Being busy has never prevented me from prioritising what’s really important especially if I can use some inspiration for my own work. Therefore I went to two events that proved to be so worthwhile.
Earlier this year students graduating in MA children’s book illustration at Anglia Ruskin exhibited their final work in London. The postgraduate course must be of an incredible high calibre since the work displayed looked really amazing and professional.
It is always a treat to have a look at artists’ final artwork and sketchbooks. There were as many styles as students. All the displays looked individualistic. I would recommend anybody who is thinking about enrolling to go and have a look for themselves next year.
For the exhibition coming up, I would have liked to display my final artwork but I am told that in Fine Art, this is not the practice. Also each student had a generous space to display more than one piece of work and a large wall to pin work up. Truly inspirational.
I also made time to go to the London book fair. There is no point being an aspiring author/illustrator if you do not research the market you are targeting. I could only attend one day as opposed to three and did a tiny bit of networking.
Instead I made time to listen to the truly wonderful and talented Chris Wormell. He was hilarious. Sharing his experience and showing pictures of his very very messy studio (it made me feel really tidy in comparison!) he also parted with great advice and encouraged the ones who were serious about illustration to keep persevering as it is getting harder and harder to have a breakthrough.
Templar also introduced one of their young talent.Tom Cole whose book Wall will come out in the summer. It is an innovative picture book about the fall of the Berlin Wall. It just goes to show that all themes can make a picture book and it does not have to be ‘just’ a sweet story. There is so much about picture books that people realised. As for the work involved, if you’ve never created one, you cannot imagine just what it takes!
Finally, I went to a talk on publishing as it is a an exciting development not at all recent any more. The speed at which technology develops to allow apps and other platforms is staggering. Anthony Horrowitz mentioned he would like one of his detective story to be truly interactive and an engineer replied the technology was already there.
I can’t help wondering what it means for children though. From birth, they are bombarded with visual imagery through TV, cinema, tablets….. I truly hope that sharing a story at nighttime and holding a hardback or a paperback is not on its way out. If so, we would all lose out.