William is an illustrator and recent graduate from University College Falmouth. He has worked for a variety of clients such as Harrods, Radley, Daunt Books and the New York Times. William has a penchant for small sketchbooks and finds most of his inspiration when wandering from one place to the next.
Shackleton’s Journey visually re-tells the epic tale of Ernest Shackleton’s attempt 100 years ago to cross the vast continent of Antarctica. It is a story about adventure, courage and above all endurance. The picture book appeals at children and adults alike.
“Worth far more than prize money, the award is a huge boost in confidence, and gives you valuable exposure to the creative industry.”
BRIEF: Shackleton’s Journey started as a relatively small third year university project. However, it later grew into an 80 page book after being spotted by Flying Eye Books at the D&AD show. As well as wanting to create an unconventional picture book, I saw the project as a chance to channel the way I draw in my sketchbooks into a more finalised piece of work.
MATERIALS: Colouring pencils and heavyweight cartridge paper.
RESEARCH: Visually my favourite source was the original footage of the Endurance Expedition. While most of the historical information was sourced through books, though the Internet and some documentaries proved useful too. Shackleton’s own account of the expedition South was indispensible too.
PROCESS: I started the project in sketchbooks, creating lots of colour pallets, character designs, page layouts and storyboards. After this initial stage, I reworked the storyboard several times with the copy until everything felt right. These rough spreads were then bound up as a dummy book, which was then altered again. For me, the tricky thing is working on the final artworks; you put pressure on yourself and it’s very easy to tighten up. Frustratingly the drawings I’m happiest with are the ones I do when I’m not really trying. So this means I usually do lots and lots before I’m satisfied, although sometimes you get lucky first time around.
RESISTANCES: Organisation. Given it was such a large project, managing the research, writing, storyboard, overall design and artwork was quite a challenge. I always had a clear vision of the book as very minimal, so one of the main struggles I had was fitting in all the text discretely. Luckily I had the help of a very good editor (thanks Dan).
INSIGHT: Seeing the stills and original footage from the expedition was the real spark, there’s something very captivating and otherworldly about it. Combining this imagery with Shackleton’s diary notes then completed the picture for me. Maybe it’s daft but I found listening to ambient music helpful as it put me in a good frame of mind for drawing the book.
DISTRACTIONS: Juggling freelance and part time work, my curious neighbour Julian, cleaning my desk and sunny days.
NUMBERS: 27 men, 69 dogs and 1 cat.
AFTERWORDS: Everything takes longer than you think.