David Burgess, class of 2005


David Burgess, creator of Waldo the Worm

I graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2005. I studied Media Production, specialising in New Media and Photography. I found work as a graphic designer after a stint on the dole and working in call centres. 

Graphic design was largely a career path I wanted to pursue but to my detriment, I wasn’t very good. The role was largely unfulfilling, designing curry menus and adverts for washing machines. I found that I could design for myself quite well, but for other people, I was not so hot. It was only a matter of time before I would have to move on…

Luckily, when the time came a friend of my boss was setting up a social media project where we would work with young people in the local area, teaching them an array of creative disciplines such as; Graphic Design, Music Production, Film Making, Graffiti, Drama and DJ’ing.

It was during this time that I started to develop a ‘design style’ that I was happy with, and created many quirky characters that were child friendly. After talking it through with my new boss, we set about applying for some funding to create a series of children’s books that focused on social issues, bullying being one of them.

I conducted a series of workshops in late 2008 with two groups of young people aged between 8 and 16.

The workshops took place at the Meir Youth Centre and the Queensberry Centre, both in Stoke on Trent. Each week I would work with the two focus groups to shape characters, establish storylines, create words & rhymes and generate a world in which these characters could thrive.

Slowly but surely the story took form and began to blossom. When the workshops were over, I took the sketches, doodles, stanzas and poems home. From that, a framework of the story was built, I wrote the words first, then illustrated the pages accordingly, the pages would be tweaked many times to ensure that they were ‘child friendly’.

By November 2009 Waldo the Worm was ready to launch. I had a website that I got a very talented friend to develop and I was able to market the book on facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

In the last 10 months I have sold quite a few copies of Waldo, I have been able to get Waterstone’s to stock copies and to let me conduct events in various stores. I have developed a range of products to go with the books.

Waldo the Worm has been quite an adventure for me, the most enjoyable part was creating the artwork and putting together the book as a whole. I’m not too talented at marketing myself and Waldo, but it has been an experience.

I am currently working on Waldo 2. It’s going to have an alien in it! I’m quite excited by the whole thing, I just hope that it takes off as well as the first book.

For more information about me and Waldo, take a look at www.waldotheworm.com

2 thoughts on “David Burgess, class of 2005

  1. Well done David – you must build on this idea, and never give up!

    Actually Waldo rang a faint bell with me. Way back in my BBC days (1973 – 83), I had the privilege of working with Patrick Taggart, who had made his mark in the early days of Australian children’s TV at Channel 9. He used to reminisce about working with Wilbur Worm, apparently all the rage down under at the time. I think Wilbur lived in a TV studio, but who cares? Great minds think alike!

    Patrick went on to create the only children’s programme ever to beat the journalist stranglehold on BBC regional programmes by billing them as “family viewing”. I have fond memories of directing weekly episodes of “Hey Look That’s Me” occasionally featuring the odd worm or ant related gag, at BBC South. Happy days, despite the journos.
    (If you remember either Wilbur or “Hey Look That’s Me”, I’d be interested to hear from you.)

  2. Look forward to Waldo 2. Congratulations on the creation. It’s very hard getting to the stage where the website ‘goes live’. When is the animated series coming out??
    Great website.
    Best of luck for the future –

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