Bike Book Completion

The book project started in early October, and has only recently come to a physical conclusion, in the form of the printed versions of the book I was responsible for illustrating. It was a case of doing a series of 16 animal illustration in heavy detail to be included in the folds of the Kickstarter Children’s Book Project. The difference was, these animals were set to be riding bikes.

If you are interesting in getting hold of a copy, then they are available in bother physical or digital form. The link for the physical is available here, and the iTunes digital copy is available here!

The simple premise behind the book, is to get young people to get motivated to ride bikes. It seems like the bike culture in the USA is lacking a good population, and it was the idea of Steve’s to get a clever approach to making children aware of the fun and adventure involved in riding cycles; so the idea was born.

My part in all this, actually started two years back, when Steve contacted me on a different matter. Little did I know that the continued love for my artwork would aid in developing the idea into a big with a visual difference. Steve later told me of his plan to get a KickStarter project going and to make this book happen, with my help in the illustration department.

So, the book text was written before my involvement and contained several animals; including lion, rhino, giraffe, sloth, wolf, monkey, panda etc. What we had to achieve is to make the animals seem like they could actually be active on bikes. Sometimes this caused somewhat of a headache, and that meant some work arounds, like having the animal standing next to the bike, or shortening the seat stem to accommodate shorter legs than human riders. All in all, the set of animals all seem to work on their given bikes, and the book came out nice.

As part of the KickStarter process, I also offered to render out a time-lapse version of one of the animals being painted. This happened over several days and can be seen in these set of videos; Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five.

To make the artwork different, we decided (also based on timescale and delivery of 16 illustrations) to have the animals and bikes and some elements in the foreground as high render and then put the background into a simple colourful plate, to help aid the text and youthful look and feel of the book. Even so, it did take over one week, sometime two to render out the pieces, which then extended to mid February for the final artwork completion.

The process I took for each of the illustrations (if you watch the videos, see links above), was to sketch out the given bike and to carefully design the animal to suit the given bike positions. From that point (and with design approval) they were scanned and then the process of building up the layers to create the finished pieces would occur. This was done in Photoshop, and originally began using a Intuos tablet, but due to the project I upgraded to a Cintiq. The finished pieces are then translated into TIFF (CMYK) images and sent to be placed in the book layout.

If you ask me which of the animals I enjoyed doing the most, I would have to say the tortoise and the rhino. That said, some way through the project Steve mentioned that US laws has it that all bike riders have to wear helmets, so the animals had to have a little modification added to them to allow for bike helmets.

If you are interesting in getting hold of a copy, then they are available in bother physical or digital form. The link for the physical is available here, and the iTunes digital copy is available here!

If you have any interest in my artwork, take a look here, and if you have any interest in any of my animal series you can find then in these galleries; Animal Behaviour IAnimal Behaviour IIAnimal Behaviour IIIAnimal Behaviour IVAnimal Behaviour VAnimal Behaviour VIAnimal Behaviour VII.


1 creative person, slightly matured
2 tablespoons aptitude
1 piece of aesthetic flavouring
6lbs hard work and sweat
4 ideas more than most
salt of the earth to taste

Take a creative person and stir in some aptitude, thoroughly from the start. In time, mix in the aesthetic flavouring with the most appropriate tool at hand, and then, fold into the mix as much of the hard work and sweat that the mix can take. Sprinkle in the ideas; the more the better. And finally, as all is cooking, a pinch of ‘salt of the earth’ to give it the necessary character. Leave to cook over time and serve when required. Tasty treat in a tasteless world.