I studied with Maggie Roberts for the Children’s Book Illustration Diploma and was awarded a distinction. I went on to do the follow course and wrote the picture book, Mouse Pirate. Through the follow on course I worked on the characterisation of Mouse Pirate and completed the dummy book. At the end of the course I submitted three double page spreads to Maggie and was very happy with her comments. I was pleased because I had found the follow on course tough, and it took me the full two years to complete it and I even had to abandon my first picture book idea and start again writing a new story as I struggled with the story boarding part of the course.
So next comes the tougher bit, sending your manuscript and sample images out to agents and independent publishers. Rejection is hard and it knocks you back, I have to admit that. I had given up hope of finding someone to believe in my project when I attended a local event at last years Writers festival in Malton. Aspiring authors were invited to attend a networking event to meet local established authors and chat and this event was attended by Stairwell Books, a small independent book press from York. I got chatting to Rose and Alan who run this book press and discovered they were looking to branch out into children’s books, and were looking for their first picture book. I plugged my book and said I could send them some images which I did. They loved the artwork, the three double spreads I had done on the course and they invited me along for a chat.
Mouse Pirate will be published by Stairwell Books this September, hopefully to coincide with International talk like a pirate day on the 19th. I have already written the sequel, Space Pirate, which is plugged on the back cover. My publishers aim to have several launch events to promote the book, one being in Waterstones in York.
I have created a soft sculpture of my main character and we are looking at merchandise to go with the book, something I am currently working in. I have included some images for you from the book along with my character doll.
Without the London Art College I would not have achieved this and I hope by sharing my journey I can give fellow students hope that if you keep trying and get out there you too could have your picture book published.