Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas colouring page

Click to enlarge then print out all you want :)
Merry Christmas from Chris and the Alpha Monsters! Have fun colouring this free picture drawn especially for you :) Feel free to spread the joy and send this to your friends.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Alpha Monsters on TV

A few months ago, Alpha monsters was featured on kids TV show Wurrawhy. Until now the show had only been available to watch online for Australian viewers. Now its on Youtube so I can share with everyone. I hope you like it :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Colouring Page

Happy Halloween everybody! Click on the image above and print out your FREE Halloween colouring page.
Ask Mum or Dad to upload to the facebook page (if they have an account) or email me a copy here. There might be a prize for my favourite!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Alpha Monsters on Channel 10's Wurrawhy

© images courtesy of Channel Ten
So I received an exciting call this morning from a friend telling me that Alpha Monsters was the book of the day on Channel Ten's educational show Wurrawhy.

As I frantically rushed to the TV they were closing the book and it seemed I'd missed out :(

But thanks to the magic of the Internet, Channel Ten had put the show online within minutes of being aired :)

So for anybody out there who has yet to see or hear the book (particularly my overseas friends) I present to you Alpha Monsters. The story section begins at approx the 18 minute point.

Click here to watch the video


Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Book Week!

This week is "Book Week" here in Australia and schools all over the country are having parades where kids dress up as their favourite book characters. Today I went along to my kids school and I was told there was an Alpha Monster somewhere in the crowd. So a great big thanks to (H)amish for dressing up, it was a great way for me to start the day :)

I also took a quick look in the school library wear they hold the Book fair and spotted my two books, and some rather nifty looking book marks!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bendigo Writer's Council Interview

Hey Everyone, I recently answered a few questions for the Bendigo Writers Council newsletter about my experience writing Alpha Monsters. 

There weren't any pictures to go with it, so I've put up a rough concept idea I originally had for the front cover. I think this would have ended up being a bit too busy and confused. But some times its good to see the things that don't always make the grade :)

Author Interview
Chris Kennett

Author and illustrator of children’s picture book, Alphamonsters and illustrator of the newly released, If You’re Happy And You Know It – Aussie edition [available through scholastic, bookstores or via a link on Chris’ website at].  Best of all this amazing talent is a local to Bendigo and he has been gracious enough to answer a few questions for the Bendigo Writers Council.

What are some of the impressions so far in becoming a first time author?
The biggest thing for me is just seeing my work on a book store shelf. From first approaching a publisher to the book’s release took almost 3 years. I ‘d gotten so used to seeing the artwork and text on a screen, to then see it in the flesh is something I’ll never grow tired of. Finding it listed on an online store or discovering an independent review somewhere is also great. Even seeing my name on the National Library of Australia’s database is cool! Somehow it legitimises what I’ve done. So that feels good.

How has the reaction and feedback been from your book and book promotion?
Everyone who has read the book has told me they (and their kids) love it. Which is just brilliant. I think the main issue though, is getting people to pick it up off the shelf, which isn’t always easy. I’ve had several back handed compliments saying “It’s much better than I expected”. Which is nice, but then you have to wonder why they went in with such low expectations? I think the fact that it revolves around the alphabet (to an extent), people think it’s going to be babyish or somehow lacking in story. But ultimately I’m glad it surprises people.

I also had a really positive response to a book signing I recently did with Dymocks Bendigo. A friend and I promoted it quite heavily through Facebook and by contacting schools and kindergartens, which proved very successful. By the end of it I’d been there for three straight hours talking and signing books. It was a really great experience and I hope it’s the first of many.

Promoting a new book, especially for a first time author like me, can take up a lot of your time. Which is hard when you are trying to produce other work at the same time. When you sign with a big publisher like Scholastic you are a tiny part of a much bigger machine. Of course they will help you to a point, but ultimately it’s down to me to spread the word. You also have to walk a fine line between self promotion and self appreciation. I hope I don’t stray into the latter.

As you both wrote and illustrated your picture book, Alpha Monsters, did you invent the story or the characters first?
With Alpha Monsters it was definitely a case of designing the characters first. I originally designed them as Flash cards for my kids and it was a very simple “A is for Apple, B is for Ball” concept. When I first approached Scholastic there wasno story, just the basic ABC idea. It was them who asked me to flesh out the characters, create a world and build a storyline around them. Writing an engaging story with so many characters with an 800 word limit wasn’t an easy task, so it took a few attempts to get it right.

With subsequent projects I’ve made a point of writing the story first. There may be a few rough character ideas at the start, but I definitely make sure the story is right before I get too bogged down in the visuals.

What is your next project going to be?
The project I worked on straight after Alpha Monsters is actually coming out in July. I provided illustrations for an “Aussie Edition” of “If you’re happy and you know it”. It’s a fairly straight reworking of the famous kids song, using Aussie animals. I road tested it on my kids and their cousins and they were jumping all over the lounge, so I think it will go down well.

But in terms work in progress I’m actually working on three more picture books (all for Scholastic). The first one will be as an illustrator for another author due next Easter, and the remaining two will be my own stories. I’m really proud of both and I think kids will have a lot of fun with them. I can’t reveal specifics I’m afraid, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Who is your favourite literary character and why?
Like many people Roald Dahl was a huge favourite growing up. The BFG was the first chapter book I remember reading alone, so he’s always been a special character for me.

Have you any advice for the writers of Bendigo?
I feel strange offering advice, because I certainly don’t think I know all there is to know myself. But if I were to offer up any guidance, I’d recommend a few things that have helped get me going.

Firstly always write down your ideas, or if you’re like me, draw them. One of my next books was born from an idle scribble I did while watching TV one night. Get into the habit of carrying a note or sketchbook and jot down anything that comes to mind. It might seem insignificant at the time but some of those subconscious thoughts can often lead to bigger and better ideas.

Get an outside opinion. We all get precious about our work, so we’re not always the best judge of what works and what doesn’t. Be prepared to hear comments you might not want to hear. In my experience though, when people make criticism it’s usually fairly spot on. So, swallow your pride and take it on the chin.

Finally get yourself out there. 3 years ago I had no idea how to get a book published. In the end I grabbed an email address from the Scholastic website and just sent off an idea. My philosophy was, what have I got to lose? What’s the point of having all these ideas written down in books or stored on hard drives for no one to see? Why not just send something off and see what happens? You never know what’s around the corner.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Castlemaine Book Signing

Come and join me for a signing and possibly even a reading of Alpha Monsters on Saturday 2nd July. Have a day out in the 'Maine!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Alpha Monsters Book layout. Rough first draft to final version

Before I started to produce Alpha Monsters I mocked up the entire thing first, using little thumbnail illustrations. This helps me plan the book ahead of time and rearrange the pages, decide what text goes where and so on. Originally the book was only supposed to be 24 pages long, but (being my first book ever)I forgot to take into account things like Title pages (those extra pages you often see at the start of books) and "Imprint" pages (that's the page that has all the babble about where it was printed and who published and where).

 In the end the book was 32 pages and it ended up being quite different from the first layout I had in mind. The extra pages meant there would be a lot more room to explore the Alpha Monster's world.

Anyway this morning I came across the very first rough layout I made and also the final version where I replace the rough sketches with the final artwork. This is very satisfying thing to do, as you see the book grow before your eyes and it gives you a good sense of where you are in the books production. You'll have to click these for a larger view, but I hope you enjoy seeing the two very different stages of the books life.

So here is the very first version I created. There are a few differences from the final version you'll notice. Obviously the story was cramped into a lot shorter format. Meaning a lot of the Monster spreads were a bit squashed. A couple of these pages ended up being taken out as the didn't really serve the story and it meant more space to draw MONSTERS! Which is really what the whole things is about :)

And this is the final layout and is almost exactly what you will see when you open the book (one page needed a little tweaking to make it right!). As I said, I would drop in each final page into this layout the moment I finished it, and slowly the book would come to life before my eyes.

I hope you enjoy looking at this process, and if you haven't got a hold of the book yet, hopefully it gives you some idea of what to expect :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Get Ahead Kids Book Review

I found this short but sweet review of the book online. Click the page for full page. Also click here to read what other people are saying about Alpha Monsters :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alpha Monsters Promo Video

For a little more info about the book. Check out this video Scholastic Australia and I put together. It's aimed at little ones so don't be put off by the Play School style narration.

I supplied all the little animation bits. I didn't have much time to work on them but I'm pleased with the result for a rush job.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Easter from the Alpha Monsters

Its that time of year again everybody. All the Alpha Monsters wish you a very Happy Easter! Om nom nom!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alpha Monsters Back Cover

All to often the poor old  back cover illustration gets overlooked by the flashy, in you face Front cover. Relegated to an existence of "not being seen quite as much". Sometimes a curious browser (often a parent) will flip it over and read the blurb, giving the back its moment in the sun. But that's about it.

Well today I'm here to set that straight. Here's the BACK!!! (minus the blurb and bar-codey bits)

ABC you later

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alpha Monsters Book Signing Photos

On Saturday (9th April) I had the great pleasure of signing copies of Alpha Monsters for the lovely people of Bendigo. There was always that fear in the back of my mind that no one would show and I would be left sitting awkwardly in the corner, twiddling my thumbs.

Turns out I needn't have worried, as for 3 solid hours I signed, chatted and drew monsters for a constant stream of kids, parents and grandparents all there to support the book. It was a fantastic morning and I would like to thank each and every person that took time out of their day, to wait in line and meet me.

Annoyingly my camera battery was as flat as a tack but thankfully a good friend managed to grab a few snaps on her phone. Thanks Nic :

The free lollypops were a hit. Yes a little bit of bribery doesn't hurt every now and then

The line quickly grows and Dymocks staff are happy at the amount of queue induced browsing

Everyone got their own monster

no signs of slowing down

Another inside display and once again the lollypops keeping the little ones busy

everyone young and old likes the Alpha Monsters :)

Once again thanks to everyone to showed up on the day and of course to Dymocks for doing such a great job at short notice. I had a great time. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Might need a little nap first though.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dymocks Book store: Alpha Monsters on Display

Thought I'd share with you a few snaps of the Dymocks Bendigo store the day before the big signing :)
 Apologies for the window reflection, on the plus side you get to see a brief glimpse of the great town I call home.

I made these guys for last years CTN Expo in Burbank, California. They are well travelled little fellas!

and just look what greets you when first walk in the store :) Thanks Dymocks you've done an awesome job!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sneaky Peek

As time ticks away (2 days to go) I thought I'd share with you a sample page from the book.

As Monster A retraces his steps, he remembers the point where he first encounters the other monsters. Starting, of course with B, C and D

Bendigo Weekly article

Photo copyright © Bendigo Weekly 2011

The Bendigo Weekly kindly printed a huge 2 page article about me in last weeks edition. You can read the full article online here. The printed version of this photo, that appeared in the paper, had my little critters parading up my arm and spelling out my name. Cute :)

In case you're wondering, "Yes" that is a beer fridge pictured in my office and 'No" I am not drunk in that photo despite the suspiciously happy look on my face. Just thought I'd clear that up.
As it appeared in the paper

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Scholastic 2011 Catalogue

Received some great new this week. Scholastic has featured Alpha Monsters in their 2011 Foreign Rights Catalogue. What this means is, as well as being shown at this years Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy, it will also be viewed in meetings with publishers and editors from the USA, UK and rest of the world!

When I showed this to my kids, my daughter squealed with delight. Not because of my book but because "Wilbee the Bumblebee" was on the opposite page. She does love that book! "I like yours too Daddy" she was quick to add. I should think so too ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poster for Book signing

Today I rustled up a poster for my upcoming book signing at Bendigo's finest book store Dymocks.

Here's a little bit of trivia for you, the tentacled creature that's holding the book is the star of the story I'm currently writing, or should I say attempting to write.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bendigo Book Signing!

Hey Everyone, I'm very pleased to announce that Dymocks Book Store in Bendigo have agreed to host a book signing for Alpha Monsters!!

It will take place on Saturday 9th April from 11am onwards at their Mitchell Street store, Bendigo.

If you live in the Bendigo Area or surrounds and would like to pick up a copy, then have me scrawl all over it for you, then please come along. Or if you know someone in the area, get them to come along for you.

Hope you see you there :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


This is the brand spanking new Alpha Monsters Blog! Here I'll post news and bits and bobs about Alpha Monsters, how they came to be and where (hopefully) they'll be heading in the future.

You can follow them here via blogger or also on Facebook here

Thanks for stopping by Chris :)