What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from Jrpoulter's Weblog)

Recent Comments

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 30 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 92
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
Mending-Lucille-making-a-picture-book Write Realities - about writing and illustrating and children's books and poetry and photography
Statistics for Jrpoulter's Weblog

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 27
1. Trends – New bends in the path to publication. By J.R.Poulter

Some time last year, Erica Wagner, Publisher at Allen and Unwin, is reported as having said that there was a lot to be gained by having a text already illustrated [not that Allen & Unwin published picture books]. This is seemingly a change in direction.

Some writers/illustrators I know have recently signed contracts for ‘print ready’ books.  This is not self-publishing, but submission to a royalty paying publisher of a book that is ‘ready to go’ in publishing terms.

What constitutes a ‘print ready’ book?  It is a book that has been -

  • professionally edited,
  • proofread, has been
  • designed to industry standards,
  • professionally designed cover and,
  • if illustrated, has all images appropriately set.

This is a great way to go for authors who are able to pay illustrators and book designers up front. Most authors are not able to do this.  This then means all creators involved in a book project agreeing to royalty share and working between paid projects to collaborate on their book.

What have I gleaned about such ‘print ready’ deals? One company, smaller and reasonably new, offered a small advance and a good contract, by industry standards, with higher than regular royalty share for creators. An offer of help with promotion was also part of the deal. Another company, medium sized and established, offered no advance but better than average royalty shares for creators and help with promotion and marketing of the book.

How does this stack up against what is generally on offer now?

  • Small and middle range publishers, in general, do not offer advances.
  • Larger publishers offer advances depending on the book, depending on the author, and depending on the agent involved.
  • Smaller and middle range publishers often [there are exceptions] expect the author to do it all in relation to promotion, even requiring the submission of a marketing plan.
  • Larger publishers vary greatly as to how much promotion they will give a book.
  • Generally, publishers will submit copies of their publishing output for major awards, such as the CBCA, and to a selection of leading review outlets.

What’s the down side for author, illustrator, book designer, [often the illustrator], to go down the  ‘print ready’ publishing path?

  • It IS a lot of extra work for all creators involved to ensure the book is ‘professional’ standard even before it is submitted.
  • There is no money upfront.

Are the rewards worth the effort?

  • If you love collaborative work, it is a big plus.
  • Creators have much more project control to create the book they have collaboratively envisaged.
  • A quality product, ‘print ready’,  is a major bargaining point for creators/agents. ‘Print ready’ saves the publisher heaps!

The first company mentioned does small print runs, sells out their print runs, reprints and even sells out reprints and so it seems to be gradually snowballing.

It is too early to know in the second instance.  [I’ll keep you posted!]

My feeling is that, if Erica Wagner was sensing a ‘trend’ and if these companies make a success of it, we will see more such deals.  It’s something to think about!

To be launched end of June – “Toofs!” a collaboration between J.R. and Estelle A.Poulter an illustrators Monica Rondino and Andrea Pucci. More to come on what was a ‘print ready’ deal.

TOOFS by J.R.Poulter & Estelle A. Poulter, illustrated by Monica Rondino & Andrea Pucci

TOOFS by J.R.Poulter & Estelle A. Poulter, illustrated by Monica Rondino & Andrea Pucci


0 Comments on Trends – New bends in the path to publication. By J.R.Poulter as of 3/5/2013 11:04:00 PM
Add a Comment
2. Intelligent reading – Comprehension in young children

Reading – we all recognise it as a core skill. By ‘intelligent reading’, I mean reading with a level of comprehension commensurate with the child’s experience of the world they inhabit. Fortunately, reading to children is now encouraged  as being supportive of  reading literacy and as a sound foundation for future learning.

Not that long ago, children were seen as passive recipients of the eager parent’s input via the quality time spent in ‘read to me’ and ‘bedtime story’ sessions.

I always felt sure my children were taking in much more than the professional opinion allowed.

Recently, I borrowed a copy of Dr. Virginia Lowe’s very excellent book, “Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two children tell” (Routlege 2007) based on the record of her own two children’s responses to books from birth to adolescence. Dr. Lowe’s book vindicates what I felt all along as a parent! This book should be set reading for students of primary, early childhood and remedial teaching, child and family psychology and for anyone with an interest in literacy!

Her children had a smorgasbord of stories proffered continuously, both Dr Lowe and her husband being librarians who were passionate advocates of children’s literature.  The children’s reactions to and responses concerning elements of story and  illustrations provide a wonderfully insightful peek into the psyche of the child. Both Lowe children clearly had a blessed and privileged childhood, but being ‘read to’ is within the reach of most children. Public libraries and school libraries are accessible to most families. Even if parental work commitments make  a nightly ‘reading’ impossible, there are weekends and visits to grandparents when  a ‘storytelling’ session can be included in the agenda.

There are other options.

Storytelling sessions are held regularly in many public libraries and are ‘free’.

And online  resources such as “Ripple Reader” and “A Story Before Bed” provide a way for even absent grandparents and parents to read to their children. In the USA and Israel, ‘bedtime stories’ are part of official early education policy. Programmes like “Reach Out and Read” and “Read to Me” do a monumental job in promoting literacy and the power of  storytime to be a deeply meaningful and bonding time in families.Virginia-Lowe-Stories-Pictures-and-reality-cover12517427738


0 Comments on Intelligent reading – Comprehension in young children as of 12/16/2012 4:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
3. Summer Reading Club 2012/13 – Untangled Tales is choc full of holiday awesomeness

The Untangled Tales website is the best  of the Summer Reading sites. Going over the site, was like being in one of the famous ‘But WAIT, there’s more!’ advertisements! At every click of the mouse, there was more! There is something here for children of all ages [preschool, primary, secondary], for their parents, teachers and librarians. The site is gorgeous [literally] to look at, easy to navigate, entertaining in content and layout and engagingly informative!

The Celebrity Corner  questions brought out the creative quirkiness of authors and illustrators in a very entertaining way and featured a very diverse group of creatives!

The Untangled Tales game is a blast – great fun! It challenges memory and  prods research capabilities and informs about other cultures, their customs and attitudes as reflected in their  fairytales and legends.

Image

Check out the  side tabs and their drop down menus – there is heaps and heaps of  fun activity, fantastic tales, playful poetry and fanciful stories, arty opportunities, creative competitions in writing and art activities and painless learning along the way!!


0 Comments on Summer Reading Club 2012/13 – Untangled Tales is choc full of holiday awesomeness as of 12/14/2012 8:26:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. PERSONALISING YOUR STORY – an additional outlet

Personalising your story by J.R.Poulter

Are you seeking an additional paying outlet for you work?

A personalized version might be the answer!

Various companies take the illustrated text for children’ stories and modify them to create a ‘personalised’ version. The company will do the personalizing for you but, in my case, I chose to submit my own ‘personalised’ version’.  Some of my ‘personalised’ books are coming out with Frecklebox, who have also published personalised versions of books by friends.

Having a ‘personalized’ edition does not prevent you from still seeking out publication of your original text.  Contracts are non-exclusive.

If you are publishing with a small company, they might be interested in adding the option of a personalized version of your story for sale digitally.

How do you do it?

“The little boy clapped his hands gleefully! The thing in the grass glittered up at him in rainbow colours. He tried to grab it!  “Oh!” he exclaimed, the beautiful thing had moved, just out of reach…” [JRP]

Becomes: “Edward clapped his hands gleefully! The thing in the grass glittered up at him in rainbow colours. He tried to grab it!  “Oh!” Edward exclaimed, the beautiful thing had moved, just out of reach…” [JRP]

For rhyming stories, a refrain can be added in to provide the ‘personalised’ element. An example from an upcoming ‘personalised’ version “Ten Little Heroes”, a picture book with a counting element, illustrated by UK illustrator/animator, Alex Slack:

FOUR Little Heroes flying to the moon,

One said, “I’m Space-man!

See you SOOOooon! ”

Oops a doops, a whoopsie there!

             Mike to the rescue! Mike is here!

Image

Once you have the hang of the text conversion process, you might choose to offer personalized versions of your digital books [e.g. on the App Store, Utales.com, Kindle, Nook, Adobe Digital editions, etc], or self-published children’s books from your own website/store.


0 Comments on PERSONALISING YOUR STORY – an additional outlet as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
5. Illustrators’ Alert – Nami Island Concours – Nambook Festival

Opportunity for Illustrators internationally - Nami Island Concours

Opportunity for Illustrators internationally – Nami Island Concours

The wonderful people of Nami Island Concours have created another outstanding opportunity for illustrators all over the world! The dream of these folk, who are so passionately devoted to children’s literature, is to  turn Nami Island into a library! :) Angela Kim is the  Assistant Manager and the person to contact if you wish to know more – her contact details are on the website.

These are the links  – Nami Island Concours, Guidelines and information

Application forms

Festival information

You can find the brochure by going here.


0 Comments on Illustrators’ Alert – Nami Island Concours – Nambook Festival as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. Luvverly LISTS for Writers and Illustrators!

Hi Everyone! :)

Lists can be extremely useful, especially when they are constantly being updated!

Here are two such.

The first, compiled by the enterprising and enthusiastic Brain Grove, is a list of US publishers who are currently accepting submissions for children’s books – http://j.mp/SVbnCk  – he also, very helpfully, adds links toeach entry to take you straight to the site.  I also recommend his ebook on  query /submission letter writing.

The second,  a veritable database, is continuously being updated by the very proactive authors, Delin Colon and Lisa Kalner Williams – http://bit.ly/writerinterviewopps …

If you haven’t joined www.jacketflap.com, I highly recommend it – an excellent networking site for all things related to children’s literature and books.

Get busy and good luck!


4 Comments on Luvverly LISTS for Writers and Illustrators!, last added: 9/30/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
7. “The Sea Cat Dreams” has a Face Book Page

Muza Ulasowski, my wonderful collaborator, has created a fabulous FB page for our picture book, “The Sea Cat Dreams”! Muza’s wonderfully life like illustrations have perfectly captured  the story in a way I could never have envisaged! She has truly captured the story’s essence!  Here are some samples:

The story is about coping with life impacting change something that can happen planned [as in a house move] or completely unplanned [as with a natural disaster, accident, death etc]. Coping with change, as child/family psychologists and counselors all say, is something that has a profound impact, especially on the young. As with grief, adults are often too preoccupied with the change and its ramifications to be able to take in how the children, who are being impacted by change, are managing or not managing in the new setting/situation.

The cat in the story moves, accidently, from one environment & family on a farm, to another very different one, aboard a fishing boat.  He is then impacted further by the loss of a master he has come to love. But this is not the end. He moves through his life’s dramatic changes; firstly, by grieving, something we need to encourage each other and especially children, to do. He then reaches out to, shares with and cares for others also affected by loss, in this case, the fisherman’s widow. He gradually accepts his new life situation, not for a moment forgetting what has happened, but treasuring the wonderful memories he has.

The process of grieving must be acknowledged and the grieving child/adult be allowed to express their grief or sense of loss at the change in their lives and encouraged to do so.  Let them talk, let them share as much as they need to. Highlight the  constructive aspects, positive elements, e.g, wonderful memories of a dead friend, relative or pet. If the impacting change has involved a move – be it to a different school, to another suburb, another state, another country – encourage  the keeping of contacts where possible, assist with the making of new contacts and the sharing of the process of moving and resettling, especially any humorous incidents.

The hope in writing this book, was to help children talk about their own stories of life changing events and to recognise, that whilst change is not always pleasant, we can become stronger for it and be better able to reach out and empathise with others experiencing its many faceted impact on their own lives.

See it here: http://utales.com/books/the-sea-cat-dreams


0 Comments on “The Sea Cat Dreams” has a Face Book Page as of 9/29/2012 3:20:00 AM
Add a Comment
8. Part III – Journey of a Book – the Launch, 13th July, 2012

The launch was wonderful, a chance to  see everything in place, admire friends’ exhibits, show it all off to friends and family and network! Sheryl Gwyther, Prue Mason of SCBWI and Michelle Richards [our wonderful Exhibition coordinator from Brisbane Square Library] organised the launch event. Jenny Stubbs, Coordinator of one of Australia’s leading children’s book festivals, “Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature”,  came down from Ipswich to open the exhibition. Jenny gave a stirring and encouraging speech to gathered authors, illustrators and friends, despite protesting she didn’t fancy herself a speaker . :)

Visitors included Dr. Virginia Lowe of “Create a Kid’s Book” fame and Lucia Masciullio of Blue Quoll Publishing, teachers and teacher librarians from Brisbane and Ipswich. Feedback has been excellent. It is vindicating, as an author or as an illustrator, to have people acknowledge the work that goes into a book’s creation and to have a new appreciation of the end result!

Read other reports of the Exhibition on Anil Tortop’s Blog and the SCBWI Facebook page. Better still, go along and have a squizz – Level 2, Brisbane Square Library, George Street Brisbane CBD, from 13th July to 31st August, 2012!

Click to view slideshow.

0 Comments on Part III – Journey of a Book – the Launch, 13th July, 2012 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. Part II – Journey of a Book – setting up, hanging in there

The set up, which I thought would only take an hour, stretched to all morning. Coordinating the set up of an exhibition this size with so many ‘exhibitors’ had Michelle Richards, the Brisbane Central Library’s exhibition coordinator, running a million directions at once, advising as to ‘how [it was something new to a lot of us], finding stands and  suggesting modes of  display, and generally guiding us all through to ‘VOILA!’ – one  fascinating and very varied exhibition!

But there was more – not just the glass cases to set up, but hanging around to do the hanging!  this was not as straightforward as it sounds. We had to somehow attach our paintings to fine dangling wires and – here’s the worst part GET THEM TO SIT $#@*# STRAIGHT!

Click to view slideshow.

0 Comments on Part II – Journey of a Book – setting up, hanging in there as of 7/30/2012 3:12:00 AM
Add a Comment
10. Journey of a Book – children’s literature creation under the microscope

Click to view slideshow.Books are created from the imagination and inspiration of authors and the insightful vision of illustrators. They are then crafted. The authorial crafting may be right brain with a touch of editing or slow and laborious left brain plotting. For an illustrator, it may be  inspiration flowing like rivers from brush or  stylus or it may be  storybook or dummy creation then rethinks, scrap some ideas, adapt others. Eventually, a book emerges that is then ‘ready for submission’. These days, that may mean  adding animation and audio to make the book a digital production for app developers like  Utales or Flying Books, or for YA, formatting it for Kindle or Nook e-publishers. It may mean self publishing on Createspace  or Lightningsource, Smashwords or Lulu.  Or it will mean the long road via submission to traditional publishers.

If the latter is chosen, the publisher will often require more editing, changes and perhaps more changes. My own book, started under contract to one publisher, was already well underway with the inimitable Sarah Davis as illustrator. We were having a ball creating our book. Then our publisher was taken over and the new publisher wanted  to  institute changes. At first, the major change – ‘get rid of the dead bird’ – seemed straight forward. Then we realised  the book needed the bird but, to keep it, we had to  make some big adjustments. An injured bird can’t just disappear in a children’s book, it has to get better and be released, which, in our picture book, meant its story  had to be woven into the fabric of the main story seamlessly. No problem, a few days and Sarah and I had nailed it! As book creators, you have to be flexible and, especially if going the traditional publisher route, you can’t be too precious about your creation.

SO! This exhibition is about the journey numbers of wonderful children’s and YA books took from creation to  bookshelf! Each book has a different creation story to reveal - something the public doesn’t see, it’s behind the scenes. Now the reader can take a peek backstage, behind the scenes to how it all came together!

THE SET UP

Setting up was not straight forward. The spaces has to be utilised to best advantage and the  items displayed needed to be seen from as many angles as possible given I had a two shelf rectangular glass case.  I didn’t end up using everything I brought with me. It would have been too cluttered. Last minute inclusion, bulldog clips, proved life-savers! They held the  photographic prints in place.

I had never ‘hung’ a painting before at an exhibition and that proved ‘interesting. Sarah Davis sent up her wonderful original painting via kindly courier, Peter Taylor, but it was unframed. I had no time to find a frame. Fortunately, I had one around the house that was  a good match colour-wise though not quite the  perfect size.

Given my exhibit was about my close collaboration with Sarah, the items displayed needed to reflect the two minds working together to make a new creative whole – our book! Sources of inspiration, stages in text change, changes in images, cover and trivia relating to the characters, objects and places in the book all combined to make a successful ( I hope you agree) exhibit!

Click to view slideshow.

THE LAUNCH


0 Comments on Journey of a Book – children’s literature creation under the microscope as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
11. Wow of a launch results in 3 titles in reprint already!

Andrea has gotten it spectacularly right! The CEO of Tell Me a Story launched 10 new titles on 30th June, this year. I was privileged to be guest speaker at an event that had even seasoned politicians, Ian Rickuss, MP Lockyer, and Steve Jones, Mayor, Lockyer Valley Regional Council,  commenting on attendance numbers!

Assembled authors, illustrators and guest panelists with Andrea Kwast

Muza Ulasowski [Panelist] and Guest Speaker, J.R.Poulter

The audience was rapt. I have seldom been at a publishing event where everyone’s eyes shone! Andrea has the  devoted support of her very wide community of readers and growing. She also has the  good fortune to have a very devoted group of assistants in administrator, Rel, and local photographer and budding author herself, Jenni Smith.

Research and innovation, preparedness to think out of the box, are hallmarks of Andrea and her team. She believes stories are lurking everywhere and it just takes the right determination, editing and dedication to bring them out. That she is succeeding over and above expetaction is more than demonstrated by the sellout and reprint, within the first few weeks since the launch, of no fewer than 3 titles!

Hearty Congratulations Andrea and Team and to all her authors – keep writing!

Click to view slideshow.
0 Comments on Wow of a launch results in 3 titles in reprint already! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. The Self-Publish Journey with a Children’s Book – Jo Linsdell’s Experience

Why Choose Self-Publishing – Jo Linsdell’s experience as a new children’s picture book author

“Why did you choose to self publish?” 

I wanted full control over every aspect of the book. I wrote the story for my son and designed it to suit his tastes. the fact that he played such an active role in it’s creation makes it all the more special to me. By self publishing I got to call all the shots and make it exactly as I wanted it.

“Why did you choose to do the whole book yourself, instead of collaborating with a writer or an illustrator? Are there drawbacks to  going it alone”

I studied art and design at college and love it. I figured I might as well put both my writing skills and my illustrating skills to practice. Why hire someone else when i can do it myself? There is a down side to going it alone though. For example, I had no problems in sketches the illustrations for the book, but making them digital and print quality was a whole different story. I’d never used a graphic program before and so it was a huge learning curve for me. Luckily for me, one of my tech savvy friends was on hand to give me advice and assistance. he saved the day more than once ;)

“How has the experience been for you so far? “

Great. This book has been so much fun to do right from the beginning. I’m having fun with the marketing side of things too.

Is the process something anyone could undertake or do you need to be tech savvy?”

I think a certain amount of tech-savviness is definitely a plus. If you’re not lucky enough to have a graphic friend to help out with the technical stuff than I suggest going a different route. There’s so much you need to know, from what colours you can use to dealing with transparencies and layers, in order to get a quality end result. Producing a children’s book is not as easy as some people might think.

“How cost effective is self publishing?”

Very. I spent no money in the creation of the book. I wrote the text and did the illustrations myself. I’m also lucky to have a fantastic network of friends that volunteered to proofread for me and help out with my technical questions. My network has been amazing in supporting my promotional tour to launch the book too with many of them offering to host me on their sites, review the book and help spread the word.

The only cost I’ve had was $25 to have the book added to expanded distribution via createspace (to make it available to bookstores, onlne retailers, libraries etc…) and the cost of a proof copy.

“How time effective is self publishing with regards to  all the promotional and marketing work?”

Marketing takes up a lot of time. I don’t think self publishing differs particularly from other publishing routes when it comes to marketing though. Even if you publish through a traditional publisher you will be expected to do a certain amount of promoting yourself.

“Would you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?”

I did. Self publishing was plan A for me. The reputation attached to self publishing has changed a lot over the last few years and even big name authors are ditching their traditional publishers in favour of self publishing their work.

“Would you self publish again?”

Definitely. I would only consider using a traditional publisher if I couldn’t get the result I wanted on my own.

Jo Linsdell

www.JoLinsdell.com 

REVIEW

Add a Comment
13. Ian Beck, Award Winning Illustrator, Describes the Creative Process as Bestselling Author

Ian Beck on Visualizing the Characters in his YA novels,  

Hi Ian,

Hearty congratulations on the release of your two new YA novels, both in the one year! That is some achievement! I’m fascinated by  how you come up with such a range of amazing and vastly different characters and all so vividly drawn.  

Do you ‘see’ with your illustrator’s eye, the characters before you flesh them out? What part of the author is still the illustrator? Does the  novel roll out in movie sequence in your mind?

Firstly, the characters in “The Hidden Kingdom” [see review below]-  

What was the origin of Prince Osamu, the arrogant prat turned soldier king?

The whole book started with a single  sentence.  I wrote it for inclusion in a book which was intended to kick start ideas in children and encourage their own writing . The original sentence went something like, ‘The Prince woke to the howling of wolves’, and I thought, ‘well I would like to write that story myself and see what happens’, and so my Prince was the first settled character around which the story built. I imagined him as  a pampered princeling in a fairy tale forced to confront something very big but I wasn’t sure what it might be at the beginning of the process.

Why Baku and the Snow Maiden? Is this a tip of the hat to the Brothers Grimm with their tales of transformation and  tragic love, thinking particularly of The Little Mermaid, but with role reversal?

Not quite, Baku and the Snow Maiden were in a separate book, based on a Japanese myth story.  It was only after working on both discretely for  a few months that I realised in a flash of inspiration, (which now seems obvious but didn’t at the time), that they belonged in the same book as Prince Osamu.

Lissa, the warrior maid, is a thoroughly modern miss.  What were her antecedents?

I think Lissa is to me quite clearly based on the character and beauty of Zhang Zi Yi in the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, that is exctly how I saw her  in my mind, fiery and difficult, but dedicated to the saving of the Prince even though she begins the story despising his weakness.

Secondly, the lead roles in the very visually realized, “The Haunting of Charity Delafield” [see review below]-

Charity Delafield, is a quintessential heroine for a disaffected generation. The working woman’s children, tossed from home to childcare, child care to school and back and never long enough in one place to identify with it as ‘home’, whom I suspect ask ‘Who is Mum? Is she really the hollow eyed lady who picks me up late afternoon/early evening, rushes me through dinner to bed and pulls me out in the morning, drives me and drops me off with a stress fraught kiss and a wave?’  Charity is a brave new kind of heroine, finding her way, finding herself. In a seemingly disaffected world.  What inspired her?

Charity began life as picture book idea. I had drawn some rough sketches of a girl in a long red coat out in the snow in an old fashioned formal garden. I liked the place and time of the story, the only difficulty was that there was no story. At about the same time my daughter started leaving notes for the Fairy she believed to be in the house and I started to leave replies in minute hand writing, which developed into a nice game. I mentioned them to my agent and she thought it might be worth developing as a book. My editor at Random House, Annie Eaton, always liked the initial drawings and would occasionally enquire if I had done anything with them. After I had finished the Tom Trueheart books, I finally saw a way to develop the story as a novel with the girl in the red coat in the garden. It went through three very different drafts before it was finished.

<

0 Comments on Ian Beck, Award Winning Illustrator, Describes the Creative Process as Bestselling Author as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
14. Nicola’s Monsters! An interview with illustrator turned author, Nicola L. Robinson

Interview with Nicola L. Robinson, illustrator turned author and the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a change of hats!

Hi Nicola

First off, HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS on the release of “The Monster Machine” with Pavilion Books – a sort of mad inventor meets Granny’s knitted nightmares joy of a book!

Have you always had a strong visual sense of story?

Yes I have, I’ve always loved drawing (like all illustrators I should imagine!) but particularly loved drawing pictures with something happening in them, be it a big thing chasing a small thing or any kind of interaction between my creations. As a child I’d name the characters and make up stories around them..

I grew up and went to university and did a degree in Fine Art, which was fantastic, but I realised my work was more illustration and less ‘Fine Art’. I have always looked for the story in the picture, and love adding narrative details to things, be it a little mouse hiding behind a teapot or something more sinister watching through a crack in the curtain... I am a visual thinker, but at this point I didn’t consider writing the actual words down to go with the illustrations.

What were your favourite storybook images as a child and how did they influence you as an illustrator and the style you adopted as ‘you’?

I didn’t have many traditional picture books, I did however pour over photos of crocodiles and snakes from a really old book on ‘The Animal Kingdom’. One of my favourite storybooks was a book of Greek Myths which had a lot of colour plates inside of the various mythological beasts and some nice black and white ink illustrations, fairly traditional in style. My favourites were always the ones I could imagine myself being in, something with some perspective, or one where you can see inside an open door or window. I also loved the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, with Smaug the dragon. I have drawn many dragons since then and continue to do so today.

I have always loved the traditional fairytale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and others like Aubrey Beardsley and more recently Edward Gorey. Black and white ink illustrations in particular have always appealed to me, as has the sinister so I expect I have absorbed a little of their influence into my current working style. I certainly hope so!

Do you have a favourite among your previous illustrative projects? Would you tell us something of the creative process involved in bringing the images to light?

 My favourites change all the time, but I am still very attached to a detailed illustration from last year titled ‘Downtown’

It started off like so many drawings as a few scribbles on the page, I could see a cityscape of sorts in my head… I often write lists of words and ideas to include in a piece, little descriptions like ‘Dark alleys’ and ‘Iron Bridges’ just as little word pictures, alongside thumbnails which I find very helpful.

1 The Rough idea is drawn

From here it gets its structure and is drawn out. If I’m going to be working in colour I usually stretch some paper at this point before transferring the idea to it.

I work up the details in pencil…

Display Comments Add a Comment
15. Researching the environment of story

By happy accident, I discovered the  way to travel interstate, overseas, inter-culturally  and explore the  ambience of remote towns, cities, country lanes and outback outposts. Air tickets – well that’s the ideal, but no, I used Google Earth.

It started with my trying to locate a lovely country home in West Hougham, Kent, England. It was featured in Country Life for September 7th, 2000, and was the

Inspiration for “The Dolls’ House in the Forest”

inspiration for my story “The Dolls’ House in the Forest”. I was fascinated by the quaintness of the architecture compared to anything out here in Oz and the size of the immense, almost regal trees forming a perfect backdrop to the house. I tried to relocate the house by doing a ‘street view’ saunter down English lanes in the vicinity.  I located the area on the map and zeroed in from aerial to ‘here I am virtually walking down this street on the other side of the world the environs of which I just happen to need to explore.’

I didn’t find the house, but I had the most wonderfully inspiring time wandering down country lanes that were little more than wagon tracks, great boughs canopying overhead and wildflowers dotted in the fields…

Now, if I need to capture something of the ‘feel’ of an area. I seek out an address. Then in I go and wander around, exploring the architecture, streetscapes, lifestyles evidenced in things as random as  street art, verge gardens, bus stops, signage, graffiti, shop window decor, fences or lack of, litter, strays and the bystanders to my wanderings.

I have also found that  exploring the Realtor advertisements in the area I am exploring gives insight into the inhabitants of the town. Many homes  give a slideshow or even a video tour online.  This helps you pick up on details of life – home decor, layout, from wall hangings to  cushions, scatter rugs to artwork, the placement of chairs to take in a much loved outlook, the windows and their views out, the garden.

Perhaps this sounds a little bit the voyeur. It is not the intention, far from, it is seeking faithfulness in recreating a  ’feeling’ for place. It is gathering the elements of story , setting the stage, arranging a convincing backdrop to the action!


2 Comments on Researching the environment of story, last added: 5/23/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
16. Collaboration – an adventure to be savored!

I have found the opportunity to collaborate with illustrators something eminently rewarding, an experience that  enriches both participants and results in a more vibrant and much richer work. My first picture book, “Mending Lucille” was also a result of a collaborationWorking with the amazing Sarah Davis was inspirational! I have gone on to collaborate closely with illustrators all over the world to create numbers of other picture books, some digitally published, some in process with print publishers and some I am still researching the right publishing outlet. Finding the ‘right’ outlet is very important. Not every publisher is ‘right’ for every book.

Digital Publishing

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with first time picture book illustrators, Jade Potts [USA], Jonas Sahlstrom [Sweden], Alexandra Krasuska [Sweden] and fellow Aussie, Jodi Magi [now of Abu-Dhabi] on uTales, and am about to have my latest collaboration, “Little Dragons’ Babysitter” released with Caroline Lee. Utales is non-exclusive which means  creators can take advantage of other  opportunities for their work as they arise. I have just signed a contract with Flying Books, Islreal, for “Rich Man, Poor Man” the book I did with Jodi Magi. My first digital collaboration is on www.istorytime, “At the Beach with Bucket and Spade” with Sarah Bash Gleeson [USA], whom I met on JacketFlap.com, a wonderful children’s literature networking site along with many other amazing and inspiring folk. Sarah is editor of magazine, “Dream Chaser” which focusses on children’s books and their creators.

Joanna Marple’s mini review of my latest digital book, “Xengu and the Turn of Tide”:

“A Tolkienesque tale, I love it!”

See a review of her first picture book in my last blog post with links to her interview with Darshana Shah Khiani on “Flowering Minds“.

0 Comments on Collaboration – an adventure to be savored! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
17. Collaborating, incorporating an Interview with Joanna Marple on uTales
3 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 5/17/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  narrative verse, nonsense verse, numeracy, parenting, Pets, picture books, Poetry, story books, Teacher Resource, Uncategorized, verse, Writing, Alexandra Krasuska, At the Beach with Bucket and Spade, Caroline Lee, Darshana Shah Khiani, Dream Chaser, Flying Books, istorytime, Jade Potts, Joanna Marple, Joans Sahlstrom, Jodi Magi, Julie Hedlund, Little Dragons Babysitter, Maja Sereda, Mending Lucille, Muza Ulasowski, Rich Man Poor Man, Sara Davis, Sarah Bash Gleeson, Snow Games, Tarantula, The Sea Cat Dreams, uTales, Xengu and the Turn of Tide, Zippitty Zoo Da, Animals, animation, Australian Poetry, birds, books, Bullying, Cats, children, children's books, children's literature, children's stories, children's verse, cross cultural exchange, drawing, e-books, Education, fantasy, Fiction, humorous poetry, humorous verse, humour, illustration, imagery, inspiration, Literacy, Add a tag

Interview: Joanna Marple on uTales.

Darshana Shah Khiani‘s interview on her Children’s Book Review site, “Flowering Minds”, with new children’s picture book author, Joanna Marple, is revealing on lots lof levels.

Joanna and Darshana met on children’s writer and illustrator FaceBook site, 12 x 12 , a very lively, supportive, share and learn community set up by Julie Hedlund. When Joanna released her very first picture book, a collaboration with the very talented Maja Sereda, Darshana jumped in with the interview offer.

“Snow Games” is a fun tumble and rumpus in winter’s wonderland aimed at 3 to 7 year olds. Maja’s wonderfully endearing little animal characterisations beautifully complement the story.

Joanna  shares what it was like to collaborate with Maja to create “Snow Games”. Close collaboration between author  and illustrator is a circumstance largely [and sadly] foreign to most traditional print publishing. For Joanna and Maja it was a fun and very rewarding experince. But the interview goes beyond the creation of  ”Snow Games”. It also details Joanna’s experience of the uTales website and her thoughts on traditional and digital publishing.

Joanna mentions my collaboration with noted animal and wildlife illustrator, Muza Ulasowski, a story about surviving change, “The Sea Cat Dreams”. Muza was one of many wonderful illustrators I met on the uTales Facebook group and have since worked with to create a varied range of children’s books.

I have found the opportunity to collaborate with illustrators something eminently rewarding, an experience that  enriches both participants and results in a more vibrant and much richer work. My first picture book, “Mending Lucille” was also a result of a collaboration. Working with the amazing Sarah Davis was inspirational! I have gone on to collaborate closely with illustrators all over the world to create numbers of other picture books, some digitally published**, some in process with p

3 Comments on Collaborating, incorporating an Interview with Joanna Marple on uTales, last added: 5/18/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
18. Opportunities to collaborate – children’s writers and illustrators; artists and poets;
0 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 4/16/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  artists, children's writers, collaborations, illustrators, Musings A Mosaic, poets, writers, Writing, anthologies, Apocalypse for Kiddies, Add a tag

1. CHILDREN’S ANTHOLOGY – Collaboration opportunity for  writers and illustrators
An opportunity for children’s writers and illustrators to collaborate in an anthology of humorous stories has been created by  bloggist Lyn Midnight [Violeta Nedkova]

http://grim5next.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/apocalypse-for-kiddies-childrens.html

2. POETRY ANTHOLOGY, Illustrated

Poets Corner is calling for  submissions from poets and interest from artists for an anthology of illustrated verse to be called “Musings; A Mosaic”.

===CALL FOR SUBMISSION===
from poets around the world !

“Poets Corner” is coming up with an anthology of English original poems complemented with illustrative sketches, real soon.

Title of the Book:
Musings : A Mosaic

About the Book:
Out of the entire submission best 45-50 poem will be selected and each one of them will be illustrated with a sketch by an artist .

Theme :
Open

Format :
Any

Fee:
Nil

Submission Date :
April-13-2012 – April-20-2012

Send to :
poetscornergroup@gmail.com (Subject of the mail should be MUSINGS-YOUR NAME, Poems should be in the body of email as no attachment will be entertained)

Editor (Poetry) :
Dr.Madhumita Ghosh
Kavitha Rani

Editor (Art) :
Wajid Khan

Managing Editor:
Yaseen Anwer

Co-Editor:
Fouqia Wajid

Coordination:
Neha Srivastava

Note:
Please send ONE poem, of not more than 25 lines, and a brief note on the theme of the poem for the benefit of the artist. Please note that submission does not guarantee publication as the best 45-50 will be selected.


0 Comments on Opportunities to collaborate – children’s writers and illustrators; artists and poets; as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
19. One World Many Stories – Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature 2011
0 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 2/3/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  Uncategorized, Add a tag

Once again, we have all been blown away, enthralled, entertained and  awed by the wonderful talent Jenny Stubbs amasses biennially for this outstanding festival!

This year, I was involved again as a volunteer and, more intrinsically, by being allocated a slot to launch my latest book, “All in the Woods”, a chapter book, illustrated by Linda S. Gunn [USA] and published in the UK by Pixiefoot Press.

This Festival provides the penultimate opportunity to network with other very talented authors and illustrators from all over Australia, as well as publishers, media advisers, education experts, teachers and much, much more!

Click to view slideshow.

0 Comments on One World Many Stories – Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature 2011 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
20. Lockyer Arts Festival – just the beginning – 13 to 16 January
0 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 2/6/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  books, craft work, creative arts, creative writing workshops, haiku, imagery, inspiration, jewellery, jewellery making, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing, arts, crafts, Lockyer Arts Festival, Marcia Hines, Reanna Leschke, stall holders, Un Dia Antes, Add a tag

The Lockyer is a fascinating and fruitful area and I don’t mean just crops. They grow talent there. This was very evident at the Lockyer Arts Festival where I was honoured to be a presenter recently.  All the arts were represented.

The Nolan family alone included an artist, a potter and a jeweler. KCMinis beautiful miniature 3D creations using recycled materials and Sheryl Lothian’s bread jewelry revived old arts that are ‘new’ again. Couture, millinery, original art for t-shirts, art for the garden, art on stone, art with icing, quilting, aboriginal art, lapidary work, woodwork and culinary arts were just some of the wide and wonderful variety of artistic skills displayed.

Music was high on the agenda with the  Battle of the Bands resulting in a win for country singer, Reanna Leschke, and her band [Open] and runners up, Third Eye Alchemy. In the under 18 division, the very talented classical guitar trio, Un Dia Antes wowed with their  original work. Winners joined  the inimitable Marcia Hines as supporting acts in a first rate live concert.

The  writers and poets of the Lockyer had their work displayed by local poet and editor, Andrea Kwast.  Andrea’s bookshop is the Lockyer’s writing hub!

Presenters for the Festival, whose theme was focussed on ‘resilience’, came from Western Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory and Brisbane, led workshops on writing a novel, memoir writing, non fiction writing with an emphasis on culinary arts.  Workshops on writing children’s books, illustrating picture books, cartooning and animation and landscape painting drew presenters from Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. This will be discussed in more detail in another blog.

My own photo images from the Festival, focussing on the talents of the Lockyerites themselves, are reproduced below. Click to view slideshow.


0 Comments on Lockyer Arts Festival – just the beginning – 13 to 16 January as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
21. Presenting – the Lockyer Arts Festival
0 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 2/9/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  Hetty Verolme, J R Poulter, J.R.McRae, Leonie Norrington, Lindsay Pow, Lola Berry, Marlish Glorie, Michael Salmon, loss, memoirs, narrative verse, non fiction, nonsense verse, numeracy, performance, picture books, Poetry, Reading, Short Story, sick children, Speech and Drama, story books, Teacher Resource, teen fiction, toys, Uncategorized, verse, YA, young adult fiction, Christian Bocquee, cow, Craig Smith, Danette, Add a tag

Can’t remember when I’ve had so much creative fun with such a fantastic group of multitalented folk! 13th to 16th January  we arrived in from all over – WA, NT, Vic and  ’locals’ Christian and self.  We were housed in the Gatton Motel, a leg stretch away  from the main venue, not that we needed to walk. We were chauffeur driven everywhere by local Minibus/taxi owner Sue.

12a/aka 13

This is the door to my room, the non-existent  No. 13, on 13th January, a Friday, how lucky can you get!  Interesting how many places omit room 13, floor 13 etc etc. Do folk really think we are so bound by superstition and hangovers from the dark ages that we will eschew  a room or a whole floor just because of a place in a numeric sequence? Evidently it is so.

Presenting

Our sessions had small groups of ardent attendees at, what for me at any rate, were a series of workshops. who interacted with us freely and kept us on our toes with their questions. [more coming... I just need to sleep now...]


0 Comments on Presenting – the Lockyer Arts Festival as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
22. How to Create a Website in 3 Steps (with 10 thumbs)
0 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 2/13/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  Writing, Fiction, Poetry, books, children's literature, picture books, illustration, creative writing workshops, verse, haiku, parenting, story books, children's stories, craft work, creative arts, humorous verse, humorous poetry, children's verse, young adult fiction, Reviews, Library resource, Home schooling resource, science fiction, e-books, Education, Literacy, non fiction, YA, Short Story, writers, authors, website building, making website, website, free, promotion, marketing, poets, Add a tag

How to Create a Website in 3 Steps (with 10 thumbs). This is good sense advice succinctly put from Jo Ann Carson. NOTE – you do not have to buy. Word Press, Yola, Weebly and Wix all provide excellent ‘free’ – yes, that’s what I said, FREE’ site templates, easy to assemble [if I can, anyone can] with lots of whizz-bang features!


0 Comments on How to Create a Website in 3 Steps (with 10 thumbs) as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
23. Open Plea to Bloggers: Kick CAPTCHA’s, Word Verification to the Curb
3 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 2/19/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  Add a tag

Open Plea to Bloggers: Kick CAPTCHA’s, Word Verification to the Curb. [Link reposted from Julie Hedlund's blog.]

I tried to join a writing site today – twelve, yes, a whole dozen tries later I gave up…. This is the wwworst but I commonly have to try two or three times. I just don’t have time to  persist with a system that is clearly flawed.

Those of you who use CAPTCHA on your sites might want to look at removing it. You are loosing potential members and  a whole swag of comments.


3 Comments on Open Plea to Bloggers: Kick CAPTCHA’s, Word Verification to the Curb, last added: 2/21/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
24. How to Create a Storybook App
0 Comments | Previous | Top | Next
By: jrpoulter, on 3/3/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  Add a tag

How to Create a Storybook App.

 

Julie breaks the ice and gets us in the water with this great blog on creating a kid’s book app!


0 Comments on How to Create a Storybook App as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag
25. The new SCBWI (QLD) blog logo
0 Comments | Previous | Top |
By: jrpoulter, on 3/27/2012
Blog: Jrpoulter's Weblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags:  books, children's books, children's literature, children's stories, creative arts, Design, drawing, illustration, inspiration, picture books, SCWBI, Writing, artwork, blog, logo, SCBWI, Add a tag

It’s official, my design plus Anil Tortop’s brilliant execution [the 'Q' as the wave was a stroke of genius] = the new SCBWI Blog Logo.

We both had a ball playing with ideas.

I did some amateurish sketches of my original idea and then a clipart mockup. Anil took it from there and evolved her final brilliant image:

Click to view slideshow.

The blurb:

Jennifer Poulter:  My design symbolises the joyous spirit of creativity! The pelican represents authors and illustrators catching ideas, surfing waves of inspiration. It also symbolises Queensland with its long, long coastline and the pelican, one of our most prolific water-birds, which is found on the coast and on inland lakes.  Water symbolises growth, nourishing, renewal – a great symbol for the dissemination of knowledge and the generation of ideas, the stimulation of imagination. It also captures the joy of playing in water, which all children love whether it is in the bath on the beach, river or lakeside, in the pool or under the hose!

Anil executed the design and – a stroke of genius – incorporated the Q for Queensland in the wave!

The link to the official announcement: Our new SCBWI (QLD) blog logo.


0 Comments on The new SCBWI (QLD) blog logo as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
More from this Blog | Email This | Add a Tag

View Next 25 Posts