‘Bob the Builder’ Designer, ‘Wereworld’ Author Visits SJC
On tour for his young-adult series, Curtis Jobling dropped by St. John of the Cross on Thursday to talk animation and fantasy, give a reading and, of course, sketch Bob and friends.
“Everything you see on Bob from day one, I designed it,” he told a group of St. John of the Cross Parish School fifth-graders Thursday in a fast-talking, oft-irreverent book-tour appearance. “Everything that Bob has to interact with—it could be a book, a spade, a hand grenade. If we need it, I draw it, we build it and we animate it.”
If a hand-grenade episode exists, it's apparently been lost to history, though Jobling did screen his Nickelodeon UK “Curious Cow” shorts as Chuck Jones-style kid-friendly black comedy.
He also discussed different types of animation, showed a trailer for his new show Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and sketched Bob and friends on an easel for his knowing and eager audience. (While drawing Spud the silly scarecrow, he deliberately left off the parsnip nose, prompting a chorus of protest.)
Jobling’s major project of late has been his Wereworld young-adult novel series, a dark fantasy in a world where royalty are shape-shifters who assume fierce bestial forms like anthropomorphic wolves, lions and even sharks. He showed multiple video trailers for the series, which has four books in print, and left students hanging with a reading of one of the first book’s dramatic opening scenes.
Main character Drew being a teenage werewolf, Jobling also engaged kids in a game of “Wolf-Man or Hairy Man?” including close-ups of An American Werewolf in London, Taylor Lautner, a hirsute Jack Nicholson and an even more hirsute Jack Nicholson in the film Wolf. (It may not be a coincidence that Jobling’s beloved hometown rugby team is also the Wolves.)
Silliness aside, Jobling had a serious message for students, drawn from his following a childhood passion for fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying.
“If you have a hobby… something that you have a talent for, keep these things going; even when you get to high school, don’t let them fall by the wayside,” he said. “You don’t know where it might take you. At the very least, it’ll be a rewarding pastime for of your lives. At the most, you might be able to make a living out of it, as I’ve been fortunate enough to.”
The fourth book in the Wereworld series, titled Nest of Serpents, is on shelves now. It follows Rise of the Wolf, Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk. Book five (of six), Storm of Sharks, will be released in May.
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