Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The House of Illustration's Book Illustration Competition 2016

Calling all illustrators! Don't forget to enter The House of Illustration's fantastic Book Illustration Competition for 2016! The competition closes on the 18th of January 16 so get cracking! 
This year's book is Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo and entry guidelines can be found here.

Seeking to identify and promote new talent in illustration, the Book Illustration Competition is a unique partnership between the House of Illustration and the Folio Society. A fantastic opportunity for any illustrator looking to break further into the industry, the winner will receive a £5000 commission to be published by the Folio Society, with five runners up each receiving £500. 

What are you waiting for? Find out more here!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A Scribble of Illustrators Exhibition 2015!

Last Thursday, Chloe managed make it down to the private view of the A Scribble of Illustrators exhibition, which features the work of Plum Pudding’s very own artist Paula Bowles! Paula was exhibiting some work from her latest picture book with Bloomsbury: Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth as well as some wonderful illustrations of some spectacular 'catrobats'!

The exhibition showcases twelve children’s book illustrators from around the Bristol and Bath area and is back by popular demand after its success in Bristol a few months ago! A Scribble of Illustrators is being held at the Walcot Chapel Gallery in Bath and co-insides with the Bath Children’s Literary Festival.  

As well as a lovely variety of artwork on the walls there was also the opportunity to purchase postcards, greetings cards and signed copies of the illustrators own books! 

If you're in the area, this is truly an exhibition not to be missed and runs until this Sunday 4th October - so get yourself down there for a bit of nostalgia and inspiration!

Paula is becoming quite the celebrity on the Bristol arts scene, having recently been asked to paint a Gromit for Gromit Unleashed and a Shaun the Sheep for Shaun In the City raising money for children's hospitals across the country, as well as being featured on both BBC Radio Bristol and BCFM Radio! Check out her interview from BCFM Radio's Roma Widger Show this morning here. You can hear Paula if you start listening 13 mins in! Check out Paula's portfolio here.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Marta Costa and Catalina Echeverri Shortlisted for 2016 Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award!

A very big congratulations to our very own Marta Costa and Catalina Echeverri! Their wonderful picture book titles Preposterous Rhinoceros, (written by Tracy Gunarantam), and A Scarf and a Half, (written by Amanda Brandon), have both been shortlisted for the 2016 Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award! Well done to both of our illustrators, the authors and publisher Maverick Arts! We're rooting for you guys!

The Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award is a fantastic award that aims to get children excited about books and reading for fun, learning, confidence and hopefully leading to better life chances. You can read more about this brilliant ward here.

Good luck Marta and Catalina!

Monday, 8 June 2015

PP USA MEGATRIP! Week Two: Manhattan

Wow, what a week! BEA may have been jam packed with fabulous client meetings but week two of my trip has been even more so! This week I have been shooting around Manhattan to visit all of our NYC based clients both old and new and with between 4 and 5 meetings a day it’s been an extremely exciting week!

After fantastic Bologna and London Books fairs and such an incredible reception to our illustrators’ work at BEA this year I was keen to see how our NY based clients would respond to both our beautiful artist folios and some of the amazing concepts and project ideas that we have worked on with our author/illustrators. I am extremely proud of all of the work they have done on concept material and I was extremely confident that all of it was going to be a hit with our NY clients.

I wasn’t disappointed! They were blown away by the incredible array of talent that we represent and the Plum Pudding team are already busy following up on the extensive leads and vast request for samples. I’m delighted to say that we already have several projects in the pipeline and that many of our author/illustrators were extremely well received. It’s always a pleasure to learn what commissioning editors are looking for and I’m so delighted that wonderful concepts from Kate Pankhurst, Paula Bowles and Graham Howells were some of the most talked about of the week! Check out just a taste of some of our wonderful author/illustrator concept material below:

It was clear to me that young character driven concepts, particularly characters that have series potential, is what the vast majority are looking for and I cannot wait to work more on some of the ideas we discussed with the NY editors and designers I have met when I am back in the office.

It was also a joy of course to see the finished copies of the many books and projects that our illustrators have been working so hard on with our NY clients to date. Here are just a few of them:

Graham Howell's incredible work on Scholastic's Dragon Masters series.

Paula Franco's delightful covers for Simon and Schuster's series The Kicks.

Alison Brown's cover for Bloomsbury's I Love You Night And Day which reached number 4 in the New York Times Bestseller list!

An incredible 3D game piece from Marta Costa’s wonderful Ten Tiny Turtles with Scholastic. Marta had to illustrate all the characters from all angles so Scholastic’s team could produce these wonderful little models.

Most exciting for me is the reception that PP is receiving in the USA as a creative hub for publishers’ illustration needs. Without fail, all of the editors and designers I met with told me that they were extremely excited by our illustrators and delighted with the talent that we represent, with many of them explaining that Plum Pudding is often one of their very first stops when searching for an illustrator. This thank you from Sara Corbett, the Associate Art Director at Penguin Random House says it all:

Hi Hannah,

Thank you so much for coming in and filling my day with delight and inspiration! I love so many of the artists you showed and I can’t wait to work with you in the future! I hope you have a lovely stay in New York (and I’ll see you in Bologna!!)

Thanks so much again!!

I am so thrilled that this was the reception I had all round and I know that PP's continued expansion into the US is being swiftly viewed by American publishers as the perfect place to go for some of the most wonderful illustration talent around! Well done to all of our extremely talented illustrators and author/illustrators. I am exceptionally proud of you all! More to come next week so stay tuned!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

PP US Megatrip! Week One: Book Expo America!

Hello all from NYC! I cannot believe that I have been here for over a week already - time has gone so fast! I arrived on Monday the 25th May, shattered from a 4am start, feeling a little worse for wear with the arrival of a bad cold, a long flight and the lengthly process it takes to get through US airport security! I was ready for bed but of course it was only 3 o’clock in the afternoon in NY. The sun was shining, the temperature was sizzling and as I saw the Manhattan skyline rise up on the horizon in my taxi journey from JFK, I felt immediately at home again and ready to explore! I had a day of getting everything organised for BEA and then on the Wednesday nose dived straight into it!

Manhattan Skyline.

Javits Centre ready and looming for BEA.

Each of my days at Book Expo America were jam packed with meetings so it’s been an exhausting week! As normal, the fair was buzzing everyday, brimming with publishers, authors and illustrators from across the globe, all there to share the very thing we love best: books! The atmosphere was intense and exciting and it was a real pleasure to see what our US clients have been up to this past year! Even more so to see the works of our wonderful illustrators and author/illustrators shining on some of the stands!

Capstone's Santa Shimmy with artwork from our lovely Emma Randall.

More lovely work from Emma Randall with Goodnight Octopus on Cottage Door Press's stand.

Petra Brown's gorgeous illustrations for some fantastic titles at the Sleeping Bear booth.

Most thrilling for me was seeing the exceptional display that Sterling Books had made for our very own Brendan Kearney and his work on fabulous picture book Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. There were even Team Lady Pancake and Team Sir French Toast tote bags, as well as shiny magnets! I promptly picked my team and wore my SFT tote all round the fair collecting books, momentos and client catalogues on my way.


I met with many of the publishers from around the USA that we already have well established and fantastic relationships with but BEA especially was a real opportunity to meet with US publishers that we don’t yet work with and to forge new relationships and I’m thrilled to say that was definitely the case. It’s rare for all of the meetings at a book fair to be exceptional but these really were and I cannot thank our wonderful US clients both old and new enough for a truly fantastic week. I am so excited to work with all of you on upcoming projects! A special thanks to Sleeping Bear Press, Source Books, Capstone and Walter Foster for some truly inspirational meetings!

Here's one of my favourite titles that caught my eye at BEA - Abrams Book's In My Heart:

And here is me sporting a beard from one of Capstone's hilarious and inventive Wearable Books!

After a delightful week of books, I had a weekend that was as hectic as the week, walking the length of the island and visiting Central Park for a lounge in the sunshine and an afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History where I indulged in two of my other passions: dinosaurs and our incredible universe.

On Sunday I visited the 9/11 Memorial site where I was surprised to find I spent 4 hours! That was certainly enough time though as I emerged emotionally exhausted and filled with a new found reverence for the strong folks of NYC and a better understanding of that fateful day. 

One World Trade Centre.

With the end of Sunday came a turn in the weather and I seem to be constantly soaked through from the torrential rain! Feels just like London! I've spent my evenings exploring the NY Highline, a magnificent oasis pathway raised above the city and, I confess, checking out as many local bars and gluten-free restaurants as possible.

The second week of my trip has started with a bang and I have been shooting from NY publisher to publisher and developing a truly excellent knowledge of the NY Subway! I’ll write again at the end of the week to fill you in. Night night from the NY skyline!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

New York, New York!

On Monday morning I fly to the USA for a month long sales trip for Plum Pudding! Saying that I am excited would be an understatement! It's buried under mild panic of course: the list of things still to do before I go doesn't seem to be getting any smaller! If anything, it seems to be getting bigger and bigger! What started off as bite size is now one seriously Big Apple! Hah!

I'm getting there with it all though and I could not be brimming with more joy and anticipation about this trip! Whilst there I will be armed with some truly exceptional material for the incredibly talented individuals that we represent. I'm attending BEA for a raft of meetings and visiting a huge variety of  publishers and other clients in New York City. I will also be making a few trips further afield to places including Boston, Tennessee and, if I can squeeze it in, a flight over to the opposite side to the US to catch up with some of our West Coast publishers! My days there are already crammed with back to back meetings with both the clients that we already have excellent and established relationships with and with some brand new contacts, with whom I cannot wait to forge new opportunities and connections for our wonderful author/illustrators! I've also got a few other ventures for PP up my sleeves and will be meeting with people that will continue to help us expand our ever growing presence in the USA! Watch this space.

So, I am buzzing and because I am, I really want to share some of my time there with all of you at home, so look out for the occasional blog update from me over the next few weeks! Plum Puddings and Big Apples? I can only assume this will be an utterly delicious trip! For now, farewell and see you on the other side of the pond!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Bristol's A Scribble of Illustrators Exhibition!

Don't miss Bristol's fab A Scribble of Illustrators exhibition featuring our very own fabulous author/illustrator Paula Bowles! We can't wait!

You can read more about this brilliant event on Paula's own blog here.

Thursday, 12 March 2015


Today we lost one of our brightest, literary stars. Rest in peace Sir Terry Pratchett and thank you for years of wickedly delicious humour, brilliant wisdom and fabulous fantasy.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Shaun In The City!

Remember the fabulous Gromit Unleashed? This award winning event saw Aardman's loveable canine sidekick Gromit raise £2.3 million for Bristol's Children's Hospital and saw illustrators from all over the UK, including our very own Paula Bowles and Emily Twomey, decorating fantastic Gromit sculptures that appeared all around Bristol. It is now back in a new form! Shaun in the City

In 2015 Aardman’s internationally-acclaimed character Shaun the Sheep will appear in two ewe-nique arts trails! Over 100 giant sculptures of Shaun the Sheep created by artists, celebrities and designers will be placed in iconic locations and beautiful green spaces across London and Bristol.

Shaun in the City will be appearing in London in spring and flocking to Bristol in the summer, before going to auction to raise money for children in hospitals across the UK. Once again PP artists have been asked to take part and Emily Twomey's hand decorated Shaun will be in Covent Garden's East Piazza Square from the 28th March-25th May! We cannot wait for the big reveal! In the meantime, here's a sneak peak from Emily's Shaun!

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation. Charity no. 1043603
Shaun the Sheep & Shaun in the City ©& ™ Aardman Animations Ltd 2015

Monday, 9 March 2015

Win A Pin Cushion Mouse From All Things Ottoline!

Have you visited the wonderful folksy shop All Things Ottoline yet? No?! Well in that case you'll want to check it out right now! Luckily you can do so here. This fab online shop containing gorgeous handmade home decor is run by our very own illustrator Erica Jane Waters - check out some of her simply beautiful creations!

Want? Well, exciting news - by simply visiting the All Things Ottoline Facebook page and sharing the image below you could win this actual pin cushion mouse! Beautiful! Check out the Facebook page here and good luck!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Fabulous Interview with Valeria Valenza!

Check out The Design Pot's wonderful interview featuring our very own Valeria Valenza! You can find it here.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Congratulations Alison Brown and Bloomsbury!

A big congratulations to our lovely Alison Brown, Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Bloomsbury for the gorgeous I Love You Night and Day making it to number 4 on Publishers Weekly's Children's Picture Books Bestsellers list at the start of 2015! What a great start to the year!