Some people will have seen my recent good news on social media, but if you haven’t seen me jumping up and down and yelling from the rooftops - I am now represented by the lovely Alice Williams at the David Higham Agency. I’m so happy but also aware this is when the real work starts.
I have had a few people ask – How did you get an agent?
Well, part of me thinks I was lucky that the right person saw my work at the right time. The other part of me knows it’s actually been quite a long adventure to get here.
So, that said, I’m sharing the top 10 bits of advice that I have been given, all of which have done me good, some I wish I’d followed sooner and some that probably contradict each other... but hey, that’s the crazy world we live in. Please feel free to ignore but I’m of the opinion that trying new things is good, so if you are stuck any of this helps then Bonzer Baby, Good Times Ahead!
Always carry a sketch book, or at least a pen/pencil
I have seen Chris Riddell talk on several occasions and he is always armed with the sharpest pencils I’ve ever seen (see photo evidence) and a sketch book, or two. His drawing skills and level of detail often leave his audiences in awe.
In 2015, I was also lucky to hear the legend that is Tomi Ungerer talk about his career, and he also said, “Never leave home without a pencil” – here are my notes from my sketchbook about his talk:
There are so many reasons this is great advice for anyone wishing to illustrate. The biggest being you can observe things and draw from life which, in turn, helps you get better at drawing. If you see something interesting then getting it into your sketchbook adds it to the visual vaults of your mind, so you can access it again when you need it. Maybe someone’s posture is expressive, or a building is really inspiring, or even the label on a chocolate bar has an interesting pattern… Inspiration is everywhere, and by drawing maybe as well as photographing you are building up your illustration muscles and can incorporate a rich new world into your work.
Here's a silly video of the same sketchbook:
It’s not just good for observation though, having the tools ready at all times means you never need to loose out on the creative gold. Drawing things that pop into your head is a brilliant way to develop new ideas. You never know when idea is going to happen so you need to be ready to capture it, get it down in its rawist form and you can come back to it and develop it. So many great ideas never happen because they weren’t written down. They don’t have to be masterpieces all the time, sometimes a stick man & scribble will be enough. Let go of the need for it to be perfect, sketchbooks are a safe place to work things out.
Plus you never need to be bored – make drawings and doodles anywhere, at any time. You can investigate, capture, record and invent. You don’t need to show anyone if you don’t want to, it can be your secret world to escape to. I find it really relaxing, if I’m stuck on a train or in a waiting room I often pass the time with my sketch book.
If I haven’t convinced you enough here’s a pinterest board of other people’s sketch books:
So why not take a little sketchbook with you and see what happens? I love looking through other people sketchbooks, and I think I'm going to try to share more of mine. If you want to share yours with me then tweet me a picture @sonispeight .