Children’s book Illustrator and/or writer

I blame Quentin Blake. Growing up on his bright and colourful illustrations of Roald Dahl books made me interested in the books in the first place and encouraged me to read more. While I have read a lot of other books which were wonderfully illustrated, of all of the illustrators I’ve ever heard of Quentin Blake is the one I remember because of his expressive and distinctively loose style, which I think has helped me realise over the years that art does not have the boundaries that I thought it did.

I would like to follow in his footsteps and be able to inspire and encourage children to read and draw, as well as to selfishly wish for some measure of fame from children who remember my name as they grow up.

I want to be able to help keep books interesting/amusing for the people who read them to children too, so that they can still be entertained even as they read the book for the 100th time.

Book Illustrator

(When I say book illustrator, I mean potentially illustrating the book cover/dust jacket, the page designs and illustrations inside the book)

A lot of people say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but the thing is that in terms of books, I do judge their covers. A lot. Book covers grab my attention and can help give me a sense of the tone and contents of the book. They’re important because they can inform the viewer on the story inside at a glance.

While I have read books which have terrible covers that turned out to be really good and books which have amazing covers but are actually terrible, it’s the cover which gets me interested first; after that I read the blurb or the start of the book, so usually the only reason I’m reading a book with a terrible cover is because the book is recommended to me by friends or reviews or I ran out of other books that looked interesting.

I think that learning how to grab peoples attentions with book covers would be quite interesting, because you may be creating a visual synopsis/metaphor of an entire story or taking the chance to introduce the main character/s, what they’re doing in the book, what dangers they face etc. yet without spoiling the plot. Sometimes, you’re essentially creating a logo/symbol/style for the books to be identified by. Whatever it is, you’re colouring the 

Then, once you’re reading the book, having illustrations in the corners or simple designs skirting the text can help give the book some distinctive character that suits it content, helping to immerse the reader in the story.

Anyway, my point is that I enjoy reading and I would love to be able to use illustrations to increase interest/awareness of good books.

Illustration MA

While doing a Masters isn’t something which particularly interests me , BUT it could be useful for learning about children’s illustration, making new contacts or just improving my skills.

EDIT: The main problem with doing an MA is that it is very expensive and unless I get a first in my degree, I wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Concept art/helping with animation development

Animation is interesting and I’ve done well with helping to create and improve ideas in group animation work, so I’d be interested to see if I could progress that further, plus I enjoy films and cartoons, so I’d love to try my hand in it. However, I’m not sure if this would be something that I’d like to do full-time or just to dabble in. Perhaps there might be ways of doing it part-time or becoming known and doing it on commission, but I feel that it might be difficult/unlikely without doing it full-time first and making a name for myself.

Webcomic artist and/or writer

I tend to like comics more than books. I think this is because I find comics easier to read due to various reasons.

Anyway, the point is that comics are great for me as they are one of the best forms of narrative for illustration that combine both literary and visual techniques, and webcomics are great because they’re free. I read a huge variety of them and also articles about them, so I consider myself informed on the topic. There are many webcomics that are far more interesting and well made (narrative wise) than many popular printed comics such as DC or Marvel, which I believe is because of the creative freedom they have and the fact that they are often more in touch with their fans.

The biggest problem with webcomics is that they take quite a while to make any money. You need to advertise and become well known in order to gather a large following so that the advertisements on your website are paying you more to host them, then you can start to make merchandise to sell but there’s no guarantee it will sell unless you’ve either got dedicated fans. Even if you get a lot of fans, it’s still no guarantee you’ll get money as many of them have adblocker so they don’t see the ads and so the advertisers don’t pay you for that.  The other option is to make merchandise, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll make for a stable income.

In essence, webcomics are funded by popularity, and that takes time. In the meantime, I’d most likely have to take on other jobs/commissions which would mean less time for the webcomic itself. It has been known for webcomics to be cancelled because they take a lot of time and energy, during which people need to get jobs and such.

Another problem with webcomics is that they are time-consuming and require a writer. Depending on what the content of the webcomic is, it might be that the writing takes a huge amount of time, so while I could write one myself, it may be easier and more practical to partner up with a writer/s in order to save time. Also, it would be good to be able to bounce ideas back and forth between writer and artist.

Finally, I’d need an idea to work with. I have a potential one for a setting, but there is no plot for it as of yet, so we’ll see how that develops.

Still, regardless of whether I end up doing something different for a time, I still want to make a webcomic series at some point in my life as I love reading them and desperately want to contribute to this source of creativity.


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