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Art and Illustration

Here you will find a selection of blogs that cover art and illustration. Find tips on getting started, presenting your work and succeeding as an illustrator.

Firewords Quarterly: An exciting opportunity for emerging writers

Firewords Quarterly is a newsprint magazine packed full of powerful fiction and poetry - all enhanced by bold design.

This independent publication was set up by a small group of creatives who were frustrated with writing magazines that concentrated on substance over style, or vice versa. Firewords Quarterly aims to have an abundance of both: fantastic creative writing enhanced by original design and illustrations. The team strives to make short fiction and poetry more accessible and, above all, provide a stronger platform for new writers to have their writing seen and remembered.

As well as the teaser issue (shown here), the first edition is already in production, with submissions currently open, until 15th April, for short fiction (under 2000 words) and poetry

Each quarterly will be based on an exciting theme, although any topic is accepted. What counts is the originality and flare of the work in question. Click here to read the submission guidelines.

The first …

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Picture books - words vs pictures

Janey louise Jones 1What makes a picture book work well? The pictures or the words? Well, both, of course. But mainly the pictures… but there again, if there wasn’t a good story…

Some brilliant people can write good stories and draw wonderful pictures. Lucky them. Mostly, a relationship has to be struck up between a writer and a talented artist.

As far as my experience goes, publishers prefer to ‘play cupid’ in these relationships, and like to control contact between the two precious creatives. I’m guessing there have been all sorts of problems in this area in the past. Clash of egos. Fallings out. And worst of all, ganging up on the publisher.

It’s a tricky balance. Sometimes as the writer of a picture book story, you know that the pictures can do so much of the work. The lovely touches in pictures which can be clumsy in words include visual clues to plot development, sense of place, objects to find, little details, subtle facial expressions and repeated visual jokes.

It really …
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Everyone hates Comic Sans

Claire FoggI used to think that I was perhaps a bit eccentric to have a favourite font (Verdana, since you ask), but then I saw an article in The Independent and realised that you could delve far deeper into the world of good and bad fonts.

According to Why does everyone hate Comic Sans so much?, the playful-looking font is despised because it is used too widely and in the wrong context. Should you feel strongly you can join the campaign to ban it at Ban Comic Sans, where like-minded individuals are plotting to 'put the sans into comic sans'.

I suspect that the popularity of Comic Sans also stems from the prevalence of emailing and publishing copy online. A font that mimics the look of handwriting is a way of injecting personality when there are few other opportunities to do so. The problem is, it's not really your personality, just an identikit 'font with personality' personality.

There is something special about fonts, though. The best fonts combine design and precision, and contain …
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Tattoos for you?

Claire FoggFor some reason seeing all these tattoos surprised me. It brings a whole new level of commitment to reading books and loving literature:

Click here to see 15 amazing literary tattoos, care of the Huffington Post.

I've often thought about getting a tattoo but never found a design which appealed 100%, that I knew I'd be happy with and never tire of. What about you? If you were to get a literary tattoo, what would you get? Or maybe you already have one... go on, do tell.

Best wishes,
(publisher, A&C
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A different way of working on a picture book

Cressida DowningI've come across a website that gives artists a new outlet, and anyone who feels inspired, a new creative tool. It's very much in the beta stages at the moment, so you will have to bear with its quirks for a while yet.

Storybird is a site where you can set out a short story using the library of images they have uploaded, and then see your very own picture book on screen. They will eventually be offering a (paid-for) print option, and are also looking for illustrators to contribute, so it's a site worth keeping an eye on.

Even if writing children's picture books isn't your usual cup of tea, it's fun to create something for children you know. You would be in good company – think of Tolkien's Father Christmas letters, or even Beatrix Potter who wrote her stories for her nieces and nephews.


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