Monday, 27 February 2017

Jonny and Alison at Cardiff Children's Literature Festival!

Amongst many other fab events at Cardiff Children's Literature Festival this March, on the 26th you can attend workshops run by wonderful PP artists Jonny Lambert and Alison Brown!! 

Jonny will be showing you how he creates his amazing animal characters, as well as the inspiration behind his most recent title Tiger Tiger, you can get your tickets here!

Alison will be reading Little Owl's Egg, a heart-warming story about the arrival of a new sibling, as well as organising lots of crafts to take part in, tickets for this event can be found here!

We really hope you get the chance to pop along to one of these workshops and meet the artists if you're in the area! Be sure to let us know on twitter (@Plum_Agency) if you're heading to the festival, we'd love to see your pictures! 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Paula Bowles at Purbeck Literary Festival!

Last Saturday, Paula Bowles attended the Big Draw at Purbeck Literary Festival! The day was spent reading the latest book Paula has illustrated, "My Tail's not Tired", to the children and their families, with lots of laughs as Little Monster wiggles his bottom! The kids also enjoyed Paula's 'How to draw Little Monster' master class, where they took turns to describe a new monster, and Paula drew their joint creation as directed by them. Everyone went home with a Monster bookmark, and a fun day was had by all! We thought we'd share a few photos from the event with you all...

The beautiful view from the gallery space!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

We're going to Bologna!!

We have some very exciting news to share with you all today! This year, we will be taking a stand at Bologna (Hall 25, Stand B85 - come and say hi)! We can't wait to meet up with artists and clients from all over the world, and if you'd like to organise an appointment, please find details below! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Keep Your Eyes Peeled..

It's certainly been a busy start to 2017 here at PP, with Bologna prep underway and plenty of exciting projects coming in for our artists! We can't wait for the coming months, and thought we'd share some upcoming titles and artist events for you to keep an eye out for...

Upcoming Titles:

23rd February
Oxford Reading Tree All Stars: Terrible Tina
Nick Ward

9th March
The Silver Unicorn: Evie's Magic Bracelet
Erica Jane Waters

9th March
The Land of Toys & The Land of Dreams: A Faraway Tree Adventure
Alex Paterson

17th March
I Want a Friend
Amy Proud
Lion Children's Books

Other News:

As well as these fab new titles, you can also catch some of our artists at events around the country in the coming weeks! 

- 18th Feb: Paula Bowles will be taking part in the Big Draw at Purbeck Literature Festival, so why not pop along and join in? 

- 10th March: Alison Brown will be taking to the Grove Bookshop in Ilkley, to design their shop window!

- 26th March: Jonny Lambert and Alison Brown will be running workshops at Cardiff Literature Festival! Tickets available here!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

PP Goes Behind The Book with Author and Illustrator Jonny Lambert!!

Today is the day! Tiger Tiger, written and illustrated by the wonderful Jonny Lambert, is available now! In light of this exciting news, we thought we'd catch up with Jonny to find out a little more about where the story came from, how Jonny creates his incredible characters, and his tips for aspiring author/illustrators.

What initially inspired you to begin working on Tiger Tiger? Did the concept for the story come first or the adorable character 'Cub'?

The concept for the story came first, and not by the ‘usual’ route…not that there is one.

My paternal grandfather had been a huge influence in my early artistic life. He taught me how to ‘see’. Reflecting on our relationship, I remember how exciting Friday afternoons were. Teatime out of the way, Granddad and I would sit at the kitchen table to draw and paint. As he drew, I followed. As I drew, he followed. Both discovering something new.

It was this relationship that I wanted to explore in the story that eventually became Tiger Tiger.

What is your creative process like? How do you begin?

My creative process is initially quite frenetic, as I write and scribble any thoughts and ideas. As ideas come at anytime, anywhere, stimulated by anything, I keep a pencil and small notebook with me, wherever I go. Eventually, these scribbles get transferred into a more legible form.

A long walk, tea and coffee also helps!

Many ideas never come to fruition, but all inspire another thought.

Your characters are always so full of personality! How do you go about achieving this?

Once the idea ‘has legs’…well, in my mind anyway…I transform it into images, trying to find the characters- their personality. I tend to talk to myself at this point, in the voice of each character, as this helps to ‘shape’ the body and their attitude.

Do you have a favourite part of the whole process?

Making a mark. Just starting is sometimes the hardest thing, as there are so many expectations, but once the first mark is made…you’re off!

How did you first get into illustration?

With my early influences from my grandfather behind me, I was lucky to study at Art School for 5 years. After a further 8 year period of working in a variety of publishing houses learning my craft, I was given the opportunity to illustrate a book I was designing. It was my first complete book. It was a lift the flap storybook. I felt ready!

What would be your three top tips for author/illustrators just starting out?

1. Be open to all influences and stimuli, whether you think they are relevant or not.
2. Be true to your ‘own’ voice, and remember you are part of a team.
3. Don’t tell people what you can do, show them, and except criticism objectively.

What’s next?! Do you have any specific aspirations for 2017?

I have quite a few projects to work on this year. Some as designer and paper-engineer, and some as author and illustrator…and if I’m lucky, some as all four. With the launch of more picture books, an imprint, and development of new titles for international clients, the 2017 work-front horizon looks busy. I am also privileged to work with CHASE, the children’s hospice, and I will be tutoring for the first time at West Dean college.

We hope you enjoyed learning all about Jonny's creative process and just how Tiger, Tiger came about. You can order your copy here, and to see more of Jonny's gorgeous work, head over to his PP folio page here!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Captain Pug Nominated for Waterstones Children's Book Prize!

Captain Pug, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans and written by Laura James, has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize in the Young Readers category! We are over the moon for Eglantine and Laura, and thought we'd share some illustrations from the book in celebration! For more of Eglantine's work, visit her PP folio pages here!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

5 Minutes with... Lucy Boden

For this week's instalment of our "5 Minutes with..." series of interviews, we are catching up with the lovely Lucy Boden! From her favourite childhood books, to her bustling studio and how she creates her beautiful work, let's take 5 minutes to get to know a little more about Lucy...

Where do you live/work?

I live in Cheltenham, UK, and work from a shared studio just outside the town centre. 

What do you like about working there?

My studio is filled with lots of lovely, creative people. We also take part in group exhibitions, the next being the Cheltenham Open Studios in June, and sometimes we take fun trips to London or National Trust properties. 

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I love getting to spend time in my studio with just me and my paints. I find the process of painting (mostly) relaxing, especially when paired with a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits! Seeing the final, and sometimes published, piece of work is also very rewarding.  

How do you work – what are your techniques?

I begin with lots of sketching, getting to know the animal or character that I'm drawing, and then paint the final illustration in gouache or acrylic. Occasionally, I will tweak the image in Photoshop, but not often as technology frightens me!

What is your favourite thing to draw and why?

All animals!! Although, at the moment, I have a bit of a thing for bears! I find animals so much easier to draw than humans.

What or who are you most inspired by?

My work is hugely inspired by a childhood spent in beautiful Gloucestershire and three years in sunny Falmouth, where I studied for my degree. I also get lots of inspiration from my family pets including my gorgeous black cat Marley and my mum's crazy, hairy guinea pig aka Jim!

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

Quentin Blake and Chris Riddell are two of my illustrating heroes. I was lucky enough to meet Mr Riddell at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year and watched him doing some live drawing! I also love the work of Jane Chapman.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?

I drink copious amounts of tea, enjoy practising yoga and going on the occasional run. I am also the owner of many failed/half finished craft projects. 

How did you get into illustration?

I've always dreamed of illustrating books ever since I was small. I did an art foundation course in Cheltenham and almost went on to do a fine art painting degree, before realising that I could do an illustration degree. I spent three years in Falmouth and joined PP a couple of years after graduating. 

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators?

1. Draw everyday. It's so important! I've been attending weekly life drawing classes, which has really improved my illustrations.

2. Try not to compare yourself to other illustrators.  

3. Stay patient and passionate about your work.

What were your favourite books when you were younger?

I was (and still am) a complete bookworm. Some of my favourites were Princess Smartypants by the amazing Babette Cole and Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth.

What was the last book you read? What did you think? 

I have just finished reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I was completely hooked and read the whole book in just over a week. I'm now reading her second novel The Muse.

What are your aspirations for 2017?

To keep painting, developing and having fun with my illustrations. 

What’s your ultimate dream?

To work full time as an illustrator and have lots of published picture books out in the world! I'd also love to have a house filled with dogs!

We really hope you enjoyed getting to know Lucy, and a little more about her life as a children's illustrator! To see more of Lucy's amazing work, visit her PP portfolio page here and her website here!