Category Archives: Reading and Literacy

How to write a picture book


Lots of people ask me about writing a picture book. It’s just for kids, so it must be easy, right? lol

I thought I’d make a video where I’d just talk about writing picture books and the difficulties you may come across. If you think you are going to make a fortune and be a famous author, you are better off working at Macdonalds – Honestly, that’s not a joke.

It takes an inordinate amount of luck to have a best seller and a huge amount of work to make any sort of living at it. Author incomes have halved in the last 20 years – really!

But you may just want to have a few copies of your book for your family, which is great. These thoughts apply to you to. Any questions? put the in the comments box and maybe you will inspire a new video?!

Preorder my Pandora book here

Pandora on Amazon USA
Pandora Amazon UK
Pandora Amazon Canada
Pandora Amazon Australia

Here are links:

Next Video

SCBWI
SCBWI UK

Ingram Publishing

 

Children’s Book Illustration Master Class

I had an email from Galya, an art student from Wales, wanting to ask me questions for her dissertation. I made a video for her, which I thought might be interesting for others to watch too.

Here are her questions:

1. Do you think that the different areas of illustration(picturebooks, editorial, etc.) differ a lot in terms of the methods you use to visually communicate the idea or message that you want to convey and how?

2. Focusing specifically on your children’s books illustration, do you have to adapt your methods of illustration individually for each book? If so, in what way?

3. How do you select the colours that you use and is there a specific meaning or message in the colours you choose?

If this suggests questions you would like me to talk about on a video, please feel free to ask.

Here are the links to other videos mentioned in the video:

How to draw in Adobe Flash/Animator

Greyscale painting

Euclid Videos

Visit to Rudyard Kipling’s House – Batemans

On wednesday, followinging on from yesterday’s blog, I visited Batemans, a National Trust property in Kent that was once the home of the Nobel Prize-winning writer, Rudyard Kipling – who wrote the Jungle book.

He also wrote the Just So Stories. I loved those stories so much as a child, that I ended up re-writing them to make them easier for children of today to understand.

It was a wonderful job. I could feel Kipling breathing down my neck, checking that I was doing the right thing by his masterpiece.

I removed a lot of high Victorian language and whimsy, revealing fresh, modern writing underneath. I also had to rewrite some bits which have become politically incorrect over the years, since the British Empire waned.

Kipling is often criticised these days for the attitudes expressed in some of his writing, but I honestly don’t think Kipling was racist, especially for the time he lived in. He always wrote warmly of India and it’s peoples, but there are one or two words and attitudes, that were acceptable at the time, that I had to “smooth out” for today’s sensibilities.

The Just So Stories are written for and addressed to “My Best-Beloved”. This was Kipling’s daughter, Josephine. She died of pneumonia when she was six. Kipling had pneumonia at the same time. They didn’t tell him for six weeks, until he was strong enough to hear the awful news.

That story has always affected me. Finding myself in front of things that belonged to Josephine caught me quite by surprise – a very emotional moment.

find out more about Batemans here: 

More about Oast Houses used for drying hops which give flavour to beer – and are grown all over Kent.