By now, most of you have probably received your February Bookroo boxes! One of the books we were super excited to share with you in this month’s picture book boxes is Knight Night. Knight Night makes a fun adventure of the otherwise typical bedtime routine, and we have a feeling you’re going to want to read it over and over again.
Knight Night is written and illustrated by Owen Davey. Owen is an award winning illustrator whose work has been published in every continent except Antarctica. He has worked with some of today’s top companies, like Facebook, AirBnB, and even Lego. And if that’s not enough, he also created the illustrations for the 2015 iPad App of the Year. His long list of awards and recognition include the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Webby Awards Winner, Junior Magazine Most Promising New Talent Award, and many, many others. Aside from being a gifted artist and writer, Owen also cooks, bakes, and makes really cool music with his band, LOM.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Owen to learn more about his work writing and illustrating Knight Night, the creative process he employs, and his favorite food to bake.
Bookroo: How did you create your illustrations for the book?
Owen: I sketch the work out in pencil first, then for this book I used a Japanese brush pen to create the inked lines, scanned these in and then coloured it all digitally using Photoshop, overlaying textures from old books, the back of leather suitcases or experiments with ink or paint that I’ve made.
Bookroo: What led you to begin creating children’s books?
Owen: There is no other medium quite like picture books. It is the only place where image and text can have equal importance. I find it fun to play with what the text says and what the image says.
Bookroo: Do you enjoy writing or illustrating more?
Owen: Illustrating, definitely. I’m an illustrator by trade, and it’s been my passion all my life.
Bookroo:What does a regular day look like for you?
Owen: I have no idea really. I usually wake up when I’m done sleeping (I don’t usually set alarms), walk to my studio in town and do some drawing or respond to emails or do some admin, then go to the gym and come home and eat with my girlfriend. Then maybe do a little more work if I need to.
Bookroo: What is your favorite children’s book?
Owen: I don’t have one. I’ve never been good at answering this question. I love loads of them. There’s never been just one. One I like to share with people (as it’s not that well known) is Ms. Rubenstein’s Beauty by Pep Montserrat. Cracking illustrations and a nice story.
Bookroo: Where do you find inspiration for your stories and illustrations?
Owen: Life really. Knight Night is inspired by games I used to play with my brothers when I was a kid. Stuff like climbing over the furniture to get from room to room because the floor was lava. Made the everyday really fun.
Bookroo: What do you like about yoga?
Owen: I work sat down. I can’t work another way. It is sedentary and sometimes I lean close to a screen or over paper all day. I used to get issues with my back a lot. Yoga is great for resetting your body and stretching out any tightness from the day. And it does wonders for your mind too.
Bookroo: What is your favorite food to cook/bake?
Owen: Cakes probably. I have a ridiculously sweet tooth so you’ll often find me trying out recipes of lemon meringue pies, or brownies, cookies, doughnuts etc. But a classic Carrot Cake with a cream cheese butter icing is pretty hard to beat. Maybe a Red Velvet.
Bookroo: What do you do when you’re not writing or illustrating?
Owen: Baking. Walks. Seeing friends and family. Writing songs with my band LOM. Computer games. Reading. Listening to music. Doing something active. Playing cards. I like simple pleasures.
Bookroo: What do you do to overcome setbacks or obstacles as you create?
Owen: Persist. I think a good work ethic is one of my most important skills. I’ll take little breaks if things are proving a bit tricky, but I make sure I come back to what was troubling me and try it again. “If at first you don’t succeed” and all that.
Bookroo: How long have you been with your band LOM, and what is your role?
Owen: We’ve been playing together since 2012. The other two members are sisters and I’ve been friends with them for a long time. One day we just thought it would be fun. I play guitar in the band and write a lot of the bare bones of the songs and I even do some singing now too, which was unthinkable when we started. I was terrified of the concept. It’s been really rewarding to have a creative outlet that isn’t visual.
A huge thanks to Owen for sharing some insights with all of us. If you loved Knight Night, please let us know by commenting below. You can also check out other books Owen has written/illustrated on his website.