my rule about a picture book: if you don’t want to stroke it you probably don’t want to buy it.
It’s all about textures! Whether it’s handmade wallpapers, real buttons, shadows and collage…
or Muffin‘s soft fluffy fur…
I’m always trying to make my books into lovely objects. That’s why there will always be real books on real paper, right?
It was so nice, when handing in the artwork for Martha and the Bunny brothers I Love School, I saw someone do a double-take and just run their finger over a collage-y edge: it looked so not-flat! If not-flat even makes sense.
This time I’m going one step further. I’m actually SEWING some parts of my book. I’m not a terribly neat sewer, but it’s in the style of a four-year-old rabbit’s handiwork – so phew, that’s OK!
That sounds so great! So, when you submit your work, you can submit collaged pages and bits that are stuck or sewn on the paper even if they are going to be reproduced digitally? Have I got that right?
I know so little about the actual process of making, even though I have thousands of picture books, and this is one reason why I love your blog so much. By the time Martha arrives at my home in the form of a book I will feel as if I know her already!
Slight correction – I have READ thousands of picture books. I would LOVE thousands, though that might be a bit greedy….
Hello Anne, thanks so much for getting in touch. Well, I maybe COULD supply my artwork with lots of collage-y bits and pieces, but the production department would probably hate me… so I scan them in myself and fiddle around with them to my heart’s content, and hand in the artwork in one flat piece. It’s a strange mix of opposites: the more hand-made I want it to look, the bigger strain it is on my not-especially-advanced digital skills!
How excellent that you have such an interest in picture books – both from a seat in the stalls AND behind the scenes! And ON the stage too, soon, I’m thinking???
Thanks Clara – that is so interesting. I feel I’ve got lots of theory but am intimidated by the practice. I so admire working illustrators like you, producing such beautiful books, and your blog is so welcoming and helpful.
You’re right – I DO long to illustrate eventually, but I feel I need to improve my skills. I’m even going for an open day in February at Cambridge for the p/t degree in Illustration, but it’s a bit worrying about the cost. I could apply for the shorter MA in Children’s Illustration, which would still cost but much less, but I’m worried I’m just not advanced enough.
I’ve got LOTS of theory! Back in 1993/95 I did a part time evening MA In Children’s Literature, & I did my dissertation on…wait for it…’images of mothering in Shirley Hughes’ illustrations!’. Then I got married & read those same books to my own children!
So I feel like I’ve always loved picture books. In 2002/3 I did a p/t BTEC in Fine Art, and in 2003/5 I did another part time evening course MA in Creative Writing & wrote a novel for adults, but in all this time I was too much in awe of children’s books to try writing one myself.
I suppose I’m the opposite of those people who think they can just scribble down a book for children – I know how skilled it is and LOVE them!
It’s only in the last couple of years I’ve been brave enough to try and I know that’s what i want to do now!
So thanks again for your blog and the inspiration!
Anne, I’m thrilled that you’ve got in touch to share your experiences, hopes and plans. My goodness, you are so very much more educated than I am! I WISH I could have a peek at your dissertation one day, and what a coincidence… it’s a good subject!
I do hope you find the right course for you. I’m sure we’ll speak more about that anon. It would mean, above all, time spent intensively learning, and building confidence – and having fun! If illustration is telling stories with pictures – that’s how I see it, anyway – you’re so completely cut out for it I can tell. You’ll be signing copies of YOUR books for me one day…
Clara – you are so lovely!My dissertation is very enthusiastic rather than academic, with lots of photocopies of your Mum’s wonderful illustrations. I’ll lend it to you one day! However, I’d a million times rather actually be able to do the drawing than just write about it though it does fill me with delight & admiration to look at illustrations by others.
Thank you so much for your lovely vision for me. I do hope it comes true, and in the meantime I’ll keep on enjoying your blog & tweets & stories!
oops – sorry about that longwinded post!
Simply beautiful. And yes “not-flat” makes perfect sense. Thanks for entering this post in the LAB showcase.
How lovely and kind of you to say so – THANK YOU! I really love being part of the LAB community – you’ve got a brilliant thing going there. Thank you for that too!
You had me stroking the screen at points in this post!
I found it really interesting reading in the comments about how you scan the work in to be sent off to be printed – I have always wondered how that works!
I consider myself enlightened 😀
(and thanks for your kind LAB words there too x)
Thank you so much, Annie, for saying so. It’s all a bit like cooking an elaborate meal – in go into ingredients, fingers crossed it just tastes ok when served up…
loving to be part of the LAB gang, btw – showing really great stuff, and SUCH warm welcome.