Countdown to publishing day!

Space travel! Toilet roll tubes! Moon-walking! Author/illustrator Richard Byrne counts down the journey to publication of his latest new picture book The Great Moon Confusion.

Way back in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, during the time of the great space race, just about every child I knew wanted to be an astronaut – and I was no exception. I spent many happy hours building Saturn V rockets out of toilet roll tubes, practising my moon-walking in the local park’s sandpit and performing Houston-we-are-go-for-launch style countdowns before I did just about anything.

Unlike my childhood heroes Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, I never did become an astronaut, but still look up at the moon and stars with the same childlike wonder. So it’s not very surprising that I eventually created a picture book about the moon, rockets and suspicious-looking bears. Okay, the bear thing must have come from somewhere else.

So, how did The Great Moon Confusion get off the ground? Here’s my chance to sneak in another countdown…


Did a doodle in my sketchbook…



…combined it with another doodle in my sketchbook…



… to spark off an idea for a new picture book – Who is stealing the Moon? Could it be those bandit bears? Or is it just a misunderstanding?



Refined the idea into a set of miniature storyboard-like sketches called thumbnails.



Produced some studies to establish a style for each of the characters in the story.




Drew a full-size set of black and white roughs for every page of the book.

oup_moon_blog_5a 4…

Created the finished illustrations with a combination of hand-drawn and computer techniques.



Sent the illustrations to Oxford University Press for final production of the book.



Had a well-deserved cup of tea… and an idea for the next book.




The Great Moon Confusion is published!


The Great Moon Confusion is out now.

Great Moon Confusion PB


Born in a hospital. Brought up in Brighton. Learned to colour-in in Eastbourne. Worked in graphic design. Worked in Brighton, London, Manchester and Yorkshire Hills. Worked for myself.

Met Philippa somewhere along the way. Had two children. Had the mid-life crisis. Bought my first guitar. Got the urge to create a children’s book. Got an agent. Got a book deal. Got another book deal.

Richard now lives in Chichester so that he can be closer to family, old friends, the coast, and the equator.

3 thoughts on “Countdown to publishing day!

  1. Julia Lee says:

    Yes, every child I knew could count down from 10 to 1 to blast-off, even if they couldn’t manage 1 to 10 without help!

  2. Rachel says:

    So looking forward to reading this! You didn’t tell us what your idea was for the new book..?

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