Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Book - Week 1

Thank you for all your lovely comments and emails about 'The Book' As I mentioned before it has been a long and considered process taking it on, but now I have committed I am very excited and I am not afraid to admit a little bit nervous.
I had lots of emails in the last week asking for advice about the children's book publishing industry, so I thought I would try and share my experience here with you as it unfolds, lets hope it is a smooth & successful journey!

Week 1
I have the rough text at the moment, it will be edited down ALOT as I do the illustrations. At the moment it says things like 'their arms swing out in front of them' Once that is shown in the picture, it doesn't need to be in the copy etc. I currently do not have the page layouts they are being done by a designer at Orchard. These will give me an idea of where the text will fit within the illustrations, what font will be used and the general flow of the book. So I have taken this week to look for inspiration: in my childhood story books, the local libary but mainly on the internet. I have such specific words searched like 'hands lowering a bucket' which provide me with great photos like this!

When I illustrated books before I hardly used a computer, so would sit for hours in the library and set up photos shoots. One involved 2 friends of mine sat in a car park in the middle of the day, with my friends daughter in her pj's and slippers, we got a lot of funny looks that day! I still do use my own photographs, but I must admit a google search comes first.

I have also been getting to know the characters, I know that may sound silly as I have been drawing Belle & Boo for a good while now, but now they are appearing in a picture books there are some important decisions that need to be made. One of the biggest is "what is Boo?"
Yes I know he is a rabbit! but is he a pet rabbit, a wild rabbit a toy rabbit? and how human can he be? For example in the story he wears a pair of wellington boots, well at first I really wasn't sure about that, so I decided to draw how Boo would feel about it and see his reactions, I hope that makes sense?!

I am still not 100% sure how human he will become, dinner conversation btw Russ and I last night went something like this,

Me: "I am not sure Boo can hold a bottle of apple juice?"
Russ: " why not he can wear wellies"
Anyway thats a little insight into the first week, tomorrow I hope to have the spreads, so will start sketching out compositions gulp!

Thought I would share these adorable photos of Children out there around the world rocking Belle & Boo clothing, keep the photos coming we LOVE them here at Belle & Boo.

Our Lets Hug dress in Australia

Boo Coat in front of Buckingham palace

Elsa in Spring Blouse x (sold out)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Simply Stunning

How utterly stunning is this photo. It was taken by Addie of her daughter, this is the email she sent us.

"Hi, my name is Addie... Im a photographer in the US... anyway... shortly after I had my daughter, a friend in England sent me a Belle & Boo card, and it was right then that I fell in love with Belle & Boo...And I knew I wanted to recreate that card with my daughter... its been hanging on her wall framed ever since... well, she recently turned 4 and I decided it was time... and I thought the end result turned out so cute, so I thought I would pass them along to you to see!"

This is the card she is talking about.

& another lovely photo from the shoot. See more of Addie's photographs here
Thank you so much Addie I am really touched x

Yet again Top Drawer came and went, it is such a lot of work for just 3 days, luckily Kate put up the show, so I am not quite as exhausted as I usually am. It was such fun, we made lots of lovely new friends, lots of business ideas and contacts and most importantly lots of sales. The stand was very similar to the show in September, yet this time we had a main Belle & Boo wall and then a separate girls and boys wall, which I think worked well. These are a few work in progress shots.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Spring in my Step

Today for the fist time this year (granted there have only been 14 days!) I woke up with a literal spring in my step, I skipped into the kitchen and the reason..........
I feel a lot better, 2011 has so far been a blur of colds, sickness and backache. I knew I felt better when I asked myself if I wanted a coffee and croissant for breakfast and the answer was a resounding YES!
The 2nd reason.......today is the day I start story boarding the first ever Belle & Boo picture book!
Now I know we have self published 'Bubbles Before Bed' and it has done tremendously well, but this next book is a full blown 38 page, full colour, hard back picture book to be published by Orchard books if all goes to plan this Autumn.
I say if all goes to plan, because an autumn publishing date requires finished art work by the end of April, if not sooner
I have been in the very, very fortunate position of being approached by publishers for a while now, mainly at first from the States that have found Belle & Boo via Etsy. Etsy is an amazing showcase for your work, its not just Belle & Boo by any stretch of the imagination, a good number of my Etsy artist friends have been contacted by all sorts of interesting people and companies. Now just because you are approached does not mean anything happens and there have been numerous reasons along the way why we are only just now entering into a publishing deal. The main reason if I am honest is I haven't felt ready. Before starting Belle & Boo and before I went traveling I illustrated picture books, which I loved and felt very privileged to do, but like all jobs there were draw backs and I wasn't ready to rush back, that is until now. Now feels right, now I see Belle & Boo as animated little characters, I see them running, chatting and heading off on big adventures (well big for a little child and a small bunny!) Orchard is a wonderful company I have been lucky enough to work with them in the past and Kate and I couldn't resist the gorgeous goodie box they sent, with musical presentations and homemade bunny biscuit (no photo of those I am afraid as Kate and I and her children polished them off immediately!

OK so thats enough chat now I need to get sketching, I promise to keep you updated along the way, even it's only to vent my stress about deadlines!

Before I go 2 pretty pictures, thank you to (Ana)belle's mum for sharing this cute picture of a Boo coat far from home in Australia.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Belle & Boo Out in the World

There is nothing we like to see more than pictures of Belle & Boo out in the world. Look at these brilliant pictures by Bella enjoying her To Do Book.

I found these beautiful shots of our clothes on Facebook, by the way I watched The Social Network the other night I didn't realise something so nerdy could be so exciting.

Our show at The Haberdashery comes down on Sunday, I am going to miss having a 'work' reason to pop in for a coffee and cake!

As one exhibition comes down another goes up Top Drawer Spring, we have not done this show before but have heard it's great as all the shops stock up after Christmas. As always if you are visiting please come and say 'hi'

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I hope you all had a wonderful cosy Christmas and a fabulous New Year. Russ and I spent New Year in Hastings, we went out for a very posh lunch followed by an evening of silly games, white Russians and hot dogs!

First day back has been manic to say the least, not helped by the VAT increase here in the UK. We had had to put our prices up slightly to reflect this, so we now have some very strangely priced items indeed. Framed prints that were £55 are now £56.30 etc, it's all a bit annoying.

The good news is we have 4 Christmas prints on sale; mounted they are now £25 (were £32) and framed £40 (were £55) There are only a few of each left so don't delay. Available in our shop and on Etsy now.