Today is my first Saturday since I finished the book illustration course at Chelsea and I’m missing it!
It was a fabulous 6 weeks which I feel got some really good work out of me. We were given some briefs to help us create a story and then worked our story up to a dummy book and some finished artwork.
I already had a story and so developed that alongside one of the briefs which was on a day in my life (basically endless school runs, and feeding children…)
Each week started with a show and tell crit session as a group, then we worked independently whilst Carolyn Dinan came round and gave us individual advice.
The third week featured a talk from Zehra Hicks who once did the course, then went on to get a highly commended in the Macmillan book prize and is now working on her fourth picture book!
I didn’t realise until a week before the submission date that the course made me eligible to enter the Macmillan prize, so I then spent a mad week developing my tiger story to enter. I didn’t get anywhere in the contest, but it was a really great experience to produce a full dummy book and finished art work. I now have something to work on, I know many ways I can improve it now.
If you are considering doing the Chelsea course then I’d definitely recommend doing the version that is run over six Saturday’s, you can do the whole thing in a week but I think it would be really hard to make the most of it in a week, you really need the time in between to develop your stories and drawings.
I’m now looking forward to my week in Cambridge at the Anglia Ruskin summer school!
…painting stacks of 1950s posters for a show called ‘Play Mas’ at Orange Tree Theatre.
…planning lots of messy craft activities for the group I’m going to be running each Monday morning after Easter.
…meeting with the director of the all male ‘Pirates of Penzance’ that I designed which is going on a UK tour after Easter. (It’s going to Cambridge Arts Theatre which is where I had my first ever theatre job – selling ice creams – and where I met my husband!)
…designing an illustration for the Pirates programme, and making props including a pirate’s map and a crows nest.
…answering questions from pupils at an infant school as part of their arts week (including ‘are you famous?’ and ‘do you copy your pictures from the computer?!?!)
So here we are, 2015. I’ve still got many things on my to do list from the beginning of 2014. Some things are still there from 2013. I should give up and delete them but they give me a strange sense of security…
My overarching plan for this year though is to start taking drawing really seriously. To try and start walking single mindedly down the path to becoming an illustrator.
It took me a very long time to be brave enough to show my drawings to the world, I talked about that here. But now I’ve done a couple of exhibitions, sold some prints, turned my images into cushions and mugs and badges and cards and kits (available here!) and that’s been great, I’m really proud of the little range I’ve created. But I really want to illustrate children’s books and if I’m going to make that happen I’m going to have to focus on it.
So this year there probably won’t be more kits and cushions (there may be prints and cards though) because when I’m not working on commissions and theatre designing I’m going to be drawing.
To start with I’m just going to draw whatever is in front of me, from life. From all that drawing maybe a story will eventually emerge. These are some of the drawings I’ve done so far, all super quick scribbles because no one sits still for long here. I’m really enjoying scribbling away and seeing what happens.