Monday, 2 February 2015

What I did on my holidays!

Written by Jenny MacKendrick

Hello, I'm Jenny and I'm a member of Brillustration...

I thought I'd tell you a little bit about what I've been up to recently.  Sadly I haven't actually been on holiday but I couldn't think of a good title for my blog post.

Last year I illustrated a book for The History Press a lovely publisher in Stroud.  The book is called Can Crocodiles Cry by Paul Heiney.  It is a book of fascinating facts, things we all really need to know the answers to, like 'why do we get old?'

'can monkeys swim?'

and 'can fish love each other?'

You'll have to read the book to find out the answers.

This year what I've been working on so far is still top secret.  But if you know me you'll know I'm not very good at keeping secrets.  All I can say at the moment is that I've been drawing dogs, lots of dogs, nearly 300 of them.  They are for 4 gift books that will be out towards the end of this year about some of the silly things dogs get up to.  Which is probably why we love them so much.

Since I can't really show you any of the secret dog pictures I've drawn you a picture of my own dog Shona and her puppy friend Kato.  They are Hungarian Wire-haired Vizslas and pretty special too, although I haven't really captured all of their fluff in my drawing.  There may be a sneaky peek of some of my dog drawings on my website in the near future but not just yet...

P.S. My studio buddy the excellent Paula Bowles  will be on BBC Radio Bristol tomorrow between 2:30 and 3pm as part of Bristol's Library Week.  Yay!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

On the radio - Paula Bowles

I'm very excited to be at Thornbury Library next Tuesday 3rd Feb, with BBC Radio Bristol! It's part of the lead up to National Libraries Day , myself and 2 other authors will be talking about our books and our libraries. The radio station will be at a different library each day and Tuesday is our turn.

Tune in to 'The Afternoon Show' at BBC Radio Bristol next Tuesday 2 - 3pm!

Listen Again here;RADIO BRISTOL

Paula is introduced at around 47.30

Paula Bowles
Twitter: @Paula_Bowles
Facebook: Paula Bowles illustration

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Solitary Bemusement.

Happy New Year to everyone. Hello to the new year, new work, tax returns, short days and long nights. Those days when the fluff from your new winter jumper inevitably ends up in your scanner and your coffee goes cold before you've had a chance to drink it. We all know how hard it is to get going in the morning and wake our eyes up enough to start making things happen.

 What happens to our sleepy brains however when you work on your own? Or even, when don't even leave the house to clock on? Many people have told me it sounds great. Some days it is. Other days not so much.

I pity the poor editor or designer that rings up for a quick chat about a rough or a deadline. Half an hour later they know all about my week, what I heard on the radio yesterday. My agent can often put down the phone knowing all about my health, my children and my current favourite illustrator. You see, I don't get that kind of chat at work, that coffee in the morning to catch up with peers and colleagues before the computer gets cranked up. I recently spoke to a fellow illustrator who said that she had actually nearly lost her voice through lack of use. I can empathise. Most illustrators and authors I know are very chatty and friendly people. After chatting to the nice man from the NHS blood line for nearly 15 mins about the school run and the scourge of un-picked up dog poo these days, I think that yes - often I don't talk to enough humans in day.

Yes, this is me, working away through the night. I often wonder what the badgers think as they sometimes set off my security light.

Feeling alone with tea. Endpapers for forthcoming book 'Daddy Lions tea party' by Mark Sperring. 

This year, I will have been an illustrator for 21 years. During that time I've balanced my life with a few part time jobs. Retail jobs mainly and I've enjoyed them all. I've worked full time as an illustrator for just over 10 years and on reflection it's the day to day 'chatter' of a job that I enjoyed.
God bless Facebook. Thanks heavens for Brillustration. There we all are, sat behind our screens often with something to share, chat about or moan about. Brillustrators have often saved my sanity on 'those days'. When you have a technical problem, a publishing puzzle or simply feeling grumpy. Our meets ups and big communal draws are a great way of feeling more human.

Feeling solitary on a good day.

The internet can have a flip side though when you're feeling like an island. Speaking for myself I have a little devil in my ear on occasion that tells me "Hmmmm. What you're doing is a bit rubbish isn't it". I slap him down as often as possible but sometimes up he pops when I'm viewing images/books/illustrations on the internet. "Woooo look at THAT!" he says "That's soooo good. That's much better than anything you do. What are you doing just sat here on your own colouring in?". Irritating. Very tedious. However, I reckon anyone creative has sometimes felt an inner wobble of confidence when seeing other creative works that are out there. The internet can definitely inspire and motivate, but it can also bring out the worries. I think if I didn't work on my own I would perhaps hear the devil a bit less.

Solitary gloom?

I tried having a studio out of the house about 10 years ago. It was a great place but it didn't work for me. I found myself having to work long hours into the night. Many other people in the studio space went home at normal hours and I was left on my own feeling lonely again just in a bigger room. These days, it suits me to work all night at the bottom of my garden in my pyjamas where I can drudge 30 seconds to the house to flop face down into my bed eventually.

The reality is, I like working on my own. Me, my thoughts and my little fire. BBCiplayer and Netflix are my friends. My new years resolution is to meet more fellow illustrators for daytime coffee and cake, take more exercise and basically carry on. I'm really very lucky to work as I do. My head is often in fairylands, imaginative cityscapes and woodlands. How great is that? I'm sure the self-doubt devil will keep me company once or twice this year but I'll be able to nod politely then send him on his way so I can get on with the business of spending quality time with my radio and my own imagination.

I'll put the kettle on.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Brillustration's illustrated countdown to Christmas Day

Day 24 
illustrations by Brillustration

With All Best Wishes 
Brillustration's illustrators
Brillustration's Advent House