All Posts · French Life · The Barn · Writing and Illustrating

Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

La Grange has it’s tree and its Christmas jumper time for us. It seems Hippo and me shopped the same design!

Our collection of stuffed friends in the background…Lob-i-ster, Alfred the pig, Chicken and La Loup. Don’t worry, forever a child at heart and writing stories. You should see the other shelves!

In Paris I found a wonderful little bookshop, L’Atelier 9 that has a a very eclectic range of children’s books including pop-up books (I think a French favorite and mine too) where I can spend hours imersing myself in the qwerky French imagination. You could miss the shop if you walked too fast. It’s located in the Rue du Martyrs about five minute walk east from the Place de Republic.

French books have a real charm. They are not all printed in China as they seem to be back in England and that allows scope for literary individuality, adventurous illustration techniques and unusual formats…pop-up, cut-outs, sliding sections. Not being Chinese bulk printed, their sizes vary, the number of pages are not a standard 32 and the covers can be creative too.

I have a large project ahead of me writing and illustrating a book of 30 tales centred around a farm and the exploits of a pig, a porky animal I have a huge fondness for. It’s been a dream for many years and now with self publishing acceptable, I do not have to rely on the idiosyncrasies of the very out-dated publishing world to make this a reality.

For all it’s negative sides, social media gives us freedom to take out our creativity, set up our own publishing sites and promote too. It’s a huge debate as to whether you go the traditional route, get an editor and chase down publishers who have very busy lives, budgets and bias. Or, you learn the industry, test your outpourings via social media, or with an equally freelance editor and create your own project and package it for the public domain. Self funded projects in the illustrative world have a lot of success and at least your in the driving seat. Waiting for the publishing house to find you a favoured and willing illustrator can take a anxious two year wait. In the meantime your manuscript is languishing. In year three it’s no longer topical and a dead duck in the water. Game over!

One of many children’s books I have. I am relearning how to paint and illustrate and French bookshops are like a sweet shop with books ranging from the soft and dreamlike above to hard-core cartoon graphic with Japanese influences.

The pens and paper will be out soon and unashamedly I admit also to learning a drawing package this coming year. Like many aspects in life now, I try to move with the times and explore software. It has it’s advantages especially in illustration and I am hoping that in combination with my camera and paintbrush, something miraculous will manifest. Flat washes, textures, replicating images and moving images are time savers.

I am very nervous about this new start. But I know practise WILL make perfect. So with a deep breath I say……

Have a wonderful 2019 following your dreams. No limits on ideas, however silly they seem. Just go ahead and go for it.

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