “but the poem, in fact, conjures a very different world, in my mind at least.”
“When I first read it, I had this idea of a boy leaving his bedroom and running to another world by hopping over a stream of floating objects from his bedroom. I sketched that down and the visuals for the book all stemmed from there.”
Rob hand-draws all the visuals using pencils and crayons, before adding colour digitally. This process gives his illustrations the depth, atmosphere and otherworldly quality that make for a beautiful sequence of images. Also the colours, which transform from a bright daytime scheme into a blue and pink-tinged nighttime one, really plunge the reader into the magic of the book.
The Land of Nod by Robert Hunter and Robert Louis Stevenson is published by Flying Eye Books.