Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Meet the Plums: Emily Hamilton

We caught up with our lovely illustrator Emily Hamilton: learn more about her in our interview here!

Where do you live/work?
I live in North Devon, surrounded by little green hills and a big rolling ocean. I’ve got a little studio in my house which is filled with pens, pencils, paints, paper and occasionally two small humans who want to see what I’m up to.

What do you like about working there?
I love North Devon (apart from the summer traffic on the tiny roads!). I have a lovely network of family and friends and I love the wild outdoors and how easy it is to get into nature. It’s pretty magical having an array of beautiful beaches to enjoy and fun waves to surf. I draw a lot of inspiration from the area I live in and it’s a very lovely community – everyone knows everyone else, which is (usually) a good thing!

What do you love most about being an illustrator?
There are so many brilliant things about being an illustrator, I still have to pinch myself when I think that I get to do this as a job! Drawing has always been one of my favourite things to do – I’d sit for hours when I was little writing poems and illustrating them. Now I get to do it in my own house, sometimes dressed in my pyjamas and always with a big mug of herbal tea! I can fit it around my little family and I love being able to take a sketch book with me to capture anything that might inspire me when I’m out and about.

How do you work – what are your techniques?
I like using a range of mediums. My regular go-to’s are watercolours, inks, gouache, pencils, pastels and fineliners but I love to mix in things like collage or anything else that I think might look fun. Nowadays I often finish off a piece of work in photoshop or in procreate on the ipad – I like the extra elements that working digitally can bring but I always want my work to have a natural, hand-drawn feel to it.

What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
I’m enjoying drawing characters more and more – for a long time I found them frustrating and pretty tricky but as I’ve kept practicing they have become a lot more fun! I think my favourite things to draw are probably flowers and plants – I seem to end up doodling these whenever I have a piece of paper in front of me!

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

I have so many favourite illustrators and I discover more and more every day! My first and foremost will always be Quentin Blake – his illustrations were always an inspiration to me from the word go. I love Oliver Jeffer’s work, his illustrations are so clever. David Litchfield has such a wonderful, cinematic style – his book, ‘The Bear and the Piano’ is just beautiful. Alex T Smith and Lauren Child are in my top favourites too, and Rebecca Green’s characters and style are just wonderful. There are so many more – I could write pages but I’d better stop here!

Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
I do like a little character called Eleanor who has a big curly top of hair – she was fun to draw. I feel like I’m still growing into my children’s book style at the moment and each character I create I like a little better than the last – I’m excited to see who else turns up in my sketch pad next!

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
I love getting outdoors. Jumping in the sea, going for jog or a walk, or just running about on the beach and in the countryside with my little family. We always usually manage to find a nice café to stop at for a pit-stop cup of tea too!

How did you get into illustration?
I was in Australia and looking for work, which was proving very hard to find! I ended up spotting a little ad in a newspaper which was asking for people to edit history books. I had an interview in a coffee shop, got the post and managed to persuade them to let me do the illustrations as well – it’s gone on from there!

What or who are you most inspired by?
I’ve always been hugely inspired by nature – there are so many wonderful and beautiful things in the natural world that get my creative cogs whirring. On the other side, Instagram and Pinterest are a huge source of artistic inspiration – they are a never-ending and constantly updated library of creative magic. I find it can be a bit overwhelming to dive in too deep though so try to limit myself to how much of a rabbit hole of scrolling I go down!  

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1.    Never give up! It might feel impossible at times but keep on – if you work hard enough then you will get there in the end!
2.    Draw, draw and draw some more. It might sound obvious but the only way to get better is to draw as much as possible! I often find I can be feeling totally stuck but if I just make myself sit it out and keep sketching, a good piece magically appears when I’ve been despairing it may never!
3.    Be true to yourself. Its hard when there are so many incredible artists out there whose work you may love – its fantastic to draw inspiration from other’s work but at the end of the day you have to make sure that its your own style that you are creating and not a copy of someone else’s. If you love what you’re drawing enough then your own unique style will shine through. 

What were your favourite books when you were younger?
I had so many that it’s hard to say! We lived in Kenya when I was little and we had no television so mine and my brother’s treat every week was to go to the big bookshop and choose a book – we used to look forward to it so much! I absolutely loved anything by Roald Dahl, as well as all of the Famous Five books by Enid Blighton. I would always pick up anything to do with animals too – the Willard Price books about two brothers who travelled the world collecting animals were my favourites too. I’m enjoying reading all of these to my daughters now!

What was the last book you read? What did you think? 
I’ve just finished ‘Teatime for the Traditionally Built’ by Alexander McCall Smith. It’s from his No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and I just love the series – I’ve read most of them a couple of times! They are set in Botswana and are so gently written with humour and a lovely simplicity that I find them a nice, calming escape when life is feeling a bit hectic!

What are your aspirations for the rest of the year?
To work hard on creating lots of children’s book work and draw as much as possible. I’d l also like to do yoga at least twice a week and manage to do a really good headstand!

What’s your ultimate dream?
To be able to work and illustrate whilst travelling – I’d love to go on a big, worldwide travel adventure with my husband and girls where we visit every country we can and fill up lots of sketchbooks with all the amazing things we see!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Introducing the Plum Awards!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the official launch of the Plum Awards!

The Plum Awards is Plum Pudding Illustration Agency's competition, open to any currently unrepresented illustrators from across the globe.

There have been some great changes made in the illustration industry to ensure there is more representation from all backgrounds, and we want to do our part to continue that work.

As an agency that proudly represents illustrators from a vast variety of global communities, Plum Pudding Illustration is keen to reach out to as many illustrators as possible from a wider variety of different backgrounds and underrepresented communities from across the globe, and give them the opportunity to get their work seen.

So, we decided to launch the Plum Awards! This award will give illustrators, regardless of educational qualifications, experience, or background, the chance to work on a professional brief and get their work out there. From people who are already working towards a career in illustration to those who have the passion for drawing but may not have previously had the opportunity to showcase your talent, we want to hear from you all!

The Plum Awards competition deadline is 25th March. The winner will receive a £300 cash prize, and the winner and selected runners up will receive portfolio reviews and guidance with Plum Pudding’s team of industry professionals. See below for details on how to apply, and good luck! 

**any work submitted for this competition will solely be used to announce the finalists and winner: Plum Pudding claim no rights over the works and no rights will be transferred. Any finalist or winning entry images shared will be fully credited to the creator**

Monday, 10 December 2018

Welcome to the Plum family, Patricia Hu!

Get to know our newest Plum illustrator, the amazingly talented Patricia Hu!

Where do you live / work?
I’m currently living in Barcelona Spain, where I’m part-time graphic designer & part-time illustrator.

What do you like about working there?
I have to confess I like the city itself, I've lived here for three years and I haven't stopped being in love with it's beauty, especially its facades. It’s like everyone of them has it’s own unique story behind it.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?
It’s the most honest and direct way I can express myself: there’s no lying, it’s pure, and it’s one of the few ways you can express your feelings by being able to see it and touch it. It’s a powerful creative weapon.

How do you work – what are your techniques?
I started doing illustrations by hand but end up falling in love with the digital world, specifically with Photoshop.

What or who are you most inspired by?
I usually get very interested in someone’s story, there’s something in everyone's story to learn and get inspiration from.

What is your favourite thing to draw and why?
I have several things I like to illustrate depending on the mood and season. It can vary from tiny little details of buildings to gigantic cats. As long as every illustration of mine contains a story to tell.

How did you get into illustration?
I think I was destined be an illustrator since the beginning, neither side from my mom or my dad knows how to draw. But for me since I was small i’ve always loved drawing and colouring. It’s the best sensation and it still is.

Do you have a favourite illustrator?
I have a long list of favourite illustrators that I like, but to name a few that I’m currently fangirling about lately would be: Beatrice Blue, Benji Davies and Paola Escobar.

Do you have a particular favourite character that you’ve illustrated?
I must admit that my obsession with my little black cat has become the muse of many of my illustrations. Many people say they are very unique and they seem to come from a another planet, that's just enough for me to create numerous stories about them miauuu <3

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?
For me as long as in the week I get to watch movies, spent time with my friends, go out eating, have a good drink and enjoy life in general with even the most smallest thing in the world, I’m happy!

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?
1. Never ever, like seriously, never give up!
2. Work hard, practice hard and eventually that frustration will have a happy ending.
3. There’s no shame in asking for help, learn from other artists.
All of the above are things I’m still working on every single day of my life but the one that I still need to improve is BE CONSISTENT.

What were your favourite books when you were younger?
My favourite ones were the colouring books. I was an expert in colouring without going over the line.

What was the last book you read? What did you think?
The last book I read was Things Are What You Make of Them by Adam J. Kurtz, super recommended. It’s a book full of teaching self-loving phrases, especially for creatives that at some point in the process of creating things get super frustrated. But Adam and his humour will brighten up your day ;)

What are your aspirations for the rest of the year?
For what’s left of the year, keep drawing as much as I can. For next year, I want to be able to publish a picture book and prove to myself that being consistent will bring me more followers that will enjoy my stories.

What’s your ultimate dream?
Aspiring for world peace… hahaha, kidding, well it's true, partly. Just wanted to make that joke from the Miss Congeniality movie :p
But being honest, my ultimate dream would be able to share my illustrated stories to the world and be able to dedicate my whole life to do just that. <3

Welcome to the family, Patricia!

Monday, 26 November 2018

DK and Jonny Lambert’s Roaring Success - Animal ABC and 123 at the Bizziebaby Awards!

 Review website Bizziebaby has announced the winners for its 11th annual Bizziebaby awards, where products from different categories go to a key group of testers, who then vote for the best item in each category.

Publishers DK have won four Bizziebaby Awards, and we are delighted to announce that of their books illustrated by own very own Plum Jonny Lambert, Animal 123 and Animal ABC have both won Gold awards!

The award winning books have had some excellent reviews, such as:
 “It has given us lots of interaction and my child is learning at the same time - all in all, it is great book and I would definitely recommend to other parents” 
The books have also been reviewed on Amazon, with one customer saying,
“My grandson who is 11 months absolutely loves this book ( and the Animal 1 2 3 one) It’s a great size and the drawings and just lovely. The flaps are great for improving dexterity and the giraffe and whale pictures are just wonderful. Thoroughly recommended.”

Many congratulations to DK and Jonny for this achievement!

You can buy Animal ABC and Animal 123 online now, via these links:

Animal ABC: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jonny-Lamberts-Animal-ABC-Lambert/dp/0241356075/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543251712&sr=8-2&keywords=animal+abc 

Animal 123: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jonny-Lamberts-Animal-123-Lambert/dp/1465478450/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543251435&sr=8-1&keywords=animal+123

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Making Magic with Plum5!

Plum Pudding Illustration's sister company, book packagers Plum5, have designed the truly magical book The Crimes of Grindelwald: A Spellbinding Cinematic Tour!

Publised by Scholastic, the book is an essential companion to newly-released second installment of the Fantastic Beasts film franchise (an extension of the wizarding world created by author JK Rowling in the Harry Potter books) that follows the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander as he travels the world collecting research on magical creatures for hisguide book’, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Rowling wrote and released this guide book under Scamanders fictitious pen name in 2001 to raise money for the charity Comic Relief)

The Crimes of Grindelwald: A Spellbinding Cinematic Tour explores the world of the film, including plotlines, movie stills, and illustrations. With fantastic fold-outs, the book includes information on the ‘magical menagerie’ built by Newt- the space Newt build in the basement of his London house where he looks after the magical creatures he finds; interesting factoids on different magical species featured in the film; and a look into Le Ministère des Affaires Magiques de la France- The French version of The Ministry of Magic.

A perfect Christmas gift for any lifelong Potterhead, new Fantasic Fan, or general movie buff, The Crimes of Grindelwald: A Spellbinding Cinematic Tour is available to purchase in Waterstones stores and online now: so get your Galleons ready and ‘Accio!’ yourself a copy today!