Marc Martin is an artist, illustrator and picturebook maker based in Melbourne. Having trained and worked as a graphic designer, his moonlighting as an illustrator eventually led him to a successful freelance career. Marc draws inspiration from his surroundings, nature, animals, and the city he lives in.
In this post, Marc talks about ‘LOTS’. This wonderful picturebook, which takes you on a guided journey around the world, was originally published in Australia by Penguin Random House, and has now been published in the UK by Big Picture Press.
Visit Marc Martin’s website
Marc: When I think about how to describe ‘LOTS’, I usually tell people that it’s part-travel diary, and part-fact book.
I wanted to make a book that encapsulated all the unique things you find in various places around the world, without resorting to travel guide clichés or being too heavy handed in its approach to the subject matter. It had to feel spontaneous, familiar and fun. I’m also a big fan of M. Sasek and his ‘This Is’ series, and in some ways, ‘LOTS’ is a kind of homage to those books, albeit in a more condensed form.
The first step with ‘LOTS’ was settling on which places to draw. I made a list of all the places I thought might make good subject matter, and narrowed it down to fourteen places &ndahs; making sure that I had at least one location from each continent.
Next came the storyboard. ‘LOTS’ was a little bit different in terms of this process, as the storyboards were much looser than a typical narrative driven text. This allowed me to add things as I went. You can see from my roughs that things are very loose!
Each spread involved plenty of research. I’ve been to about half of the places in the book, so some places were easy in terms of recalling certain things (like all the delicious pastries I ate when I lived in Paris, or all the horses I saw in Ulaanbaatar). Other places required more traditional research, which involved a lot of reading and internet sleuthing. You can see from the reference imagery that sometimes there’s a bit of creative interpretation of the subject matter!
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the making process was letting things happen as I went; a lot of the humour in the book came while I was drawing…
You have to be Seinfeld fan to get this one:
I also wanted the book to be engaging for adults and parents; after all, they’re probably the people who will be reading the book with children. So there’s also the odd reference to things only adults might get…
And because I love to add lots of things to my illustrations (pun intended!), each location has a flag and the narrator of the book hidden somewhere on the page…
The most difficult part of the process was choosing a cover. I had a few ideas that I was playing around with, but I’m glad I pushed through all of these options and ended up with the cover as it is today.
For this book, I used a combination of watercolour, pencil and gouache to achieve a feeling of immediacy and vibrancy on each page, reflecting the colours and energy of each location.
Illustrations © Marc Martin.
Penguin Random House, Australia, 2016
Big Picture Press (Templar), United Kingdom, 2017
A book about everything* for everyone.
From Hong Kong to the Amazon and Ulaanbaatar to Antarctica, come on a guided journey around the world and discover the many things that make each place unique. Sleepy sloths, colourful cows, prolific pastries, staggering skylines, terrible traffic, bustling bodies, burglarising baboons… you’ll be surprised by what you find along the way!
- English: Penguin Random House (AUS) — Big Picture Press (UK)
- Swedish: Mirando Bok
- Chinese (Simplified): Thinkdom
- Chinese (Traditional): China Times