Emma Allen

My name is Emma Allen. A few years after the birth of my daughter I found myself at a crossroads in my life and wondering what to do next. My childhood dream of becoming an Illustrator had got lost somewhere along the way and I had sidestepped into magazine production and then motherhood. But I knew I had more to give and my true creative side had been stifled – the problem was I wasn’t sure how rusty it was or how to bring it back to life. My daughter helped me to tentatively find my way back without even knowing it; suddenly my focus was on painting magical murals for her bedroom and children’s picture books were finding their way into my home, inspiring and amazing me. I got back into painting and found that I was indeed rusty, but my focus and motivation were gaining new vigour with every passing day. I felt that my journey back to creativity needed guidance and so I started looking into courses. However, with a toddler to look after I didn’t have the luxury of heading off to college or university; a correspondence course seemed like the perfect solution. That is when I discovered the London Art College, and enrolled on their ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ course.

It was like a whole new world for me. I realised how much I had needed this; how much I had needed to use my brain and get back in touch with my artistic side. It was a part of who I was and it needed nurturing back to life. The course was fantastic, with projects that challenged me and motivated me, encouraged me to use art materials that I hadn’t tried before, and to think and create outside of my comfort zone. It amazed me how much I enjoyed creating artwork around subject matters that would never have occurred to me if left to my own devices. I would go as far as to say that the illustration course brought me back to life. I had been lost, but Illustration helped me to re-discover myself. The feedback I received from my tutor, Maggy Roberts, was invaluable and very thorough. The student forums were also fantastic; it was wonderful to be able to discuss illustration with inspiring like-minded students. When I won the ‘Student of the Year’ competition in 2012 I could hardly believe it, I was so thrilled and astonished.

Before the end of my course I was approached by a charity, ‘My Mother’s Love’, to illustrate a children’s E-Book. I was thrilled (and a little nervous) and happily accepted. Since then I have illustrated another two E-Books for them, and illustrated web banners, re-designed logos, and continue to have a wonderful working relationship with them. I had realised long before the end of my time with the London Art College that I knew for certain that I wanted to be an Illustrator, and though it hasn’t always been easy I have made that life for myself. It has been a steep learning curve and probably the hardest part is to get on the radar of the people who might want to commission you. Making people aware of your existence in the first place is not as easy as it sounds, and there is a lot of competition out there from about a zillion talented artists.

The first year was tough, I earned enough to break even on art materials and work was a trickle, but it was steady. Since then my earnings have increased year on year and I am always busy. I haven’t had a break in work since 2013 and I get repeat commissions from happy existing clients which is really great – it is wonderful to know that they are so pleased with the work I have done for them that they want to come back to me for more. There can be a long gap between wages coming in, especially if I am working on a bigger project like a story book which can take a long time to complete, so it is quite feast or famine, but I love it so much that I literally cannot imagine doing any other job now. Being my own boss is fab – doing my own tax returns is less fab, but hey, it has to be done. I’ve had to learn to do contracts, invoices, spreadsheets, marketing myself, maintaining my website – there is more to it than just creating the art, but strangely I enjoy all of that too.

This month a new book I illustrated for the publishing company Clear Fork Publishing has just gone on sale, and I am so excited. It is called ‘Sarah’s Song’ and is written by the wonderful children’s author Rosie J.Pova. It tells the story of a sensitive young girl called Sarah who worries about the changes in her grandma as she becomes elderly and how she turns to music to try and get her grandma singing and dancing again. It was a privilege to illustrate the book and is such a wonderful feeling knowing that it is out there on bookshelves where people can buy it. The process of working with the wonderful people at Clear Fork Publishing and helping to create the book has been so inspiring. ‘Sarah’s Song’ is available at the Publishers website and on Amazon.

I am currently working on a product related story book for a client in Canada, and also a Christmas themed biblical story book for a client in the USA, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I have some book ideas of my own bubbling away in the background, but finding time to develop them has been a challenge. In the mean time I am happy to be so busy doing something that I feel so passionate about. Thank you London Art College for giving me the confidence I needed to pursue my dream. You can find my website at www.emmaallenillustrator.co.uk

Emma Allen
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma

Julie Ann Maguire – Gone Crabbin’

Former London Art College student, Julie Ann Maguire is delighted to share the wonderful news that her drawing, Gone Crabbin’ has been selected for the 16th UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition at the Menier Gallery in London.

This will be her third successive year at the Menier. The show runs from 25 April to 6 May 2017. The Menier Gallery, 51 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU. All welcome.

Find out more on her art website blog:
http://suburbanartjam.com/wp/third-successive-year-at-the-menier-gallery-in-london/

Best Wishes
Julie Ann Maguire (JAM)

Success Story – Paul Ward

I have been studying with London Art College for two years now and feel that I have really developed. Most recently I entered the Buxton Open Spa Competition. The whole experience was great, well organised and it was great to have a real purpose to painting (you draw your location you are going to paint at random) I returned last week to collect my works and was delighted to find the picture bellow had sold in the exhibition!

Paul Ward
Landscape Diploma Course

Paul Ward

Landscape Online Art Course

Diane Allan is currently working on our Landscape Online Art Course Diploma and studied bluebells woodlands and trees as part of her first landscape project. Diane has said….

I would like a better understanding on how to paint landscapes and I would like to produce a landscape painting that I am happy with. In the long term I would like to be able to sell some of my work. I attend a local art club and have taken a 10 week course in basic watercolour painting. I am working on building a website to show my work to family and friends and hopefully the public. I have also started to post some of my work on ‘painters online’ for others to see and comment on.

As Diane has mentioned, Painters Online is a wonderful resource for students and budding artists. Most of our UK based students will have heard of the magazines ‘The Leisure Painter’ and ‘The Artist’ and many of them will have subscribed or purchased a magazine. The website is equally as great and you can visit it here – Painters Online. Im sure, like us, you will sit and scroll through the artwork on their home page in awe!

We hope you enjoy viewing Diane’s artwork and the photo of the woodland, and that you find it inspiring! If you would like to join Diane and study landscapes with tutor Alan Dedman, pop over to our website and visit our Landscape Online Art Course Diploma page.

Landscape Online Art Course

Landscape Online Art Course

Landscape Online Art Course

Illustrating Children’s Books – Angela Watson

Today’s post has been very kindly written by one of our students Angela Watson. Angela is studying the Illustrating Children’s Books Online Art Diploma Course with Maggy Roberts. Angela has written and illustrated ‘Emily and Ziba: The Shimmering Cave’ and so we asked Angela if she would write about it and her experiences for our college blog. We hope you all find it a fabulous read and very inspiring!

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In March this year Emily and Ziba: The Shimmering Cave, a 32 page picture book I have written, illustrated and published was finally sent out into the world. I had always wanted to write for children and in February 2006 I began studying with the Open University. In June 2013 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. As part of my degree I completed Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing modules.

At this time I had an idea for a children’s picture book. In September 2013, with a view to illustrating the book myself I signed up for a drawing and illustration course at Surrey Adult Education. Not having any art experience when I started the classes I was amazed when, in June 2014 I submitted a pen and ink drawing into the end of year Surrey Adult Learner Exhibition and received a commendation.

Not long after this, a chain of ideas formed in my mind for a new picture book story. This was helpful as my original idea had not inspired me to even make a start! Within a week I had drafted and sketched out my story. I then created my main character, Emily; my first attempts were laughable but eventually with a lot of practice, I had my little girl.

In September 2014 I started work on my dummy book but due to my lack of experience I became overwhelmed by the challenge I had set myself. So I researched online, looking for courses specifically aimed children’s book illustration. This was when I discovered the London Art College’s Diploma. I signed up and put my own project on hold for a while.

The course was just what I needed. Between December 2014 and February 2015 I raced through the coursework and submitted five assignments. Even though I did not strictly follow the brief (sorry Maggie!) the feedback I received helped me to identify my weak areas, for example inadequate shading so my pictures lacked depth! Also, it helped me to settle on watercolour as the medium for my book illustrations. Armed with my new knowledge and experience I starting working on Emily and Ziba again and finally finished my dummy book in June 2015.

Having all my sketches ready to draw up as final artworks I used a lightbox to trace them onto Langton Watercolour Paper (NOT, 140lb) and then inked them in using a black Uni-ball eye fineliner pen. I decided to use White Night Artist’s Watercolours to finish the illustrations as I love the vibrancy they bring to a picture; how easy they are to use and best of all they are not expensive!

I finally completed all the artwork at the end of December 2015. I pushed myself to finish this project as in August 2015 my nephew (Sam), aged sixteen months was diagnosed with a high risk cancer. At this point I decided once the books were printed that for each of the first one hundred books sold, I would donate £2 to Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. After which I would give 50p for every book sold. This was something I wanted to do as the charity gives vital emotional and practical support to Sam and his family.

My Story by Angela Watson

With Sam in my thoughts I wanted the book printed as soon as possible, so I decided to self- publish. I am glad I did as at the time of writing we have been told Sam only has a few months to live. My aim at this stage was to achieve the best quality product I could but for it to retail at £6.99; other than the cost of having the books printed I would do everything myself. So I researched printers and setting up as a publisher. I finally settled on a small printing press that would print my books on silk lined paper. Also, for only a small additional charge the printers took my ideas for the book’s layout and loaded my text and scanned artwork onto their system for printing. To complete the process I set up a publishing company so that I could be issued with my own ISBNs.

When all this was done I explored different web builder sites that were free as I needed a website to promote and sell my books. Eventually, I settled on WIX as I found it simple to use, it looked good and I could add a store, keep a blog and have a gallery with my portfolio. I also set up Facebook and Instagram accounts and have linked them to my website.

After everything was set in motion for Emily and Ziba: The Shimmering Cave I realised I still had not finished my Children’s Book Illustration Diploma. So I started work on assignment six. I decided to have fun and use my character Ziba as inspiration for my final piece!

The good news is not only have I now completed the course and received my Diploma, I have sold over one hundred Emily and Ziba picture books and written my first cheque to Rainbow Trust for £200; I have been interviewed by Radio Jackie and had a book signing at Barton’s Bookshop in Leatherhead. It has been an amazing journey and if you would like to read more about my story please visit my blog at http://angelaruthwatson.wix.com/books#!blog/g4msq

Angela Watson

http://angelaruthwatson.wix.com/books
https://www.facebook.com/angelaruthwatson
https://www.instagram.com/angelaruthwatson

Illustrating Children's books

Illustrating Children's books

Illustrating Children's books

Book Illustration – Dawn Treacher

Dawn Treacher studied with tutor Maggy Roberts on our Illustrating Children’s Book Online Art Diploma Course.. She has recently been working on a book illustration with publisher, Cranachan Publishing. Read below how Dawn was commissioned and the process behind completing the book illustration. We hope our students find Dawn’s story inspiring.

Book Illustration by Dawn Treacher

“I had not considered trying to find commercial illustration commissions as I had not long ago finished my Diploma in Children’s Book illustration and was still doing my follow on course with Maggie. I was submitting my children’s fantasy adventure novel to a small independent book publisher, Cranachan Publishing.

Though they did not accept my submission they said they googled me and discovered my website and that I was an illustrator. They asked me if I would consider illustrating a book for them that is due to be published in September this year, “The Beast On The Brock”, by John K Fulton. Of course, I was thrilled to be asked.

The following moth was very challenging but I learnt so much. The mythical beast of the Broch was the Pictish Beast and is based on the legend of a Scottish beast that was around in 700 AD. The only reference I was given was the simplistic stone craves that exist on medieval buildings. From this stone carving and the words of the text I had to create an image of the beast, being ridden by a pictish girl.

It took a lot of characterisation sketches and conferring with the author and the publishers until they were finally happy. Once this was approved I could move onto the final painting. The characters needed to be placed in an atmospheric Sottish landscape with ruins on the horizon. It also had to allow for text. the design needed to wrap around the whole book and the spine.

Throughout the process Cranachan Publishing were impressed with my ability to work from a brief. As a very new publishing company, who had never instructed an illustrator before, they found me very knowledgeable. In fact they were impressed I could guide them in what information I needed to know from them and what constraints we had in the brief. I found it a very valuable experience and have learnt a great deal.

Visit Dawns Website – www.dawntreacher.com

 

Dawn Treacher
Illustrator

Book Illustration

Illustrating Children’s Books Online Art Diploma Course

London Art College student Nina Daniels has very kindly had a photo taken of herself with her Diploma for us to display here on our college news blog.

We would like to congratulate Nina for passing the Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma Course with distinction.

If any of our students have photos of themselves with their diploma and artwork, we would be thrilled to feature them here on our blog. Email them to us at any time.

nina-daniels

Robert Wilkinson – Illustrating Children’s Book Course

Robert Wilkinson recently passed the Illustrating Children’s Book Online Art Course with flying colours. He gained a distinction for his dedication, commitment and outstanding work throughout the course. He was tutored by Maggy Roberts who supported him on his journey.

Robert is now tacking the Illustrating Children’s Book Follow on art course where he is developing his character design and storytelling through his artwork.

We were absolutely delighted to receive these two wonderful photos of Robert with his framed diploma and his artwork. Robert can now be seen featured on our websites home page. www.londonartcollege.co.uk

If any of our students would like to have photos taken of themselves with their artwork and / or diploma, we would love to see them and feature them on our site and social media. Email us at any time! 

robert-wilkinson-2 robert-wilkinson-1

Success Story – Jonnie Griffiths

Jonnie Griffiths recently completed the Cartooning Diploma Course with tutor John Byrne. Since completing the course Jonnie has been working hard on his drawing and cartoons, trying to promote himself and his work.

We have just received an email from Jonnie below which we are thrilled with. We thought we would share the news on our College news blog to congratulate him officially.

Jonnie said….

“It’s been a while but as ever I’ve been working hard on getting cartoons drawn and looking at publishers, etc.

I’m delighted to say I’ve had 12 of my cartoons printed on greeting cards from a local printing firm.

I’ve also set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for my work too which you can see at the links below.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bananaskincartoons
Twitter : Banana Skin Cartoons (@BSCartoons) | Twitter

I’ve made a list of local gift shops, cafes, and other appropriate places I may approach to see if they are interested in selling them. As ever I will keep you up to date with how I get on!”

You can see one of Jonnie’s cartoons below.

cartooning-online-art-course

Jonnie Griffiths
Cartooning Diploma Course

Jane Sunbeam

My name is Jane Sunbeam and I have just finished my MA in Children’s Book Illustration and I wanted to write how the Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma with Maggy Roberts was a really important part of this journey.

When I was nervously attempting to try to link my words and pictures, I found the Children’s Illustration course, and it was great, giving me the vital information I needed to get started – and reintroducing me to the basics such as pen and ink, and collage from my own painted papers.

I loved the briefs, as it was so useful doing the same as other students, learning and being inspired by those who had succeeded before me. I still use the collaged peacock image to this day. Maggie was so kind and constructive, and through this course I gained enough confidence (and images) to apply for the Ma.

We have our final show in London 9th to 13th Feb 2016 and the exhibition details are on their website.

Students can read my Blog and Facebook page and view my Website too.

Jane Sunbeam
Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma

jane-sunbeam