When Santa Came to Stay cover illustrated by Chris Chatterton

When Santa Came to Stay

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Author: Timothy Knapman

Publication Date: 6th October 2016

With a free 'SANTA STOP HERE' sign to cut out and keep, this picture book is the perfect laugh-out-loud Christmas gift. When Santa's house at the North Pole explodes, a regular family welcome him into their home with open arms. But Santa is NOT an easy houseguest - his elves take over the house, the reindeer poo everywhere and Santa even starts a flood!

Creating 'When Santa Came to Stay'

'When Santa Came to Stay' is my first collaboration with Timothy Knapman and Scholastic. Below is a little look at the process behind creating the illustrations. 

So in the summer heat of July I received a request from the folks at Scholastic to create a sample piece for a Christmas book they were hoping I could illustrate. The images below are those I sent on which sealed the deal.

When I receive the story text I usually start by reading through it several times and jot down initial ideas that pop into my head.

As you can see in the image below these are so quick and rough, this is the best way I know to get those bad ideas out of your head and also hopefully the spark of something that may work.

I then moved on to creating the characters, which appear through out the book. It was rather strange sketching Santa in the summer months. After a couple revisions we finally came to the designs and colour choices shown below.

Next of course came the sketches for the page layouts, this was a rather painless process with very few revisions. Once approved I always go on to create a colour rough, which you can see below.

When Santa Came to Stay colour rough illustrated by Chris Chatterton

To help in the colouring process when creating the final artwork I create a swatch set like the one below to keep things consistent and as streamlined as possible.

The cover is always a tricky one to get right in the process of creating a picture book. Below you can see my initial sketch and the type of variations that may be required to get to the final design.

When Santa Came to Stay cover sketch illustrated by Chris Chatterton
When Santa Came to Stay cover options illustrated by Chris Chatterton

This is the first Christmas picture book I've created and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was really happy with my Santa design and the way the book turned out. A big shout out to Timothy and the folks I worked with at Scholastic, which helped everything go so smoothly.