Joy’s Sneakers

It’s here and it’s done! And I’m so pleased with the end result. It’s taken me a year and a half to be able to see this book project through. But I’m delighted to announce that it is now available for purchase on amazon.

I’ve received my proof copy yesterday and i love it. It was quite an emotional experience. This little book was originally a dummy book that i gave an agent so they could find it a suitable home, but after waiting for a long ( very long ) time, and getting no interest, I’ve decided to finish it and self publish.

I hope you will all enjoy it. And please, please , please, do spread the news. I do this because i love books and because i love making children laugh and smile, and nothing would make me happier than to know that at least someone has bought the book, read it to his/ her child and they giggled.

You can learn more about this book here.

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Illustrator Saturday – Leila Nabih

Because I do love to share my progress online with my fans, family and friends, I thought I’d drop in a line today to mention that I am today’s Featured Illustrator on Kathy Temean’s Blog, Writing and Illustrating.

It is such an honour and a privilege to be featured on such a specialist blog. I feel like I’ve crossed another milestone with this feature. I’ve been following her and her blog posts for more than three years now, and she has been a very valuable source of information for me to learn about the processes, the ins and outs of the children’s books industry, and to meet virtually other individuals with the same passion as mine.

I highly recommend anyone working in the children’s books industry to follow her blog and subscribe to her posts. You can thank me later !

Enough chitter chatter for today. Head on over to her blog and read my interview.

Writing and Illustrating

Leila’s illustrations combine hand drawn lines and digital elements. She loves drawing bunnies and cats, as well as little boys and girls. At the moment she is working on a few self initiated educational projects to benefit her two year old toddler and submitting picture book dummies to a variety of publishing houses. She has self published a couple of books and is currently working on another two. She has also been commissioned to design and create picture books as gifts for little children from their parents, aunts or friends.

Leila has a French baccalauréat in sciences, a Bachelors degree in chemistry with a thesis in organic chemistry, a Masters degree in international business and a certificate of achievement in illustrating children’s books from a London based school. She speaks several languages and have grown up and lived in around 10 countries across the world (so far).

Here is Leila discussing her process:

Most of my…

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“Christmas Eve” by L.A. Jones

As some of you know already, I have just finished illustrating a book for award winning author L.A. Jones.

The project came at the right time for me as I was finalising one project and about to start another. It was a challenging project in the sense that I had a very tough deadline to meet. I had less than a month to deliver the illustrations. The text was beautifully written and I could see the book unfolding in front of my eyes as i read it, which made sketching a breeze. I had issues with colour for a few days, but then it all came together smoothly.

Thankfully, the man of the house, our little toddler, cooperated during the day, and in the evenings my dear loving husband abandoned himself to the playstation in silence so i could have room and time to work on this little gem of a book.

You can find out more about the book here.

Christmas Eve by L.A. Jones

Christmas Eve by L.A. Jones

I’m on Etsy !

Big News here. I’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to open shop and I have chosen the Etsy platform to do it. I figure I must start somewhere.

I’m starting with a few Christmas Cards. Yes, cliché, I know. But I love Christmas Cards, and I send quite a few myself every year so i had to give it a go. Look at it this way: my Christmas cards are so cute, they can be used as seasonal nursery art prints as well ! One stone, two birds as they say.

Here is the link to my shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LeilaNabihDesigns

For those who aren’t familiar with Etsy, please know that it is a platform for creators like myself that make things themselves and that provide custom made orders as well. Please share the news, do give a like and a love to my Etsy page and buy a card for someone!

And here are the celebrated greeting cards.

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Family Portraits? Anyone?

I’ve recently started thinking about ideas to practice drawing human figures in my illustrations that would also help me bring a little revenue in. I’ve chosen to try and offer family Portraits for a minimal fee.

To see how much time I would spend and if the style would please my customers, I’ve asked for volunteers and I’ve had a few come forth for testing this out. Here below are those I have managed to make and they were all very pleased.

What do you think? Would you like one? And if you would, would you pay for it? And how much would you be willing to pay for this?

I might offer this service soon online, so stay tuned !

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Postcards Sendouts

I’ve finally felt comfortable enough with my work to send out postcards to art directors in the children’s book publishing industry.

That is another crossed milestone for me.

To begin my regular quarterly send outs , I’ve chosen to mail postcards to uk art directors and publishers only. It was inspired by my little boy and the fact that he is currently imitating everything he sees and repeats everything he hears.

I’ve chosen to send something minimalistic showcasing my skills at illustrating little children and little animals, and as its halloween, I themed it accordingly. Here it is. What do you think? Will they like it? Will they not?

I certainly hope they like it !

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Pictures at Play Launch Event – Pictures

Thank you to all those who came to the Pictures at Play Launch Event on Thursday 28th September at the Half Moon Theater Gallery. It was a great evening altogether and I will remember this day forever. Such a huge milestone for me. Here are a few photographs of the place and the evening for those of you who couldn’t make it.

And here is me with my contribution!

Critique Group Guidelines

I’ve recently volunteered to help a friend run a picture book event. It was not something I had planned and it certainly didn’t come at the best of times, but it gave me an additional purpose for a little while, and it felt good.

I helped her out with a few things. Things I hadn’t done in a while. I prepared an online survey for participants requesting a critique group as well as prepared a guidelines document on critique group best practice. I thought I’d share it here with you in case some of you might find it useful.

These guidelines were written for the purpose of the challenge but I believe they are applicable for most any critique groups out there. Let me know in the comments if you have more tips or advice for best practice.

Critique Group Guidelines

  • Introduce yourself ( name, country or city, writing style, illustration level, age of preferred target audience, published or unpublished and anything else you think of value)
  • Explain what you hope to achieve with the Challenge
  • What is your manuscript about ( Synopsis in 50 words or less)
  • Assign an admin for the group: That is someone that will make sure everyone gets to submit their work in equal number or turns, someone that will be reminding everyone to post their critiques, and that will make sure everyone remains polite and constructive throughout the process. It’s usually best if someone volunteers to take on this extra responsibility. Otherwise, we would recommend that this “facilitator” person be someone with previous critique group experience.
  • Critique Schedule: When you will critique (everyday so that everyone can get a turn more often, twice a week, only on the weekends…)
  • What you will critique ( writing or illustration or both)
  • How you will share your work ( in the group as attachments or files or photographs, or by email , or any other means… )

Remember: 

  • Good critique is constructive
  • Be sensitive towards other people’s work
  • The purpose of joining a critique group is to receive not only praise, but also feedback that will make your work greater than it already is.
  • Different perspectives from different people is usually a good way for you to find out what would represent you and what wouldn’t, whilst challenging you to keep an open mind about other possible alternatives you might not have thought about. You don’t have to take everyone’s opinion on board, just listen to what is being said, and say thank you.
  • If you feel like you cannot offer any constructive critique elements, then don’t.

And

  • If someone is being a bully, warn them once, then if they pursue with their behaviour, kick them out of the group ( that would also be the admin’s responsibility)
  • You can leave the group if you don’t feel like you are a match with the other members.

A critique group is an experience that is supposed to be instructive, supportive and fun. 

Part 2: Postcards (a “webinar” blog)

Today, I thought I’d share a very well written and detailled article about postcards, written by a friend I met on the so popular Facebook platform. We are very far away from one another in terms of location, but we found each other through our common passion: picture books.

And since I am getting ready to send out some postcards, her post came in very handy indeed. Enjoy! And be sure to follow her and her adventures.

Jena Benton

I know writers will automatically think this is a post only for illustrators and that’s not true.  I also know that some already published and professional illustrators will think this only applies to newbies, but I’ve got something for the PALs here too.  This post will have a little something for everyone: writers, illustrators, newbies and those already published.  I promise!

First, let me address the Part 2 in the title.  I know many of you will be wondering why this is Part 2, when there was no Part 1.  I will explain.

You see, as writers (W) and illustrators (I) interested in publication, we all know that there are some things we need to get into the business (or keep in business) of children’s books.  You need the following list of things:

  1. A physical manifestation of your work: a manuscript (Writers), a portfolio (Illustrators), a dummy (Author-Illustrators), or a…

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A beautiful summer holiday discovery

We were on holiday for the last couple of weeks, visiting the in-laws in the South West of France and whilst there, we attended a village fair in their main square. ( Oh my, that rhymes!)

We stumbled across this used books stall, and as you know, I love everything book related, so i had to stop and browse. Whilst my loving husband managed the toddler roaming around, I went through all the picture books on display and then found one that has been on my wish list for a while now. And what a great find!

I’ve been looking at it and marvelling at it since we came back.

I’ll be sharing a more in depth review of this book on readingtobaby.wordpress.com shortly but for now, I just wanted to share the cover and one of my favourite spreads of this amazing piece of art.

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