How We Adapted The Snowman Books

 How We Adapted The Snowman Books

Raymond Briggs' iconic book The Snowman was first published in 1978. After two years of working on the delightfully mucky, slimy illustrations for his book Fungus the Bogeyman, Briggs wanted the chance to create a story with clean, beautiful images that would be as fun for children to see as they were for him to illustrate. Instead of spending time drafting a script, Briggs created a completely wordless story, using his dynamic illustrations to tell the tale of a little boy's snowman coming to life.

Although Briggs is best known today for creating books for children, not all of his work was intended for kids. His graphic novels tackled subjects as serious as nuclear war and the life and death of his parents during some of the most turbulent times in recent British history. Even some of his children's books, like The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman, touch on serious themes about politics and global conflict. Although The Snowman's illustrations are clean and beautiful, and the tone is mostly lighthearted, the bittersweet ending is characteristic of Briggs' unusual sensibilities. He famously described himself as a “grumpy old man," and his illustrations for The Snowman omit holiday details like presents under the Christmas tree.

When Penwizard began to work with The Snowman's publisher to create a personalized version of the classic text, we needed to make some updates to the original book so that kids could see themselves in the story. Unlike the original, our version of The Snowman does contain text, so that kids will see their own names throughout the story. All of our Penwizard books include the names of a very special child! Although we updated the book with text, we were careful to keep Briggs' beloved original story intact. When we adapted  The Snowman and the Snowdog, the follow-up book, we already had story text from the book to work with. 

Next, we had to work within Raymond Briggs' iconic illustration style to create a customized child character. Our team designed a variety of hairstyles so that gift-givers could select an appearance. This is much trickier than it sounds! Because the starring child appears on nearly every page of the book, sometimes in multiple illustrations per page, each hairstyle had to be drawn from many different perspectives. In order to match the careful details of Briggs' work, the styles were given beautifully elaborate details with individual strands of hair. Our design team also worked on other personalized features, so that you can choose the hair color, skin color, and clothing color of the child character. You can even include glasses!

When you customize a book from Penwizard, our system saves your choices and turns them into a document that can be beautifully printed in real book binding as a hardcover or softcover. All of that magic happens behind the scenes, so all you have to do is place your order!