Sunshine Smile Publications is delighted to showcase the very talented Alison Edgson!
Q & A with Alison Edgson, Illustrator
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm nice and busy right now with lots of books on the go, which I love!
I've just finished illustrating a lovely story by Tracey Corderoy called 'I Want my Mummy!' about a little mouse who loves dragons and pretends to be one, but when his Mummy leaves him with Granny for the day he doesn't feel so brave! It's very sweet and the publisher Little Tiger Press have had a little plush toy of Arthur the mouse in his dragon costume made to be sold along with the book - it even has a little hood that goes up and down!
At the moment I'm illustrating a sweet little picture book for Igloo Books that will be sold in aid of Help for Heroes. In May I will be working on an Easter themed book for children for Thomas Nelson.
I'll also be doing the pencil illustrations for a book of stories for older children for Stripes Publishing. I do one or two of those each year and I love doing them as it's so different from the colourful artwork I normally do for picture books.
In between books I enjoy getting commissions for greetings cards which my agent Advocate Art happily finds for me! This works well for me as it can be a refreshing change of pace and subject matter after the intensity of working on a single book project for a month or two.
Is there anything you're busy promoting?
Yes, I'll be at Hay-on-Wye and Edinburgh festivals this year, mainly promoting Just One More, another book by Tracey Corderoy which features a little bunny who can't get enough bedtime stories, so he decides to write his own with the help of his friends. It's a lovely book because it contains a copy of the little bunny's book to colour in.
At the festivals I'll be doing some nice crafty events with the children and when I've done this sort of thing before they've been so much fun - I can't wait to see what we come up with this time!
Can you recommend a children's book that you recently enjoyed?
I'm a big fan of Emily Gravett and I love all her books as they're so quirky and inventive, yet her illustrations are wonderfully done as well. I think my favourite is DOGS - it's one of those books that makes you wonder 'Why didn't I think of that!'
I also just love Polly Dunbar's books - Penguin is great, so simple it's a lesson in 'less is more' and the expressions on Penguin's face are spot on!
When I read books like these it makes me want to write my own - so far I've always illustrated books written by other authors but I've got ideas in my head and that's something I'd like to have a go at very soon!
Do you have a piece of advice for beginning illustrators?
I'd really recommend joining the Association Of Illustrators as they're great for helping illustrators just starting out with advice, portfolio surgeries and information on the business side of illustration that might not have been covered at uni or college.
I took a page in Contact New Talent source magazine and it was spotted by my agent Advocate Art who have represented me ever since (eight years now!) I also sent flyers to publishers using the Artists and Illustrators Yearbook to get addresses and got my first job illustrating a book for Child's Play this way. It just takes a lucky break and you're off!
It's also a great idea to enter competitions to help build up your portfolio and develop your style while you're waiting for that first job to come along!
Alison's Illustration Process
For picture books I like to work with acrylics as they're bombproof and will withstand the cat walking across the artwork which, when I'm working to a tight deadline is a big consideration!
I generally work on hot pressed watercolour paper - Fabriano 5 is good as it's nice and white which is better for vignettes or illustrations on a white background. I also use coloured pencils over the acrylic paint sometimes for details and definition.