January 2015

The other night June Sees and I went along to Bloomsbury Publishing’s illustration masterclass, which was run by the lovely and extremely talented Yaseem Ismail.

The masterclass was about the publishing side of children’s picture book and also looking at from the very first drafts to the final finished book in bookshops.

Yasmeen was full of energy and enthusiasm during the evening! She was sort of bouncing across the room from the projector to the whiteboard; really engaging the audience with her words of (very good) advice. I loved how she gave the talk based on her own personal experiences mixed with industry experience as it was interesting to see how she managed to get to where she is now. With lot’s of persistence, motivation, years of hard work, her dedication and passion really shone through during the masterclass.

Yasmeen was really direct and to the point about certain subjects such as finding your own style and how to get a good portfolio together. When she was talking about ‘style’, it took her a while to find a medium she was happy to work with. The most important thing she said about it was that there’s no wrong way in making images, which I whole-heartedly agree. Be inspired by things around you, when you’re down then take a break and go back to it.

In regards to the publishing industry, she went through each of the stages and how it filters down to getting in on the book shelves to parent’s buying the books for their little ones.

I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t been to it. I would recommend going if you’re interested in picture book illustrations.

By the end of the masterclass I was feeling very motivated and reflected about my own practices as an illustrator. I bought ‘Specs for Rex’ and ‘Time for Bed, Fred!”, both beautifully illustrated, and got Yasmeen to sign them both for me!

Yasmeen Ismail

Christmas ended pretty quickly, right? By the way, I say this every year. I spent nearly two weeks between Newcastle and Doncaster, flitting up and down visiting Sam and my folks in Doncaster.

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Sam, his mum and the dog called Darcy! He’s so cute and fluffy like a walking cloud!



We travelled back down to Doncaster to see my folks on Boxing Day and it had started to snow. The next day the whole street was covered in thick layer of snow! Not so fun when it turns to slush though.


So far, I’ve spent the rest of the week here enjoying the peace and quietness of home. I’ve been overfed by my parents- can’t complain! We had two hot pots in one day, again, pretty awesome! Hot pots are good when it’s a little bit cold and you just want something warm and hot to eat. The way to eat a hot pot is to start with a savoury soup and it can be spicy, which I think is the best way to eat it! Or you could just add miso soup as the stock plus carrots, taro, tomatoes and sweetcorn to add more flavour to it. You then put meat, veg, noodles, fish balls, prawns etc. into a pot of soup and you just wait until it’s cooked basically. It’s also a great way of eating bits of everything and sharing tasty food at the same time.

Hot pot.

I’m sort of ready to go back to work on Monday… not. Sigh.

New Year

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again! It’s come round so quickly; I say this every year but it has though! This time last year I was still in Hong Kong ready to leave to come back to the UK. That was probably one of my biggest achievements so far- to travel alone and to learn about myself. I really hope in the future we can go travelling together as I feel like there’s so much out there and that it needs to be explored.

Over the last few months I have been working full-time, so the illustration side of things have fallen sideways. I’m going to spend more time this year and to focus more on it as I look back and feel really bad for not doing as much as I should have done. Also, I hate regretting/ dwelling over things. It’s always been about not having enough time to do anything (more hours in the day please!) and working overtime too- lot’s of it.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

-John The Man Muir

So, I’m going to promise myself to do more artwork and start enjoying the little things that come by day to day. I have really learnt a lot about myself in 2014 and made some good friends at work. Since going back to my workplace, I have also learnt that some people are not worth my time either. It’s pointless wasting time and energy on people who are transient in your life.

I also decided to give Facebook a break because I waste so much time on it. For me, it got the the point of seeing loads of random posts that are unrelated to my interests as well as people ranting about things.  I guess the outlet  and openness makes it easier for people to be more clear cut about things. I suppose the constant negativity from people really gets me down sometimes.

I suck at New Year’s Resolutions, however, I’ve made a list on things I need to work on over the coming year and to remain a happy person!

My mini goals for 2015 are:

– To carry on and pursue the elusiveness of the illustration world.

– Not be beaten up by negative people.

– To focus more on myself and worry less about others.

-See people’s faults as their own insecurities.

– Spend more time with people who mean a lot to me.

– Try and stop moaning about the small things.

– Being happy.

What have your achievements been in 2014? What are your plans or goals for the coming year? I would love to hear from you!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2015!