They’re Coming

Today I received my first author copy of untitled. I’m very excited, this copy came earlier than I expected. I usually get them about 6 weeks before the release date for the book. May 28th is the official release for untitled so printing was months ahead. Schiffer usually has a few copies shipped by plane and send me one along with a nice bottle of wine. The rest of the books are literally being shipped, they’re on a boat crossing the Pacific and will get to the warehouse a few weeks from now.

Timothy Young holding his first copy of "untitled"

Getting this book reminded me to get back to writing the story of my other published books. They’re Coming! and Shadows On My Wall were conceived very close together. In my post about I’m Looking For A Dinosaur! I wrote about their beginnings. Here I’ll elaborate more on They’re Coming!

I’m often asked whether I start with the pictures or the story. In this case it was definitely the pictures first. I had started with the image of the monster in the moonlight that I had used as a Halloween greeting. So the first image I created was the werewolf in front of the moon.

A werewolf in the moonlight. An illustration from Timothy Young's book They're Coming!
The final illustration was not very different from the first version.

I started working on other monsters. I had been doing a project with stock photos and I found this image I really liked of a silhouetted tree on a mountain slope. I added a Frankenstein’s monster to the image and used the same moon from the Werewolf spread as well. This was supposed to be a reference piece but I started to think that stock photos might work for the backgrounds in the final book.

I next found a moonlit lagoon so I added a creature. I liked the layout of this photo for a spread but the moon was closer to the center than I would have liked.

An early version of the Slimy Creature from They're Coming! by author/illustrator Timothy Young.
Here is the Slimy Thing with a stockphoto background.

I had begun to write the story as I realized the monsters were all out on the same night. I wanted the story to build with suspense. I also thought that I could work with color to make each spread later and later into the night.

Another early version with a rough-rendered background.

Some of the photos I liked but there were layout problems. Here are some zombies in front of a cloudy sky. The trouble with the background photo is that the moon would land right in the gutter.

Zombies in a graveyard from an early version of They're Coming!

I loved this forest but the giant monster was too close to the edge of the photo. Worse, the moon is again directly in the middle of the spread.

This next one clinched it, I would not be able to get the street scene I wanted using stock photos. This shot of London Bridge looked much too modern for Mr Hyde to lurk in front of.

Mr Hyde lurks in front of London Bridge

These images were in the dummy of They’re Coming when I sent it to Heidi at Random House. They were not against the idea of stock photos but did want to make sure we could get rights without having to pay large fees for them. When I decided against photos and started working on drawn and rendered backgrounds they were happy. I continued working on it assuming they would eventually decide to publish it. I worked on it throughout the time that I was working on I’m Looking For A Dinosaur and it was pretty far along when Dinosaur was cancelled in February of 2019. So I had this book that was almost done when it fell back into my hands.

Here are the line drawings of the monsters from the final scene.

I will finish the story of They’re Coming! and tell the story of Shadows On My Wall next. Their journey is intertwined and I look at them as sister books who grew up together. I want to leave with one last shot from the earliest version of the story. A certain giant reptile that I love almost made an appearance in the book.

Godzilla stomps a pagoda.


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