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Friday 3 July 2015

Draw Kitty Le Claw Competition Winner!

To celebrate the publication of the second in the Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam picture book series 'The Cat Burglar' we set a drawing competition in conjunction with Daily Doodle.

The Cat Burglar in question is Kitty Le Claw - she's known for disguise and for breaking the law!

Here are some the fantastic entries full of wit and imagination;

and here is the WINNER!

Congratulations to Alejandra Tilve - we loved this one - really clever and I can imagine Kitty escaping the police dogs for a while disguised on this shelf.  Alejandra wins a signed copy of the book, a signed print and goody bag! 

Sunday 14 June 2015

#PicturesMeanBusiness and illustrators must too!

Sarah McIntryre has written an excellent blog post highlighting the fact that sometimes, illustrators don't get the credit for the copious amount of illustrations that adorn children's picture books and fiction titles, and the effects thereof .  Read Sarahs blog HERE

As Sarah states, it is truly wonderful that Chris Riddell is now the Children's Laureate as though Chris IS a writer, it is his stunning illustrations and beautifully crafted characters and worlds that first grab your attention and make you wish you could use a fine brush and ink like he does.  Having met Chris on a few occasions I can safely say that he is also an incredibly nice person who always has time for a chat and a welcoming smiley face - he's all-round brilliant.

With Chris supporting the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign I'm sure that within the next two years, any discrepancy regarding the accreditation of illustrators by all involved; meta data, websites, publishers, authors, even the illustrators themselves, will be whipped into shape.

Which leads me to my main point of this post.  While there is undoubtedly a bigger picture here and a system that needs some fine-tuning/big kick up the bottom, I sometimes think that illustrators aren't aware that they too have the ability to help themselves in these matters...

Publishers don't set out to intentionally upset illustrators.  From my experience each and every member of the book creating team is INCREDIBLY busy and so from time to time things can slip through the net.

However, during the creation of each book there is a schedule.  Now as in any industry, schedules can often be highly ambitious but there are key points at which we as illustrators can check with the editor/sales and marketing team/art director or whoever your key 'liason officer' is.

We all know it can take a very long time to make a book - from concept to final artwork it can take years.  This means there is plenty of time to just check in every now and then, either yourself or via your agent if you have one, just how and where you will be credited if you aren't sure.

The best stage in the process to do this at, apart from your initial meeting is at proof stage.  Alongside the important visual checks like colour, bleed, composition, resolution, detail and my favourite (as Steph at Nosy Crow knows all too well about!)  ARE THE ENDPAPERS OK?!?!?!!!!  What you must also look at is the fine detail and positioning of your name, as this is a good starting point to letting your publisher know that you are 'on it.'

I have made picture books with Nosy Crow, Little Tiger and Orchard and illustrated fiction books with Quercus and Pan Macmillan and can safely say that there were never any qualms about where my name was going to be positioned on the covers and insides of the books, but if I had noticed when the PDF proofs had come in that something was awry, I would have been straight on the blower to my agent to say "er Sallyanne, I fear my name is missing from the book that I've just spent my social life creating" (or words to that effect.)

Also while the current system gets an overhaul with continued meetings and campaigning by Sarah and others, we as illustrators are also able to set up our own author page (yes and that should be illustrator page too but that will come!) on Amazon.  Add all the books that you have had any involvement with (writing or illustrating, not just reading!) and if you spot any descrepancies there you can contact them directly telling them of the error and usually within 24 hours they will add your name to the offending item.

I have been very fortunate to have been paired with very supportive authors; Tracey Corderoy and Frank Cottrell Boyce are wonderful champions of my illustrations and working with them is a delight, but I am aware that this isn't always the case.

As illustrators we have to start treating what we do as a business, after all that's exactly what it is. We get caught up in the fun and frivolity of doing what we adore for a living but that shouldn't mean we sacrifice our right to be credited for all the fun, sorry, work we have done.

I think sometimes we feel that we just have to go along with things and 'oh it's ok' but Sarah and the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign have certainly got me thinking.

Nowadays we can't really just do the doodles, we need to market ourselves, dress up, sing songs, design posters, postcards, tweet, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, write blog posts, and at the moment must keep tabs on where we are and are not credited.

Take control of your own business as much as possible and support #PicturesMeanBusiness and soon all will be well I'm sure :)

Tuesday 2 June 2015

It's time to WIN and draw.......KITTY LE CLAW!

To celebrate the publication of Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Cat Burglar being exactly one month away I am setting a little competition...

I want you lovely lot to send me your pictures of Kitty Le Claw - who's known for disguise and for breaking the law - she is one NAUGHTY feline I can tell you.

Tracey Corderoy has written another beautifully funny, rhyming romp starring our favourite robber dogs and new character Kitty Le Claw.

Here are some images from the book so you can see what Kitty looks like;

As Kitty is a master of disguise it would be lovely if you could draw Kitty wearing a cunning or hilarious disguise...

Now as this is a competition of COURSE there is a prize!

The winner will receive a signed hardback copy of the book along with an exclusive signed print, set of postcards and badges to boot!

To enter please post your Kitty Le Claw drawing on my Twitter feed @2dscrumptious !

Have fun - we can't wait to see some ingenious disguises...

The winner will be announced towards the end of June.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Cat Burglar will publish by Nosy Crow on July 2nd.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Bath Children's Literature Festival Illustration...the process.

I have been asked by the Bath Literature Festival to create one of the iconic 'Big Red Chair' illustrations.

The Red Chair is the symbol of the children's festival and so it's a great honour to be adding my work to a list of esteemed heroes of mine with Chris Riddell, Tony Ross and David Roberts being just three of the inspirational illustrators who have all created a Red Chair illustration over the years.

In this post I thought it would be nice to show the stages I went through to create the finished piece.

It was important that the piece was created using traditional materials as all the Red Chair illustrations created this year are going to be exhibited and auctioned off as part of the festival.


After initial panic and deliberation over which media to use I cracked on with sketching out the characters in various positions around the chair until I was happy with the final composition.

Sam was initially dancing on one of the chairs arms

Princess Daisy was wiggling her toes in my original version.

I decided it would be fun if Big Eared Bob made an appearance!

Drawing Daisy and Kitty together in one illustration was fun :)

Getting the scale of the Dragon just right was a tad tricky

The final sketch was ready after lots of tweaking, head scratching and biscuits.

Once I was happy with the composition and all the characters sizing and poses it was time to test a bit of colour.  I decided to use a dry medium, coloured pencil.

A mini colour test version of the illustration

I tested lots of different colours - it's amazing how different the assorted makes of pencil are - it took me a while to decide on each characters palette, but I got there in the end and started to colour each section of the drawing character by character;

Scottie Dog is NOT happy about something...

Kitty is my current favourite character to draw. It was really enjoyable re-creating her in coloured pencil

It was quite nerve-racking as I kept going...

Finding the right colours and textures for Shifty was tricky.

This is also the first time that Spider and Snail have met on the same page!

The original sketches, colour test scribbles and final artwork

After a few hours the illustration was complete - no spillages or disasters!

The finished artwork will be exhibited alongside the other Red Chairs created by this years illustrators including Jim Field, Tor Freeman, Alex T Smith and Yasmeen Ismail.

All of the original artworks will also be sold at auction.

For more details of this and everything about the festival please visit the Bath Kids Literature Festival website HERE.

Sunday 8 February 2015

Princess Daisy Book Launch and Children's Event...

To celebrate the publication of Princess Daisy & the Dragon & the Nincompoop Knights last Thursday, we held a book launch party at Pickled Pepper Books.

Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End, North London

We put up bespoke bunting, balloons, and baskets of goody bags along with an exhibition of original artwork and prints from the book.

Goody bags full of badges, bookmarks, lollipops and stickers

The Princess Daisy exhibition featuring original artwork and prints

Medieval bunting!

The evening was a great success and it was lovely to see friends, family, work colleagues and fellow authors and illustrators all having a lovely time.  

Kate Wilson and myself mid speeches

My wonderful niece Hannah who I based the character Princess Daisy on was on hand to help me sign the books:

Hannah on spelling duty!

Then two days later on Saturday morning it was time for the premier children's event for Princess Daisy!

It was another shop full!  This time filled with lots of children keen to hear the story and to join in with some dragon drawing and crown/tiara making which they really got stuck into:

Settling in ready for storytelling and dragon drawing

Some Shifty McGifty fans travelled afar too to hear the first book reading and to meet the beautiful, especially hand-made baby dragon!

Big Shifty & Sam fan Amelia, now a big Dragon fan!

Sienna and Monet making a Dragon sandwich!

A wonderful supporter of my work, Jo Byatt

A big thank you to Pickled Pepper Books and all the parents and children who came along on Saturday.

It's been a wonderful start for the book and I have had lots of tweets and photos of Princess Daisy on book store shelves from independent shops to WHSmith and Waterstones:

Two happy customers in WHSmith

Waterstones in Doncaster

I think my favourite tweet has to be from a lady who's 3 year old was inspired by the story to make their own Playmobil Princess Daisy character riding on her cow - how fab !:

It's so lovely to see that the book has inspired readers already and has captured the imaginations of children around the UK.

I will be updating the blog soon with some exciting activity sheets so keep a look out for more Princess Daisy, the Dragon and those Nincompoop Knights very soon!