Imagine you are seeing Earth for the very first time - the colours, the people, the way they live their lives.
Welcome to Martin’s world.
Martin the Martian has arrived on our little blue planet and is in awe of everything he sees; he can’t wait to tell his teachers back home all about it!
Scott Morton is sitting in the living room of his Sheffield home as he puts the finishing touches to Martin’s grinning green face.
Martin is just the latest in a long line of colourful characters to be dreamed up the children’s book writer and illustrator. Nearby, his wife Angela smiles indulgently; she is used to sharing their home with the odd assortment of characters that come out of Scott’s head - everyone from Tickety Boo the Wizard and Babs the Hedgehog, to a rat named Yabba.
“I have been writing and illustrating since school,” explains 47-year-old Scott.
“My dad would sit by the fireside with us carving the most amazing walking sticks and telling stories to my brothers and I. My mum would knit toys and paint fabulous pictures and my Grandma was always making up rhyming stories with me - this is something I’ve done all my life.”
Scott, of Westfield, has already written 60 children’s books to date and his latest project, Martin the Martian, was inspired by his dad.
“The idea came from a childhood memory,” he explains.
“My dad had a telescope and would show me the different planets and constellations through it and I would wonder what life must be like on these far away planets. I tried to imagine how someone from Mars would see us and our world and I began writing and illustrating. The problem is that we all get that caught up in the day-to-day things, we don’t see the amazing beauty that is all around us and that is what Martin see, feels and experiences in this book.”
Scott says he is greatly influenced by the work of authors such as Spike Milligan and Julia Donaldson, but unlike these writers, his writing must fit in around his full time job as a supervisor at Pennine Foods, in Waterthorpe. In fact, the demands of his work, coupled with a hectic private life and a mounting list of rejection letters from big-name publishers, caused him to put away his pens for a few years. The death of his father Ernest in 2005 was the catalyst that finally brought Scott’s cast of characters to the printed page.
“When my father died I felt that I just had to finish my stories,” he explains.
And that he did, eventually finding a home for them self-publishing through Yorkshire firm Pen2Print and selling them on Amazon and in some city book stores.
“I work full time and am married with two boys, so it isn’t always easy to find time for my stories and illustrating, but I will never quit again,” he says.
“I love to write and draw and every day, after I’ve been to work, I come in, have a bath and put my author’s head on. I pick up my sketch book and my imagination runs wild as I lose myself in my stories. I hope one day to be able to do this as a full time occupation.”
And Angela, who believes her husband could well be the UK’s answer to Walt Disney, explains the couple’s own children have grown up with Scott’s characters.
“When I was pregnant with my first child I used to wake up in the middle of the night to find Scott on the edge of the bed writing or drawing something that had come to into his head during the night,” she says.
“When our eldest child Kyle was younger, Scott used to read his stories to him. Then when our second son Daniel came along, Scott wrote a new batch of stories.”
And Scott has already passed his talents on to his two sons who both love to draw and read.
He adds: “Trying to find something that will stimulate their minds instead of computer games isn’t easy; it’s all about finding the books that will interest them. If you can find a book a child will sit down and read, you’ve achieved something.”
Scott has even roped wife Angela into his business: “Angela has some great ideas and we make a great team. When I’m finished, she takes over checking each picture and text for errors and sometimes I have to redraw or alter sections. I’m too close and involved in my work to pick up on some of the things that she does.”
The next step for Scott is to find an agent; someone to handle all of the admin work and paper chasing, so that he can dedicate himself to what he loves best - writing and drawing.
“I will continue to bring a smile to the faces of the children of Sheffield and beyond - one zany character at a time.”