Category Archives: Mr Coconut blog

A mistake with our mistakes

It was my intention to post a different kind of update on the book’s progress this week: rather than just posting photographs of the progress of prop-making and photography we wanted to put together a short video describing how we put together one of the pages – in other words a succession of mistakes, the trial and error involved in getting to the final result.It’s what I’ve always wanted to see of the work of other people, but isn’t often available – all the rubbish bits at the beginning when the picture isn’t working, through to the point where it starts to work and then it’s finished.

The problem being that, er, the page hasn’t quite reached the stage of being at a point where it was starting to work.

So I’m going to put that update off until next week. In the meantime here’s a montage of a happy accident that took place when we trying to find a way of photographing the sky: we lit the shot far too little from the front, and instead of a daytime sky ended up with a lovely looking nighttime sky.


Photography day #1

Today was a first day of photography for the many props that Catherine has been making in the last couple of weeks. From the storyboard plan of all the pages that we now have on the studio wall we have to work out what angle for each prop photograph – but it’s not really obvious that we’ve got it right until it’s put into Photoshop.

As I said in the last update, some of the pictures (and therefore some of the story) are influenced by the mechanics of the photography, or rather discovering that an idea that seemed fine in our heads doesn’t actually work. (Today we discovered the difficulty in making Mr C stand up properly in order to be photographed.)

Here’s a few of the pics from today:

And some of them being cut out and placed into Photoshop. (You’re not going to get to see much – we don’t want to give away the story).

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been in touch with just about all of the backers who selected our Self-publishers reward, and who are going to spend some time with us in the studio in June and July. We’ll be getting these backers to help us with some of the photography, which will probably mean some of their problem-solving ideas will end up in the book.

Also: we’ve had a couple of enquiries from people who missed out on backing the Kickstarter but still wanted to pre-order the book. So we’ve made a pre-order page on the website. (There’s a special lifetime discount rate for all backers, though obviously you won’t actually want any more copies yet when you still haven’t received the first one.)

thanks for your support

Chris & Catherine

Starting to properly make the book

Now that the Kickstarter is over and we’ve sat down for a couple of weeks, it’s struck us that we have to actually make a book. Not maybe making a book that might be published – we have to make it, get it printed, and post it out to all our backers.

So we’ve got started, and here’s where we’re up to. Catherine has more of the work to do at the moment as she makes the props – so it’s up to me to do these updates (and take photographs of her when she’s not looking).

Today we sketched out almost two thirds of the pages for the book. It was not at all clear to us when we began this just how much of the form of the illustrations would be decided in the actual making (in the same way that we did not know that the illustrations would be made from puppets and materials until we made the Kickstarter video). And where we thought we were simply illustrating a story, we’ve found an idea for a picture changes the story, which alters the story on another page, which provides an idea for another picture. So it’s a constant back and forth between the two.

For me the pleasure of doing this is all bound up in the making-it-up-as-you-go-along. I’m a big fan of US artist Austin Kleon ( and his similar ideas of it being about the process, not the end result (see his blog (Although of course we will also be making a lovely end result for you all…)

We’ve also cleared a big space on the wall to pin up all the pages so we can add to them all the time:

And last week we bought Mr C his very own suitcase for storing all his props – an old 1960s German case found in a charity shop, still with its luggage label attached. When the book is out we want to take this around schools with Mr C, to perhaps run workshops to encourage children to make their own books in a similar way, photographing their own toys and stories…

Kickstarter is funded!

We didn’t think we were going to get there – but we have! Mr Coconut’s book has made it’s Kickstarter target with just 2 hours to go…

A massive thank you to everyone who backed the project, and to those whose generous pledges tipped us over the target at the end… a big thank you to Sally Rogers for her help at the 11th hour, and to Anna Watson for all her help with using the internet in a way that we didn’t know how… we didn’t realise quite how nailbiting it would be watching the page on the last day…

Now we can get on with the really fun bit of actually making the book, and dreaming up and making all of Mr Coconut’s props, so that we can have a finished book in November…

We’ll post regular updates here of the book’s progress all through the making process (though maybe not in quite as frenzied a manner as for raising the funding…)

But right now we’re going to have a bit of a lie down…

‘How Do I Feel About the End of My Kickstarter?’

So we’re almost there. Today’s the day we see whether Mr Coconut gets to sell himself in order to ensure we reach our Kickstarter target. But despite all the generous pledges we’ve had (including the bid from Roger Easter for Mr Coconut himself), it doesn’t look like Mr C has sold himself for a high enough price in order to reach the target. Maybe it’s because he’s priceless and was never meant to leave us anyway…

Here’s Mr Coconut examining which of Catherine’s new faces to put on to show just how he feels about that…

So here’s our one last push – if there’s anyone else (any few hundred other people) you think might like to pledge, now’s the time to tell them! Kickstarter link:

thank you all for putting up with us

Chris & Catherine

P.S. We’ve just added information to the FAQ about how to buy multiple copies of the book – we should have been clearer about that before. If you did want more than one copy you just make your pledge amount to the total of all the copies – but make sure you send us a message to let us know how many you want!

Extra special Kickstarter reward added – own the original Mr Coconut…

We did not want it to come to this. But Mr Coconut is not very happy with us. (Here’s him not looking very happy at our studio party last night.)

He says we promised that we would make his story into a book. And now, with only a week to go before the end of our Kickstarter campaign, Mr Coconut doesn’t think we’re going to reach our target. He’s accusing us of incompetence, and using some very un-child friendly language.

So Mr Coconut has told us that he wants to be put up himself as a reward, as the grandest of Kickstarter rewards. That he wants to be sold to the highest Kickstarter pledge – if that’s what it’s going to take to see his book made. He doesn’t seem to care that this might mean being posted off to the other side of the world.

We’ve reluctantly agreed. But we don’t know what we should ask as a pledge for the puppet Mr C, he’s a bit priceless to us. (Catherine doesn’t really want to let him go at all.)

So we thought we’d make it a kind of auction, that will work like this: for the next 5 days, up until 2pm GMT on Thursday 20 March, you can leave a message to say how much you would pledge for the original puppet Mr Coconut from the book (once he has finished all his modelling and acting duties), lovingly parcelled up and sent to you anywhere in the world. And if at 2pm on Thursday the highest bid will take us over our target, we will add an extra reward to the Kickstarter page, where the highest bidder will be able to pledge for Mr C.

You can leave a message to say how much you would pledge:

  • as a comment at the bottom of this post
as a comment on the Kickstarter page (only current backers can leave comments here)
  • as a comment on the same post about the auction on Mr C’s Facebook page

We will check all of these, and contact the highest bidder later on Thursday afternoon.

Of course if we don’t make our target in 7 days time then we’ll get to keep Mr Coconut (I think we’ll be secretly relieved). So the closer we are to our target, the more chance of winning Mr C himself… please share this around if you can!

thanks for everyone’s support

Chris & Catherine

P.S. for anyone who wants to pledge for the book but still be in with a chance of pledging for Mr Coconut himself, there’s two ways you can go about making multiple pledges:
1) Use a different email account to make a second pledge (though you will have go through the Kickstarter registration all over again to do this)
2) When you’ve made your first pledge, you’re then offered the chance to ‘Manage your pledge’ (big blue button on the right of your screen). Then you’ll need to change your total pledge amount to cover your bid for Mr Coconut himself and resubmit your total. Then PLEASE send us a message to let us know you’ve done this.

P.P.S. Thanks to Bobbie Kirby in the US for the suggestion of Mr Coconut as a reward!

Shopping for a new face…

So this morning, despite a relaxing couple of days with his new pipe, we find Mr Coconut has disappeared… and then we receive this photograph sent to us via a kind stranger, of Mr Coconut browsing our local fabric shop. Apparently, he said once we’d got him back to the studio, he became fed up with only having the single expression, and went shopping for a new face. ‘I want a moustache that can droop, and eyebrows that can show some kind of surprise,’ so he told us.

Unfortunately he came back with the wrong colour face material and now looks like he has jaundice…

Catherine is making him new faces over the weekend – you’ll be able to see them next week in the last few days of the Kickstarter.

Only 8 days of the Kickstarter left! Thank you to all the new backers in the last few days… and if you can, please do share Mr Coconut around!:


We’ve warned Mr Coconut about smoking but he just won’t listen. We’ve also tried to tell him that it’s a bit frowned upon nowadays for children’s books to contain characters who are smoking. But – as he told us in no uncertain terms – no pipe, no book. Apparently his pipe was the only thing that kept him sane all through those lonely days in his coconut. So Catherine has made him one.

[with apologies to Rene Magritte]

So there you have it. This book seems to be slowly slipping out of our control. If you’d like to see a children’s book published that features a character smoking a pipe, please share around this Kickstarter link (…

Oh dear.

We were very disturbed to walk past our local fruit and veg shop yesterday, the very shop where we filmed the coconuts for the video, to find this poster in the window. (The lady in the red hat was in tears at the loss of the coconuts).

It seems we have to keep a very close eye on Mr Coconut from now on. We just hope any police involvement does not slow down his availability for photographs for the book…

Catherine is trying to pacify him by making him a pipe… more details soon…

(If you’d to pledge to the Kickstarter for the publication of Mr C’s book, see here:

Starting to make the book…

So many thanks to everyone who has already pledged towards the publication of the book on Mr Coconut’s Kickstarter… and just to let you know that we’re not sitting back and twiddling our thumbs whilst the Kickstarter continues, but getting down to making the actual book.

So first off we’ve made a storyboard of the whole book, to work out what we’re going to see on each page, and so which props Catherine needs to make. Here’s the pages we have done this week:

We don’t want to give too much away, or actually let you read the story yet… but we will be posting updates of some of the props as Catherine makes them… as well as letting you see what Mr Coconut himself has been doing now that he’s made his video…

And if you still want to pledge on the Kickstarter to make sure you get your copy of the book you can do so here