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Magic in the Making: P.J. Lynch’s Once Upon a Place Illustrations

Once upon a Place is a collection of 11 new short stories and 6 new poems by Ireland’s top children’s writers, edited by Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer and illustrated by world-renowned artist P.J. Lynch. P.J.’s black-and-white charcoal illustrations are evocative and make for a very lavish book. Each of the stories and poems is based around the theme of place, being set in or inspired by a particular location within Ireland. With stories that are spooky, moving and funny, and set in a variety of locations both familiar and fantastical, this is a unique anthology that will take its readers on many adventures. Once upon a Place will be available in a beautiful hardback edition from the 19th of October, and can be pre-ordered here  

This magical time-lapse video shows P.J. Lynch working on one of his illustrations for ‘Gren’s Ghost’ by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick. This spooky story takes place in Kells Priory in the dark of night, and in this scene one of the boys has dressed up as a ghostly monk. P.J.’s atmospheric illustration captures the eerie mood perfectly. Watch as P.J. builds up the image, creating tone and detail with the charcoal, a perfect medium to create the spooky mood in this scene.

‘Working with charcoal is a terrifically freeing medium for me.’

In another video produced by the Laureate na nÓg team, P.J. Lynch discusses the making of Once upon a Place. In this interview, P.J. tells us more about the making of the book and gives sneak peeks of the illustrations for stories by Eoin Colfer, Marie Louise Fitzpatrick, Sarah Webb, Oisín McGann and Roddy Doyle. The first illustration P.J. Lynch works on in this video is for ‘The Ram King’, a fantastical story of Celtic warriors written by Eoin Colfer and set in Wexford. The illustrations from Once upon a Place showcase the range and variety of stories in this anthology, and the ones featured here are just a taste of the wonderful illustrations and stories to come.

Once upon a Place Cover

P.J. Lynch also illustrated the cover for Once upon a Place. It is a beautiful watercolour painting, and captures the sense of adventure and the fascination with place that is central to this collection. Any royalties from the book will go towards the Laureate na nÓg project, which aims to raise the profile of children’s literature in Ireland and internationally and to introduce high quality children’s books to new audiences.

Jenny Duffy

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