One of the very best things to have come from publishing An Amazing Alphabet of Cake is the messages I've received telling me about little ones enjoying it. I was absolutely bowled over recently when a lovely friend of mine told me that her little girl had been coming home from school every day and drawing pictures from the book. She had been determined to draw every page and my friend presented me with a collection of pages, tied together with golden ribbon, that her daughter had asked her to show me. Well, what can I say? I was so touched that my drawings had inspired her to create something so wonderful. She had picked up on all the detail and even drawn herself into the pictures. Wow. What an amazing piece of work. THIS is why I create : )
This week I received my first confirmation of sales figures for An Amazing Alphabet of Cake from Amazon. The numbers may be modest but I'm so chuffed that people are buying and enjoying the book. Lots of friends have been sending me photos and videos of their little ones reading about cake. One of the little poppets is even trying to eat the cake from the page : ) Every review and note I receive makes me feel a little bit emotional and encourages me to create more. Thank YOU.
Anyone who knows me knows I love a project. I've been spending some time resetting my creative mind but find it difficult to do nothing! So I've been enjoying getting back into brush lettering. I went to some workshops a couple of years ago and wanted to remind myself how relaxing and meditative it is. A while ago I thought about writing an online course but had a rethink and decided to simply share what I've learnt for anyone else who wants to get started.
I created a little website to do just that. Please click on the picture below to take a look.
I've been taking a little break from illustration over Christmas and although I've been sketching a bit with pencil and paper, I haven't used my computer to draw at all. It's been really nice to take the pressure off after working so hard to complete An Amazing Alphabet of Cake. Today I took myself off to the V & A Museum in London to seek out a little inspiration for the New Year. I took my sketchbook, a Blackwing pencil (my favourite) and my camera and took my time, absorbing little details in each of the galleries. I was planning to spend the day looking at classical art and sculpture but discovered a lot more illustration than I expected. I was particularly enamoured with an amazing cabinet that was made in western India in the late 17th century, which was covered in quirky illustrated characters. A real gem (shown top left and bottom right below).
I haven't had much time to take part in #colour_collective this year but wanted to make sure that I drew one last picture for 2017. I wanted to draw something calm and warm and this is what came to mind... Merry Christmas : )
"A real Christmas treasure that is a delight to look at." - The Sun
What a Christmas treat! Angel's Great Escape was featured in the Sun newspaper this week. I'll be honest, I'm very much at the beginning of learning about marketing my books and as a tiny independent it's sometimes hard to be seen in the sea of publications. I'm really grateful for every review we get, for people taking the time to include our creations. So a huge thank you to Natasha Harding for this write up AND for giving Angel the same number of stars as Paddington!
Putting your work out into the wild and hearing what people think about it can be a nerve-wracking experience! And it can also be really wonderful. This week, we have received not one but two lovely reviews for Angel's Great Escape from book bloggers Read It Daddy and Being Mrs C. I always wanted to give children the same feeling I had when I read picture books and hearing how little ones are enjoying the story on the lead up to Christmas really does make it all worthwhile.
We snuggled down together for another enjoyable read through. The print version is sublime, and definitely belongs on our Advent Calendar this year.
Read the full Read It Daddy review here.
Written in rhyming text it’s lovely to read out loud when all snuggled up together and the accompanying illustrations are gorgeous, really bringing the story to life. It’s a definite must read in our pile of Christmas books.
Read the full Being Mrs C review here.
I'm super happy with these brand new cake stickers that I added to my Etsy shop this morning. I've used illustrations from my new book An Amazing Alphabet of Cake to create an A6 sheet of 7 stickers that you can use to brighten up your notebook or laptop. Stickers include a lemon drizzle cake, cupcakes, a towering Victoria sponge, a rainbow cake and a cute cluster of fondant fancies! Unfortunately you don't get any cakes with your order but they do look good enough to eat and are the perfect stocking filler : )
For the past three years I have been taking part in #illo_advent on Twitter and Instagram. It's a simple illustration challenge where you draw something Christmassy each day throughout the festive season and post it with the hashtag to share it with the lovely illustration community. I love it. It helps me to practise and makes me feel part of something cheery and creative. Here are my first four pictures. Lots more to come : )
So after a year of sketching, illustrating, proof-reading, designing, tweaking and tidying, it's finally here! An Amazing Alphabet of Cake was published on Thursday 30 November. A very special date for me as it would have been my Dad's birthday. The book is inspired by an A to Z game we used to play on car journeys. A game I still play often with the little ones in my life.
This time last year, I sat down in a cafe with a sketchbook and set myself the challenge of coming up with 26 ideas for 26 pages of a book about an alphabet of cake. I loved the idea of my second picture book coming from something that was so close to my heart. I scribbled anything that came to mind, brainstorming words that might work, remembering cakes that the little ones had come up with when we had played the game. I slowly started translating my thoughts on to Photoshop, one letter at a time, sketching and layering, trying out different colours and building the illustrations slowly but surely.
As I've mentioned before, I only started drawing about three years ago. Creating this book has given me a project to really practise with. Working independently has meant I only have my own deadlines to work to so I fitted drawing around my day job. Slowly ticking all the letters off the list.
By June I had drafts of all 26 pages and was ready to start working with my book designer. I had worked with Sarah Goodwin on Angel's Great Escape so knew we worked well together. Although I had figured out the composition of most of the pages, Sarah helped so much by suggesting fonts, tweaking the palette to ensure consistency and creating the files in InDesign ready to publish. I also engaged a proofreader to check through the wording for me. She really helped by suggesting edits that would help the rhythm of the text.
I absolutely love working with my small team. I love the independence of being able to make our own decisions. I love how I can quickly tweak an image if I need to. Although this is the second picture book I've published, it's the first one I've illustrated and I'm very much feeling my way. Seeing the reviews start to come through on Amazon, seeing how the book is resonating with people, really makes me happy. I'm already starting to sketch book number three. Building my tiny empire one picture at a time.
"What a brilliant book. Beautiful illustrations, very quirky, and would keep a child entertained for ages, whilst learning their alphabet. A great stocking filler too. Highly recommended."
"This book is such a sweet treat (pun intended). The characters are full of life and mischief and you basically want to sit with them and join in the fun. Inventive, colourful and joyful. Each turn of the page brings a smile. Wonderful!"
"What's not to love? The joy of choosing your favourite cake without the guilt of the calories. Such a beautifully illustrated book and one that I'm really looking forward to sharing with my young nephew".
I'm so excited today to be announcing the title and revealing the cover of my brand new picture book An Amazing Alphabet of Cake! The book will be available to buy on Amazon in a couple of weeks time and if you'd like to be one of the first to get your copy make sure you sign up to the newsletter on my home page...Read More
"This book is very sweet, with a lovely flowing rhyming story and beautiful illustrations that bring the story to life. Definitely one to add to your Christmas book collection!" It's SO lovely to see our first review for Angel's Great Escape: A Christmas Story on the Toddler Things website...Read More
I love hearing about other's experiences of publishing and seeing projects take shape. This video from writer, poet and vlogger Jen Campbell gives a lovely insight into her experience of working with illustrator Katie Harnett to create Franklin's Flying Bookshop. Having worked with Kristyna Litten to create Angel's Great Escape and now putting together my own illustrated picture book, it's comforting to see that I'm approaching it in the same way. I'm intending to share a lot of detail about how I work soon but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this inspiring treat.
I decided recently that I would stop doing commissions for a little while as I'm working full time on events at the moment and want to dedicate any spare time I can squirrel to my new picture book. BUT. Then a good friend of mine asked me to draw something special for his parents' golden wedding anniversary so how could I say no?...Read More
While life is busy with the day job and my second picture book is taking shape behind the scenes in the hands of my wonderful book designer, I am enjoying having little pockets of time to sketch and create illustrations...Read More