🌟NEW TITLE!🌟 How I Independently Publish Picture Books Now Available


I’m really excited to say that I launched my new book How I Independently Publish Picture Books this week! The book is available as a downloadable PDF on Etsy and as an ebook on the Kindle Store and tells you all about my own path to indie publishing my stories.

I’m entirely self taught and it has taken me several years to learn about the different steps and processes that are required to publish. I hope that sharing what I’ve learnt will help you to have a go at publishing your own picture books too.

I see the book as an ongoing project so please do get in touch and let me know what you think and if there’s anything else you would like to see included.

Meanwhile, I plan to share some excerpts here and am also currently working on my third picture book so will share some more insight into that too. But first I’m going to treat myself to a cup of tea and a mince pie to celebrate : )

Folk Tale Week Update

I’m chuffed to say I managed to keep up with the Folk Tale Week and produced seven illustrations for the prompts - forest, magic, witch, ghost, insect, mirror and animal. After a busy time working on my day job, it’s really helped me to get back in touch with my creativity and love of drawing. Seeing all the pictures on the hashtag has been so inspiring. Time to get back to picture book three!

Angel's Great Escape's 2nd Birthday!

Two years ago today I released my first picture book into the wild! Angel’s Great Escape: A Christmas Story was an absolute labour of love for me & I did everything I could to get it published. It was an animation script & an app before the story became a picture book. I taught myself how to independently publish, worked with fabulous illustrator Kristyna Litten, learned from my brilliant book designer Sarah & muddled my way through the processes of CreateSpace & now KDP. It’s been a brilliant journey & I love knowing that each Christmas children will pick up my book & it will make them feel cosy & Christmassy just as The Story of Father Christmas by Ann & Dennis Mallet made me feel when I was little. Thank you for buying, sharing & reviewing, it really means the world to me.




I had a little time to join in with #MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram today. The idea of the challenge is that you post one photo a day to introduce yourself to the creative community. It's a great way to connect with people and to get inspired by fellow makers.

There's a different prompt every day, today's was 'Tools & materials'. Although I use Photoshop & a Wacom pad to draw digitally, all of my ideas start with pencil sketching. I often use watercolour and ink when I want to free up my creativity & to relax. I should have also included coffee in this picture as I also consider that a vital tool : )


Five Ways To Keep Going

I've been thinking about tenacity a lot lately. I absolutely love being creative and I love dedicating myself to my projects and seeing them through. But sometimes, especially when I'm tired or when I'm faced with obstacles, it can be tough to keep going. And because I have a job as a freelance event manager to balance, like a lot of people, I only have limited time to create. So when I do have time, I find myself determined to fill every free moment with drawing and writing. I become obsessed with achieving something creative before I'm back doing my day job... and I completely forget to rest.

So I'm writing this list for me... and for you, as I realise that we all need to look after ourselves and to feel supported. And I also realise I would like to feel as tenacious as I do now in ten years time. And twenty years time. And when drinking gin for lunch when I'm 95, still drawing and still publishing books.

1. Take a break
First things first, you don't have to work all the time. Rest is so important. Those moments of quiet are the moments when your mind processes and restores. Therefore often the time when you come up with some of your best ideas. Also if you work continually, you can get so close to a project that you can't see it any more. Stepping away and taking a break allows you to see things with fresh eyes and this can make what you're creating even better.

2. Achieve small things often
Set small goals rather than just seeing the end goal and you'll feel you're achieving more. Think of all of those little achievements as treats just for you. Be kind to yourself. It takes many bricks to make a home.

3. Visualise
Close your eyes and think about how your book will feel in your hands. Turn the pages in your mind. Study the pictures. Imagine looking with wonder at what you have created. Think about how it will feel when people tell you they have read your story. What will your life be like if you follow your dreams? Visualising your goal will make it real to you and will make it feel more achievable.


4. Focus
Like a lot of creatives, I often find myself with lots of different ideas at the same time and find it hard to choose between them. An old friend taught me the importance of focusing on one idea at a time and this has helped me to publish my two picture books. Write down all of your ideas and think about which one you are most drawn to. Which one speaks to you most? Which one are you most curious about? Most passionate about? Which one won't leave you alone? And then get started.

5. Make your environment lovely
It's lovely being able to draw or write all day but it also often involves sitting still in one spot for hours on end. So make sure you're comfortable and that you love the space you're in. If you can, create a space at home that is dedicated to creating. I have a desk and chair in the corner of my lounge with artwork that inspires me washi-taped to the walls. I also often have fresh flowers on my desk and drink tea out of a pretty cup that I bought specifically for when I'm working. My chair is comfortable with a pretty cushion and I often work with a hot water bottle on my back. Depending on what I'm doing, I might work in silence or I'll have my Roberts radio tuned to BBC 6 Music to keep me company. Or if I'm drawing I'll set my iPad up so I can listen to podcasts or have Netflix treats such as the Gilmore Girls or Friends on a loop. Make snacks to nibble on and pop out for some fresh air at least once a day. A comfortable environment will make working a treat and will encourage you to keep going.

I hope this list is helpful. Please get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and let me know what helps you to keep going. Happy creating.

This Is Why I Create

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 : )

New Brush Lettering Website

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.

Illustration Inspiration At The V & A Museum

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).

5 YouTube Illustrators Who Really Inspire Me

I can't quite believe I only discovered my love of drawing about three years ago. I remember around that time noticing a comic day challenge hashtag on Twitter which led me to Frannerd... I started watching Fran's vlogs and it sounds strange to think of it now but until that moment I knew I loved doodling but I hadn't really thought about what illustration could be...

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5 Podcasts I Love To Listen To While I Draw

One thing I love about spending the day illustrating is that I can listen to something while I draw, whereas when I'm writing I need the white noise of a cafe or silence. The radio often keeps me company but I also love hearing people's stories and experiences so am always on the lookout for engaging podcasts. These are my current favourites...

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5 Things I Learnt At The 'How to Make a Living (and a Life) from Writing' Masterclass

Although I've recently been totally absorbed in illustration as I work on my second picture book, my first love has always been writing. Over the years I have started writing various women's fiction novels but didn't quite find the impetus to finish one until I switched genre and found myself writing a children's novel for 8 - 12 year olds. I was over the moon when I typed the words 'The End'. But the truth is, the manuscript is now sitting in a drawer, waiting for me to decide what to do with it next. Should I send it to agents? Should I get a professional editor? Should I self publish?

Which is why when my friend asked me if I wanted to go along to a writing masterclass with her I knew it was just what I needed to prompt me to take the next step...

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Angel's Great Escape Available On Amazon!

Today, I am very excited to announce that my first self-published picture book Angel's Great Escape, illustrated by Kristyna Litten, is finally available in print! For those who have followed my progress you will know that this has been quite a journey that has taken more than four years to complete. And quite a bit longer than that when I realise I first had the idea over ten years ago!

I will write a detailed blog post soon about my self-publishing journey but for now I wanted to celebrate the fact that a long-held dream is now a reality and I'm so excited to finally be sharing my little Christmas story in print! I really hope that you and the little ones in your life enjoy it this festive season!

Click here to buy your copy today!

And don't forget you can also download a fully narrated version of the book on your tablet from iBooks or Me Books. Narration is by West End superstar David McMullan and the Me Books version even has additional character voices which you can hear a sneak preview of in the video below!

Renegade Craft Fair

I enjoyed a really nice browse around the Renegade Craft Fair in London yesterday. As I'm busy planning my first few craft fairs I wanted to do a bit of research about how to set up a stall and also to meet some of the makers and to buy a few treats!

I picked up some really useful tips about how to display greetings cards, how to add a bit of sparkle to your display and ensuring there is a bit of height to things so that you can easily catch the eye of prospective buyers as they walk by. There were some absolutely lovely stalls that looked really professional and inviting. I chatted to several creatives about their products and about how nerve-wracking it is doing fairs for the first time. Every one advised me that all their fellow makers are lovely and that half the fun is chatting to people who are in the same situation as you. It feels like a really lovely community to be a part of.

Here's a little glimpse at a couple of the treats I bought! Links to the makers websites below.

1. Annie Dornan-Smith - www.anniedornansmith.co.uk 
2. Plewsy - www.plewsy.com 
3. Oh Squirrel - www.ohsquirrel.co.uk