Recent work: Chicken Newspaper’s Food issue

illustration

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African Mythical Creatures: a Recap

african, character, children's books, design, Events, idea, illustration, stories, Zimbabwe

I haven’t had much time to add tot he growing collection these last few weeks, so I thought it would be good to show you the set so far in one blog post. ‘m going to be making some 3-d versions of these for a school event on June 19th. It should be fun! Details of that event will follow in the coming days.

K

Rita Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion

illustration

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

Pop Up Festival of Stories

Activities & Play, idea, illustration, kids, London, North London

The festival should be a lot of fun. If you’re in London with a spare few hours, come along and join in!

 

Teams

idea, illustration, publishing

Publishing is a team effort with each person playing a specific and vital role in the development of a book. It is also a space where one person with one idea can change everything.

Take diversity in Western publishing organisations. It has been discussed and argued for decades that a more diverse industry will be a more profitable one. But it hasn’t happened. On the other hand, is publishing in the huge markets like China or India as diverse as Europe or the US? Perhaps the timing of the idea and the practical need for action are not yet in sync.

Back to my main theme; to team or not to team. I have had the honour to work with a wide range of children’s publishing professionals, have taken my own ideas to them, or brainstormed ideas together and most of them turned out very well. On reflection it seems that ideas are the spark that activate certain people, while other people are the ones who activate ideas and teams into action. It’s always a great time to be a catalyst, or a troubleshooter. It is also important to be the doer, the closer, the support.With the right combination of roles in one team there can be magic.

Writing and illustrating means working alone most of the time, talking to yourself, fighting to stay disciplined and focused. Furthermore, I have witnessed teams dwindle or disappear or change as children’s publishing tries to find its new way forward. May author illustrators are despondent. Gone are the days of the shy writer living in a faraway place, afraid of the spotlight. Gone with them are potential masterpieces and best sellers. Gone are the reclusive but brilliant editors too.

Everyone has to be social media ready, loud(er), bigger, faster…

… but not necessarily better.

As publishing sheds its skin it is hard to know what will emerge. Hopefully something shiny and lightweight and full of energy.Teams will still be there, though, leaner perhaps, but still there.

K

We like cowboys- sketches

children's books, design, From the sketchbooks, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, publishing

I worked up some sketches and colour test pictures and am quite happy with the results. I normally do things in waves  (if I have the time), preferring to let things sit for a few days before deciding if they work or not. Here are the two main characters from the story. It was a surprise that the text came together so quickly and so well.

A note about colour tests. While I paint with acrylics, my graphic design background  means that Photoshop skills are included.  The software is used to work out colours before painting. It would be interesting to do a book this way; painted line and digital colour- and that might happen one day. Enjoy!

Fingerstration

african, design, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, London, Zimbabwe

Here’s something for you. A book to download or view that you can take as a present from me. All I ask is that you let me (and your friends) know what you think. Merry Christmas!