Hugely accomplished illustrator and surface pattern designer, HARRIET POPHAM, collaborated with Accor Hotels to create a townscape-inspired mural for the multinational hospitality company’s new Mercure hotel in Bridgwater, Somerset.
As local creative talent, Harriet’s partciular knowledge of the area’s identifying landmarks and iconic events–including the striking Willow Man outdoor sculpture by Serena de la Hey, and the renowned Guy Fawkes Carnival–played beautifully into her composition of a truly bespoke artwork for the hotel’s bar and lounge space.
The artist’s signature intricate line art–rendered in greyscale and featuring highlight-colour blocks in muted shades–was employed to brilliant effect in creating a visual environment for the hotel’s clientele that is at once tranquil and compelling, inviting anyone entering that space to lose themselves in a meditative way amidst the intensely detailed drawings.
Design duo Alicia Perry and Rebecca Intavarant - founders of Tuppence Collective - collaborated with New York-based startup ROOM to create custom designs for their limited edition Room One booths - a reimagined working space for the modern world.
Described as ‘the future of work’ and based on the a phone booth design - the booths fuse creativity and functionality to provide a private, soundproof space to work in or take calls. Through the effective use of space, they are designed to create a quiet place to breathe and think out loud within the working environment.
Tuppence Collective, the north London-based surface design studio, design and hand-paint original patterns inspired by beautiful botanicals and modern designs.
Alicia and Rebecca work together in the studio, splitting each project 50/50. They sketch their designs then paint them in acryllic together so each piece has a blend of both artists’ styles. The designs are cut out and layered onto different coloured backgrounds.
These striking patterns inspired by the natural world were the perfect fit for ROOM who wanted to create a stimulating environment within the booths whilst giving a sense of tranquility in the workplace. The duo had lots of ideas to meet the brief.
“Whenever we create a design, we’re always conscious that we want our work to appeal to both men and women. Our focus has always been on botanicals, as we wanted to show that floral doesn’t have to mean feminine. We try not to be influenced by current trends, since our aim is to create designs that are timeless.
“For inspiration, we tend to look back to the arts and crafts movement but also incorporate brighter colors and tropical foliage for a more modern feel. This way, we combine the essence of old and new, much like what ROOM is doing by giving the classic phone booth a modern twist. All of our designs are hand-painted for a more traditional yet illustrative feel.
“Our pattern design for the booths is meant to truly transport employees to a place of relaxation. The booths allow creativity to flourish by providing privacy and inspiration to the modern worker.”
The final designs were printed onto fabric and applied to the walls of the booths to create the limited edition, three-piece Botanical collection.
The launch event for the collection was held at A/D/O - a Brooklyn-based creative hub built for designers and open for all. The booths will be available for public use throughout January to provide guests with the private spaces they need for phone calls and focused work.
ROOM custom designed the Botanical colleciton with the A/D/O community in mind, to make room for creative exchange and effective collaboration, and the bright, open-plan space was the perfect place to first showcase the booths.
All photos courtesy of ROOM.
A/D/O were delighted with the end result and the developed functionality of their space. They said: “As a public space that fosters a creative community, we are thrilled that we can now offer a private space for guests to take important calls. ROOM has brought the future of work to A/D/O.
To kick-off the Christmas season, we’ve gone behind-the-scenes of Fred Blunt’s new author illustrated picture book ‘Santa Claus vs The Easter Bunny’, published by Andersen Press. A fun, festive revenge tale — of the chocolatey kind — which pits the scheming Easter Bunny against the jovial, and completely unaware, Santa Claus with mounting hilarity.
Fred tells us about his creative process, how he created the two loveable characters at the heart of the tale, and how he builds humour into his artwork through fun narrative details.
‘Santa Claus Vs The Easter Bunny’ is a brilliantly fun, festive tale, what first sparked the idea for your story?
It was a simple drawing of the Easter Bunny picking up a milk bottle from his doorstep, with Santa saying hello to him next door. No idea why I drew it, but funnily enough that scene ended up being the opening spread of the book. After that the story told itself.
Can you tell us about how you created your artwork for ‘Santa Claus vs The Easter Bunny’? Does your creative process ever differ from book to book?
The art for this book was created digitally, by scanning in line work and coloured areas, arranging them over rough guides on screen. It’s a bit like creating a silk screen print, but on screen (monitor screen). It was quite a laborious process to be honest, but I wanted to get a hand drawn feel, but with the kind of zing you only get with digital colour. I try to approach each book differently, depending on the story, feel and characters. Some books are more line orientated, where this book was more about limited flat colour, and reduced line work — in the hope of a bright fun feel. I always try hard to keep the personality and spontaneity of the initial sketches, through to final artwork, no matter what approach I take.
What is your favourite spread in the book, and why?
I quite like the spread where Bunny is filling the Merry Manufacturing machines with warm liquid chocolate! It was fun drawing the ridiculous factory machines and challenging to create the night time atmosphere with the limited palette. Also, Bunny is so fun to draw when he is being wicked!
Comedy is a key component of a Fred Blunt book, how do you create humour in your artwork?
There are lots of ways of injecting humour, from little details that hopefully get noticed by the kids — like the chocolate coming out of the machine, looking like a dog poo! Also details that parents reading might enjoy, like having Sir Trevor McDonald make a cameo! But most of the humour comes from the interaction between the characters. I like to think of the characters as actors and they hopefully tell the story in a humorous way with their expressions and body language.
Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny are both well-known fictitious characters, how did you go about putting your own spin on them?
Fictitious! What do you mean? I’m not sure really . . . the very first Bunny I drew was wearing a roll neck sweater, which seemed right somehow. As the story developed he started wearing paisley smoking jackets and he would sit in 1960’s style egg chairs, for no other reason than it felt right. I also didn’t feel that he should be a normal bunny, so he became more of a bunny man for some reason. With Santa I wanted to make him the most roly-poly Santa imaginable and I think he could be a contender for most rotund Santa to feature in a picture book? In my head Santa talks like Brian Blessed, all over the top shouty exuberance, which becomes apparent in his body language and expressions. The Nordic pattern on the suit was an attempt to make him stand out from all the other Santas out there. The characters didn’t really change that much from the very first scribbles. I think first instincts can be the best ones.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring picture book author / illustrator?
Be true to yourself. Tell stories that come from you — don’t try to make generic books that fit in, because ultimately they will be dull.
Fred brings ‘Santa Claus Vs The Easter Bunny’ to Seven Stories for a live-reading and drawing event
What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about your next upcoming title?
I’m poised, ready to start work on a picture book, written by a really great author — really exciting stuff, that I can’t mention for the moment. My next author illustrated book will be called Gnome and published by the amazing Andersen Press again. Oh, and I’m working on some animation development at the moment too, with my friend and collaborator Michelle Robinson, which fingers crossed will see the light of day at some point.
You can view more of Fred’s artwork here.
Get in touch with Fred’s agent Arabella.
Maria Karipidou’s characters are so full of life that it’s no surprise that she brought quirk, charm, and attitude to spare to… a cookie! Maria teamed up with one-of-a-kind writer and performance poet Laura Dockrill to create Angry Cookie. She brought Laura’s hilarious and heartwarming story to life with her vibrant illustrations and unique character design.
We had a chat with Maria about Angry Cookie, her early artistic aspirations, and what inspires her illustrations. She was kind enough to give us a peek behind the scenes!
Growing up, did you always want to be an artist or creative of some sort?
Yes, indeed. My Mom used to tell me a story about me lying on the floor surrounded by plenty of colored pencils and paper, totally lost in my own worlds that I had created, when I was only two years old.
I continued to draw and fell in love with cartoon characters! When I was eight years old, a friend of my parents, who was working as a comic artist, gave me some advice in character design, and when I was eleven I applied at Disney for a position as an animator! So I really had a serious intention to make a living out of drawing ever since I can remember.
Your style really makes an impact on me – is there any particular artist that inspired or influenced your work?
I like ’50s and ’60s cartoons a lot, and artists like Alice and Martin Provenson who did great illustrations for children’s books, as well as some of Disney’s animators such as Mary Blair. I also take inspiration from classic artists, like Miro for example.
Maria’s illustration, nominated for the World Illustration Award in 2017.
Do you ever get illustrator’s block – where you just cannot think of what to draw (like writers sometimes get) and if so, how do you overcome it?
I can remember having experienced that at the beginning of my work as a freelance illustrator. It is a mix of pressure and being helpless - you want to do a great job and at the same time you block yourself with too high expectations regarding the results. So I learned a very important lesson: to trust myself and that getting good results is a process, that is different each time- and that there is no ‘recipe’ you can use when you have a problem to solve. It’s like jumping into cold water every time! Best thing you can do, is to accept it and make peace with it!
An illustration from Storytime Magazine.
You have a very exciting picture book coming out this year, with Laura Dockrill, Angry Cookie! This is going to be such a treat for everyone – it’s such a funny book, with illustrations that people will love! It looks like it must have been fun to illustrate — how did you come up with the character design for Angry Cookie?
Yes, this was the sweetest and quirkiest character I have ever put on paper! And it really wasn’t me who came up with that, it was Angry Cookie himself! AC - how we all call him now - did this all on his own - he jumped out of my sketch book! Suddenly he was there! When I read Laura’s lines, which was like a trip into a cookie’s inner life, this little thing was speaking to me! You can try it out on your own - it really happens: AC is real! Throughout working on the book, he kept making comments on my drawings and jumped around my pencil - until he was happy!
An illustration from Angry Cookie.
I can see that you take part in lots of events and workshops. I feel that this is a really important part of being a picture book maker – it’s a great way of letting people know about you, plus you are sharing your talent with your readers and fans. Can you tell me a bit about the workshops you’ve done?
Going into workshops with kids is amazing! They come up with ideas that are incredible! You could never ever imagine things like that as a grown-up! It’s a lot of fun - for the kids and me! First we create some characters, then draw them on card board - huge in size - cut them out and bring them to life as paper- or jumping-jack-puppets. The kids take them home or decorate their classrooms with them.
Illustration from Pizza Pig.
Lastly, do you have any exciting projects planned for the future?
This year, I created a visual concept with artwork for the 100 Year Anniversary of the Central Library in Amsterdam (OBA) that is taking place in 2019, and I’m excited to see the artwork spread all over the city. I have planned several workshops for kids, that will involve lots of traveling.
I really enjoyed working with Walker Books on the most exciting book I ever could imagine, and I’ve just learned we may be collaborating on a new book together, so I am thrilled! I will be working on a book with a donkey, written by my father (who loves donkeys since he was a kid!). This book for the little ones will be published by NILPFERD, a lovely and one of Austria’s best children’s book publisher with whom I did some great children’s books for older kids in the last years. Also another very special personal Project is on the way: I’m working on a multi media Project, about a little girl with very special friends … and also plan some animated projects, with a motion designer who is a friend of mine (she animated the trailer for Angry Cookie!) - So, all of this will be very personal projects to me, and I can’t wait to share them with you!
To see Maria’s portfolio, click here.
To work with Maria, contact Arabella Stein.
The Bright Agency, one of the most forward thinking, proactive and fast-growing international literary and illustration agencies of recent years are launching an in-house Film and TV division, led by new appointment Courtney Arumugam as Senior Creative Executive.
Check out Robyn’s rundown of the key ingredients for illustration success in this field:
Consider your audience and your buyer
As well as being perfect for the target market in both style and substance, the look and feel of the book must be appealing to the adult that is most likely to be purchasing the book. Think about the tastes and current trends that are likely to grab the attention of book buyers.
Accept constructive criticism from those in the know
The editorial and design team will have bags of experience and be directly in touch with sales people so have faith that their feedback will always be based on really valid market information. Even if changes can seem random at times, trust that the outcome will only improve sales of your book. For example, covers that are green sell less well than red covers! It’s a thing - I promise!
Be aware of global tastes with regard to facial features
It is worth having a selection of different eyes and noses up your sleeve (so to speak), and in your portfolio. Features can often be a sticking point as some looks work better in some markets than others. Design teams will often ask for options so it is worth being flexible.
Be mindful that your book might be sold across the globe and should appeal to all children and their families, whomever they are and wherever they are in the world.
For younger children, it’s great to be obvious, but for older audiences, don’t over-egg it! When we are surprised, we don’t always throw our hands up to our faces, or gasp when we are shocked, for example, so think about more natural reactions and gestures when creating character poses. Use friends as models to get expressions and limb positions just right.
Wherever there are characters, a children’s publisher is looking for a little bit of humour, so don’t be afraid to add extra detail or funny elements. Humour appeals to all children (while subtle comedy can lend a book all-important appeal for adults, too), and can really help make your artwork stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to include reference to bodily functions, although – to paraphrase the great Ade Edmondson of Bottom fame – a fart is always funny…
This is the terminology for any extra elements on books that add play value, so that’s anything from flaps and sliders to pull-tabs and pop-ups! Good design teams should always provide clear die-lines and briefing notes if these elements are part of the book you are working on, but it is worth becoming familiar with how these work. Spend an hour in a local bookshop in the board book section to familiarise yourself with moving parts, or buy a few novelty books from charity shops and take them apart!
Always ask the question
Don’t feel silly for asking your assigned designer lots of questions: they will be happy to answer anything and will be super-relieved that you asked instead of getting confused by something.
Make the best out of briefs
In my experience, a designer will always prefer to brief you in the way that best suits you. From the outset, do say if there is a particular way you like to work – or, if you are mid-project and struggling with the way it is being briefed, don’t feel afraid to ask for an alternative approach.
…Ask your agent
We are here for you: to support, advise, and help to develop your work – and to be your champion. If you need any assistance, would like some insider advice, or simply want us to ask a publisher something on your behalf, just let us know: that’s what we’re here for!
Read more about Robyn on her Agent profile page at The Bright Agency website
The end of summer is in sight, and a new season means NEW BOOKS! The latest titles publishing this autumn from our brilliant Bright artists showcases the breadth of gorgeous styles across the portfolio — from bold and quirky art full of humour, to beautifully enchanting festive tales.
Among the exciting new titles soon to be adorning bookshelves, is the latest picture book from ‘Supertato’ creators Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet; the much-anticipated sequel to David Litchfield’s highly acclaimed ‘The Bear and the Piano’; and once more we return to the captivating world of ‘The Storm Whale’ to join Noi on his latest adventure. Enjoy!
‘Look’ By Fiona Woodcock / Greenwillow Books
‘As We Grow: The Journey of Life…’ Illustrated by Richard Jones / Caterpillar Books
‘The Space Train’ Illustrated by Karl James Mountford / Little Tiger Press
‘Angry Cookie’ Illustrated by Maria Karipidou / Walker Books
‘It All Began When I Said Yes’ Illustrated by Annabel Tempest / Simon & Schuster
‘Santa Claus Vs The Easter Bunny’ By Fred Blunt / Andersen Press
‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bogey?’ Illustrated by Tom Knight / Scholastic
‘Cinderella’ Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle / Orchard Books
‘The Rabbit, The Dark and the Biscuit Tin’ By Nicola O’Byrne / Nosy Crow
‘The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the Fiddle’ By David Litchfield / Lincoln Children’s Books
‘Lightning Girl 2: Superhero Squad’ Illustrated by James Lancett / Scholastic
‘You Can Tell A Fairy Tale: Little Red Riding Hood’ By Migy Blanco / Templar
‘Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins’ Illustrated by Mark Chambers / Two Lions
‘When I Was A Child’ Illustrated by David Litchfield / Hodder Children’s Books
‘The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty’ Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle / Lincoln Children’s Books
‘Christmas Gremlins’ / Illustrated by Chris Chatterton / Egmont
‘Brave and the Fox’ Illustrated by Sebastien Braun / Scholastic
‘We’re Going on an Elf Chase’ Illustrated by Laura Hughes / Bloomsbury Children’s Books
‘Snowball’ By Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet / Macmillan Children’s Books
‘My Friend Sleep’ Illustrated by Hannah Peck / Words & Pictures
‘Grandma Bird’ By Benji Davies / Simon & Schuster
NOVEMBER & DECEMBER
‘All Right Already!: A Snowy Story’ Illustrated by Benji Davies / Harper Collins
‘Frockodile’ Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis / Hodder Children’s Books
To work with Bright’s artists and authors please get in touch.