Monday, 18 June 2018

The Book People's Bedtime Story Competition Winner 2017: There's a Boy Just Like Me

Congratulations to 10 year-old Frasier Cox, the winner of the Book People's Bedtime Story Competition 2017! 

The Book People's Bedtime Story competition is for children aged 5 to 11: this year they were asked to write a bedtime story between 200 and 800 words on the theme of friendshipFrom 1300 entries, Frasier won the competition with 'There's a Boy Just Like Me', a heart-warming story about the friendship between a boy in his country of birth and a refugee. 'There's a Boy Just Like Me' was published by Little Tiger and illustrated by our very own Alison Brown! It has been published today and is available to purchase exclusively at, where least 35% of the price of the book will be donated to Save the Children - a charity that fights for children's futures every single day

Alison Brown grew up in Bangor, Northern Ireland, and learned how to draw by copying images from Peanuts out of her Dad's newspaper! She has been a member of the Plum Pudding family since 2012, and was ecstatic to be chosen as a judge and the illustrator for the winning story:
"It’s quite unusual to be commissioned to illustrate a story without any hint of what it might be, but when I started to read the shortlisted entries, as one of the judges, I knew it was going to be good. Amongst a whole array of ingenious and potentially brilliant books, Frasier’s poem stood out. It has an immediacy and clarity that really touched all the judges, so the choice of winner was unanimous. 
It was a real privilege to illustrate it. I hope I’ve done it justice - Frasier loved the artwork, which is the most important thing. And I hope it raises loads of money for Save the Children!" 

When Frasier won the competition, he said:

"I'm really pleased and very excited to have won The Bedtime Story Competition and can't wait for my story to be made into a real book. I love reading and writing stories and to know that my book will be read by children all over the country makes me very proud."(
You can watch Frasier read his award-winning story here: Watch Frasier Cox Read His Published Book: There’s a Boy Just Like Me | Book People

From, this is what the judges had to say about Frasier's winning story:

"Head Judge, Claudia Winkleman: 'I was blown away by the standard of the stories and writing from all the entries into Book People's Bedtime Story Competition. Frasier's story, is incredibly touching and thought provoking and it's absolutely remarkable a 9-year-old boy has written such a thoughtful story. Frasier is a very worthy overall winner and I can't wait to see the final version with Alison Brown's brilliant illustrations once it's been made into a real book next year.' 
Judge and Campaign Ambassador, Christian O'Connell: 'I really enjoyed reading the entries from this year's competition, but Frasier's story was my favourite. The fact a 9-year-old boy showed us what so many people and politicians forget, that we are all connected in this world. We have more in common than we think. Such a big-hearted idea and story all told in a beautifully moving poem. Frasier is a very, very special young man. This actually moved me to tears the first time I read it. This is just what we need in the world right now, we need to send Donald Trump a copy of this when it comes out!' 
Judge and Illustrator, Alison Brown: 'If a top adult author tried to write these sentiments in a child's voice, I don't think they could have done a better job! It just sounds like it comes from the heart, very authentic and moving. The imagined scenes make for lots of lovely images, too.' 
Judge and Group Buying and Merchandising Director, Sarah Walden: 'I was extremely impressed at the quality of the writing and imagination shown in this year's Bedtime Story competition. However, Frasier's story stood out from among the crowd. There's a Little Boy the Same as Me contains an incredibly considerate message which really struck a chord with me. We're delighted to be able to bring Frasier's story to life and celebrate his unique and compassionate perspective on one of the most pertinent social issues of our time.'" 

You can read the full article by The Book People at

A huge congratulations to Alison and Frasier from everyone at Plum Pudding!  

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Get to know our lovely new artist, Tim Budgen!

Read on to discover what inspires our wonderful new artist, Tim Budgen, and find out his top tips for aspiring illustrators! 

Where do you live/work? 

I live on Hayling Island, a small island just off the main land in between the cities of Portsmouth and Chichester. I work in my study surrounded by my favourite collectables and inspirational art.

What do you love about working there? 

Since the Summer of 2017 I have been a full time freelance illustrator. This means I get to work from home. This was a huge change in career for me as I had been an Art teacher for 18 years previously. Working from home means that I can make my own rules about how I want to work. Being a teacher for many years has meant that I have become used to having a lot of structure, this hasn’t changed as I still wake at 6am and begin work around 7am. I am very lucky to live very close to a great beach where I take my dog Baxter for long walks. As I am a bit of a workaholic having Baxter ensures I get a bit of exercise!

What are your dislikes?  

I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes , mushrooms or broccoli haha. I also can’t stand rudeness !

What do you love most about being an illustrator? 

I think that my favourite thing about being an illustrator is the fact that I get to live out my passion every day. I’ve always wanted to have a career in Art and to be able to create something that people will be inspired by is, i believe what dreams are made of.
I also like being able to spend the day in my dressing gown if I want to !

How do you work – what are your techniques? 

When I first started out I used to sketch out my designs and then colour them with felt-tip promarker pens. Over time i transferred to digital drawing and taught myself how to use photoshop. I bought myself a second hand tablet from ebay that cost about £15 and I started to practice as much as possible. Since then I have moved onto working completely digitally using photoshop CC and a Wacom Cintiq. For those who are unfamiliar with the cintiq it’s like a big monitor but instead of drawing onto a tablet you can draw straight onto the glass.

What is your favourite thing to draw? 

I absolutely love drawing animals! For the past twelve months I have been lucky enough to illustrate a monthly section for Storytime Magazine called ‘Alphabet Zoo’. This means that I have had the opportunity to draw every kind of animal from Aardvarks to Zebra ! I’m also a bit partial to drawing animals playing musical instruments ! This spread below involving Tapirs and Toucans has become one of my favourites, maybe because it involved drawing steamy Tapir poo!

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator? 

I would say time management can be a difficult thing to control. As all illustrators know, we do not keep regular 9 to 5 work hours so it can be tricky sometimes getting away from the desk. If it wasn’t for walks with my dog I would happily spend 10 to 12 hours a day ( maybe longer ) drawing and that isn’t healthy at all! I would also say juggling projects can also be a little tricky. It’s so important to make a note of deadlines as they can have a funny way of creeping up on you when you least expect them to!

What or who are you inspired by?

My great Grandfather was an artist and often illustrated for the Daily sketch in the 1950s. He was an incredible artist who could turn his hand to most things, whether it be illustration or sculpture. I've also been inspired by a number of illustrators over the years who I would say have had a real impact on my drawing style. I grew up enjoying  the work of Richard Scarry, Quentin Blake and John Patience.

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

As i've mentioned earlier I love walking my dog along the beach we are lucky enough to live near. I also go to the gym regularly. If i didn't go I think I would definitely seize up! I like to travel regularly, my favourite city being New York and I also enjoy cooking.

How did you get into illustration? 

Fortunately I was always encouraged by my parents to lead a creative lifestyle. Like many illustrators I began drawing at a very early age and it is something that has always stayed with me. I spent many years teaching Art but in the Summer of 2012 I began an online diploma in children’s book illustration. Although I loved teaching there was always the determination to illustrate full time and one day make a career out of it. In the Summer of 2017 I took the decision to leave teaching and become a freelance illustrator.

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators? 

Practice, practice, practice ! haha
On a serious note of course it’s so important to draw every day, even if only for five minutes. Over time you will get better, I promise !
My second top tip is to never snack at your desk. I work from home so the temptation to raid the biscuit jar is always very strong !
My third top tip would be to not compare yourself to other illustrators. I know it’s tempting but try and forge your own path!
And my fourth (if i’m allowed one?) dream BIG !

What’s your ultimate dream? 

I have to say that I think i’m one of the luckiest people to be able to do a job I absolutely love and have a passion for. Of course, there are days where the last thing I want to do is draw but fortunately they are few and far between. My ultimate dream would be to write and illustrate my own picture books and have them read the world over. I know I am close, I just have to keep working hard!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Presenting our wonderful new artist, Mamei!

An interesting and insightful interview from our new illustrator, Mamei!

Where do you live/work? 

I live in Dresden, the capitol of Saxony in Germany. 
What do you love about working there? 
I love the mediterranean flair of my city. The summers are very warm and dry and you can sit with friends in one of the many beer gardens on the river Elbe. My studio is located in the scene-district in town. There live many cultures together and you can shop very well. Also, the pubs and cafes are always well visited. There I can quickly make dates with customers, or take a coffee at lunchtime with my colleagues.
What are your dislikes? 
Nationalism and corruption. As far as people are concerned unreliability, arrogance, ignorance and brutality. Jean-Paul Satre said: "Who loves the people must hate what oppresses them."
What do you love most about being an illustrator?
I turned my hobby into my profession. And I've been able to live on it for few years now. Previously I worked in many agencies and had a lot of stress. Now I can organize my time. My illlustration agency helps me with this process too. That's luxury in my eyes. I have more time with my family at the moment.

How do you work – what are your techniques?  
Mostly I draw with pencil, next step I use black ink and an old school analog drawing pen. Finally I add colour on my Wacom Cintiq or Companion ready.

What is your favourite thing to draw? 
My clients says I am a fast pencil narrator. I can develop concepts with them and sketch fast with a pen. On my hidden objects pictures I tell nonverbally the life on the streets and the secrets in the buildings. Things, that you don't normally see at first glance. I love to draw in this style. In Germany we call this "Wimmelbild", a picture with teeming crowds of people. In the Renaissance, the Dutch were the first artists who painted hidden object pictures, oil on canvas. Exciting scenes with lots of people and animals at celebrations on farms and frozen lakes. One of the best was Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Very nice.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator? 
Billings for the tax office is one thing, but otherwise being an illustrator is a dream job. I don't want to change this. For that I accept that I have to constantly learn and always improve. But I think that once you have found your style, you should take care of it and just tweak it a bit.
What or who are you inspired by?  
I love the old illustrators from the first half of the last century. For example, Tony Sarg, Erich Ohser or Walter Trier. I am also influenced by the Russian illustration of the Soviet Union's only cartoon issue until 1989, the "Crocodile". Of the modern hidden objects picture illustrators I like, for example, Ali Mitgutsch or Uli Oesterle very well.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating? 
My hobby is the old times. More specifically, I am looking for clothes in the style of those days. And I wear them every day. Mostly the solid materials like raw denim. I enjoy that and my wife likes to be dressed by me as well.
How did you get into illustration? 
First I started as a decorator. In a small workshop on the outskirts of Dresden. The first Macintosh computers came out in 1990 and I started to work as a computer graphic designer. After that I worked as an art director in several agencies in Germany and Switzerland. But drawing began to gain the upper hand. And at some point I became a Freelancer. My contacts from that time helped me a lot.
What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators? 
1. Never hang your head when no orders come. 2. Always improve your own style. Also by rhyming and stealing. Look for new techniques. 3. Work in a team. Then you learn more. Two are stronger than one alone. Three stronger than two. And so on.

What’s your ultimate dream? 
Haha, that's good. Normally, I would already be content to publish outside Europe. But the ultimate kick would probably be to paint a cover for "The New Yorker" once in a lifetime. There the old heroes of my childhood drew. More is not possible in my eyes. I should just believe in it. That definitely helps.

Bologna 2018

Well what a wonderful fair we have had this year! So much work went in to the preparation and it feels like it was all over in a second! Over 90 appointments were had and lots of interest was taken in all our marvellous illustrators work. 

Thank you to all the wonderful PP illustrators and publishers that dropped by our stand for a drink on the Tuesday evening too, we had a fantastic turn out!

We hope everyone enjoyed the fair this year and we very much look forward to starting our Bologna 2019 prep!

Below are a few pictures from the fair this year:

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Plum Pudding at Bologna so far!

The Plum Pudding team are in full swing at Bologna Book Fair this year! We had a fabulous start yesterday with our agents busy all day running around the fair! Meeting with many an editor and publisher to share the amazing work we have in our artist portfolios, as well as some wonderful book concepts our agents have helped our illustrators with this year!

An amazing start to the fair, now on day two our agents are just as busy with meetings all day, but we are awfully excited for drinks at our stand this evening with our wonderful illustrators that are visiting the fair this year. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Bologna Book Fair 2018

We have been very busy Plums these past few weeks, getting everything ready in preparation for our trip to the Bologna Book Fair!

We are extremely excited to share all the work our wonderful illustrators have been preparing, from lots of fantastic new artwork, to some fantastic book concepts that our agents have been assisting our artists with.

We are delighted to have a stand this year at Bologna too, so make sure to come down to Hall 25 B87 to have a look at what our agents and artists have been working so very hard on over these past few months!

The lovely PP agents have over 90 appointments this year with an array of different publishers and editors and we are all very much looking forward to getting started!

Please take a sneaky peak at some of the wonderful work that we will be showcasing at the fair….

Monday, 12 March 2018

Brand new artist Shelly Laslo!

Our new and wonderful artist Shelly Laslo has shared with us her journey into the wonderful world of illustration! Please have a little read...

Where do you live/work?  

I live in sunny Israel, where I work from home at my small, but well-lit desk. 

What do you love about working there?  

Working from home is both a blessing and a curse- one has an endless amount of freedom! Though I make an effort to not work in my pyjamas, the option is always available. The drawbacks are the home-related distractions like the pile of laundry and cookies in the pantry calling your name all day!

What are your dislikes? 

Loud chewing, phoniness, squeaky markers, and dust. 

What do you love most about being an illustrator? 

Besides getting to call my favorite pastime my "job", it's amazing to be able to create something from nothing- a character, a world, a relationship; all can form in front of your eyes with just a few strokes of a pencil. It really is pretty special. 

How do you work – what are your techniques? 

If I'm working from a brief, then I'll usually start with some sketches in my sketchbook, and tweak things until I'm ready to move onto the final piece, usually digitally on the iPad. If I'm creating some personal work, then anything goes. I might just lay some watercolor on the page and see what forms in front of me. Very often I turn to Pinterest for some visual reference, as I've noticed you pick up interesting nuances when you're not just relying on your imagination. 

What is your favourite thing to draw?  

For years, it was pretty ladies with really amazing outfits. More recently, I've been loving coming up with child characters. (Kids' outfits are even more wonderful to draw, as it turns out!)

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?  

The trickiest part for me is to find the patience between having an idea in my mind's eye and finally shaping it into something I'm happy with on the page. It doesn't always "translate" right away, and I've learned it's sometimes necessary to step away from the project as many times as needed in order to view it with fresh eyes. That way, you can see what you need to change or add in order to capture that original idea. 

What or who are you inspired by?   

Traveling always inspires me, and seeing how the locals live in any particular place. Also, having entered the world of children's books illustration, my own young children are a huge inspiration; the way they might pose, the way they explore the world, and just the hilarious things they do often make their way into my sketchbook.

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

I dabble in photography, and I like to create small sewing DIY crafts. I have a huge industrial sewing machine from my days in fashion design school, and so I try to put it to good use from time to time!

How did you get into illustration?  

I've been drawing since I was little. For most of my childhood I was sure I wanted to become a fashion designer, and eventually went on to complete a Bachelor of Fashion Design at Shenkar College here in Israel. My jobs right out of school were fashion-based, but always had a big emphasis on illustration: I worked for national baby apparel companies, and though I was indeed designing the clothing as well, I was mostly finding myself illustrating the graphics for the tees. I ended up going the freelance route, and for a few years sold design resources like fonts and clip art, which I entirely hand-illustrated. About two years ago, I signed up for an online illustration course called Make Art That Sells, and that opened my eyes to the vast world of opportunities before me. I quickly understood that this- illustration -was the field I truly belonged in. 

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators? 

First, create more art! Forget perfect, focus of "practice makes progress" instead. If you focus on creating the quantity, the quality is sure to improve with time. 

Secondly, force yourself to send that work out into the world. That might mean sharing it on social media, or sending it out to potential clients. Or better yet, do both! I've learned, there's room for everyone in this field, you just need to place many eggs in many, many baskets. 

Lastly, love the stage you're at artistically. Yes, you will improve with time, but that's no reason to wait for "later" to pursue your dreams. 

What’s your ultimate dream?  

In my career, I hope to one day author and illustrate a children's book that would become internationally known and loved. There's something magical about the idea of holding a beloved spot on someone's bookshelf, halfway across the globe. 

And in life, my dream is to live a rich and colorful one. And to raise my little ones to be really good and kind people. Yes, that would be my ultimate success.