I am over the moon that The Strongest Mum has been shortlisted for the Association of Illustrators World Illustration Awards 2019! The book was a labour of love, begun on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art and then turning into my debut picture book, published by Macmillan Children’s Books. The response to her story from children and grown ups has been really touching, and this is a cherry on the cake.
I had a wonderful day yesterday on Orange Beak Studio’s home screen printing workshop, which I can’t recommend highly enough to anyone interested in having a go at this satisfyingly low-tech printmaking technique. Here are some pictures from my day.
My new book, is out today! It’s all about friendship and books and what happens when a book is so brilliant, it distracts you from anyone else! Loosely based on missing a plane myself because I was so absorbed in a brilliant book (Fingersmith by Sarah Waters!)
It was lovely to be asked to answer some questions from the Reading Zone website about how I work and how I came to be making picture books. You can read the interview here.
This week I got the advance copies of my new book Vera Jewel is Late for School which comes out on 28th June 2018. I'm so pleased with how they look. The colours have come out spot on and it's so exiting to know she'll soon be joining The Strongest Mum in the shops.
Vera Jewel is an idea I first developed about six years ago while doing a writing evening class, and then developed on my illustration MA. She was late for many deadlines on the MA so it's particularly rewarding for me that she's on time for this most important of dates!
This Wednesday 28th Feb, I'm going to be at Heffers in Cambridge with Alina Surnaite and Melissa Castrillon who also have books coming out. I did my MA at Cambridge School of Art so it will be a great chance to see some of the wonderful people I met there, as well as some new faces. All welcome! Heffers ask that you reserve a free place on Eventbrite - just click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/childrens-at-heffers-yellow-kayak-i-love-you-bunny-the-strongest-mum-tickets-42863892055?aff=eac2
It's been three years since the idea for The Strongest Mum first popped into my head, and in just over a week it will be on the shelves of a bookshop near you! I am having a Book Launch to celebrate, at Waterstones Islington on February 22nd. I will also be celebrating at Heffers in Cambridge on February 28th, with Melissa Castrillon and Alina Surnaite, who also have books coming out.
All welcome - please RSVP!
During October I took part in Inktober and made a new alphabet design. I have just sent it off to print and am expecting lots of lovely tea towels to arrive in about three weeks time - just in time for Christmas Shopping sprees! I am also doing a new run of last year's Christmas tea towel. They will be for sale on Etsy at £8 each + p&p. I will be offering 25% off the third tea towel when you buy three. You can email me to reserve tea towels on firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can look out for my tea towel giveaway on Instagram and Twitter!
I am delighted that I can finally announce that my debut picture book as author and illustrator, The Strongest Mum, will be published by Macmillan Children's Books in February 2018, and in the United States by Albert Whitman in March.
Little Bear's mum is super-strong and super-kind. She helps him, she helps her friends, she even helps strangers. She's amazing! But no one can be that strong without a break, and Little Bear discovers that sometimes even the very strongest mums need a helping hand.
I remember going out one day when my children were very tiny. I had so much to do, to think about, to remember, to carry that it was only after I'd gathered the children, the bags and the buggy, and shut the front door, that I realised I hadn't put on any shoes! That was the autobiographical seed of this funny book about bears, which I'm glad to say mostly makes people laugh, but has also moved three mum friends and one dad friend to tears.
I really hope you will look out for the book. Here it is on the Macmillan website:
which includes links of places you can buy it online, though it'll also be available from all good bookshops!
The Macmillan Prize is an annual prize for student illustrators that has kickstarted many a new career, so I was delighted when my MA Picture Book project Bird and Bird was highly commended, and its was a treat to see the city spread from it on display at the Macmillan Prize Exhibition at Foyles Gallery alongside the work of so many wonderful illustrators.
Every year, the Cambridge MA in Children's Book Illustration has a stand at the Bologna Book Fair, run by the amazing Pam Smy. It's the only art school stand at the fair, and is always fully booked with publishers and agents keen to see the work of latest graduates.
Each year the MA staff choose four images to be made into posters that are given to publishers and agents who visit the stand, with contact details for all the stand exhibitors on the back.
It's a lovely idea and I have a few favourite past posters on my wall, so I was delighted to discover that my cat with wool illustration had been selected to be a poster for the stand at the 2016 Fair. I now have a copy framed in my downstairs loo, because it's such a great souvenir of the very special time I spent doing the Cambridge MA!
This week me and 48 other graduates of the MA in Children's Book Illustration exhibited our work at the Candid Gallery in Islington to show the world the projects we have created during an intense, challenging, enriching, rewarding and all-round wonderful degree led by the fantastic Pam Smy and Martin Salisbury.
For me doing the MA has brought together so many of my different interests and made sense of them in one place. Here i have played with all the different ways I have always wanted to express myself: through words, pictures, humour. There is something so satisfying about a picture book, and the best ones become an important part of family life, so I am extremely excited that I now feel equipped to embark on a life in which I can continue to write a draw.
It's been wonderful to watch visitors pawing over our work - particularly children, and publishers of course! I look forward to watching the careers of all my classmates blossom very soon.
The exhibition is on until Saturday 13th, so do come on down if you have a chance. I"m super-proud to be part of it.
Hello and welcome to my website and my new blog! I will use this space to chart my adventures as an illustrator, writer, mother, and collector of everyday treasures.
I’m not sure exactly how the blog will take shape, but I’ll be sharing ideas and observations, as well as things that I learn about the craft of story-making.
I hope you enjoy it!