Paola's latest picture book has hit the shelves! Giant-Sized Butterflies on My First Day of School by author Justin Roberts is a tender story about overcoming those first day nerves, that will resonate with young children and adults alike. Published with G.P.Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.
We were super proud to celebrate our author Annaliese Avery’s YA debut with the publication of The Immortal Games (published with Scholastic) this month. This epic adventure with Greek gods and teenage heroes has already been gathering praise and fandom with readers, booksellers, bloggers and tik-tokers, and we love the fantastic cover art by Tom Roberts - seen here in book and cake form! Are you ready to play The Immortal Games?
With Spring here, we thought we’d brighten up your day with these gorgeous limited palette pieces from Cindy. Bold, bright and eye-catching, we can’t wait to hear more from Cindy about this girl and her cat and the story they feature in.
The second picture book in the The Repair Shop Stories is out now, published with Walker Books. The Toy Bus by Amy Sparkes and beautifully illustrated by Katie is a heart-warming family tale based on the real story of a very special toy bus, featured on the TV show: The Repair Shop.
Sònia has illustrated the third Meg and Merlin adventure Running Away by Tanya Landman, published with Barrington Stoke.
Staffan's Bear is a wordless picture book for adults that explores mental health and depression through the lens of friendship and the support we can offer those we love.
A visual treat, Bear tells the story of a bear who has a cone trapped on his head. His sadness and despair is captured through Staffan's atmospheric and, at times, haunting etchings. Bear struggles alone until, one day, a hare hears the bear's plight.
Inspired by Staffan's own experiences; he began drawing the character as a way to make sense of how a person close to him was suffering from mental illness. To celebrate it’s publication, Staffan is holding an exhibition of some 68 prints (out of the 100) that went into creating the book - some of which have never been seen before. He currently has a live kickstarter campaign, which you can check out here.
Bear is being published by Seven Stories Press and will be released on the 23rd of March in the UK and on the 21st of February in North America.
Laura Ellen Anderson
Robin had a lot of fun with this one. Bob vs The Selfie Zombies is a laugh-out-loud time travel adventure and a zombie apocalypse by author Andy Jones. Published with Picadilly Press.
Cats, cats, and more cats in these colourful and busy pieces from Taiwanese illustrator Cindy Wume!
It’s panda-monium in these stunning watercolours by Lucy. If you’re interested in hearing more about the story, do contact Lucy’s agent Helen Boyle on firstname.lastname@example.org
January is a time for new beginnings and it feels like the perfect time to welcome a new artist - Moera - to the Pickled ink portfolio! Moera is an exciting talent who has been working in the animation industry. Working across both traditional and digital media, his portfolio is filled with dynamic characters, striking colour and inclusive, diverse storytelling.
A French artist currently living in London, Moera graduated from the EMCA animation school in 2011, and has since worked in the animation industry as a freelancer. Moera is excited about branching into children's publishing and is passionate about representing black characters, their stories and their beauty in his work, saying:
"The African and black characters in my art are heavily influenced by my Senegalese background. Beauty in blackness is centred in my art because I believe it's something we rarely read or see enough of. We need more black characters and black stories, not just for us but for everyone else. I am very proud of my black heritage and that pride is reflected in the representation of black peoples' rituals, myths and cultures within my work."
Moera will be represented by Charlie Bowden when she returns from maternity leave, but in the meantime he will be managed by Amy Kitcherside. Please contact Amy on email@example.com if you have any queries regarding Moera’s work and availability.
We're winding down for Christmas and so it's time for a showcase of all our books that published in 2022.
Thank you to all our artists and authors for another brilliant year, we’re proud to represent such a lovely and talented bunch. Here’s to many more wonderful books to come in 2023!
Picture Books, Board Books and Illustrated Non-Fiction
Fiction and Poetry
Júlia Sardà, Myriam Dahman and Nicolas Digard attend the prestigious Salon du Livre et de la Presse Jeunesse à Montreuil.
We were so excited that our tremendous trio of Pickled Ink creators, authors Myriam Dahman and Nicolas Digard and illustrator Júlia Sardà, were invited to attend the Montreuil book festival this December. They were there to showcase their latest book - Leina and the Lord of the Toadstools - which is published in France as Leina et le Seigneur des Amanites by Gallimard.
Júlia, Myriam and Nicolas also took part in discussion events to talk about their influences and their work.
And, at book signings around Paris they were met with many avid fans of both Leina and their previous collaboration - The Wolf's Secret/ Le Talisman Du Loup
Massive thanks to the festival and briliant French publishers Gallimard for organising and supporting Leina and the Lord of the Toadstools at these exciting events.
We caught up with Taiwanese illustrator Cindy Wume to find out a bit more about her artwork process in creating the illustrations for My Big Book of Questions About the World (with all the Answers, too!), written by Moira Butterfield, published by Walker Books.
This was first time I'd illustrated a non-fiction picture book. I started by doodling in my sketchbook. My first goal was to create a group of kids to lead the reader through each topic in the book. When designing the characters, it was important to include kids from different cultures so that readers of all backgrounds could easily relate to the book.
The characters first came with lines in the sketchbook and then I add colours. I experimented with whether the characters should just have little black dots as the characters’ eyes or eyes with pupils against the white of the eye.
I decided to go with the latter, as I think it helped show more personality and energy.
Once I’d developed the characters I began on the book layouts, which also starts in my sketchbook.
I usually draw very rough thumbnails and doodles first to build up my visual approach. After having a general understanding of how the compositions might work, I switched to the more detailed thumbnails and sketches.
I don’t usually make colour roughs while working on artwork, but I’ve tried several in this project. I found this process helpful especially for the pages with great details.
Since this is a non-fiction project, accuracy was also important. My editor and designer, Becky and Beth, kindly offered some references for me to start this project. I also did some research within each section to make sure I understood everything the book talked about because Science wasn’t really my strongest subject back in school!
I even visited the local marine museums and the botanical garden while working on this project. It was very helpful to see some of the creatures in the real life so that I could have a better understanding of them while illustrating them. And for some scenes I could not get to see, for example the Earth viewed from space, I used Google Earth as a reference while illustrating them.
There are lots of interesting scenes to illustrate in this book, but I particularly enjoyed drawing the scenes of sea creatures and animals.
While working on the sea life pages, I first had to research all the creatures appearing on this page. To make their proportions correct, I made notes on their approximate length before illustrating them. At the time, my roommate was quite obsessed with squid and shared so many facts about them with me, so I understood how intelligent they are. Therefore, I also included this creature in the scene although it was not actually mentioned in the text!
As for the animal scene, in addition to some ‘regular’ animals, I have also draw ‘special’ animals such as wombat, Tasmanian devil, the opossum and the chameleon. I think it would be fun for kids to spot those they already know and discover some new animals.
While working on the endpapers, I wanted to create the decorative scenes covering every subject of this book.
I used the foliage to create spaces for every subject and they grew into a forest with so many things to hunt for.
The way I created the endpapers was to draw one with a black colour on the paper first and then scan it into the photoshop. So we could choose the colour to match the cover for the books in the end.
The cover was the hardest part for me of this book. At first, I wanted to create one with lots of details so we experimented several versions with this concept.
After discussing with the team, the art director suggested going with a simpler design. So we chose the composition similar to the first spread of the ‘Our World’ page. I think with this option, the colours help the book stand out more. I thought it was a pity that my favourite topic – animals – couldn’t have a major appearance on the cover so I hid them in the cover. If you look closely, you will discover that the little puppy and leopard are in the spaceship together with the kids!
Funnily enough, when I started this book project back in 2020, I was living in Taiwan and my table at the time was not big enough to fit a piece of A2 paper (the size I like to work), so I tried drawing on the floor and on a chair with funny positions kind of like Anna does in the book!
At the early storyboard stage I drew thumbnails and printed them out to make a little dummy book in order to see how the text and images looked together and to give me a feel for the pace and flow of the book.
Once I was happy, I drew them again in more detail. Sometimes I can’t help myself and draw more details than needed, but this process helps me to figure out what I should keep or remove.
For this book I didn’t do colour roughs but instead went straight into the final artworks. I ended up redrawing a lot of pages to get the colour right and because I was experimenting so much with materials to find a look I was happy with. I determined early on not to be afraid of making mistakes and use as many papers as I needed to.
For the characters I started with a lot of sketches, trying out different personalities in mind. This was actually a fairly easy process. I knew for instance that I wanted to make the Dad look gentle and warm. It didn't take me long to shape their look and personalities, but the styles of the maps was far more challenging...
How did you create all the different maps?
I collected images of all kinds of old maps from library books and from the internet. My mum’s drawings were also a great inspiration for me. She never trained to be an artist but her work is quite playful and surreal. I also found Richard Scarry's wonderful "What do people do all day?" a really useful reference. It pushed me to experiment with different perspectives and consider what kind of elements I could include in my maps.
Figuring out the individual map styles was the hardest part. Some of the maps in the story I had to re-draw several times to get it right because it had to look like a child's drawing but still maintain the right colour balance so as not to overpower the characters. Hopefully I struck the right balance!
Can you take us through the cover design?
Cover is an important one, it has to be eye-catching, leave space for the title and depict the story content. For me, a good composition will go a long way. I usually sketch as many designs as pops into my head, regardless of whether it is good or bad. It gives me space to explore all possibilities while searching for that perfect cover design.
I wanted a cover that was fun and welcoming. The essential elements for me were Anna, Zane, Whiskers and of course incorporating the theme of maps. Once the final design was chosen, I drew the three characters by hand before scanning them and finishing the map digitally.