Friday, 19 March 2010

An inspiring influence

Whilst I have been considering childrens book illustrations, which I must add, I need a lot more developement with, i began researching into various publishers. I came across the work of Hannah Shaw, who woks for Chicken House publishing. Her work is very much a drawing based medium, and oppositly different in style to my own, her work inspired me on a different level. I wanted to know what it takes to become an illustrator like her.

And so..
I mailed her..


My name is Sarah Hilton, I came across your work on the 'Chicken House Publishing' website and was fascinated by your book Illustrations.

I have recently graduated from Liverpool John Moores and attained a First Degree in Illustration. I have always been inspired by children's book Illustrations, yet I am unsure if my work belongs in this design field. I know how busy you must be but I have enclosed a few samples of my work. I would value your opinion, if your have a spare few moments to look over them; to progress myself further in the Design Industry.

Kind Regards from an aspiring Illustrator,

Sarah Hilton.

She replied..

Hi Sarah,

Your work is really nice and has a unique style.
It would work really well for editorial/ advertising possibly even in
child based media/ design.

I'm not so sure it holds the particular narrative qualities often looked
for by picture book editors and art directors and if you do want to
progress into picture books I suggest you work more on characterisation.

Appealing characters combined with a different but saleable illustration
technique is what most art directors look for when commissioning new

I suggest you do think about doing the following if you really want to
work in children's books:

* Get some work experience in children's publishing. Having been on the
publishing side of things will give you greater insight about the industry
as a whole.

* Work on producing a mock-up picture book with an existing story of your

* Send the mock-up to publishers/ agents and get feedback.

* Read Martin Salisbury's book on illustrating picture books.

Good luck

Hannah x

And so now a mock up picture book will commence.. whether or not it will come out successful is another matter.. but who knows until you try.. I knew I needed to characterise more when completing my degree.. but when i tried I felt it didnt blend so much with my work.. i always relied upon silhouettes for characters.. so much of illustration today is character based but not all illustrations need it, depending on the field.. I know i want characters within my work, now is the time to develop that.

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