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The Beauty of Local

Words & Images: Sally Anderson

Well, what a busy couple of months it’s been! It was lovely to see my Jack and the Beanstalk illustration on the cover of May’s S40, and I received so many warm wishes and a couple of proposals, which I will get on to in a minute!

My journey is still continuing with Penguin. I was fortunate enough to be invited to one of their corporate events at the Palladium in London last month to showcase Penguins many talents. It was so exciting, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me! As part of the ‘Write Now’ cohort, we got to sit and watch short performances showcasing Penguins up and coming talent, as well as more established writers. Authors would read a chapter of their latest book to be released and artists gave intimate interviews about the premise of their work and the books which supported it. It was mesmerising. Worldwide artists, Ai WeiWei, and authors Malorie Blackman and Bill Bryson were speakers and, of course Stormzy to cap it off! Truly exciting, overwhelming and surreal mixed into one.

Inspired and ready to work further with Penguin I have spent most of June completing my Jack and the Beanstalk project, which I submitted in rough format a whole year ago! It has come a long way since those early black and white scribbles and now, I’m proud to say, resembles a proper children’s picture book. Penguin haven’t acquired the artwork, but I am hoping to get the book printed to demonstrate my ability to complete a book to fruition and show to agents and publishers alike. Let’s hope this is the first of many!

My recent project has been as a result of the S40 article in May. Anyone who knows me as a local to the area, knows me for my love of several things; my drawing, love of dungarees, my big brood (obvs!) and my love for cake… well in particular, scones! I am known to frequent the local cafes in Brampton, so I am no stranger to the best scones on Chatsworth Road, probably Derbyshire…Libby’s.

After seeing the article Libby approached me (being a regular scone tester!) and asked if I would like to create a range of cards for the shop based around my characters of small children. Of course, I said yes! Not only was it the tempting thought of planning images over the best ‘Chubby Rascal’ in my mind but also, Libby always stocks such poignant cards, so I was honoured to be asked. So, I set to work!

I have designed twenty-five cards initially in the range varying from ’New baby’ to ‘Good luck at school’, alongside children’s birthday cards for ages 1-5. I love drawing little tots so really this was no chore at all! Inspired by school assemblies (I spend my life at them!) and local sausage dogs (which I love), there is quite a range of cards to tickle your fancy.

As both Libby and I are local to Brampton, I really wanted to use the local printer Minuteman Press. The team there have been so helpful and patient with my chopping and changing. Jon helped me with layouts and printed out tests to gage the card thickness required. The beauty with staying local is that visuals can be seen quickly, and you can go and see how the product will look and feel - I will definately use them again!

By the time you read this, I should have (hopefully!) agreed on the finer details, and which cards to print in time to present a small window display at Libby’s on Chatsworth road. The full range will be available to buy as well as a couple of original drawings.

As I am writing this, I am preparing to organise my brood so they can cope without me for the day whilst I swan off to another event! I have been invited to Penguin’s children’s book summer party hosted at the Natural History Museum London and I simply cannot wait! The party is for all the published authors and illustrators to get together for a shin dig (and networking of course!) and schmooze with the famous folk in children’s book publishing! I can’t wait to see who is there, especially if they have purple prickles all over their back (Sssssh!) eeeeeek.

I am nearly halfway through my journey with Penguin and I really don’t want it to end. I am having an amazing time and finally realising my dream. Who knew I needed to have all those babies first in order to learn how to draw them well! My mum always said there was never enough books to read in the Anderson house, but there will be soon! Watch this space!


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