Picture Hooks conference

Today I have been at the Picture Hooks conference here in Edinburgh all about the world of children’s book publishing. We’ve heard from illustrators, writers, publishers and agents. It’s been a lot to take in but invaluable. The highlight for me was the talk given by illustrator Ross Collins. I could have quite happily listened to him all day. He’s a really entertaining speaker and it was fascinating seeing some of the rough work behind his illustrations.

One thing (amongst many) that I find perplexing about children’s book publishing is the expectation that you will dedicate everything to the cause when they tell numerous stories about some of the deluded manuscripts they receive. How do I know if I’m one of the deluded ones or not? We were told today that it took Julia Donaldson 15 years to break through and she’s considered one of the best. If I go for children’s illustration (and deep down that is really want I want to do) how do I know when to say, actually I’m not good enough?

My incredible tutor Jonny Gibbs came up with the best answer by his example rather than his words. I intend to be an artist for a life time and that will involve many twists and turns. There is no ‘making it’ for an artist, just the compulsion to pursue my craft with a strange mixture of play and tenacity.

Very profound eh?! On an aside I saw one solitary swallow. Wouldn’t it be great if someone in Africa could report to us when the swallows leave, then at least we’d know they were on their way?

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