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 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
I was talking to my sister today about how my love of illustration seems to have almost come from nowhere. I started drawing about three years ago to get through a tough time and it's stayed with me as something I use almost as a meditation...Read More
I spent this morning hiding out with the BBC 6 Music People's Playlist on Spotify and a big mug of coffee giving my Etsy shop a little refresh. I've added some new products and also gathered up some of my older stock to create some Lucky Dip Paper Treats Grab Bags, which are a real bargain!...Read More
Like many creatives I live a double life. This past couple of months I have been working on a big event in New York which was an amazing opportunity but means I haven't had any time at all to draw. This week I find myself back at my desk, pencil in hand and back to creatingRead More
I've not had much time to draw this week but I've been looking through my picture book progress to keep on track. It's the first time I've worked on an illustration project of this size and it's a brilliant learning curve. One of the most interesting things I'm finding is...Read More
I've been drawing whenever I can this week to try to keep pushing my picture book project forwards. It's very satisfying ticking off the pages. I'm now on page 11 of 26 so a little way to go but...Read More
I've really enjoyed working on a couple of celebration commissions this month. My client gave me several photos and a list of things that make her think of the recipients to work from. I then sketched out a suggested composition for each picture and worked closely with my client to ensure the pictures really reflected the girls' personalities.
Do get in touch via my contact page if you'd like to discuss a commission for someone you love.