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Catching up with Spring

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my blog, I’ve had a few things on my plate this spring which have kept me occupied, and when I do have time to write I’ve tended to summarize in a few words on Twitter!

So what have I been up to? Well, I can say that after a long time in gestation, Magic For Sale will be released through Holiday House Inc in the US on 25th July. Written by Carrie Clickard, it’s a spooky 32- page picture book in rhyming verse, full of potions and monsters…. I can’t show much of my work on this book yet, but I can reveal the cover!

Magic For Sale can be pre-ordered through the publisher or online sellers now, more on this title shortly!

Until recently I’ve had little experience of working with schools, despite the number of books I’ve illustrated – for a variety of reasons it was just an area I’d never really pursued. But in February I crossed an important threshold and did two school visits to a local school. It was a revelation! Here’s my report on the experience for the SCBWI journal Words & Pictures. I can now officially count myself within the ranks of author/illustrators who visit schools, if you’re involved with schools, do get in touch!

Right now I’m working on a series of three early-reader novels about historic harbour boats in New Zealand, black-and-white drawings and coloured covers. I’ll reveal more about these lovely stories once the project is completed, but you can see some work in progress through my instagram account @studionib. Here’s the chaos of my drawing desk at the moment:

These last few years I’ve been working exclusively on commissioned artwork, so my own self-written projects have been shamefully pushed into a neglected corner. It’s a very different process for me to work on my own stories rather than commissioned ones, but, much as I love working on texts written by others, I’m trying to devote more time to my own ideas now.

Everyone has ideas, even non-writers and illustrators, some of them good, some bad, all my ideas get jotted down in a little notebook I carry everywhere with me. But these are just concepts, polishing them into a finished story submission for professional publishing can be challenging, it’s a different part of the brain than pure illustration. I’m not much for developing ideas from my illustrations, because my drawings tell their own, visual narrative, I actually prefer not to think too much about images at all when I write stories! Anyway, it’s an area I’m trying to revive…. wish me luck!

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