My name is Heather Roberton and I am studying on the Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma Course. Earlier this year I visited a local art exhibition and got talking to one of the artists about the studies we were both doing. I mentioned that i was studying children’s book illustration with the London Art college and she asked me for my contact details as her mum was about to self publish a book and was looking for an illustrator. I have learned from previous experience to always carry business cards with me (even when going to an evening function. You never know who you might meet), so I handed her my card and within a week had a meeting with the author, Brenda.

After many discussions I was asked to produce about 30 illustrations. I gave it some thought and very nearly turned down the commission, as I still had my final two assignments to complete and I had to develop a style that would suit her stories. It was very hard work, and very scary at times as I didn’t think I could complete such a large project with my limited experience, but she was in the same boat and together we worked through our ideas and decided on the final list of illustrations. I was very fortunate with this project, as Brenda let me play around with my own ideas, and offer alternative illustrations if i didn’t think another would work. It took many months, but we finally did it. At the end I was also tasked with editing the book and getting all the final files ready for print, so had to liaise with the printers too.

I’m very excited to say that the book is finally with the printers and the first print run of Nanny B’s Magic Hat should be ready before Christmas.

We decided not to register an ISBN for the first print run as we wanted to see what the response to the book would be, but within the first few days of taking pre-orders we had sold over forty copies with more orders coming in, and we have a stand booked at a conference in January.

Our next step is to contact the ISBN agency to obtain an ISBN for the book, so that we can sell the book through online book stores.

I couldn’t have done all this without the knowledge I gained through this course, and I can’t wait to enrol in the next one.

Nanny B’s Magic Hat – Written by Brenda Arkley and Illustrated by Heather Robertson.

The reading age For Nanny B’s Magic Hat is seven and upwards but a five year old would enjoy having the stories read to them too. The book has over 100 pages and six lovely illustrated stories depicting animals who talk, mermaids, dolphins, a mysterious grandfather who changes back and forth into an eagle, and other magical characters. Oh and of course a Magic hat!

The back cover reads:-

“With the aid of Nanny B’s Magic hat, travel across time in the blink of an eye to a wondrous world. Celebrate a ‘stomping’, feel the very real anxieties of hunted animals, share the delights of swimming with mermaids, glimpse the problems of man’s disregard for our precious environment and enjoy an unexpected encounter in the snow. Join Freya, Riggs the dog and Nanny B as they experience ‘another world and another adventure’ in the company of the mysterious and kindly Grandfather. Prepare to be enchanted!”

And this part of the first story-
“The huge eagle gave out a high pitched screech and beat his wings as if to take off again but instead, a strange mist began to envelop it until it could no longer be seen. It changed colour, blue, green,purple and grew taller until a shape appeared at its centre. In an instant the mist disappeared and there stood a strange and fantastic figure of a man!!!!!……”
And this is an excerpt from the book about Brenda:
Brenda Arkley is a wife, mother and grandmother living in Hampshire, England.
The idea for these stories was conceived on the flight back to England after leaving behind her daughter and six week old granddaughter in Canada. Separated from and missing physical contact with her daughter and this latest edition to the family, she wondered how she could continue to be part of their lives when she was so far away. Time travel seemed to be the only option and Nanny B’s Magic Hat was born!

If you’d like to order a copy of Nanny B’s Magic Hat, sales are direct through me and the author, as the book is self published. The book costs £10 + P&P and the first print run should be with us by the week of 15 December.

We can be contacted via our Facebook pages
and
Earlier this year I never would’ve believed it if someone had told me I’d be selling a book with my name on it by the end of the year.
Some of the best advice i was ever given is this:
  • Carry a sketch book with you and draw something every, even if it’s rubbish. Draw everything.
  • Invest in some good business cards, and carry them with you at all the times. You never know who you might meet and where your conversations may take you.
When anyone asks what I do now, i don’t shy away and say I just draw pretty pictures. I proudly say I’m an artist and illustrator. Art is hard work and takes countless hours of practice, trial and error.  So be confident, be brave, believe you can do it and go for it. You never know where your drawings might take you.
Heather Robertson
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma
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