A little while ago I went to a conference organised by the Association of Illustrators on the subject of ‘Illustration and the Children’s Book Industry: Secrets to Success’. There were some great illustrators there, Chris Haughton, Claudia Boldt, and Alex T Smith. It was such an interesting day, and I learned so much. But more importantly I came away with the sense that I could definitely create a book, whether through a publisher or self publishing. I picked up a whole load of really useful advice, including:

  • The book should start happy and end happy (I reckon this rule is ripe for breaking).
  • Get the pictures down 1st, and don’t worry about the writing.
  • No Rhyming text, got to be able to sell your book abroad.
  • Publishers want the ‘Aah’ factor. Be aware of what plucks your heart strings.
  • Honesty and Passion in your work.
  • Research your market, publisher, styles, and other authors.
  • Big Characters
  • Exaggerate
  • The Picture should always tell the reader a little more than the text.
  • Be playful
  • And look at Fashions and costume to enhance your characters
  • Pathos more Pathos, and the a little more for good measure.

However I’ve really got to get my mojo back as far as drawing goes.  I know what I need to do before I’m ready :

  • Consistent drawings
  • Characters in a context
  • Appealing characters ( I rock at sinister ugly bald men, but somehow that won’t work too well in the kids book market.)

But I’m all fired up and have at least four books worth of ideas in my notebook. I’ve just got to get them down on paper.