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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Our First Mini Yoga Class!

At 9am on Saturday 30th April, a crowd of keen mini yogis gathered at the Emporium for the first session in Mini Yoga’s new residency…

Established in 2015 by Naomi Thrower, Mini Yoga Wandsworth offers yoga-inspired fun for children from two to eight years old. Each class is based on a story book from our beautiful shop, and the first class was based on The Best Birthday Present Ever, written and illustrated by our own super-talented Ben Mantle.

The story is about Bear’s birthday, and Squirrel wants to give his friend the best birthday present ever. But what do you give the bear who has everything, including the Mallow O’Matic 5000 Marshmallow Canon and the Amazing Pop-Up Castle Tent Which-Looks-Like-A-House-With Two-Floors? Squirrel has just the answer! A stick. Except it’s so much more than a stick…

Naomi took the class on a yoga-inspired journey through the book, with an inventive intertwining of traditional yoga poses and storytelling, which was as captivating for the parents as it was for the mini yogis!

Mini Yoga is running fortnightly at the Emporium. The next session is 14th May, and will be based on Supertato by the wonderful Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet.

Drop-in classes are £10 per child, and can be booked through eventbrite. Please contact Naomi directly to book for the full term, or for more information.

Namaste!

Photos used with permission from The Quick Brown Fox Video Production

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Good Knight, Bad Knight & Tom Knight! A Storytime Sunday fit for Kings.

We had another great story time on Sunday with the wonderfully creative Tom Knight, author and illustrator of Good Knight, Bad Knight – a story about Bad Knight, a little boy at Knight school who’s life gets made considerably worse on the arrival of his extremely well behaved and goody two-shoes cousin, Good Knight! However… the story takes a brilliant turn of events and proves that everyone has something they are good at – even Bad Knight! This story is a joy to read and is just as much fun for adults as children & even better hearing it from the horses Knight’s mouth!


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After Tom read his story, we got creative, drawing our own knights using different adjectives to illustrate the character. We were full to the brim again, and it’s wonderful to be able to provide something fun, creative and interactive for children to come to on a Sunday morning.

Our gallery space is really becoming a great little community space for children to be creative and interactive with books and stories. Our beanbags also seem to provide no amount of fun for little ones! Thanks to all who came, we look forward to seeing you in May!

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If you’d like to work with Tom Knight, please contact Bright agent, Nicky Lander –  nicky@brightgroupinternational.com

Our next storytime will be on Sunday 8th May with Ada Grey, illustrator of The Royal Baby series by Martha Mumford. You can go here to book your free ticket – don’t miss out as we do have limited space and tickets go fast!

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Gremlins and poetry?! Yes! A very active and fun-filled storytime Sunday!

This Storytime Sunday was so much fun and we thank you all for coming. If you’ve not yet been, don’t miss out. Here’s a little round up of the days events!

We began the day with creative duo, Charlotte Cooke and Coral Rumble, makers of The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat – a new take on the original poem by Edward Lear.

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This book is beautifully written and illustrated and just like the two children in the story, it allows the reader to take part with wonderful words and imagery. After the reading, Coral and Charlotte used animal masks and face paints to create new poems and ideas, encouraging the children to have their own input which was a great way for everyone to join in the fun!

This was a super interactive story time, with creative poetry, games and songs. It was great to see so much audience participation with parents joining in, and our emporium was fit to bursting with so many children, full of the joys of spring thanks to some lovely weekend weather!

As word spreads, our storytime events are becoming busier, so make sure you go to our events page to book your place for the next one.

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We spent the afternoon with Chris Chatterton who recently illustrated the vibrant and interactive lift the flap book Supermarket Gremlins by Adam and Charlotte Guillain.

This book is so eye-catching and it draws you in with vivid colours and the very naughty but extremely cuddly looking gremlins! They are hiding all over the supermarket, making shopping so much less of a chore for children!

Again, this was a lovely afternoon filled with creative interaction for the kids – learning to draw gremlins, and being able to cuddle the cheeky little Gremlin toy, made by Chris’ very talented Mum!

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If you’d like to book either artist for illustration work, please contact out agents for more details. For Charlotte Cooke please contact Nicky Lander: Nicky@brightgroupinternational.com and for Chris Chatterton please contact Arabella Stein: arabella@brightgroupinternational.

We always have books available to buy on the day, with the added value of having your copy signed with a personal message by the author and/or illustrator (as demonstrated below!) It’s a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning with your kids and it’s free! 

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Thanks to all of you who attended, it’s great to see our little community growing more and more at each event.

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Our next storytime is on Sunday 17th April from 10am – 12.00pm with the fantastic Tom Knight and his new book Good Knight, Bad Knight. Book your place here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Supertato & The Super-Duo Behind the Book

At Bright we are extremely proud of Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, who are currently on tour for World book day with their creation – that much loved hero of veg, Supertato

We want to share with you the thoughts and ideas and beginnings of this truly remarkable little vegetable – so let me hand you over to Sue and Paul for a behind the book spectacular!

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Sue and Paul at The Bright Emporium (top) World book day reading (photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster) 

So, we had always wanted to do a story about a superhero. A new exciting, dynamic, crime fighting icon of justice. But who or what should this character be? A dinosaur – pirate – alien – radio-active – bug – thing? No, no, no, that’s far too common! We decided on a humble spud, a plain old potato for our story.

Our character started life in a garden; living half way down a compost heap.

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It’s arch enemy was a giant fluffy bunny who commanded an army of evil carrots.

 Carrots who tried to defeat our hero with a pan of baked beans and a good helping of cheese!

‘Hang on, that’s not how the story goes!!’ you may well be saying.

True, but that was how it started!

We always work together to create the books. When I say together I mean that we both write the text for them and we both make the pictures for them. I don’t mean that we both hold the same pencil – that would be silly.

One of the things we realised about each other on our early dates was that we loved to laugh. We are almost competitive in our desire to get a huge, drink out of the nose, belly laugh from of the other. For every two or three funny lines we put in a book there are hundreds that are either too long, too silly, or too rude to get in.

Usually one of us will come up with an idea, then together we will try to flesh it out. Sometimes that idea is just a sketch on a scrap of paper or a joke or a concept (where do fish fingers come from for example). We then pass sketches and illustrator documents back and forward between each other gradually sculpting the final art and story. It’s not always straight forward getting the story together. Although we share a sense of humour we differ in what we want from a story. One of us wants a big thrill ride adventure with too many words and too much action and the other wants surreal, no rules, story telling with a tight text. It’s trying to find the middle ground that gives the books their style.

So, even though our books are quite simple, it takes lots of time, experimentation and fierce debate to create a character and to create the right world for it to live in – and decide on what will happen to it. In the example of Supertato, the compost heap just wasn’t right. We experimented with a kitchen and a city but finally agreed on a shop. Here’s a big pile of mock-ups that only made it as far as the re-cycling bin.

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Here are some scribbles from the early versions of Supertato. At first we thought Supertato could be saving vegetables and fruit from their own mishaps but it soon became apparent that we needed a proper baddy.

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As you can see, he defeated an evil soup monster who ended up in a pool of his own broth. Meanwhile Supertato and the pea (his sidekick in this version) look on triumphantly. 

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It’s funny looking back at these versions and seeing that Supertato used to be called Derek.

Once we had the Environment and the characters right we had an absolute ball making the first Supertato.

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We were talking in Supertato and evil pea voices which helped a lot when working out the dialogue and winding up our daughter! When we were asked if we’d like to make a sequel to the first book we jumped at the chance.

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You may notice that in Supertato veggies assemble our hero appears to have some friends. Even a completely amazing superhero needs a hand sometimes.

When we heard that our publisher wanted to put us (and Supertato) forward for a £1 WBD book we were really excited at being involved in such a wonderful endeavour.

They suggested we make a smaller (shorter) version of the first book, but Paul was adamant it needed to be a new story specifically involving books.

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He came up with the idea from beginning to end in about and hour and we started scribbling.

This was our initial plan for the book. You can tell I’m an illustrator can’t you! Unlike many of our books it stayed pretty close to this initial pagination all the way through the process. 

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So, here we are three books in and really excited about doing our World Book Day events.

Thanks to Supertato we’ve been invited to The Hay and Edinburgh festivals for the premiere of our Veggies Assemble ‘show’ (don’t expect too much) the plan is to make some veggie props and get the audience involved. I’m thinking it’s going to be fun… SH

To keep up to date with Sue and Paul’s adventures, you can follow them on Twitter – @suehendra, @PaulLinnet and of course, not forgetting the hero of the hour! @supertato_here

 For any forth-coming events with Sue and Paul, keep an eye on us too – @BrightEmporium and also @Bright_Group

Thanks Sue and Paul for a brilliant peek into your world!

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Have you Heard about Tom?

Each month at Bright, we are celebrating an artist – someone who has really shown true grit and determination; an artist who can inspire those yet to cut their teeth in the illustration world, and someone who we love working with.

Introducing Tom Heard!

Hi Tom! Firstly, what made you decide to become an illustrator, and was it always something you aspired to be? I always dreamed of playing football for Birmingham City, however, having failed miserably with this ambition, (I didn’t even make the school team!) I wanted to pursue making pictures. Quite often at school I would spend much of my time doodling in exercise books or in the library, and it was this love of books that developed my ambition to illustrate for children.
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A piece Tom made for Bright Educational’s anti-bullying campaign , and a landmark piece – his first Ladybird book!

As an illustrator, I always feel there comes a point where you can look at your work and say,Yep, I did that and I like it! At what point did you find that you’d developed into the illustrator you’ve become? Definitely! I always remember reading my mothers Ladybird Books and then one day I walked into a high street shop and saw a book I illustrated for them, it felt almost surreal. I look at my work and like it sometimes, however, I’m always striving to improve and so I always believe my next best work is yet to come!

What advice would you give to budding illustrators? Practise and persistence is key; I also find, as an educator that many of my students forget that being a professional isn’t just creating artwork. Being able to effectively communicate both written and verbally is such an essential skill for all aspects of life.

What are the benefits of working with an agency? Working with Bright is being part of a talented and vibrant community. My agents have offered me both invaluable advice and inspiration, as well as limitless help, encouragement and guidance. Working with an agency has really benefited my own development, Bright is not only interested in the present but the future and this is evident in their ability to both encourage and nurture. I now feel I have a greater understanding of the industry and a schedule full of stimulating projects!

“Tom is integral to the success of Bright educational. He is diligent, professional, has a wonderful creative eye and constantly over delivers. He is a joy to work with and I feel so proud to represent him!” Lucie Luddington, Senior agent, Bright Educational.

9871104Do you have a favourite children’s author/illustrator – someone who inspired you? Jon Klassen – While studying my degree I read I Want My Hat Back and thought, ‘wow!’ I admired its humour; it didn’t follow a traditional happy ending and got away with it!

Was there a favourite subject at school (besides art and design)?!  I really enjoyed music; I had a very inspirational teacher for several years and his passion for music made our whole class immersed in the subject.

If you won the lottery, what would you do? I enjoy my work as an illustrator so much that I definitely wouldn’t retire at 24! The opportunity to travel would be amazing, visiting and experiencing so many places and cultures would be incredibly enriching.

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Tom’s work space, and a collection of his published work.

 

Desert Island discs: what would your eight records, and one luxury be?

This has taken a while to decide!

Ryan Adams – To Be Young, (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)

The Jayhawks – Save it For a Rainy Day

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World

The Cure – Friday I’m in Love

The Knife – Heartbeats

Bjork – Army of Me

Black Sabbath – Iron Man

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

My luxury would be the DVD collection of the original Star Wars trilogy, (the prequels can stay at home!)

Do you play a musical instrument? Yes, I used to play the Flute. I would spend many of my Saturdays at band practise and played in the Birmingham Schools Flute Choir, we had the opportunity to play with Sir James Galway at Symphony Hall, which was an exciting opportunity!

What was the last book you read? I read a substantial amount of non-fiction and recently finished Sarah Hyndman’s Why Fonts Matter, it has made me think twice when noticing fonts out and about!

Thanks Tom for such a lovely insight into your world and it’s great to meet the man behind the artwork! If you’d like to comission Tom, please contact Lucie Luddington for educational illustration, and Nicky Lander for commercial picture books and children’s fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Making Magic at the Superfairies Book Launch

It was a glittery and fairy filled Saturday in the Bright Emporium last weekend for The Superfairies book launch, by Curious Fox Publishers.

At 8.30am Janey Louise Jones appeared at the Emporium shop window wearing a pink princess fairy skirt and a ‘superfairies’ t-shirt. After wondering if we were still fast asleep and dreaming that a real superfairy had magically appeared at the event, the day took off with friends, families, local parents and children coming to join the celebrations!

Superfairies image montage (smallder)After introducing the new book series friends, families and children gathered around the Drawing Table, Janey read the first of the Superfairies books – ‘Basil the Bear Cub’. Bright Artist Jenny Poe signing books with superfairy fans, and fairy cupcake decorating – and eating!The Superfaires books are a new series published by Curious Fox, illustrated by Jenny Poe and written by Janey Louise Jones. Each titles tells the story of a new character and their unique superskill!

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About ‘Basil the Bear Cub‘:

No, Basil, don’t play near the river on your own! Superfairies Rose, Silk, Berry and Star rush to help a bear cub in danger. The Superfairies of Peaseblossom Woods use their teamwork to rescue animals in distress, bringing together their unique superskills, petal power and lots of love

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About ‘Dancer the Wild Pony’:

Dancer, don’t run away! The Superfairies want to stop a wild pony being nervous for the Summer Fair dance contest, but first they need to catch up with her! The Superfairies of Peaseblossom Woods use their teamwork to rescue animals in distress, bringing together their unique superskills, petal power and lots of love.

The launch of the first two books went so well, we’ll be celebrating with Janey, Jenny and Curious Fox again. We’ll be sure to let you know when, so fairy outfits can be at the ready.

Thanks to Jenny the illustrator, Janey the author, friends, publisher, families and children that came!

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet shortlisted for the LOLLIES book prize!

We are very excited to announce that Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, co-creators of veggie-hero, Supertato have been shortlisted for the best laugh out loud picture book award this year, for the brilliant I need a wee!

Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet with a bath-full of their back catalogue! 

The Lollies book award, launched by Scholastic, celebrates and recognises the funniest new children’s books (the LOL stands for… yes you guessed it  – ‘laugh out loud’!) and filling a gap left from The Roald Dahl book prize which closed in 2013. In an article by The Guardian, Head Judge and former Children’s laureate, Michael Rosen says, “funny books never win the awards… even though they have as important a role to play as the wonderful serious books. I’m over the moon that it was possible to revive a funny books award!” Read the full article here. We are so delighted that Sue and Paul have been nominated for a book which is truly funny –  whether you are 3 or 43, or older in fact, there is a lesson for us all in this very funny, yet cautionary tale!  It’s a story all about those moments where you really need a wee, but you’re having far too much fun to go – and what if you miss out on something?! This happens to Alan the bear on a day out with his friends, but it becomes rather critical as Alan realises he can’t hold on for much longer and whenever he thinks he might be able to go… he can’t! The loo in Dolly’s house is too small, and he causes some upset at a tea party by mistaking a teapot for a tea-potty. Sue and Paul continue to produce the funniest children’s books I have read for quite some timeand if you haven’t yet come across them, I urge you to –  you’re missing out if not – no matter what age you are!

 

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The cover of the shortlisted title (click on the image to buy a copy) and a collage made by Sue and Paul for our exhibition at The Bookseller children’s conference in September 2015.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Sue and Paul at our Story time Sunday event, which we hold at The Bright Emporium each month. The energy they give is fantastic and inspiring –  I could sit and listen to them reading their picture books all day – just comedy gold with brilliant artwork and voices to boot! If you’d like to know more, you can book your free place to our next story time here.

We wish Sue and Paul huge congratulations and cannot wait for the result!

 

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Bright artist, Lindsey Sagar on the joy of doing what you love.

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As the winner of a CBBC pop-up card competition at the age of 11yrs, it was clear there was a future in illustration and design for Lindsey Sagar!

Lindsey joined Bright back in 2013 and since that time she has flourished in both the children’s publishing and Art licensing industries. Her hard work and determination has ensured an extremely bright future in her chosen career.

“Lindsey is an absolute pleasure to work with: hardworking and always enthusiastic, she delivers on time, she understands how to work to brief and she has made the transition from greetings cards into picture books, giving her an even broader range of opportunities” [Nicky Lander, Commercial picture book agent]

Firstly, what made you decide to become an illustrator? Was it always something you aspired to be?
From a very young age, I demonstrated a natural flair for drawing and creativity. Knowing that I wanted to be in a creative industry of some sort, I never actually set out to be an illustrator, instead choosing to study Graphic design. During my course I found a passion for photography, typography and packaging, without realising these were really the skills of an illustrator.

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You work in both the picture book and greetings card industries: How did you develop your style, and do you find it easy to adopt different styles for different briefs?

I used to work for Hallmark Greetings, and there I had the chance to try out many varied briefs –  from traditional work to more contemporary styles. Once a freelance illustrator, my skill set had really developed –  so I do find it easy to adapt to different styles. When I first came to Bright I worked specifically in Greetings card design, but after having a chat with the publishing team, I developed into picture book illustration. I always love a new challenge, but at first found the transition from card design to books quite difficult. However, after a few books I began to get a feel for it and I continue to develop my style as I go.

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As an illustrator, I always feel there comes a point where you can look at your work and say, Yep, I did that and I like it! At what point did you find that you’d developed into the illustrator you’ve become?

For me when I’m doing any piece of work I always try and make that the best I can. When you’re on a journey, sometimes it’s only when you look back that you can see how much you learned or developed. For me I always think there are things I can improve on and that’s what keeps me going. I think the day I joined Bright was the point where I thought yep I’m an illustrator.

What advice would you give to budding illustrators – both in picture book and licensing illustration?

I would just say keep going. Looking back at some of my older artwork, I cringe! But that’s a good thing because I can see how my work has grown.  A lot of the time it’s about your attitude and how much you enjoy what you do. I think if you show passion people can see it and that’s what drives me to keep moving.

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 Do you have a favourite children’s author/illustrator – someone who inspired you?

Just before I started my job at Hallmark a girl called Cally Johnson-Isaacs had just left the company to start doing freelance book illustration. Her books are really successful and I adore her style. It’s really great to know that someone close to home is having a successful career doing something they love. A few of my favourites at Bright are Benji DaviesMark ChambersDan Taylor, and Anna Jones. I think anyone doing a job they love is really inspiring.

Did you enjoy your school days?

Yes I did enjoy school. When I was at School I only really enjoyed art and design and wished that I could do this all the time. I was always quite clear in my mind that I would do something creative in the future. I had an amazing art teacher called Dave Stobbs, who noticed that I had a real flair and natural talent for design. I was very shy and quiet, but being encouraged taught me to have self belief. Mr Stobbs gave me great support and encouragement – in fact he was such an inspiration that I decided to do a degree in graphic design. He came to see my final degree show after I graduated with first class honours. Sadly Mr Stobbs is no longer with us, but I will never forget him and all the support he gave me.

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If you could have any animal for a pet, what would it be?

A micro pig! I never had pets growing up so I a little piggy would be perfect!

Name 3 things you could not live without?

Friends, pencils, cake.

Thanks so much to Lindsey for an insight into her world. If you’d like to get in touch with Lindsey for any Art Licensing or publishing enquiries, please click here.

 

 

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Inside The Making of the “Bob and Flo” Book Trailer

Rebecca Ashdown trailer lead

It’s undeniable that book trailers have seen increasing popularity as of late, and we’ve noticed there’s a certain art behind crafting a trailer that’s entertaining and enticing. When we saw that Bright’s own Rebecca Ashdown created a trailer for her title, Bob and Flo: Hide and Seek, we were eager to chat with her about her experience and technique in creating one.

Bob and Flo Play Hide and Seek is out May 3, 2016 in the US from HMH Books for Young Readers.

What has been your previous experience creating book trailers? Or with any sort of animation work in general?

I used to head up a media department at Bloomsbury. I’d been working for a hair and beauty magazine as designer/illustrator, and it became clear that many of the London salons needed media content too–promo videos, TV ads, idents, etc. Hence my role was created. I built a team around me and we produced everything from scratch. It was a huge learning curve but massively rewarding. I found I really enjoyed working in After Effects and ended up specialising in motion graphics for several years.

What prompted you to create a trailer for Bob and Flo Play Hide and Seek?

Bob and Flo always looked to me like they should move, so I’ve always had that intention for them. Cut-out really lends itself perfectly to animation.

Who did you look to for assistance and feedback?

I had to brush up on the technical side (Adobe After Effects) as I hadn’t used the software for ages. I sent the main structure to the publisher and the Bright team who both gave me tips and feedback. I always trust my children to give advice on these matters too!

What tips or advice would you have for someone who’s interested in creating a book trailer but might be intimidated by the process?

First, really pin down the essence of what you’re trying to communicate. Storyboarding the idea helps. It’s worth googling book trailers on YouTube for ideas. I love this one from Mo Willems – it’s not an animation but it really made me want to get the book! I used Adobe AE to create my trailer but there are lots of freebie packages/apps for creating simple animations. You can also find lots of free sound archives and be inventive with the music. Don’t worry about not having all the right gear either. I roped my my kids in to do the voices, used a musical box for the sound and all the art files came straight from the artwork I’d already created for the Bob and Flo books. It didn’t take more than a day in all. If you still don’t have any idea where to start maybe you know someone who does. People love trading with illustrators!

 

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

New 2016 Books by Bright Authors & Illustrators

2016 titles

The following highly-anticipated titles are publishing from Bright authors and illustrators in 2016.

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Our noisiest Storytime Sunday yet, with David Litchfield!

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On Sunday 18th October we had a super noisy, bear themed Storytime Sunday hosted by the fabulous David Litchfield, who’s recently celebrated the release of his beautiful, debut author-illustrated book, The Bear and The Piano (Frances Lincoln). Book in hand and armed with a huge haul of musical instruments, David took the children on a magical, musical adventure through the forest to become a Bear Band! Everybody donned their bear masks and conducted a symphony of musical madness, marching through the Doodle Bar! We were delighted to witness the coming together of the next big thing on the music scene! After a mornings music making,  Superfans sat ready for their monthly fix of their favourite show, Wanda and The Alien (Komixx).   Collage-Shadow SLP-1-X2-2

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Our “Benji Davies’ Wins Sainsbury’s Children’s book award

Benji Davies

Benji Davies’ Grandad’s Island (Simon & Schuster) has done the double at this years Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards winning both the best picture book prize and being crowned overall children’s book of the year, beating off competition from three other category winners.

Each category winner received a £1,000 cheque and Davies was also presented with a ‘children’s book of the year’ trophy.

On this year’s judging panel were Sainsbury’s book buying team  – author Phil Earle, author and illustrator Tom Percival, and Melissa Smith, head of the Born to Read campaign from Save the Children. Speaking at the ceremony, Pete Selby, music and books trading manager, pledged Sainsbury’s support for Save the Children’s Read On. Get On. campaign, which is aimed at helping all children in the UK read well by 2025, and for which Sainsbury’s has already donated 80,000 books.

This award follows a string of successes for not only Grandad’s Island, which won the AOI World Illustration Award 2015 and has been nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016, but also The Storm Whale (Simon & Schuster), On Sudden Hill (Simon & Schuster) and Goodnight, Already! (Harper Collins).

Benji's Books

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The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

3 Storytime Sundays in December at the Bright Emporium!

 

Storytime Sunday is our popular community event, which allows children to interact and get creative with activities based on story tellings from their favourite authors and illustrators, sharing the joy of storytelling.

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Very fishy tales with Fred Blunt at Storytime Sunday

Ahoy! All aboard the SS Storytime! Next Sunday, 6th December, we have the fabulous Fred Blunt. Escape the Christmas madness and spend Sunday morning with your little buccaneers down at The Bright Emporium – and be sure to bring your sea legs! Arr!

Book Fred
 

 

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Norman saves Christmas with Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet at Storytime Sunday

Are you worried about who will save Christmas this year? Never fear… Norman is here! Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet lead a Christmas themed Storytime Sunday with lovely Norman – the slug with the silly shell, and fearless Supertato! We’ll have a super time saving Christmas this year!

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Back by popular demand – David Litchfield hosts his second Storytime Sunday

Christmas got you feeling a little grizzly?
Back by popular demand! Critically acclaimed David Litchfield visits us for a second time with his beautiful debut author/illustrated book, The Bear and The Piano! Join us with your cubs for some Storytime fun!

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Camera_1.jpg Photography will take place at the event!  These events are live-tweeted by The Bright Group. Release forms will be available to sign on the day. If you have any queries please email the organiser. Use the hashtag StorytimeSunday and BrightEmporium to contribute or find our pictures!

Previous Storytimes 

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Meet Jarvis – en route to rock stardom, via The Bright Agency…!

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We took some time to catch up with Jarvis, Author and Illustrator of  ‘Alan’s Big Scary Teeth’   – a beautifully illustrated, heart-warming tale with a twist and a good moral at it’s core (published by Walker Books and available from 6th February 2016). Although writing and illustrating is his full time job, Jarvis hopes one day that Coldplay will need him to play guitar for them. Whilst waiting for the call, he’s been busy making books for kids and answering some very important questions…

 

So first of all – what made you decide to be a Jarvis, rather than a Peter, and do most folks refer to you as Jarvis now?

I like Jarvis. Some people call me Jarvis, some call me Pete, my girlfriend calls me PJ… and some people call me much worse.

What made you become an illustrator? 

When I was 15 I got it in my head I would do art, go to university, move to London and then I would make album covers for bands. Then the real dream was that a huge band would invite me to join them. 90% of this happened… but I’m not yet a member of Coldplay. Still time…

me-working  Lazy Dave

Which of your own books did you enjoy working on the most and how do you come up with your ideas?

The part I enjoy the most is that first scribble of an idea, the squiggle of who a character is. Everything else from that point isn’t enjoyable, it resembles more of a maze – trying out different routes, going back, starting again, trying something else, finding a dead end… until I finally make it out alive. But there are enjoyable bits along the way – if I do an image I love, I just stare at it for ages, or if I tie up the ending of a story really well I can relaaaax.

A few days before handing in my up-coming book ‘Alan’s Big Scary Teeth’ [Walker Books] my studio was burgled and everything was taken – my computer, back-ups, scanner, lightbox, everything! I didn’t have it backed up online so I had lost the entire book. It all seems like a bad dream now but I had to re-do the entire book from scratch. So I can’t say I enjoyed that but I’m impressed that I was able to just re-do it and in many parts it was better. The irony is that the plot of the book is about stealing!

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Desert Island Discs…What are your 8 records (you may well be on there one day) And you can choose one luxury to take with you – what would that be?

I would take 8 Beatles albums, and then my luxury item would be a phone with spotify on it.

What’s your ideal holiday?

I like to do very little, with great food and just Jenna.

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Do you play a musical instrument? 

I play the guitar badly, you can hear me on the ‘Lazy Dave’ trailer.

What was the last book you read?

I only end up reading on holidays unfortunately – ‘There but for the’, by Ali Smith and ‘Daft wee stories’, by Limmy

What was your favourite book as a little boy?

I used to be obsessed with the Beano comic. I have read the same ‘Bash street kids’ comics 100 times.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a seaside town in Wales… my mum and dad used to go there on holiday as children, and then when I was born they moved there.

And, as it’s December –
What was your most memorable Christmas as a little boy?

Me and my sister used to get up extremely early, go down stairs, and really quietly open the living room door and just sit with our presents. One year we came downstairs, and were about to open the door when we heard a bit of moving about. We were convinced Father Christmas was still in there. We waited and waited until we were bored of waiting… opened the door expecting Father Christmas……… It was a new pet hamster.

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Jarvis has also just illustrated a book for Jeanne Willis called ‘Poles Apart’ [Nosy Crow] which is available now from all good book stores.

 

Poles Apart

Thanks to Jarvis for giving us an insight into his world and Happy Christmas to all!
Categories
The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Storytime December – the perfect end to a great year at the Emporium.

 

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Paul Linnet reading from ‘Keith the cat with the magic hat’, by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet [Simon & Schuster], the eagerly awaited sequel to ‘Supertato’, available in April 2016, ‘The Bear and the Piano’ (my attempt at drawing it) and ‘Captain Falsebeard’ [Puffin]

Story time sunday made it’s transition from the Doodle Bar to The Bright Emporium this month, and what a fantastic way to end the year, with our cosy little gallery really coming into it’s own for these creative and festive events.

We began the month with that sailor of the seven seas, Cap’n Fred Blunt, and his hilarious tale of Captain Falsebeard [Puffin]. If you are unfamiliar with Fred’s book, this is a fishy story with an excellent twist at the end of it’s tail! I honestly laugh every time I read it, or even better, when Fred is reading it. He brings all the characters to life and his animated illustrations capture the comedy perfectly.

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From left to right: Fred Blunt with Bright founder and MD, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, the story time A-frame and two happy story time regulars!

Next up we had a veg-tastic sunday with Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, who co-create their wonderful books. If you haven’t yet heard of Supertato, you are missing out. Sue and Paul read their brand new Christmas story about that legendary slug, Norman. Last time we met Norman, he was on the search for a shell – because for some reason, he wasn’t given one like his snail friends! This time, he has a rather large assignment – Norman must save Christmas! We were also extremely lucky to have a world exclusive – the sequel to Supertato, suitably named ‘Supertato: Veggies assemble’ [Simon & Schuster] We had so much fun, making super vegetable heroes and villains which went down a storm with the kids. Sue and Paul are also part of World Book Day in 2016, with a new Supertato adventure!

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And for our last story time before Christmas, we welcomed back David Litchfield, and his critically acclaimed picture book, ‘The Bear and the Piano’ [Francis Lincoln] This magical story was the perfect way to end what has been an incredible year for Bright.

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Next year we begin our story time with not one author, but two! On sunday 31st January, we have two events in one day, the first being with Rebecca Ashdown, author and illustrator of ‘Bob and Flo and the missing bucket’  [Oxford University Press], nominated for the Sheffield children’s book award 2015. Rebecca will be debuting her next book in the Bob and Flo series, called ‘Hide and Seek’, which is published on the 7th January 2016. Books will be available to buy and have signed by the authors on the day! You can book for Rebecca’s event here.

And our second event of the day is with Jo Byatt, who has illustrated a Bear’s Reading Adventure by BookTrust. Jo and Gemma, who wrote this lovely book, will be reading and leading craft activities from 2-4pm. The Bear’s Reading Adventure is a new resource – a sticker storybook – for the Bookstart Bear Club (Book Trust’s library offer for families with children aged 0-5). The new resource was developed following consultation feedback from library services and Bookstart Coordinators to encourage families to visit the library and read together every day.  You can book your place to see Jo and Gemma here.

We look forward to seeing you very soon!

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Rebecca Ashdown’s Bob and Flo books, Jo Byatt with her first picture book.

 

 

 

Categories
The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Meet Chloe Bonfield – on the terror and joy of illustrating her own words!

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We caught up with Bright artist Chloe Bonfield, author and illustrator of The Perfect Tree published by Running Press, Perseus Books, and illustrator of many other beautiful books. Here are some interesting insights into what makes Chloe tick and how she came up with those all  important ideas…

 

What made you become an illustrator?
For quite a while I wasn’t sure what I was, I thought it was some kind of artist and I made lots of little weird films and even when I was studying illustration I really wasn’t too sure either. But generally everything I did ended in something very narrative, figurative and got there via lots of drawing and little bits of paper. It was always tied together with a story and I got obsessed with stories. Just mad for them.  I definitely ate books as a child and images just as much. So it all feels very much like home and natural.

What inspired you to create The Perfect Tree?
Ah it’s such a nice story, at least I think it is. My friends nanny has got two lovely kids called Albie and Ivy. I was going over with my friend Bella to test a book that we were working on together. Bella is a brilliant writer, anyway, we asked the two what their best ever idea had been. Albie went dead quiet for about half an hour with his eyes closed. Suddenly he awoke and started speaking in a really sinister creepy way. He explained his favourite idea is when he drove… his own car… at midnight… to a forest! And chopped down a tree (he was 5 at the time). Thus the idea started.


the perfect tree cover

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What is your favourite part of the process when illustrating a book?

I have to admit that my favourite bit is the bit before the computer comes in. Using my hands and building things and luxuriating in different materials. Even if they are very resourcefully found materials. Saying that I am part geek, and really get into the control and finesse of using digital to work in illustration. I love the challenge of trying to create a certain tone or atmosphere using digital that you normally find on the inside of your head.

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How is it different illustrating your own words and someone else words- and do you have a preference?
I really love words, and I am always in so much awe when people use them to transport or teach or time travel. If I get to use my own words it is like a rare treat, and it is much more terrifying. But still wonderful. Working with a writer offers a chance to have a rare conversation without speaking. Developing a silent relationship, that you then get to share with readers. That aspect on its own can be amazing to look at in picture books, before even thinking about the content of the book. A little peak into the writer and illustrators brains.

Desert Island Discs…What are your 8? And you can choose one luxury to take with you – what would that be?
Orzark Mountain Dare Devils- It’ll Shine When It Shines

Cat Stevens-Teaser and the Fire Cat
Heart- Dreamboat Annie
Drexciya- Neptune’s Liar
Linda Perhacs- Parallelograms
Cockteau Twins – Treasure
Aphex Twin- Selected Ambient Works Volume 2
The Mamas and the Papas- Best of!
And my luxury item would be my grandads lovely electro acoustic guitar he left me. Oh wow I am a hippy.

What was the last book you read?
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran and The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

What was your favourite book as a little girl?
I had two firm favourites throughout although I had so many inbetweeners. Those were The Enchanted Horse by Magdalen Nabb and Sunset Cottage-Ursula by Horely-Smith. (Minpins was up there too).

Thanks to Chloe for giving us an insight into her creative world! 

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Categories
The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog)

Check out the New Books Published by Bright Artists: Fall 2015

From commercial to trade titles, Bright agents and artists celebrate the publication of the following books this quarter…

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