Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Mother Goose Odyssey

Me, Elizabeth and Rita after the event
Last week I helped the co founder of Seven Stories, Elizabeth Hammill to give a talk at Explore, the lifelong learning centre in Newcastle upon Tyne. Elizabeth told the story of the creation of Over the Hills and Far Away, which was selected as one of Seven Stories' 50 best culturally diverse children's books (see the Diverse Voices List). My part in the event focused firstly on my contribution to the book but also on my empathy for the importance of representing the diverse society that we live in today in books that we make and share with children.

Elizabeth's review of the day...
"How do you capture the excitement, discoveries, adventure (and hard work too) involved in the journey undertaken to make a collection of nursery rhymes from across the English speaking world illustrated by 77 international artists - established and new? 

We had two and a half hours to do just this with a wonderfully responsive group of students at Explore in Newcastle. 

Together we all went on a Mother Goose Odyssey - unfolding the story of the creation of Over the Hills and Far Away in words and pictures, and of our roles as researcher, collector, compiler, artist finder - rather like an exhibition curator - and as a new artist winning a competition to create a double spread for the book. It was a new team experience for both of us - invigorating and fun. Perhaps we'll be able to do it again!"

A snippet of an event attendee's review...
"Together they took us on the journey through the production, publication and launching of the book. The amount of diligent work, as well as the inspired thinking in the development of this book, was inspiring. I think my words echo the thoughts of all present. A wonderful session. Thank you."

Thank you to Explore and Rita for organising a wonderful event full of enthusiastic students.

Holly and Elizabeth x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

15 Things NOT to do with a Baby is LAUNCHED!

So here it finally is... 15 Things NOT to do with a Baby. This is my first picture book for Frances Lincoln and first time illustrating the text of award-winning author, Margaret McAllister.

As soon as I read the story, I knew I had to illustrate it! It involved a cute new baby (tick), it was hilarious (tick) and revealed an interesting relationship being siblings (tick).

We are very happy to announce that the book is currently 'Book of the week' with the UK's leading independent children's book magazine, Books for Keeps. You can also read my FIRST BOOK REVIEW, written by Ferelith Hordon, right here.

Although the book is officially released and for sale, we will be celebrating the launch at Seven Stories (National Centre for Children's Books) on Thursday 29th January. To say I'm excited, is an understatement!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Illustration Friday - Sea

Full illustration
Close up

Noah and Bear having more fun together this Christmas.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

It's that time....

Yes, it is that time of year! ...time to decorate your Christmas tree. Mine will be up and running tomorrow. Thought I'd share this illustration to help get us all in the Christmassy mood.

Although it is nearly the Christmas break, I've still got deadlines to meet beforehand. I'm currently working on my first picture book that I have both written and illustrated, so this is all very exciting.

Also looking forward to my first picture book to be launched in January 2015 called 15 Things Not to Do with a Baby. This wonderful text was written by the amazing Margaret McAllister and is going to be published by Frances Lincoln.

Will keep you posted about our book launch. Sounds like it is going to be very exciting!!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

'Over the Hills and Far Away' Book Launch

On Monday 13th October, we had the launch of the 'Over the Hills and Far Away' book that was held at the Free Word Centre in London.

It was an absolute honour to be asked to be apart of the illustration panel including illustration legends Jane Ray and Michael Foreman, and 'illustrator of the moment,' Yasmin Ismail.
'Over the Hills and Far Away' Special Edition Cover by Jane Ray
Michael Rosen headed the evening and encouraged lively discussions about the power of nursery rhyme and verse, the importance of diversity in children's books, how each illustrator responded to the invitation to contribute to the book, creative working method (traditional vs contemporary) and how an artist approaches colour.

The Panel: Me, Yasmeen Ismail, Michael Foreman, Michael Rosen, Jane Ray, 
Elizabeth Hammill and Joseph Coelho
Performance poet Joesph Coelho, who was also on the panel, entertained us with beautiful and humorous readings of verses such as 'In the Blue Night' and 'You thumb there, wake up'.

Pre-event book signing (Jane, Michael Foreman, Elizabeth Hammill and me!)
After a wonderful evening at the Free Word Centre, I made a quick dash to Kings Cross with the rest of the Seven Stories team for our train back to Newcastle. Now we look forward to the second celebration event on Wednesday at Seven Stories itself.

You can order your copy from the Seven Stories website. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Seven Stories, to help save and celebrate the wonderful world of children's books.