Jonas Claeson’s 'The Surfing Animals Alphabet'.
When you have a grom you realise pretty quickly that children’s books fall into the same broad categories as other books—basically, some are good and some are shit. The really good ones perform the delicate feat of appealing to both adults and kids, and if you’re a surfer, then Jonas Claeson’s The Surfing Animals Alphabet definitely ticks that box. A beautifully surreal story about a dude who goes to the beach one day and sees a whole alphabet of animals ripping, the constant rhyme and stylish illustrations will suck in your grom while the surfing these critters are doing will have you nodding along with stoke. There’s an elephant pig-dogging his way through a backhand pearler. There’s a gorilla flaring his arm out through a textbook frontside punt. In fact, every animal in the book surfs with an enviable amount of style, and some of the manoeuvres they’re performing could’ve been pulled straight from a mag. It’s an impressive little world Jonas has dreamed up, and one the Aussie-based Swede says he worked hard to create.
‘I pay attention to what good surfing looks like,’ he admits. ‘I look at classic manoeuvres from films and photos and try to capture that movement and feeling in the drawings. Sometimes it takes forever to get the pose and movement right, and sometimes it just clicks right away.’
While the images are the product of much refinement and attention to detail, the idea behind the book came as a gift from the waves.
‘One day when I was surfing I got this clear idea in my head that it would be really cool to draw a series of animals surfing. Just start with one, then reach out on Instagram to see what people think I should draw next, if anyone cared.’
People did care, as it turned out, and before long Jonas had the animals completed, the story written by collaborator James Redmayne, and the project fully funded from a Kickstarter campaign. Since then things have been ticking along nicely, with the book selling on Jonas’s webpage along with a colouring-in version for those groms who love to get creative.
You can buy a copy at: www.surfinganimals.com or check out Jonas’ Instagram at jonas_draws for more surreal imagery.