Friday, 20 October 2017

5 minutes with new illustrator Jana Heidersdorf!

Today we hear a little from our wonderful new artist Jana Heidersdorf as she gives us a sneak peak into her wonderful world of illustration. From what inspires her to her favourite things to draw! A very interesting interview indeed!

Where do you live/work?

I’m currently living in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. While the city itself is not particularly inspiring, my flat is a perfect safe harbor to create in and snuggle up with my three rats.

What do you love about working there?

I’m a naturally inclined hermit, so having a comfortable place to work and relax in with convenient access to everything I need to keep myself alive is necessary for me. I can reach the forest in 30 minutes on foot, the post office in 10 and even the customs office is only a few train stops away (I never thought that would be important to me, but here I am.)

What are your dislikes?

All my artist friends live somewhere else, so I need to travel a bit to see them. My current solution is to combine visits with my vacations. Next year a trip to London is on my schedule to re-connect with some folks from art school. 

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

Well, it’s a bit like doing magic, isn’t it? Of course you have to study hard to master the spells, but it doesn’t change feeling of creating something from nothing. When starting with an idea I never know exactly how the artwork will turn out, even as I plan all my preliminary work. There’s always an element of surprise to the process and a very childlike part of me is simply excited about seeing the finished piece appear!

How do you work — what are your techniques?

I work in a blend of traditional and digital media. For the majority of my process I draw and paint and everything in between, using pencils, acrylic paint and charcoal. Getting my hands dirty and messing around with textures is something I can’t go without. This is the part where I need to let go of my inner perfectionist and go wild. Once the artwork is scanned and on the screen in front of me I put on my critical-editor-hat to push pixels and add colours until I’m satisfied with the result. 

What is your favorite thing to draw?

They are tricky, but I really enjoy drawing hands! When I was younger I used to avoid  them at all costs until I did the right thing and started to study them. Nowadays they are still always a little bit of a challenge, however it is extremely satisfying to see once they’re finally on paper.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?

Are there any that are not tricky, at least to an extend? When I first realized I wanted to become an illustrator, I was not especially worried about being good, since I knew I just had to practice to develop my skills and I knew that was something within my control. What did worry me was me being an incredibly introverted, shy person with a dash of social anxiety. My environment constantly gave me the feeling all skill didn’t matter as long as I wouldn’t be able promote myself and I wouldn’t be as long as I was, well, me basically. As it turns out putting artwork online and having an easy to find e-mail address is something even I can do and having strong artwork is really the important part. Still, sometimes I can’t help wondering whether my skills might be wasted on my personality. (I guess there is a reason I’m with an agency now?!)

What or who are you inspired by?

Books, movies, music! Forest walks! You can blame Neil Gaiman, Del Toro and their colleagues for my work.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?

Oh, I’m very boring. I mostly read, watch tv or go on walks. Lately I have started to try and find myself more hobbies because I’ve heard it’s good to lead a balanced life. For now that means I’ve started to get back into writing, so at least me fingers get a work out. 

How did you get into illustration?

Besides fawning over Brian Froud’s and Alan Lee’s Faeries and Chris Riddell’s Edge World illustrations I grew up reading French fantasy and scifi comics and fell in love with the the medium, especially the beautiful artworks. Once in grammar school my friends were more into manga, so I dove into those, too. With fourteen I thought it would be a good idea to become a comic artist and is I started practicing to draw in earnest (or what I thought that meant at the time). That’s not exactly what I’m doing now, but close enough.

What are your three tips for aspiring illustrators?

What a strange question. Most of the time I still feel like one myself. I’m only in my second year after graduating art school and third year of freelancing.

So here it goes! Take deadlines seriously, even at art school. Take as long as you need to create awesome work for yourself, but if there’s a deadline then make sure you make it. If you somehow never do, try to find out why. Are your projects too ambitious? Are your time management skills non existent? Do you need to see somebody about your mental health (Not pulling all-nighters before a deadline and making sure you catch enough sleep helps with that, too! So don’t underestimate the art of time management …)?  

The internet is a wondrous thing and you don’t need to live where all the cool kids are to get illustration work. Having an affordable place where you can hone your craft has its advantages to being able to schmooze at parties but worrying every month about making rent. You can always move at a later point in your career. 
Last but not least some practical advice for getting work. Put your e-mail address on your website or blog where people can find it. This is very important. Nobody can hire you when they can’t reach you. Also, have a portfolio website if possible. 

What’s your ultimate dream?

In my last months at art school we were assigned to write a bucket list. Mine included items such as having a book published, working on a movie, having a gallery show and so on. Yet imagining holding a book with my name on it in my hands isn’t what gets me out of bed and to my desk everyday. It took me a while to understand that. Nowadays when I imagine my endgame I see long lasting collaborative relationships with creatives in all different creative fields, people I am always excited to work with and with whom I am creating worlds with. I want to be able to look back and see where my artistic voice was able to weave through all the different realms of pop culture that made me an artist in the first place. 
At times that seems awfully ambitious and even arrogant to me. Then again life can be quite long in this day and age and what a disappointment it would be to actually reach my goals and have nothing left to strive for. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Rebecca Gerlings and the Big Draw Epsom!

Last week, our very own Rebecca Gerlings took part in her towns Big Draw! 

Big Draw is a festival held every year in over 28 different countries, bringing together many different types of creatives with children of all ages with schools, libraries, galleries, museums and other such spaces.

The idea is that anyone can draw given the chance and can bring excitement into all aspects of life!

Here is a little account of the day by Rebecca and some pictures to accompany:

"We had an AMAZING two days! Over 30 local volunteers - including myself - pooled their enthusiasm, creativity and vision to pull off Epsom's first ever The Big Draw. The reactions from the nine local schools who attended on the Friday, and from the general public on the Saturday, by far exceeded all our hopes and expectations. We hit Epsom with a storm of chalk dust; spiralling drawings out of control; animating people lives; and bringing out the inner author and illustrator from child and adult alike. Epsom Library had over 800 people through the doors on Saturday, which is a true reflection of how many people joined in. We've had such positive feedback that we hope this is now set to become an annual local event. I can't wait to do it all again next year!"

If you would like to find out more, please visit:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Plum Pudding and Plum5 have landed in Frankfurt....

The Plum Pudding and Plum5 teams have landed in Frankfurt and can be seen here enjoying a cheeky brew before the fair on Wednesday!

Monday, 25 September 2017

5 minutes with...Jonny Lambert

Today we hear a little from PP artist Jonny Lambert as he talks all things illustration! From his style and techniques to some fabulous advice for budding illustrators! Jonny has also included some lovely images to accompany his answers...!

Where do you live/work? 

In a wooden studio shed in the garden of our West Sussex coach house.

What do you love about working there?

It’s at the end of the garden, amongst trees and far enough away from the internet in the house.

What are your dislikes?

It can be difficult to keep warm during winter...ohh! and spider leftovers.

What do you love most about being an illustrator?

I like scribbling, and visually interpreting the written word. I can’t stop thinking in 3 dimension and love creatively entertaining/educating readers of all ages. 

How do you work – what are your techniques?  

I call it, ‘scratch and tickle’. I draw everything in blue pencil (something that has stuck with me since drawing for Disney). Initially I start with storyboards, planning out every scene (as I see it). After comments, amends and ‘cross-finger’ approvals from the publisher’s team, I build characters, scenes, expressions with end less use of tracing overlays.
Then it’s splash-paint time, scratching and daubing to create collage textures. After cutting and composing the painted elements, I tickle in the details...voila!

What is your favourite thing to draw?

In particular, anything unusual. Or, taking something familiar and finding an unusual way of portraying it.

Are there any tricky parts to being an illustrator?

Not being too self-critical.

What or who are you inspired by? 

Tricky one to answer, as I’m inspired by many things and people. That would be my answer for anyone...keep your mind and eyes open.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not illustrating?

Drawing, Paper Engineering, Willowing, Teaching, Cycling, Gardening, Cooking, Carpentry, Building stuff...I built shepherd’s hut from scratch, and more recently Kayaking.

How did you get into illustration?

After working in adult education publishing designing step-by-step diagrams and art directing photo shoots, I was offered the chance to illustrate a simple lift the flap children’s book for WHSmith. That was it!

What are your three top tips for aspiring illustrators? 

Know your subject and who you’re working for. Keep all your senses alert and have an interest in everything. Find a great agent to work with.
As a fourth top tip...keep your hands clean!!

What’s your ultimate dream?

Big question! Every time I’ve thought of one, it’s been interrupted by a more exciting opportunity. Keep trying...maybe that’s my answer, and if I fall flat on my face, at least I’ll be going forward!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Explorers Against Extinctions "Sketch For Survival" Campaign

A little while ago, Plum Pudding were contacted by the charity "Explorers Against Extinction", who are raising money through their campaign "Sketch For Survival" by asking artists and celebrities to donate artwork to be put into their auction. A few of our artists have donated some fabulous pieces!

The charity raises awareness of a very important cause - to quote their website:

"One elephant is killed in Africa every 15 minutes. That's 100 a day. An average of three rhinos a day are killed for their horn. To raise awareness of these shocking statistics we asked artists & celebrities to do a simple 15 minute sketch to support our campaign."

As well as the auction, an exciting event is being held on the 12th October at the Royal Geographic Society in which leading experts in the wildlife field will come together to "make a stand against extinction". 

An exciting evening with some famous faces including Ranulph Fiennes will be attending - to get your ticket follow the link below:

To bid on and maybe nab one of our artists lovely pieces visit:

(More artists to follow)

There will also be a tour of the donated work:

"The collection will also be on display to the public in the form of short pop-up exhibitions, opening in Norwich on World Rhino Day on Friday 22nd September. Venue details below:

The Crypt Gallery, Norwich School, Cathedral Close, NR1 4DH: Friday 22nd September 10am - 5pm and Saturday 23rd September 10am - 4pm

The Crypt Gallery, Dukes Road Entrance (off Euston Road), London, NW1 2BA: Tuesday 26th September 2pm - 8pm (private view 6pm - 8pm), Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th September 10am - 7pm

Walcot Chapel Gallery, Walcot Gate, Bath BA1 5UG: Wednesday 4th October 12pm - 7pm and 

Thursday 5th October 10am - 4pm
Entry is free."

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Progressive Preschool Awards 2017

Some very exciting news year at Plum Pudding HQ!

"All You Need To Know before you Start School", the book illustrated by our very own Marina Aizen has been nominated for the Best Preschool Written, Listening, and Learning Range category of "The Progressive Preschool Awards" 2017!

We are very excited here at PP and have all our fingers crossed for Marina!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Some new Plums to add to the Pudding!

We have had two new lovely additions to the Plum Pudding team this month which is very exciting news!

Below, they have written two little bios to introduce themselves...enjoy!

I am Star, I am the new marketing manager here at Plum Pudding and I am wonderfully fantastically excited to be back! I studied Graphic Communication and Illustration at Loughborough University and my hobbies include covering myself in glitter, boogying and being silly. My (and my lovely mothers) favourite children’s book is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and my favourite style is hand drawn and a little bit messy! If I could be any animal it would be a male silverback gorilla. 

Hello, my name’s Beth and I’m super excited to be starting as an agent here at Plum Pudding. I’ve recently graduated from the University of Leeds where I studied Graphic and Communication Design and have a background in designing for kids! I have a massive sweet tooth and love baking and devouring all things chocolatey. I love all illustration and envy all our artists’ talents but particularly enjoy papercutting and collaging myself. In the age old debate of cats or dogs I will always argue that rabbits are underrated!