The Monster Café

By Sean Leahy and Mihály Orodán (Illustrator)

A book for children

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Drawing on our natural resources

Hi there, I trust you had a pleasant bank holiday weekend? Washing the car, leaving the bbq grill in the sink for a bit, finally getting around to putting that shelf up, that sort of thing. I spent an afternoon sitting on a scale model steam train and declining offers to go to the pub because I have tiny versions of myself to raise, because that's what you do when you sign the parenting license.

That and attempt to successfully fund a children's book, of course... (in the marketing business, we call this a segue).

As it's been a couple of weeks since I bothered you last, I thought I'd let you peek behind the curtain by introducing you a bit more to Mike's work and process. 

Mike and I met a couple of years ago at a little marketing agency, where he is the in house illustrator and I came in as creative artworker. We sat next to each other, and it quickly became apparent that his flair for drawing was totally natural and completely wonderful. Mike would create bespoke cards for the rest of the staff, each one absolutely nailing their personalities in his somehow-complex-yet-achingly-simple style. Even though I had intended at first to illustrate the Monster Café myself, it didn't take much of an internal dialogue to tell myself here was a talent I should ruthlessly exploit for the better of the book.

Mike has recently joined instagram to share more of his illustration work. You can follow him at to take a look for yourself.

But as for his thoughts on tackling this particular brief, well I'll let him fill you in on that...

I was a bit torn in terms of the styling of the illustrations, I knew I was going to use a rough visual style, something I am quite comfortable with when it comes to fun, quirky projects.

I didn’t want clean and smooth shapes, instead I tried to hide some details in the grungy textures. As a kid I loved finding random details in my illustrated books too, so I figured I would do the same with Monster Café – Maybe there is a nice decoration painted on a plate in the background of a kitchen, maybe there is an interesting pattern on Dad’s socks.

It is rewarding to design these things, and I do hope it shows. At the end of the day, that is exactly what I need to aim for: Keep the little ones’ attention with the quirky designs and fun details, and try to make them have as much fun as I had when I was scribbling them.

Thanks once more to every one of you who've pledged to the book so far. We're teetering on half way and looking good for funding what is a project we're both really proud of. If you know of anyone who you think might be interested, please do share it with them.

Nice one,
Sean + Mike

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