Please address any enquiries to:
Will you illustrate a book I have writen?
Sorry no. Generally I only take on work that has come from a
publisher. Manuscripts are assessed by publishers WITHOUT an artist
attached. The publisher then chooses an illustrator who they
think will best suit the market they are aiming at (afterall they are
the experts in this area – and they are also forking out all the money).
So I suggest you follow this route. You can always recommend an
illustrator you like in your proposal to the publisher.
If you fancy making a book – read my blog about it here first.
Most importantly, never mistake printing a book with publishing.
They are two very different things.
Well, despite the above posting, I still get approached by many
people wanting me to illustrate their books. Often they have a
crazy way of presenting themselves, which makes me say "NO!"
after reading just one sentence. So, if you feel you MUST
do this, it's best to proceed in a professional manner. When a
publisher approaches an illustrator they send a very short (not
an entire back-story) email enquiry "are you interested in the
attached manuscript for $X advance and X% royalties, we would
like to publish in X months (usually a year or so in advance), we
have X plans for promotion and sales".
Could you come and talk at my school or library?
Sure thing, especially if you live in Paris or Hawaii and will pay for
my travel expenses. Remember, that making books is my full time
job, and my only income, so unless I am on a Book Council or
Storylines tour there will also be a fee for all the excitement and joy I bring.
How many books have you done?
I have illustrated over 70 books. Though I have lots in my pile of
rejected books that I can pull out one day when I become famous.
Can I buy a book directly from you?
If you want to purchase a signed copy of any of my books, fire an
email my way and we’ll go from there.
Will you sign my book?
Yeah - if you want to send it to me with a return courier bag.
Who are your favourite illustrators?
Phew - that’s like asking about favourite movies. My two stand-out favourites
are worlds apart - legendary American illustrator Norman Rockwell and
avant garde comic artist Dave McKean. My work is often influenced by old
style illustrators like Edmund Dulac, Genady Spirin, John Howe and Degas.
I also love Shawn Tan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dr Suess, Kent Williams and lots of others.
How long does it take to make a book?
Rough pencil sketches can take a month or three (depending on how inspiried I am by
the words). Then I submit these to the publisher. Once I have approval from the
publisher the finished colour illustrations can take two-five months (although I have
once done the whole process in 16 days!). Generally the publishing process
is long and involved. A manuscript has usually been around for a year in the publisher's
schedule before an illustrator gets it. Then after I’ve finished my part it takes another
eight months to get it printed and into the shops. My book Faithfully Mozart took six
years to complete.
Can you tell me how the publishing industry works?
If you have a spare couple of years! Seriously - if you are really interested
in publishing check out The Writers & Artists Yearbook (see the link
on my Links page). This is the book that every famous (and aspiring) writer
uses as their Bible.