Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Roberta Angaramo Featured On CBeebies Bedtime Stories!

Congratulations to our very own Roberta Angaramo - her illustrations for picture book Dog In Boots, written by Greg Gormley, have been featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories! Curl up with the little ones and watch it here:

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

V&A Awards 2014!

Entries are still being accepted for the 2014 V&A Illustration Awards competition! Get in there now as the closing date for entries is 9th December! You can submit your entry here.

If you entered the competition last year you should have a user name and password.  There is a facility to create a new password if you cannot remember your existing one.  If you cannot remember your existing user name just create a new account.

Please submit as many books as you wish as there is no entry cost and the process only takes a few minutes. A shortlist will be drawn up by their judges in February 2014 with final decisions on winners taking place in April 2014 based on the actual printed versions of the books. Individual books can now be entered for both the Best Book Cover and Best Illustrated Book categories if you think they fit the criteria. As well as cash prizes the V&A has also been awarding paid commissions to winners in recent years. 


The Plum Pudding Christmas tree is up and twinkling away merrily in the office!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Erica Jane Waters Hits The Road!

I asked PP author/illustrator Erica Jane Waters to tell us a little bit about what it is like to be an author/illustrator on tour and she kindly agreed to spill all! Enjoy!

Earlier this year, when the first of my Petticoat Pirate books was published I was offered the opportunity to promote the books via a series of events. I grasped with both hands the chance to step out of my little studio and into the real world outside, and this year has been one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling of my career so far.
The first of my ‘events’ was at my publishers itself, just to ease me into things gently. The children and friends of the staff were invited in for the day to make eye patches with me, watch me draw sea monsters and listen to me read from my first book. I got to meet my very first Petticoat Pirate fan, the lovely Molly!

After that I felt confident enough to set off on my own to visit schools, libraries and festivals and just the other weekend I was invited to appear at Cheltenham Literature Festival. Some of the children came along dressed as characters from my books, complete with heart shaped eye patches!

Every event is different and I never know until I get there what will work, so I try and have a few different routines to hand. It’s always a mixture of reading, drawing, chatting about books and the children never fail to amaze me with their wonderful imaginations and curiosity about my job and how I work. I was a little nervous to begin with, but now I find talking about something I love and sharing my stories comes naturally.

There are so many fabulous things involved with doing events – meeting lots of lovely people, getting to break out of my studio and into the outside world, sharing what I love with others - but by FAR the best thing is witnessing first hand the reactions of children to my stories and my drawings. It reminds me why I do what I do and reassures me that I’m doing a good job!

Erica x

Friday, 11 October 2013

SCBWI Agents Party 2013

When I was invited to speak at the SCBWI Agents Party 2013 I felt a few things, honour, excitement and a sudden rush of realisation that I would be speaking to a whole room of budding authors and illustrators, which swiftly followed with me feeling rather nervous indeed!

SCBWI British Isles are a wonderful organisation who provide exceptional support and guidance to children’s authors and illustrators throughout the UK, especially those who are just starting out on their illustration careers or writing their first book for children, as well as hosting many great events to inspire and guide them. So you can imagine how delighted we were at Plum Pudding to be asked again to be a part of one of their events and can, no doubt, understand why I was nervous about delivering a speech that would live up to the expectations of an audience used to such great experiences through SCBWI!

In hindsight, I had absolutely no need to be nervous – I am exceptionally proud of Plum Pudding, our ethos as an agency, our success as a business and most of all, like SCBWI, the exceptional support and guidance that we too provide our illustrators and author/illustrators with on a daily basis and the careers we have helped to build. So I had plenty to talk about and it was a real joy to receive such enthusiasm back from the audience and have the pleasure of answering some of their very relevant questions.

SCBWI's Michelle and Benjamin, who were managing the event, did an incredible job, the venue was gorgeous, with room for plenty of illustrators and authors, I felt supremely welcome and was supplied with plenty of wine for the evening! Meeting the other agents was a real delight, as was meeting with some of the lovely illustrators and authors from the audience. We are, of course, all passionate about and committed to the same goal – creating wonderful children’s books, and the room was buzzing with this passion and excitement! It was fabulous to hear the same dedication to children’s literature from the literary agents beside me on stage and then to meet so many illustrators and author/illustrators brimming with ideas and displaying their fabulous artwork.

It also gave me the opportunity to discuss their work with some of them and to try and provide them with some of the advice and feedback we devote so much time to giving the illustrators and author/illustrators that we do represent here at PP when helping them to build their careers. I am pleased to say that some of those illustrators already have meetings set up with us to discuss joining us here at PP – so watch this space!

Thanks again to SCBWI for inviting us! We’re already looking forward to the next shindig! 

Check out more from SCBWI British Isles here and for those of you not in the UK, don't worry, there's a link to the SCBWI international website too!

Meet Illustrator Lauren Beard and Author Abbie Longstaff!

Get yourselves down to this great event tomorrow! Author Abie Longstaff and Illustrator Lauren Beard will be down at the Seven Stories National Centre for Children's Books tomorrow to introduce you to the wonderful world of The Fairytale Hairdresser, Kitty Lacey! Kitty tames the wildest of locks, deals with the most demanding and unusual of customers, ultimately foils the Witch's evil plan and even plays cupid to the newly coiffed Rapunzel. Hear how Abie and Lauren created this best-selling book, join in with interactive storytimes, live drawing and more. Get your tickets here!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Gromit Statue Auction Raises £2.3m For Bristol Hospital!

Yesterday all of the wonderful hand painted giant Gromits were auctioned off to raise money for The Grand Appeal, raising over £2m for the Bristol Children's hospital! Our contributing PP artists Paula Bowles and Emily Twomey both had amazing success with their Gromits! Paula's 'Bunty' went for a whopping £31,000.00 and Emily's 'Patch' for a fantastic £36,000.00! Well done guys! You can watch the BBC video here.  Cracking auction Gromit!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Dear Panda Competition!

Red House are running a fabulous competition to celebrate the release of PP author/illustrator Miriam Latimer's gorgeous new picture book, Dear Panda!

They have a unique Adopt a Panda Kit to give away to one lucky winner. This delightful prize will show your support for these fascinating and intelligent, yet endangered, animals for a whole 12 months. The pack not only helps ongoing conservation efforts to protect pandas, but you will also receive a whole host of other goodies, including a personalised certificate, a giant panda poster and lots of information about these charming creatures. You will receive regular updates about your panda and they will give you a cute panda plush toy too.

To be in with a chance of winning, they want your child to send them their very best drawing of a panda. Please remember to include their name, age and contact details on their entry and to see more details on how to apply, click here. Deadline is 15th September! Good luck!

Check out more of Miriam's fabulous artwork, including artwork from Dear Panda, in her portfolio here.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Mum's Net Children's Picture Book Of The Month!

Congratulations to our very own Alison Brown, whose debut picture book as author/illustrator, Eddie and Dog, published by Little Tiger Press, has been selected as the number one picture book of the month by, the go to site for both new and experienced mums. To quote them: This wonderful story with stunning artwork celebrates the excitement and adventure of a beautiful friendship. This is the perfect picture book for any child who loves a little adventure and especially any who love dogs. What better recommendation for Alison! Check out their feature about this gorgeous title here and this and other recommendations from them here.

You can see more of Alison's beautiful work here.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Lauren Beard's 'The Mummy Shop' shortlisted for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards!

Congratulations are in order to Lauren Beard! The Mummy Shop, illustrated by Lauren, written by Abie Longstaff and published by Scholastic, has been shortlisted for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards under the Never Too Young category! How exciting! 

Here's some more info from the awards:

The 8th year of the Inspiration Book Awards will be launched in Children's Book Week, (7 October 2013), and we are hoping to continue to be more successful each year. The last round of the Awards again saw  another massive increase in the number of votes cast. Over 6000 people voted! The Coventry awards are unique in the country in that they have something for all ages, including adults and involve the whole family and the whole community and they are obviously the ideal vehicle to promote Reading For Life!

A series of panels comprising of librarians, teachers, students and education advisers have been meeting to select the short listed books for each award. Our criteria have been books that inspire readers, books that will get you hooked on reading! 

The voting will take place between October and February - good luck Lauren and Abie!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Paper Watch Project - Templar Needs You!

Calling all illustrators! The lovely people at Templar Publishing need our help! They are doing everything they can to raise £5000.00 for Breast Cancer Care, a cause that is of particular relevance to Templar after their lovely Creative Director Amanda Wood was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. The fantastic news is that Amanda is responding really well to treatment but never the less Templar are continuing in their fight to raise their target amount for this worthy cause. They have come up with the brilliant idea of auctioning off these fabulous, fully functional paper watches for this charity and this is where they need you. The idea is that each of these watches will be decorated by a different illustrator. And who wouldn't want to bid on such a uniquely creative item?! So, if you are interested in lending a hand by decorating one of these paper watches for them to auction and in doing so showcasing your work to Templar, please contact Emma Odonovan and she will post a watch to your straight away! You can email her here: 
Have fun illustrators and good luck Templar in reaching your goal!

Alternatively you can donate at their Just Giving page here.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Eddie and Dog!

To celebrate the publication of PP author and illustrator Alison Brown's gorgeous new picture book Eddie and Dog, Little Tiger Press have produced this fabulous video of Alison reading this heartwarming tale. Sit back, relax and enjoy with your own loveable four legged friend here.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

PP Artists' Gromits Unleashed

We've talked on the PP blog about Bristol's major new public art trail, Gromit Unleashed. Today it brings me great pleasure to be able to show you some pictures of PP artists Emily Twomey and Paula Bowles and their fabulous hand painted Gromits! For more info about this fabulous event see here.
To get a feel for where you might find some of these giant, hand painted Gromits in Bristol, (including those from artists Axel Scheffler, Raymond Briggs and our own Emily Twomey and Paul Bowles), watch the 2 minute film here.

Emily (left) and Paula (right) in front of Paula's lovely Gromit 'Bunty'

Emily with her colourful Gromit 'Patch'

Paula with 'Bunty' and his sponsors!

Paula, Emily and other contributing artists with English Film Maker and creator of Wallace and Gromit Nick Park.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Today's Illustrated Interview: Emily Golden Twomey!

Where do you live/work? What do you love about working/living there? What don't you like?

I live in Bristol and work in a little studio in my flat.  It overlooks a lovely communal garden and I often have the window wide open, so it's a great sunny working environment. Bristol is a fantastic city with loads of creative things going on. Recently Aardman (based in Bristol) have teamed up with the local council and organised loads of large customised Gromit Sculptures to go around Bristol this summer. I was lucky enough to get picked to paint one, alongside fellow Plum Puddinger Paula Bowles!

My desk.
The view from my window.
Park St in Bristol, I live near the top of this!

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I love the freedom of working for myself, and being able to pick some really fun projects to work on. I split my week 50/50 with a design job and I really like this variety. When it comes to my illustration days, I get to work at my own pace, trying out new things and working on commissions that I am really proud of….also I just love drawing!

How do you work?

I have a couple of styles, but I always like to hand-draw everything first. Then I either go down the traditional route and paint with watercolour and coloured pencil, or I scan in my drawings and manipulate them on Photoshop.

A sneaky peek at my patchwork Gromit!

What's the hardest part of your job?

You have to be very self-motivated, because at the end of the day you are working for yourself, but the harder you work - the better the rewards. I also find I need to be really organised, especially when I have few commissions on at once alongside design work. It can get fairly hectic, so I am a keen keeper of lists to make sure I stay on top of deadlines! 

What/who inspires you?

I have a couple of favourite illustrators. I am massively inspired by the 'Golden Age' of Illustration, so artists including Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen and Aubrey Beardsley. I also love humour in illustration, so Edward Gorey and Quentin Blake are big favourites. More contemporary goodies include Sara Fanelli and David Roberts. I love reading folk tales and fairy stories, and I am often inspired to draw after reading something that has really stirred my imagination!

What do you like to do when you're not illustrating?

As mentioned in the answer above, I love reading strange stories, and have quite a fairytale collection. I also like to bake yummy cakes. My favourite time of the year is halloween because I LOVE fancy dress and will jump at the chance to make a costume. Previous fancy dress favourites have included a werewolf, a tombstone, an octopus and High Barnet Tube Station.

Me and my friend Lucy in fancy dress!

How did you get into illustration?

I was always interested in Art and Graphic Design, but it wasn't until my Foundation year after 6th Form that I discovered the area of Illustration and found that I could do a degree in it. I studied at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth and had a great time discovering how I liked to work and developing my drawing skills. After leaving uni I was lucky enough to get a few initial commissions that really encouraged me to pursue it as a career, and here I am seven years later.

Any tips for aspiring illustrators?

I think the key is to stay motivated and work hard. Try to keep producing new work as much as you can. Really put yourself out there so that possible clients can find you and make sure that you enjoy what you do.

What's your ultimate dream?

I hope to work on a new picture book sometime in the future, and would love to try and write one myself too. I guess the dream is to complete a book that I am really proud of, but I'm happy doing what I am doing at the moment, so as long as it continues how it is, great!

Me and my partner Dave!

Check out Emily's wonderful work here and here.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Gromit Unleashed Trailer

It's getting ever closer to to the Big Reveal of The Gromit Unleashed project that will see giant Gromits placed all over Bristol, each one individually decorated by 80 illustrators including Raymond Briggs, Axel Scheffler, PP artists Paula Bowles and Emily Golden Twomey and many more. Check out more info here. And what better way to prepare for this event than watch the great new trailer for the event?! Here's a sneaky peek!

We'll be posting some pics from the PP artists' Gromits after the Big Reveal! Until then, they're top secret!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Paula Franco Featured In New York Times Children's Best Seller List!

Simon and Schuster US's Saving The Team, written by Alex Morgan and Illustrated by Paula Franco, has reached number 7 in the New York Times Children's Best Seller list! Congratulations Paula! We're thrilled for you!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Amazon Kindle Chooses Petticoat Pirates!

Amazon Kindle is running a promotion from 17 – 30 May to showcase illustrated books for customers who read on their Kindle Fires, iPhones, iPads, Androids, Macs, and PCs and Erica Jane Water's Petticoat Pirates has been chosen as a part of their promotion. It's so great to see Amazon encouraging digital readers to buy their illustrated books as digital downloads too! Why miss out on the beauty of illustration simply because you are a digital reader?!

Camp Bestival Line Up: Erica Jane Waters!

Camp Bestival are welcoming our very own author and illustrator Erica Jane Waters as part of their line up this year! Congrats Erica!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Petticoat Pirates Review

Nothing is more rewarding than a fantastic review from your target audience! Check out this little girl's review of Petticoat Pirates: The Mermaids of Starfish Reef, the first in this girls' adventure fiction series by author/illustrator Erica Jane Waters!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Calling All Illustrators And 'Draw Something' Addicts!

Production company Victory Television are working on a promotion for Draw It!, a new game show based on the hit smartphone app Draw Something! For one of the rounds they are looking for artist submissions. Whilst they cannot offer a fee for these submissions, it's a fun opportunity to have a go at something new and perhaps get your drawing seen on the telly! Artists chosen will also be credited either verbally or visually.

Anyone interested should email Joe Williams at Victory Television by end of next week, (3rd May), who will give you instructions on how to download the app and submit your drawing. Contact email etc at bottom of this post.

Or if you already have the app simply open up the Draw Something app,  go to new game, username, then type in the username provided to you, choose a word and play a game. When finished, submit your drawing with a message containing your contact details so they can match up drawings to artists.

Have fun!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Bologna 2013: An Overview!

So I finally have a moment to talk a little about the successes of Bologna this year! Why only just now? Because we've been working so hard getting back to clients on all of our meetings and sending them the artist material that they desired! 

In our digital world it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the real value of face to face meetings. When we can ping over an artist folio to a client with the quick type of an email why do we still continue to visit clients at book fairs? Well, our industry is a creative one and the best ideas are formed through discussion and the freedom of bouncing ideas of one another, be it at a publisher's stand/office, over cake and a cuppa or even a bottle of red! Whether it's sharing an artist's beautiful dummy picture book with the publisher whose list we know it will most fit, discussing the direction and potential of a debut fiction series from an author/illustrator or simply going through the PP artist folios to show a client that exciting brand new artist or those fabulous fresh new images from an artist we've had the pleasure of working with for years, there is nothing more rewarding than walking away from that meeting having seen the potential of those concepts and images blossom and grow into something special and finding them a home.

This year was brimming with interest from publishers for PP - Well done to brand new PP artists Amber Cassidy and Julia Grigoreva whose images went down a storm! Congrats to Alex Paterson for the exciting buzz around his debut fiction series as author/illustrator, Marina Aizen, whose Eustace and Kokko has been such a hit with Five Mile Press and we're very excited about Christine Pym and debut author Alison Bristow's new picture book collaboration. We now have the pleasure of following up on all of these concepts and many more and reaping the rewards for all.

It was a real pleasure as always to see PP artists' published work on publishers' stands throughout the fair: Kate Pankhurst's Mariella Mystery shown under the spotlight on the Orion stand and number of commissioned titles ever rising, Erica Jane-Waters fabulous rip roaring girls' adventure series Petticoat Pirates, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Lauren Beard's super successful Fairytale Hairdresser picture book series, (currently at picture book no. 6 and rising!), donning the Random House Stand and on its way to TV animation stardom, to Alison Brown's gorgeous I Love You Night and Day featured as a big part of Bloomsbury's stand and too many more to list! It was also a pleasure, as always, to speak to our overseas clients across the globe and learn of the great co-edition deals they've been doing with UK clients that have published our artists as well as all the projects that they are working on directly with us. We even spotted co-editions of work from some of our artists in the world famous children's book shop in Bologna's Piazza Majore, including Erica Jane Waters and Graham Howells!

As always we are so proud of all of our illustrators and authors! Another value of the fair is, of course, seeing all the new trends of this year's children's publishing markets. We're on the look out for more texts than ever, and there was a real feel at the fair that clients are finding those really special texts harder and harder to acquire! So all you budding authors, feel free to send us any ideas and we'll be delighted to follow up on them with you and help with any development. If you've got an idea in you don't sweep it under the carpet or worry that it might not be good enough! Send it over, we'd love to see it! There's a real desire to find more really strong young fiction characters that have real longevity, those that have the potential to run and run in a series. Fiction wise we're looking for quirky, humourous, sometimes ridiculous, but characters who will last. Comedy and geekery are in. Picture Book wise, clients are also looking for that really special one, a brand new character, accessible to children, one that warms the heart and could make their way to the world of tv/animation. Modern fairytales are in, tales with quirky hooks and also more day to day themes that a child can really relate to are in. If you want to know more or discuss an idea drop us a line, we are, as always, continuing to work with all our artists on their artwork and text ideas and nurture their fabulous talents. 

Right, back into the fray as they say, I'll leave you with some photos from the fair.