It seems like a good time to restart the blog! Y'no after my three year nap...Lots has happened but in a nutshell I had a baby, got engaged and bought a house haha. I've still been freelancing and soon I start as an unqualified Teacher working on supply for secondary schools. After being a stay at home mum and working evenings on my illustration commissions it's going to be really strange going into a proper 'job' again, especially one with 30+ teenagers all expecting me to lead the class. As nervous as I am I'm excited for the challenges ahead and it's a great chance to learn if teaching might be where it's at for me in the future!
As far as illustration goes I have been working on a 12 month contract with a speech therapy company based in Texas. We have been creating engaging learning resources for Spanish speaking children with speech issues. I'm limited as to what you can see from these commissions due to contracts but you can see some of the children's picture book illustration I have been working on below. These digital paintings were for a narrative by Christine Reavy, and are samples to send out to various companies to promote herself as an Author. Another Xalien book is coming too, 'Xalien goes to the farm by Michelle Path. That was a joy to work on, and is available soon to add to the collection (samples below). After Christmas production for Madeleine Goes to the Sunken Shipwreck begins, which since being a finalist in The People's Book Prize lots of people have been asking for another instalment.
I have joined SVS learning to develop my painting and drawing skills in the direction I would like to take them. So far I'm really impressed with the quality of the courses available and excellent teaching from professional illustrators such as Will Terry and Jake Parker. It's forcing me to step out of my comfort zone, make mistakes, and hopefully develop more as an artist.
Anyways.....brew time :)
So the past few weeks have been really busy! I completed quite a complicated satirical illustration for an American company, but due to privacy agreements I cant show you that. I'm currently doing some ninja character designs for a pet themed gift company which has been pretty fun so far!
I've been doing a lot of thinking about my career and what the next steps are that I need to take to nurture it. At 25 and on my second career choice (paramedic didn't quite work out ;0 ) I feel a certain amount of pressure, even if it is self inflicted, to push hard to make this dream a reality. So far going freelance has been quite successful, picking up plenty of work. I never really anticipated the amount of strange requests and hilarious budget proposals I would receive. Or the happy American people that call in the middle of the night asking if I'd like to have half a page advert in their journal for a mere $2000!! I never expected the isolation or the utter joy that can be gained from working from home, or that the 'skill' I should have practised most thoroughly was self-motivation.
Business, as it were, is in the blood for me it seems. My Grandma was a very successful woman with multiple businesses. Like me I think she probably relished dealing directly with customers and the rewards that can be reaped from being the boss. Another distant family member who was renowned for being the driving force behind her acting career was my great Aunt Bette Davis. She died the year I was born but from what I'm told she was known for working so hard at her craft that she found it difficult to detach from her on screen characters. Even my Dad was a travelling sales rep and delights in passing on his wealth of knowledge gained from his experience. More than skill, or talent or hard work I've found the most useful 'tool' I possess is my attitude. Wanting to get the best results for clients, being helpful , friendly
and approachable can often open doors that lead to work.
Hopefully with enough hard work and a bit of luck I can follow in their footsteps
This has been more of a 'catch up' , but hopefully I'll have some more illustrations to show you in the next blog entry :)
Following the release of Madeleine Goes to the Moon, I have been all over the place meeting kids enjoying the book with them! Pete and I have been lucky enough to be asked to open a new library this month for St Johns School in Crossens, which we are both really pleased and excited about. I can't wait to see the kids enjoying their brand spanking new library, its sure to be a memorable day.
I've not been doing so good with the InkTober challenge...It's Madeleine's fault ha ha! I managed this bin cats picture on the 1st but I owe quite a few now, oops! Instead of Inking today I went exploring though so its not so bad. I went with Dean over to the singing ringing tree in Burnley which was amazing (and a little chilly!)
If you have a spare 5 minutes this coming week please review Madeleine here, it means so much as far as pushing the distribution of the book up a notch. We really would appreciate it.
Thanks in advance! I promise to get inking soon! ;p
We had a great time last Saturday at our long awaited launch event! It was lovely to see all the kids engaging with the book and really enjoying the pictures. There was lots of colouring in and sweets for everyone, before we knew it we were surrounded by kids! There were so many great entries into the colouring competition it was almost impossible to choose, but eventually we selected our 2 winners.
On the Sunday Pete and myself were in Waterstones Blackpool for their first ever Storytime. It was a little quiet but it meant we had chance to chat with the kids and find out what they thought of the book. We met some really intelligent young people, many of whom were avid readers. One thing that did seem common was that most of the children we spoke to had never had a school visit from an author or an illustrator. This made me more determined than ever to push ahead with more school visits so kids can find out exactly how a book comes to be.
I'm very excited to do some illustration workshops with the children at All Saints School in Hesketh Bank on Friday 3rd October. This will be the first event of this nature that I have done, and as we speak I'm preparing some exciting activities to hopefully inspire some future artists and illustrators.
As promised here is the second colouring competition page! Print off either the rocket or the monster and let the kids get designing. Just send a picture of the artist with their picture to email@example.com. Don't forget to include the name and age of the entrant! There are many prizes available (as you can see!) so don't delay, get colouring today! :) We will choose our first lucky winner tomorrow after the launch, GOOD LUCK KIDS!
As the launch day draws near we can start of the celebrations with the launch of the colouring competition! The competition will be be held in store at Waterstones in Preston, but if you are unable to make it to our launch fear not you can still enter the competition here! Just colour Madi's rocket (below) and your child could win a signed copy of the book or even a SPACE KIT! Its easy, print off the rocket outline and off you go! Just email a picture of the artist with the rocket picure to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Use subject: Madi colouring competition, and tell us how old the entrant is. Draws for space kits will be 27th and 28th September. But we will be giving away some free signed books to some special entries over the next few weeks so get creative! :)
We want to encourage all kids to get colouring, so I'll be bringing out another picture for you to colour this week! Why not colour both? You might win 2 prizes! Crayons will be provided at the launch event for entrants. If you win I will email you so check your inbox regularly! Good luck kids!
The proof copy is here!!! Its in the hands of the publishers at the moment but I can't wait to get my own copy! Lots of preparation is going into the launch event that will be held at Waterstones in Preston on Saturday 27th September. Pete and I will be there from mid-day running competitions, signing books and eating sweets, I hope you'll join us!
The first installment of the 'Xalien the Purple Alien' series is
available now for only £5.99!!!
To celebrate, here is a sneak preview of book 2, Xalien goes to school!
****MADELEINE GOES TO THE MOON IS NOW AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER AT THE LINK BELOW!***
EVERYONE who PRE-ORDERS this great book will have their copy SIGNED by myself and Peter Lynas Author !
I'm Charlie Roberts, an illustrator from Lancashire.