All About Dave Shelton
Born and raised in Leicester, Dave went to study illustration in Cambridge when he was 19 and has been there ever since. He is the creator of the comic strip Good Dog, Bad Dog, published in The DFC, The Guardian and The Phoenix, and collected in book form by David Fickling Books. His debut children’s novel, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, won the 2013 Branford Boase Award and was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal and the Costa prize. It was also adapted for the stage, both in the UK and Germany. Dave’s next book was Thirteen Chairs, a collection of linked ghost stories. And coming in April 2018 is The Book Case – an Emily Lime Mystery. Dave continues to illustrate as well as write, and occasionally dabbles in cover design too. He likes cake, crosswords, comics and pens.
Fun Facts about Dave
Shelton was shortlisted for The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 for his book A Boy and a Bear in a Boat.
Dave has been drawing and colouring in professionally since 1990 and, as yet, has not starved to death as a result.
Dave believes that there is no time of the day or night when it is inappropriate to take a bath or to eat breakfast.
Do not, under any circumstances, allow him to talk to you about pens!!!!
Dave’s School Visits
Works with years 3 and above and is happy to do three one hour sessions a day which can either be presentations or workshops.
Most usually Dave offers hour long sessions comprising a talk with illustrations on a Powerpoint describing his journey from illustrator to writer via comics. The talk is usually about 45 minutes with 15 minutes for Q&A at the end. The emphasis of the talk can be shifted to accommodate audiences of almost any age, and can likewise run longer or shorter according to the preferences of the school. Audience size can be as big as you like for this.
Requirements are: some means of displaying a Powerpoint (e.g. interactive whiteboard or laptop and data projector) that Dave will supply on a USB drive (or if necessary he can email the file ahead of the visit).
Workshops offered by Dave
Dave offers writing workshops, for years 7 and up. These run for a minimum of an hour a session and he prefer to work with smaller group sizes – ideally about 12, although he can manage about twice that with suitable support from staff. Requirements for these sessions are minimal: pens and paper, essentially.
Hour long cartooning workshops – usually concentrating on character design for comic strips – can also be offered, again for years 7 and up and for groups of 12-25 students. Again, requirements are minimal: plenty of paper (photocopy paper is fine) and pens or pencils, nothing fancy. Dave sometimes make use of a Powerpoint and/or a flipchart if facilities allow, but these are not essential.
A Boy and A Bear in a Boat
‘Dave Shelton puts a sweet and simple idea into a fabulous book. The very first chapter will bring you to the edge of your seat. The book explores friendship and loyalty and that these things are not given but things you must earn.
Humour is an eminent feature in the book, although the text doesn’t use complicated words, the clear language is enough to keep you guffawing on every page. Shelton is exceptionally talented at making people chuckle.
A boy and a bear in a boat explains itself. The book starts with a boy clambering onto a boat ready to sail to an unknown destination with his captain, the bear, with the help of the sturdy rowing boat, the Harriet and a map that is blank and blue. The bear claims to know where he is going but as the story passes this seems somewhat dubious.
On their journey – which is supposed to be short and quick – Finding a pirate ship, facing a sea monster and getting stranded on a rock is only half the fun they have. And it all starts with a boy and a bear siting in a boat. The two enemies face a lifetime adventure, which turns them into the best of friends.
Underneath the surface and underneath the chortles the book has a deep meaning. Between the lines of this book, is a metaphor for the circumstances in which we find ourselves, spending time with people we don’t like and rubbing along and not knowing what lies over the horizon.
Funny and remarkable, the drawings of the buddies will keep you breathless. This brilliantly styled novel will leave you with laughter and tears, with a smile, and a memory of a friendship that will never die.’
Review by the The Guardian
Good Dog, Bad Dog
Kirk Bergman and Duncan McBoo are pedigree police: the finest canine cops in all Muttropolis, chasing leads, sniffing out crime and collaring the bad guys. This first volume of their comic strip noir adventures collects the stories Dog Meets Dog, The Golden Bone of Alexandria, and Dog’s Dinner from the pages of The DFC and The Guardian.
The whole idea for GDBD came together, by necessity, very quickly. I had been working on a different strip entirely for the DFC initially when I was given the opportunity to offer something that would also run in the Guardian’s Comic section. This was a fantastic opportunity but because my previous strip hadn’t been devised to run in three page episodes (as the Guardian required) I needed to come up with a new idea fast. I scoured a couple of old sketchbooks for ideas and found the phrase “good dog, bad dog” scrawled in one. The phrase had occurred to me while living for a while with a landlady who had two dogs. One was an old, slow, quiet lovable old mutt, the other was a hyperactive puppy who distributed my teabags all over the kitchen a bit too often for my liking. So I’d just written down “Good Dog, Bad Dog” in response to that situation. I’d thought it was a good title, though it had no idea for a story attached to it at all at that stage.
Because I love film noir I figured making it some kind of comedy version of noir might be fun and from there I cobbled together a very short pitch to show to my editor, Lovely Ben Sharpe. He approved that and then I think I plotted out the gist of the eight episodes of The Golden Bone Of Alexandria and drew a few character sketches and was quickly told to go ahead. I absolutely didn’t know what I was doing and, beyond the very basic plotline I’d concocted I was making it up as I went along to an alarming degree but I think that gave it all a freshness that it might have lacked if I’d spent more time on it.
Jack goes into the old house that he had always thought was abandoned, up the stairs, and nervously opens a door. Inside is a high-ceilinged room lit only by candles, and gathered round a table, twelve mysterious storytellers, waiting to begin. Jack joins them, listening as each in turn tells their story, wondering what he will say when his turn comes.
Good Dog, Bad Dog: Double Identity.
Bergman and McBoo return for more comic strip capers, investigating a case involving threatening letters, an exploding stunt dog, and a mysterious giant lobster, in Muttropolis’s movie-making district of Collie-wood.
Awards, Nominations and Book Reviews
Good Dog, Bad Dog
Winner of the Leeds Graphic Novel Award.
“Definitely First-Class” (Paul Gravett)
“It is a brilliant homage to the classic noir detective movies, and pretty much every cop buddy movie going and is laced throughout with snappy dialogue and one-liners that will make you laugh out loud” (Book Zone for Boys)
“This hairy whodunnit will thrill children from 5-99. Go fetch!” (Emma Byrne Inis)
“The plots are goofy, the laughs are there and writer/artist Dave Shelton has got more expression out of his characters than I thought possible. Let’s hope we see more of the Muttropolis duo in the future” (Bear Alley)
“A hilarious noir detective romp … Full of slapstick visual gags and great wordplay, you’ll soon develop a soft spot for these two lovable detectives” –(Daniel Hahn The Ultimate Book Guide)
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat.
Winner of the Branford Boase Award, shortlisted for the Carnegie medal and the Costa prize, and longlisted for the Guardian children’s fiction prize.
“Rich in atmosphere and gently humorous, this is a delightful small-scale but epic adventure . . . A book to savour” (Julia Eccleshare)
“Very special” (Philip Ardagh – Guardian)
“One of my favourite books of the year” (John Boyne)
“One of the most original children’s books I’ve ever read” (Philip Reeve)
Winner of the Sheffield Children’s Book Award 2015, YA category.
“Thirteen Chairs … thirteen chills I’ll never forget.” (R.L. Stine)
“This is one of the cleverest and most effective YA works of fiction around at the moment. Pull up a chair, and enjoy the art of gripping storytelling at its very best.” (John Millen – Young Post)
Good Dog, Bad Dog: Double Identity
“… sublime skill, seductive illustration, engaging word-play and a keen appreciation of the value of truly appalling puns”. (Win Wiacek – Now Read This)
“…will impress as many adults as it will younger readers.” (Book Trust)
“A hilarious noir detective romp … Full of slapstick visual gags and great wordplay, you’ll soon develop a soft spot for these two lovable detectives!” (Telegraph)
Visit testimonials from students
Dave Shelton made me feel that if you put your mind and your concentration to it you can do anything. He also made me feel that it doesn’t matter if you are top of the class.
I really like it because his presentation was really interesting. He showed us what he did to make his books and comics and I really was interested in his drawings because they are cool.
I like how he improved his work from something not so good, to something amazing!
I really enjoyed Dave Shelton’s talk because I found it interesting to hear how and why he wrote his different books and his personal opinion on his work. It also inspired me to draw and write a bit more.
I want to be an author when I am older so it was quite good for me. It made me want to go home and write a story!
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Dave Shelton, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org