Picturehooks Conference 2017

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Inside Publishing: An Illustrator’s Conference – May 20th 2017

This was an excellent conference held at the Manchester School of Art by PictureHooks in collaboration with the AOI.

Speakers included:
  1. Tessa Strickland
  2. Tiffany Leeson
  3. Robert Hunter
  4. Zoe Aubugeau-Williams
  5. Amy Varied
  6. Mathew the Horse
  7. Sonny Ross
  8. Des McCannon

So What Did I Learn>?

Tessa Strickland, of Barefooot Books, gave a look into the picture book process. It is an International market with publishers in different countries working together to build print runs of books. They mainly do this by attending the Bologna Book Fair where they display up to 3 fully finished spreads for the books they are displaying. Tessa mentioned the current trend for China to buy high volumes of UK children’s picture books in English and Chinese and that this is a trend shows the need to be aware of changes in the market as an illustrator.

Talking about publishing books Tessa described meeting illustrators in person as her preferred method of finding the right illustrator for a book. She also referred to crowdfunding to publish, giving Unbound as an example crowdfunding publisher.

Often mentioned on the day was the thorny issue of pricing illustration services and there was some variety in the advice offered. Prices for samples ranged from under £150 to £400 (for 2 consequetive spreads) although it was strongly agreed that illustrators should never work for free. On this the AOI came across very clearly and backed it up with the support they offer to illustrators with regards to negotiating contracts and legal advice.

There were refreshments and books for sale at good prices and plenty more information in the talks. It was really helpful to hear from publishers and established illustrators themselves and to get the sense from question and answer sessions that other illustrators struggle with similar issues. It was also good to hear some of the solutions working illustrators find for some of the issues. I would encourage anyone who is interested in children’s picture books to attend a similar event.

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