Delighted to announce that there’s now a fun little trailer on our You Tube channel for our upcoming chapter book title, Four All At Sea, by Sophie Masson and Cheryl Orsini, which we are publishing next month. Four All At Sea is the fabulous sequel to Sophie and Cheryl’s popular chapterbook, Four on the Run, which was published last year.
Charlie Chaplin: The Usual Suspect, by Phoebe McArthur, has just received its first review, in Read Plus, with the reviewer, Carolyn Hull, recommending the novel. Here’s a short extract:
This book has been written in the style of a Trixie Belden mystery – a young girl who can solve problems and crimes with only the help of other kids. It will appeal to young readers who love a mystery story...
We are delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of Four All at Sea, our September title and upcoming new chapter book, written by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini. It’s also the sequel to Sophie and Cheryl’s popular title, Four on the Run, which we published in September last year. In this cracking new adventure, the four loveable friends(who just happen to be machines!) find themselves marooned on a deserted island: at least, they thought it was deserted! But eek, what is that scary noise they can hear??
Another lovely review for Fil and Harry: this time by Dannielle Viera, on the Buzz Words site. Here’s a short extract:
Award-winning author Jenny Blackford has delivered a delightful junior fiction novel suitable for kids aged seven to ten. The friendship headaches that Fil suffers from are common in this age group, so youngsters will immediately feel empathy for the troubled protagonist. And who doesn’t love the idea of owning a talking cat? …..Kristin Devine’s images are exceptionally detailed, which encourages young readers to pause and ponder what is happening in the story.
Very pleasing to read a great new review of Fil and Harry on the ReadPlus site! Here’s a short extract:
The third person narration is light and breezy. Humour laces the storyline. We feel for Fil; we worry about her problems. We think we know where she is going wrong with her friendship choices. We love the way her family rally around her. There is a tangle in the story which any young child would recognise. Harry the magical cat has a solution and the ending is very satisfying. The pencil sketches scattered throughout the story are soft and comforting. Stars and cat paw prints accompany the text. This is a delightful little book.
It’s publication day for Jenny Blackford’s fabulous junior novel, Fil and Harry! Illustrated with charming, lively black and white pictures by Kristin Devine, this is a warm and engaging short novel, with a touch of fantasy, which readers seven and up will love.
Find out more about the book, author and illustrator here and read a great review of the book here.
We’re pleased to announce that Fil and Harry now has its own Featured Book pages on the United Publishers of Armidale website. On the site, you can find an information page about the book which includes links to pre-ordering and to interviews with author Jenny Blackford and illustrator Kristin Devine, and an activities page. The activities include Jenny reading an extract from the book’s first chapter, a word search puzzle, downloadable and printable colouring pages based on Kristin’s illustrations, and some great downloadable Teacher’s Notes packed with more info and activities. Check it all out!
There’s a lovely new review of Fil and Harry at writer and reviewer Jonathan Shaw’s blog. Praising the story’s ‘sweet warmth’ he calls it a ‘quiet companionable tale’ which he much enjoyed, along with Kristin Devine’s illustrations. He also has some very nice words for Christmas Press, which we really appreciated!
Following on from our interview with Jenny Blackford yesterday, we are very pleased to bring you today an interview with Kristin Devine, who created the fabulous cover and internal illustrations of Fil and Harry. As with Jenny’s interview, it was conducted by Sharnee Rawson.
The cover and illustrations for Fil and Harry are fantastic. What’s your creative process when you undertake a new project?
Thanks! While my individual artworks usually start with a very clear mental image, illustrations usually start with a combination of mind maps and sketches – lots of key words and very quick sketches. Illustrations have to stand well on their own as well as interact with both the text and other pictures within the book, so I generally like to spend some time working out the pacing and balance of the images, combining or separating ideas etc. before I start creating each illustration. I also like to spend some time sketching and developing the visual appearance of the main characters.
Fil and Harry is your first time illustrating a book. What techniques and resources did you use? Were they different from your usual routine?
A little different. The illustrations for Fil and Harry were created digitally, which means that I draw with a digital pencil on digital paper and with pixels instead of pigments. I have been creating an increasing number of illustrations this way over the past year as it is such a versatile medium and is well suited to the digital marketplace. I also use digital mannequins instead of the traditional little wooden ones – they are much more adaptable and hold their poses much better!
My more usual approach when beginning any new work is to start with graphite pencils on paper. The almost meditative process of rendering an image in graphite makes it one of my favourite mediums.
How did you get into art and illustration? Is it something you have always done?
Art is something I have always done, I remember getting up as a small child at the crack of dawn to start drawing! Illustration is a slightly newer endeavour for me but still one which I have been pursuing for several years now.
You have a website that showcases various styles, particularly black and white drawings. How would you describe your art in three words?
Inspired by nature. My inherent inclination is towards realism and I am intrigued by the natural world, predispositions which meet, well, naturally, in natural history illustration, something I really enjoy and would like to do more of. That being said, I also enjoy taking nature as a starting point and then stretching out the possibilities – examining familiar things from unexpected angles, creating anatomically plausible new creatures, blurring the boundaries between apparently disparate objects and concepts. Nature offers such diversity, so many starting points, so many essential truths that the possibilities for reworking, or reconsidering them, are endless. Even when I am doing something relatively stylised (such as the illustrations for Fil and Harry) I always start with nature, for example with basic human anatomy when designing characters.
What’s next for your career after Fil and Harry? Any new and exciting projects?
I am working on my first original picture book as an author-illustrator – a project which has been ongoing for several years now! It is a fantasy story but style-wise it again has its roots firmly planted in the natural world.