I’m taking some time over the next few weeks to create some authorial work. Work that comes from me – no brief, no budget, no direction from a commissioner, just stuff that I want to make. Let’s see what happens!
[Image: Nothing visual to share on this yet, so here’s an illustration I did as sample for a previous commission that didn’t get used.]
And I’ve only just realised that all this time I’ve not even shared images of that book here! Here are a few of my favourite spreads.
[Photos of my copy of ‘Collins First School Dictionary’, published HarperCollins 2018]
The internet, eh? Despite all the hours I’ve spent trawling through it last year, I’ve only just come across a load of reviews for a dictionary that I illustrated a couple of years back. It can be a strange thing getting a book published. You spend weeks or months pouring every last bit of yourself into creating work and meeting deadlines, unable to share anything about it with the outside world, even though you want to shout ‘hey guess what I’m working on? It’s so amazing/difficult/fun!’ to anyone that’ll listen. But you have to wait. Then publication date comes and goes, and nobody really talks about it because they haven’t bought it yet. So you move on to the next project, and get fully immersed in that one. And you kind of forget that anyone’s reading the previous thing.
Then a year or so passes, you’re browsing Amazon, and bam! ‘Collins First School Dictionary’ – people have reviewed and bought aplenty. Whether they liked it or not, if it’s become a household favourite, or re-gifted, it’s really not that important. It’s just such a lovely thing to realise that some kids will have read it, that it might have sparked some interest in learning about words, or perhaps spurred one reader to grab hold of language and learn to use it for themselves.
What a fantastic thing. I am so happy to have got that job.
[A couple of my favourite reviews from amazon.co.uk.]
The brief for a commission I was working on last week was ‘someone holding a trophy’, and I just loved getting inspired by Billie Eilish at the Grammys. What a fab achievement. Well done her.
[Illustration and roughs for commission by Collins Learning, HarperCollins Publishers]
Sometimes working from home is hard. I’m really not complaining because I know how lucky I am to be able to do it. But sometimes it is, and there’s nothing else for it but to switch everything off and head out. Usually when I least feel like it. I had a day like that this week, and it was pouring with rain outside. Buckets. I threw on my most weather resistant gear and went for a big walk.
By the time I got to the park I was dripping wet, but the sun had started to shine. I spent the afternoon in glorious mud with both rain and sunshine out to play, and returned home a good deal ruddier.
[Images: My photos from the walk at Linn Park– muddy, wet and beautiful. I even spotted some graffiti with the word ‘RAIN’ scratched in. At least I think that’s what it said.)