Anyone who is familiar with animation understands that the medium calls for a fabulous imagination, creative genius as well as the discipline of film making which includes meticulous organization and painstaking attention to detail. Nick Mackie is a veteran animator, director and illustrator with numerous awards under his belt.
Nick Mackie is also the author of several children’s books. Dino Zoo is a novel for kids ten and over. This review had me laughing because it instantly transported me back several decades to when I was a kid … “I sometimes had to get the emergency torch from under my pillow because I didn’t want to stop reading!” – Bella (12)”
I had the opportunity to talk to Nick Mackie about his latest book — a children’s illustrated picture book Chester and the Eggie Boo.
Melanie Rockett: You are an award-winning animator, director and illustrator. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Nick Mackie: I originally studied Fine Art and then Animation. My career has mostly been in commercials, broadcast and TV graphics and I have been fortunate to work for companies such as the Oscar winning Aardman Animations. As a director I won BBC Talent animation and a Royal Television Society award. I have always been interested in storytelling, small press comics and illustration.
Melanie Rockett: You’ve also contributed to and have written and illustrated several children’s books. What prompted you to write a book vs doing an animation?
Nick Mackie: Making an animated film takes a lot of time and often requires a large budget and a team of people. Making books has allowed me to get my ideas out to readers without the need to produce an animated film. Obviously one day I would love all my books to be turned into films.
Melanie Rockett: Your latest book is titled, Chester and the Eggie Boo. Can you tell us a bit about the book and where you got the inspiration for the story?
Nick Mackie: Chester is a little boy whose family home was once a railway station. The old ticket machine in his bedroom is a magical portal to the Land of Eggie Boo. Eggie Boo has its own fantastical transforming train that Chester gets to drive with his new friends.
The inspiration was from watching my young son playing with his toy trains and his love of Thomas the Tank animations. It reminded me of myself as a child playing in these imaginary worlds. I decided I wanted to make a new type of ‘train’ book for him.
‘Eggie Boo‘ is a nonsense title and it was a tune/ song that I made up that inspired it. I have always admired Edward Lear and his nonsense writing.
Melanie Rockett: Many children’s writers team up with an illustrator to create their books. You create the illustrations AND write the text. What is your process for creating a picture book, do you write the story first or do your illustrations spark the ideas for the text?
Nick Mackie: Boo was first inspired by a tune I made up and sang to my son and a few doodles I did in a notebook. In this case the original drawings inspired the story. In other books the words have come first.
Melanie Rockett: Can we look forward to more Eggie Boo books, or maybe a continuation of your kids novel, Dino Zoo?
Nick Mackie: I am currently thinking about the next Eggie Boo book and starting to illustrate a new unrelated picture book. I am also writing my second novel which is a totally different genre and is an Edwardian crime novel. There will be a new Dino Zoo book at some point in the future as I really want to revisit its characters.
Be sure to visit Nick Mackie at his website.
Check out some of the illustrations from Eggie Boo as well as Nick’s other children’s books: NickMackie.co.uk
Be sure to keep in touch on …
Nick Mackie’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/eggieboobook
and on Twitter: @nickmackiebook