Wednesday 16 September 2015

Collaborative Comic "Our Environment" at Carnegie Library

Collaborative Comic for Fun Palace at Carnegie Library on October 3, 2015.

On October 3, 2015 I'll be rolling out 10 metres of paper at Carnegie Library in London SE24 and anyone of any age can come along between 10am to 4pm to draw or write on it to make a comic on the subject of "our environment". The comic will be photographed as it progresses and put online so if you can't be there you'll be able to see what's happening on @AJLillywhite @CarnegieLib or @LamLibsFP

The comic is part of a Fun Palace event and there will be other activities at Carnegie Library on the same day including:
Lambeth Fire Brigade with Fire engine – 2pm
Home Cooking SE24 @homecookingse24 – doing pasta making demos – Time tbc
Bloom Yoga – Hourly sun salutes – 12-4
BlueSkyCreate @BlueSkyCreates – Craft workshops – details tbc
Amanda Duncan @Scribeasy sessions –
Kickboxing instructor – Yvette Bee – Demos – Time tbc
Comedian Chris – Details tbc
A Lambeth memories washing line
More activities are being added all the time for an up to date list go to this website.

Fun Palaces are a means to get communities making art and exploring science together in an open space, co-director Stella Duffy explains the idea behind the campaign in her blog.

If you come along and draw or write on this roll of paper don't forget to sign your name under the header!

Friday 4 September 2015

Comics Club for 9-12 year olds at Carnegie Library, South London

On Saturdays between 10am-11am, from October 10 to 21 November 2015 (excluding 7 November), I'll be running a series of six free Comics Club workshops in Carnegie Library for 9-12 year olds.

Comics Club at Carnegie Library SE24. Poster and workshops by Amanda Lillywhite.
I call the workshops a "club" because the participants will have the opportunity to read and talk about comics as well as make them. Each week I'll bring in a variety of graphic novels, zines and comics from my own collection suitable for their age group and they'll have access to the library's collection as well.

I'll also show them comics I've created and a graphic novel for kids that I'm working on. I'll take them through the process of making comics: how to create characters and stories, script, edit and make artwork. We'll also do some guided drawing and I'll give them some tips I've learnt during my years as an illustrator.

At each workshop they'll develop their own ideas for characters and storylines that will be brought together in a comic strip or a zine.

Wondering what to do while your child is in the workshops? Carnegie Library is a beautiful building with a great collection of books, free wifi, study space and a wildlife garden. Bloom Yoga is running drop in yoga sessions in the other meeting room in the library at the same time as Comics Club, they cost £10, mats are available and there is no need to book.

Comics Club is free but there is a limit of 10 participants. Please get in touch if you have a 9-12 year old interested in taking part in the workshops and I'll reserve a place for them. My contact details are on the poster above, you can also use my contact form or social media links.  If the dates or age group don't suit get in touch with me anyway if you'd like to be put on a mailing list to be kept updated about future workshops.

Thursday 3 September 2015

About children's educational publishing and a charming illustration agent

Illustration for Folens' Key Words Dictionary. ©Amanda Lillywhite

Some time ago, back when I had only recently abandoned the relative safety of full-time graphic design for the uncertainties of freelance illustration, I was lucky enough to be taken under the wing of an agent - the wonderful Mike Graham-Cameron.

I'm not sure how we first met but I think it may have been through my work in a direct marketing agency - perhaps I art directed one of his illustrators for a project and then contacted him later when I had become a freelance illustrator myself? I can't remember now, and sadly, Mike died a few years ago so I am unable to ask him.

When Mike decided that his agency would represent me the doors to the world of children's educational publishing banged open and what sometimes seemed like a tsunami of marked-up page printouts for homework sheets and textbooks started tumbling through my letterbox.

At the request of the publishers my illustrations were done at what would be their final printed size. Sometimes I would have the luxury of a quarter of a page or maybe even a whole page of space to fill with my drawings. But generally the illustrations were tiny. I might, for instance, have to fit six characters – dressed in specific outfits such as fireman, ballerina and so on – into an area the size of a couple of postage stamps laid end to end.

The deadlines for the books I worked on were always tight, there was never enough time for pencil roughs to be exchanged with the designer. I just had to plunge in and hope I'd interpreted the brief correctly. I still remember a job that arrived one Friday afternoon. As I shuffled through the pile of instructions, adding up the number of drawings required (from memory, in the region of fifty), my eyes were blurring with nervous tears at the thought of the deadline looming within a few weeks. A phone call with Mike soon sorted me out, his sympathetic confidence bucked me up and when I delivered the drawings on time the editors were appreciative of my efforts. I think I still have the thank you letter from the publishing house tucked away somewhere in my studio. 

Once I had adjusted to the process and gained confidence I thoroughly enjoyed illustrating educational books. Some of the instructions for drawings were occasionally, shall we say, a bit eccentric and I had great fun with it all.

During the time that Mike Graham-Cameron was my agent I produced illustrations for educational books published by Folens, Stanley Thornes and Heinemann. He was always available at the end of the phone for a chat or a confidence boost and he seemed to make sure that I had enough work to produce an income I could live on. Never anything less than completely charming, he was a wonderful support to a new freelance illustrator holed up in a flat at the top of an old house in Cambridge.

Black and white line illustration ©Amanda Lillywhite