I'm trying to work my way through Where's Wally? The Fantastic Journey by Martin Handford. But I got stuck on the first page!
Could you give me some advice on how to find Wally? Where should I start looking, what should I look for, etc.
A computer scientist named Randal Olson actually worked out an algorithm of how to find him.
There are 68 total pages to look in across the 7 books - and by plotting the locations he made a heat map using Kernel Density Estimation:
Then using a computer program, he worked out the optimal search path:
The optimal search path is to start in the black circle and follow the black line. Supposedly, this will help you find him as quick as possible.
A few other tips that I used:
Look for red and white stripes
The iconic white and red striped top and hat often was the thing that alerted me to the location of Wally. While the illustrator has included a lot of other things with red and white stripes, I still found it easier to look for the stripes than to look for Wally himself.
Make use of the other characters
There are (usually) 6 characters to find on each page - Wally, Wenda, Woof, Wilma, Wizard Whitebeard and Odlaw. Wally is, of course, the main target - but often when searching for him I would find another character. Now this isn't and hard and fast rule, but most of the time the characters are pretty spread out. So once you have found one - look in the other sections of the book. You might not find Wally, but you should at least find another character.
Know where not to look
As you can see from the location dots - Wally is found in the top left only once - and is never found at the bottom of the right page. If you know he's not going to be there then you don't need to look.
The more you find him the better you get, so don't give up - keep practising!
One good way of tackling this particular genre is to take a marking pen (black is best) and put a cross through the face of everyone on the page who isn't Wally. Eventually, you will find Wally. You can work your way systematically through any "Where's Wally" book in this manner.
P.S. It took me less than 5 minutes by just looking.