For the past couple of years I've been a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. It's a huge group of people (mostly women I reckon) all passionate about Children's books but with varying degrees of talent. Scbwi do a competition every year called Undiscovered Voices. Anyone who writes or illustrates but is unagented or unpublished can enter. The prize is, you get published in an anthology which goes to agents and important industry people around the world. The hope is, if you get published in the anthology, some bigwig will snap you up and you'll be drinking tea and tweeting with JK in no time!
So obviously I entered and it just so happened that the brief was to illustrate a scene from Wind in the Willows. Pretty convenient considering I'd just completed the poster for The Sherman Theatre production of it. It had to be in black and white but that was fine as it was a great excuse to create something awesome on my new Huion tablet.
I'm pretty pleased with the piece I've entered but I've no idea when the winners are announced. Pretty rubbish ending to this tale eh? I haven't even posted the illustration!
The other competition I entered (I don't know the outcome of this either so don't hold your breath) was the massive Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. I had to write and draw a four paged short story. With three weeks to go before the deadline I managed to churn out something which I'm really chuffed with. Dennis and June, pictured above, are a loving married couple commenting on life. Only, they live in the future and animals can talk and be business owners and marry inanimate objects if they want to. It's a bit different but hopefully good! I used the Huion tablet again for this one. It's quickly become my favourite way to illustrate.
Winning the short story prize or even being shortlisted would be incredible! Although I'm well aware that the competition is fierce. Both Stephen Collins and Alexis Deacon have won it in the past and they have amazing careers. Imagine being as awesome as them! Funnily enough, Alexis is a judge on the Undiscovered Voices comp and Stephen is a judge on the Jonathan Cape one. I don't know what this means. Just that they're ace I guess.
Anyhoo, when I find out the results of both of these competitions, I'll post the illustrations. Until then, keep your fingers crossed for me...