Announcements, authors, chapterbooks, Illustrators, New releases

Publication day for Four All At Sea

It’s publication day for Four All At Sea, the exciting, funny sequel to last year’s popular Four on the Run! We’re delighted to be publishing the next adventures of the four lovable friends who just happen to be machines:-) Congratulations to writer Sophie Masson and illustrator Cheryl Orsini on another fabulous book for young readers!

Announcements, authors, chapterbooks, Cover reveals, forthcoming books, Illustrators

Cover reveal for Lucy Newton, Cat Trouble!

We are delighted to reveal the gorgeous cover of Lucy Newton, Cat Trouble, written and illustrated by Phoebe McArthur, which we are publishing in November. It’s the fabulous sequel to Lucy Newton, Little Witch, which we published in 2018 and which was shortlisted for the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.

Here’s a bit about the story:

Lucy is spending the holidays with her grandparents at an old house near a loch.

Thomas the cat disappears on the train trip there and Lucy is frantic.

Taking advice from her spell book and a talking library, Lucy casts a spell to find him.

But when she does there’s something different about him…

Can Lucy Newton solve the mystery in her second magical adventure?

Wait and see!

Announcements, authors, chapterbooks, Cover reveals, forthcoming books, Illustrators

Cover reveal for Four All at Sea!

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??

authors, Books, Illustrators, Junior fiction, New releases, Reviews

Great new review of Fil and Harry

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. 

You can read the full review here.

illustration by Kristin Devine
Announcements, authors, Books, Illustrators, Junior fiction, New releases, publication day

Publication day for Fil and Harry!

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.

authors, Books, forthcoming books, free stuff, Illustrators, Junior fiction, United Publishers of Armidale

Fil and Harry featured book pages on UPA website

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!

Illustration by Kristin Devine from Fil and Harry, by Jenny Blackford
forthcoming books, Illustrators, interviews, Junior fiction, New releases

Interview with Kristin Devine, illustrator of Fil and Harry

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.

Illustration by Kristin Devine from Chapter 1 of Fil and Harry
Announcements, authors, Illustrators, Junior fiction, Reviews

Lovely advance review for Fil and Harry

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.

Fil and Harry will be released on May 3.

Announcements, authors, Books, Cover reveals, Illustrators

Cover reveal for Fil and Harry!

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.

Read more about Fil and Harry here.