Writing a book for children

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration, painting, Uncategorized

I’m currently writing a picture book. It’s an idea I’ve had buzzing around in my head for over 20 years. I bet some people reading this page haven’t been alive as long as I have had this in my noggin.

I’m going to make a little project of writing about my progress now and then.

I’m a self taught artist really and I think there’s something really wonderful self taught artists. Of course, there are many areas of knowledge and experience that I lack but I make up for that in enthusiasm. Sometimes I wish I had known how much I loved illustration before I embarked on a university education. But then I wouldn’t have had the characterisation skills I got from my Theatre Arts degree, nor the breadth of knowledge of the human experience without studying Archaeology and Anthrolopology.

In fact, it was in a formal Archaeology degree that I ignited my passion for visual art and representation.  I trained in archaeological illustration which is basically drawing lots of very old things, like Roman pendants in the shape of (to use Baldrick’s parlance) a ‘thingy’.  I drew lots of Roman penises basically. Penises and pottery. And bits of glass. It was fun. No, really it was. (Points finger accusatorily).

I always loved making up stories as a child. I can remember making a book when I was about 11. It was called ‘Willy-Nilly the baby dragon’. It was unsuprisingly about a little dragon called Willy Nilly, who ate flamed grilled beefburgers.  It wrote it and illustrated it. It was a bit shit, I guess. But what do you expect? I was 11.

So this here idea I’ve got, I thought I’d have a go at getting it out there. I’ll send it out to publishers and if they don’t ‘see a market for it’ then I’ll blummin’ find a market myself.

Now, in the film of my life  this is where they would cut to me clawing at the doors of a London publishing house shouting, ‘I’ve found a maarKKEEETTTTT’ you bastards!’.

So I have been taking the time to storyboard my little tale and I’m going to share the journey with anyone who is interested enough to pop by.

I’ll start by sharing with you a little sketch I have started of one of the illustrations. You can learn more about it as the weeks go on.

****PLEASE BUY PICTURE BOOKS AND WHERE POSSIBLE, FROM INDEPENDENT BOOK STORES. DON’T LET THE ART DIE OUT. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO READ PICTURE BOOKS, ESPECIALLY OLDER CHILDREN. PICTURE BOOKS REALLY ARE GIFTS TO FEED THE MIND AND SOUL****

Stan in pot rgb this

 

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Inspiration No 2

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I’ve talked in an earlier post about my love of Arthur Rackham and how his illustrations were one of my first experiences of storytelling. I’d love to share another one with you. In fact, I might just do a little blummin’ running post about amazing illustrators I love.  Yep, I reckon I will. So here’s my next one: Karel Franta. When I was a child I had a HUGE book (I may have just had small hands) called The Book of Goodnight Stories. It was illustrated by Karel Franta and it started off a life long love of the Central / Eastern European visual tradition. 


It was packed with very quirky, often very dark little tales and I loved it. The illustrations and the text worked beautifully together. 

Exploring it now, his work reminds me of Chagall, often magic realist, sometimes dreamlike. He worked with Czech animator Jiri Trnka who is another firm favourite of mine. It’s a lineage all the way to animator Jan Svankmajer, who I am supporting in his latest project which is crowdsourced. There’s something very special about the Czech tradition. Czech it out. Yes, that is a gag.  

My name is Ali and I am a picture book-holic.

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I have a problem. It’s picture book based. I tried to stop at one but I couldn’t. Send help.

Faces are aces

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration, painting, Uncategorized

Ballet

I love drawing faces. Fat, thin, old, young. Faces are aces.

I used to write comedy and the thing I loved most about it was creating a character from nothing. Just the little seedlings of people you’ve met along the way, all fused into new little people you create in your head. It’s the same with illustrating. I get to make new people. People with little imaginary back stories. People with secrets. Lots of little faces with secrets and stories. I love drawing faces. Faces is aces.

Messing about with Indian Inks…

art, childrens book illustration, Illustration

I bought some Indian Ink a few months back and hadn’t had a chance to use it properly, so when I started on a little drawing of my beautiful friend for her hen do party, I decided it was time to get out the inks. 

Apart from the fact that they are like gorgeous little jewels in their own right, I was too sure what to expect from them.


As soon as I started to lay them down on the paper I fell in love! They are amazing. They are so vibrant. I really love the clarity of them. They are perfect for the more cartoon-y (making up words here) elements. 

Here’s my lovely friend Helen, reimagined as a Helen / Lucille Ball entity.