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!
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.
We are delighted to announce that there was a lovely advance review, by Lian Hingee of Readings, of Fil and Harry in this week’s edition of the Weekly Book Newsletter (Books+Publishing). Here’s an extract from the review:
Written by Jenny Blackford, whose debut book The Girl in the Mirror won the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, Fil & Harry also includes whimsical illustrations by Kristin Devine…..It is a gentle novel with short, accessible chapters and some excellent vocabulary-building words for emerging readers to discover. It’s perfect for readers aged seven and up.
Congratulations to Jenny and Kristin! It’s a great start for the novel’s reception.
We are delighted to reveal today the gorgeous front and full cover of Fil and Harry, a fabulous new junior novel by Jenny Blackford, which we are publishing on May 1. The beautiful cover illustration is by Kristin Devine, who has also created some great internal black and white illustrations for the book. Design of the covers is by Kristin and by Authors’ Elves.
Six-year-old Australian author Chelsea Hardi’s first picture book to be published in 2021
Richmond Publishing, in association with Christmas Press, is proud to announce that in April 2021 it will be publishing The Magic Ball of String, a beautiful picture book with text by a fabulous debut author, six-year-old Sydney resident Chelsea Hardi, who is not only one of Australia’s but also one of the world’s youngest published authors.
Chelsea was born to tell stories and narrates them to her mother, Irina, before going to sleep every night. She has always been in love with Russian fairytales which comforted her when at the age of four and a half, suffering from pneumonia, she was in hospital in Moscow for an extended period. It was during this difficult time that, influenced by those fairytales, she created the first version of The Magic Ball of String, telling it to her mother who wrote it down for her. Since then, the story has evolved through the editing process, which Chelsea was fully a part of, to become a fresh and charming tale of adventure, family love, the power of kindness, and the unexpected magic of a certain ball of string.
With beautiful pictures by acclaimed international illustrator Olya Badulina, this book is a dream come true for the young author, and one that children and families across Australia will take to their hearts.
Richmond Publishing (a division of Oliver Freeman Pty Ltd) is delighted that The Magic Ball of String will be on the 2021 publishing list of award-winning children’s books publisher Christmas Press, which will be promoting and marketing the book across its networks. And Christmas Press is delighted to be working in association with Richmond Publishing on the release of this very special book which so exemplifies the magic of stories in the lives of children.
Three beautiful princesses set out to explore the kingdom, looking for adventure. When they become separated from their father, and cross paths with a hungry bear, they become lost in the midst of a dark forest. The eldest princess is determined to find a way home, and the King is determined to find his daughters. And with the help of a man with a brave and kind heart, the grateful gesture of a tiny hedgehog, and a magic ball of string, everyone may just find what they truly seek …
We are delighted to announce our new Junior Fiction list, for young readers who want to graduate from chapter books, but aren’t ready yet to move into middle-grade fiction, and who still like illustrations in their reading! And we’re even more delighted that Fil and Harry, the debut book on this list, is by the award-winning team of author Jenny Blackford and illustrator Kristin Devine. Jenny’s previous novel with us, The Girl in the Mirror (published last year in the Eagle Books imprint) won the 2020 Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, while in 2019 Kristin won first place in the New England Illustration Award, which is open to illustrators all over Australia.
Can Fil’s cat Harry really talk? And can he find a way out of the tangle she’s in? Read more about this fresh, lively and touching novel here. We’re publishing it in May 2021. Watch this space!
There’s another lovely review of Four on the Run, this time on Kids’ Book Review. Here is a short extract:
Cheryl Orsini’s delicate pen illustrations depict the cars in their prime and through their challenges. The dialogue between the cars is humorous and entertaining. This is a perfect chapter book for younger readers.