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katie Aardman Staff Posted: Sep 9th 2010

You may have heard about a new project from Nick Park, who has been working with his friend Martin Kiszko to produce the poetry book - Green Poems for a Blue Planet. Nick has drawn some beautiful illustrations to sit alongside the poems that are about important environmental issues, yet communicated in an accessible light-hearted manner.

The poems have been written to be read out loud and have proved to have universal appeal but are expected to end up in the hands of 8-13 year olds in schools or read by parents to children in their homes. Readings will be taking place in the months ahead around the country with a slide show of Nick’s artwork.

I interviewed Nick Park to find out more about the project (cue some cheesy grins!) ...


To start with, how did the project come about?
I’ve known Martin (the author of Green Poems) for years, we actually met in London at a student art show. We ended up meeting by chance a few years later when he’d moved to Bristol. As well as being a very prolific film maker I’ve always known he’s a keen writer – he’s written screenplays for BBC TV and radio and he’s often told me about his love of poetry.

One day back in September we were in the Avon Gorge (the hotel, not the geological feature!) and Martin told me he’d got a local publisher interested in his poetry book. He said he needed some illustrations and wondered whether I knew anyone that could help out. I volunteered to do some illustrations for it – only a handful to start – but the more I read the poems, the more inspired I became and the more I drew!

How did you find doing a project that is completely separate from Aardman?
I haven’t done a lot of work outside of Aardman, but because Martin’s an old friend I thought it would be nice to work with him on the project. It probably took about 3 or 4 weeks in total over evenings and weekends. What I really enjoyed about the project was the fact that the final illustrations came from doodles, which went with the spontaneous feel of the book. For example, I did the sketch for the front cover as a mock up, which I’d planned to do ‘in best’ afterwards - it was really to say “something like this?” but Martin and the publisher loved the rough nature of it.

First and foremost I’m an illustrator anyway, a lot of my ideas start off as sketches – drawing was my first love and then I slowly moved into animation, so it was nice to go back to my roots.


I notice the sketches in the book are quite a different style to your Wallace & Gromit sketches, was this intentional?
No, I just did what came to me really! I didn’t want to illustrate the poems as such, they just needed something to compliment them. I didn’t want any ‘well-known’ characters to appear in the book so to have the challenge of drawing something outside of how you normally work is always quite a challenge.

Martin had a few suggestions about what image could go with each poem and I worked on those ideas, but I also started looking for where any animals were mentioned in the poems. I have this thing about animals I suppose, I’m an animal lover and a lot of my work has been bringing animals to life in my animations. I think it’s characters that you latch onto and so I just looked for those in all the poems.
Do you have a favourite poem in the book?
Actually one of my favourites is the first one, Take Away Carbon – it’s very fast and meant to be read rapidly. Martin often performs them at book events so he’s learned them off by heart. I’m amazed he can perform it without having the book to hand! Let’s see what else…Poo Power is good too!

And how about a favourite illustration?
I like a lot of the smaller ones in the book. I wasn’t even doing them as a final drawing, I just doodled, and sometimes those are the ones that came out with the most character. Constantly as I’m drawing I’m thinking “that could be a character in something” The frog is one of my favourites too, it’s probably my favourite in the whole book, because the character is very ‘me’.

Green Poems for a Blue Planet contains 56 poems highlighting the threat humankind poses to the future of the planet. Published by Redcliffe Press, and available through Amazon and as well as being available in bookshops.

For more information visit:


kldceltic Posted: Sep 9th 2010

ain,t u lucky u look cute:D hahahaha ur in a pic which is funny katie;)


Gromit lad Posted: Sep 9th 2010

Atleast we know what he's been up to! LOL.
The constable looks wallace and gromit style.
Is it just poems and his illistations, or did he add his own creativity stuff n' stuff in it too?

lad doesn't like typing text. N fact it not tht fun.(Ech) By the way, you should of worn a Felix the cat shirt too Katie. And notice the giant feathers...... wait? Where all those props put there for a reason? )Gosh I write a lot, lol)

bigfanwallace Posted: Sep 10th 2010


SockEyeSalmon Posted: Sep 10th 2010

It's fantastic to see the ANP once again, going back to his illustrator roots.

A change is, as they say, as good as a rest and this is a brilliant change.

Now, my wishlist is complete! :D

Ursrut Posted: Sep 11th 2010

Awesome :) Look forward to seeing that go out!

Sockeye- What about some new Socks?

SockEyeSalmon Posted: Sep 11th 2010

Oh, Ursrut, dear fruit! How's life, old pal?

Thanks for reminding me re new socks...

Yes, it is now on the wishlist... NEW design W&G socks.

I have laundered and Febrezed my prized pair of W&G socks for a very special occasion. IF, perchance, you get the whiff of lavender and chamomile across Cofton Park on the 19th September...that will be me!


ajmole Posted: Sep 11th 2010

USA left out again? : (

abra Posted: Sep 13th 2010

is it in Australia, the sketches look great Nick Park!!

skalouis Posted: Sep 17th 2010

look's awesome

yianni Posted: Sep 3rd 2011


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