Initially I completed the Illustrating Children’s Books diploma course with Maggy Roberts and achieved a distinction which was great and it gave me the confidence to enrol on the follow on course, which I have now just completed.
The aim of the follow on course was to write and compile a children’s picture book concept and to have a dummy book and 3 pieces of completed artwork that would be suitable to submit to a publisher and also begin work on compiling a portfolio of work.
As cats are often a source of my inspiration, I chose them and their ‘Ladder trip to the moon’ as the theme for my book. Once Maggy had ironed out my ‘over-wordiness’! and the text was approved, we worked on character formation – I really enjoyed this part and soon decided on my three main characters, I then created a storyboard, to work out the final page layouts for the finished book and once approved I began work on the dummy book – a life-size ‘rough’ of how I imagined the final book to appear.
I spent some weeks on the dummy book, as I wanted to get it completely right and was pleased with what I had achieved. Maggy was pleased with the dummy book and gave me the go ahead to produce the artwork with no changes to the actual dummy book.
I created my favourite scenes from the book, the scenes that had action and humour in them and set to work. After trials with every type of medium, I felt that watercolour and inks were where I was happiest and produced the artwork in that medium. Maggy approved the artwork and gave me the go ahead to find some prospective publishers to post my work to.
I did extensive research, using the children’s writers and artists yearbook and also the Internet to find publishers that most suited my work, but also I felt I might have a chance to approach as many will not see submissions unless you have an agent.
I found 3 publishers that I felt best suited my ideas and created 3 packages each containing a copy of the dummy book and copies of 3 of the completed artwork double page spreads, a cover letter and an envelope with return postage and return address label! All of the chosen publishers stated that it usually takes 12 weeks before they respond, this was 5 weeks ago, so I still have a wait to find out if I have been successful or not!
I really enjoyed the whole process from the original spark of an idea, seeing it through to a completed dummy book ready for submission, I feel that even if it is not published, I have achieved so much in experience and the confidence to keep trying and hopefully one day I will have a published book.
The feedback from Maggy was always very constructive and honest and I really leaned from her advice and appreciated all her comments and help
I have now just signed up to do the Digital Illustration course as I still want to learn new techniques and hope that this medium will enhance and build upon what I have already leaned with Maggy.