One of the most interesting aspects of making an illustrated book is the collaboration between the various creative forces.

The Seven Stories Collection includes numerous archives showing the interplay between author and illustrator. An excellent example of this can be found in the material relating to the book My Dad’s a Birdman, by David Almond and Polly Dunbar.

My Dad's a Birdman © Walker Books

In the summer of 2008, author David Almond donated his original manuscript and notes for the book to Seven Stories. Later that year illustrator Polly Dunbar donated all of her work from the book, from initial character sketches through to the finished artwork.

The material gives a unique insight into the creative mind of the author, as well as an interesting take on how an illustrator responds to a text and brings their own interpretation to it.

Last week, Seven Stories was pleased to host an event in conjunction with Newcastle Universitythat marked the first time David and Polly have ever spoken together about the process of creating the book.

Polly and David at the event

As well as busting some myths about what it is like to collaborate on a book (the two never met until after the book was released), they both spoke of their desire to make a book with such strong and adult themes accessible to a young audience. Here's a preview clip of the talk:

A fascinating insight for aspiring authors and illustrators alike, the talk will be available to view at the Seven Stories collection, where the original material from the book is also open to public access. The full video will also soon be available via the Newcastle University, Children's Literature Unit website.

David Wright (Learning Co-ordinator: Picturebook in Progress Project)